I see the metropole as the magnified top of the world where each comes, takes and leaves something behind; the shape of the city is determent by the use of it inhabitants.
‘Gravity’ shows a cross-section of New York and tries to expose the connections between the city and its residents. By literally laying bare the different layers of urban life, everything that takes place between the smog above the buildings and the sewers under them.
Humanity stands at a turning point in history. Just recently the majority of human beings live in cities for the first time in history. And by 2030, three-quarters of the worlds population will be living in urban areas.
Gravity is a work in progress.
"All those old rural towns and villages have now been replaced by several brand-new cities. White. Modern. Huge. Not evolved naturally over time, but suddenly sprung up from the ground. This is the place where people now live. No part of these new surroundings reminds you of the past. There is no place for any historic awareness or aesthetic ideals here. At least, not as far as I could tell. If a blind wall needs a window in it, they simply hack out a hole at the designated place and put in a frame. Not necessarily pretty, or approved by the authorities – let alone a building aesthetics committee. These ‘rogue’ windows are everywhere, but it takes a while until you actually see them. It took me a few days to notice the first one, in a building that had drawn my attention a few times before, though I didn’t exactly know why. Suddenly, I saw it! There, on the middle floor, right in the centre of a huge blind wall, a single hole had been carved out. A Cyclops’ eye. "
Diary notes form Mist 2008
The Three Gorges Dam is built in central China. The project, which has been underway for the past 20 years, involves the repatriation of one million local residents. They were forced to take part in a mass migration which will dominate their lives for twenty years. Still, despite their seeming passivity and acceptance, they do not seem defeated. They simply adapt and continue with their lives.
Every week a photo sketch
Over the course of a full year I will send out a Sketch Letter every Friday containing a new photographic sketch. It wil be hot from the press, unpublished and made over the course of that very week.
Whereas I can focus for years on a certain photo project, these sketch series are a valuable counterpart on my work.
Its important to me to stay productive and actively keep on searching, working intuitively and playing with visual storytelling. To be on the lookout for meaningful things. Collecting and connecting myself with the things and people around me.
I decided to challenge myself by making a new sketch every week for over period of a year, and publish it without questioning too much what it is about. Anyway, I want to inspire myself and you by doing this. But i kind of need you as my audience to do this. So feel free to view the weekly sketch, or reply to these letters with questions, comments and suggestions.
Every winter between 11 November and 2 February the sun fails to rise above the flanks of the Alps, leaving the North Italian village of Viganella completely in shadow. Situated in a narrow valley at the end of an 80-kilometer road it is subject to an exodus of its population. Only the center of the village is inhabited, merely by elderly people.
Residents of Viganella and the neighboring villages who face the same problem blame the lack of sunlight in winter. The mayor raised funds for a large computer-operated mirror, to be built 500 meters up the slope high above the village. For seven hours a day it reflects the sunlight to the central square of the village.
It is also found useful to defrost icy roads. And as a gift it illuminated the house of a lady celebrating her 90th birthday.
In the mountain regions old laws have always reigned relations between man and nature. Working the hardest rocks or climbing the highest heights.
Chapter one, A hundred glances at the sea.
Every day I walk into the sea, so far until I am the last one.
Colors of water and sky seem different each time I take a look.
With a million moving circles underneath, I'm overwhelmed by infinite changes. Standing inside a giant mirror.
Chapter two, Passengers on the ferry
Each time the ferry hits the other side, he sets foot on the land and will turn around immediately to walk back onto the boat again, together with the newly arriving passengers. For hours on an end. I watch him. Seeing something my father would do.
Chapter three, Close ups taken from sea-paintings
She is watching. Time and time again she moves closer and then slowly walks backwards. After she has left, I do the same. The paint changes into waves when I step away. I can feel it move.
A special Thanks to
Winnie Stomps, Barend Stomps, Marianne Beuken, Roderik Rotting, Poike Stomps, Babet Echter, Robert van Dijk, Judith van IJken, Yvonne Feil, Femke Lutgerink, Rob Wetzer, Sabrina Mandanici, Diane van de Marel, Shari de Boer, Fotolab, Guillaume Koning, Rijksmuseum, Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam, Foto Formationa, MIAP Foundation and JONGENSVANHETDOK.