“Who am I without my community?”
I was born in a small village in Overijssel (NL) where old agricultural traditions are still part of day to day life. Neighbors care for each other in good and bad times and are together at the most important moments in life, a way of living together that is slowly dying out. Even in the Netherlands this way of living is not very known. Only in small agricultural communities in the east and north of the country it’s still common.
I photographed my community during the moments they came together. I followed them multiple years to illustrate the repetition of their lives. Through interviews with people my age, I tried to give a picture of my own upbringing, identity and doubts. The work is about the social changes that rural youth have to deal with, for better or worse.
“Researching the traditional gender roles.”
Within this project I started to research and question the traditional gender roles I grew up with. I created a series of portraits from people living in my hometown, male and female, young and old. I ended up exhibiting five portraits from women in different age groups. Besides these portraits you see the lyrics to a song in the local dialect. Translated it says something in the lines of: They are only pretty when they are young, after 22 they are rigid, fat and sour. This was the start of the project Women of the Land.
The survival of a small community relies on treaties and silence. Therefore photography is a perfect tool to show instead of tell. Alcohol abuse, gender inequality and racism are shown next to images of community, social responsibility and community caregivers.