Tag Archives: friends

New Work: Maarten

My friend Maarten is possibly the one person that I have photographed the most. The very first “proper” portrait I took was of him. This was about 20 years ago when I was still at uni and simultaneously taking a course in photography at the local art house. I didn’t really know Maarten and had never hung out with him, I only knew him as the flatmate of a friend of mine. When I got an assignment to “take someone’s portrait” I knew exactly what to do. I phoned Maarten and asked if he’d be willing to sit for me. Fortunately, he agreed:) Yet when I showed up, he wasn’t there and I left feeling rather disappointed as I had been so excited about this shoot.

When I got home though, the phone rang and it was Maarten. He apologized and explained that he was held up at work which why he was late, but he was home now and if I still wanted to do the shoot I was very welcome to come by? I agreed, of course. I got there, rang the doorbell and when he opened the door the first thing I noticed was that his hair was tied up in all these tiny little Bjork-type knots. In an instant I knew I’d get my shot and that we would be vast friends for a long time to come.:)
I am still taking his picture to this day.


I just finished reading Mark Lanegan’s “Sing Backwards and Weep” and damn, that was one hell of a read. Obviously, listening to *anything by Mark Lanegan now.


Blue spotted tail

 I had this friend in Cape Town who was awesome at helping me think.. I’d come up with vague ideas and he’d untangle my messy thoughts into workable plans while filling the gaps with possibilities and angles that I could never come up with. With having run his own business for an x-amount of years already, he was a few steps ahead of me in the “doing business in Cape Town as an outsider” department. Best thing was that I was never afraid to tell him my ideas as he never thought they were really wacked, and if he did it was usually a compliment. Anyway, it worked. His enthusiasm and way of seeing things would in turn spur on my own creativity and by the end of the chat or at the bottom of the bottle we’d have a plan. If we didn’t, I would get a call later saying “I’ve been thinking about it and this is what I think we should do…”
It was also great to find that an “I” had turned into a “we”..
Then I had these two other friends who both had a more down-to-earth realistic approach to “fun plans”. Pragmatic could possibly be the right word:)

And isn’t it surprising that I need both sides now. Plus the one friend who would think that I could do whatever I set my mind to. Needing both sides plus the support kinda makes you wonder what kind of thinker I am, if one at all, but there it is. I need other people to make my plans a reality. I guess I can come up with ideas, I know who can do what or where to get it but need someone else to light the fire and to take it one step further and yet another to tether the ideas to the ground or to guidelines set by institutions or company rules & regulations.

 What has brought this on? My sponsoring application and quite possibly my ticket back to Cape Town. You see, I could get on a plane *right now* and just wing it in SA but I don’t want to. I am scared to. Having spent all my savings on Swimming Upstream part 1, I think it’s wiser to do part 2 slightly different. Starting from scratch in a different country is one thing, starting from below zero in your own is quite something else and really isn’t all that wunderbar.

In order to avoid that the next time I am trying hard to find a way around that. One way around that is by having someone else pay for my expenses. The idea is simple, the execution of that idea not so much. Who is crazy enough to pay for me to do what I want to in life? Someone who has something to gain by that. Who has something to gain by that? I could continue with this odd Q&A but you get the idea already. One option is corporate sponsorship, especially because I fall outside a lot categories for government funding simply because I have no formal training in photography (i.e. never went to the Academy of Art) and apparently that is very important.

On the one hand I have a very cool list of projects, shoots and possibilities in Cape Town that I will forever regret if I don’t do them. On the other hand I have a short list of options for making those plans a reality. Instead of coming up with new plans or projects just to fit certain rules, I now think it’s better to build on what’s already there and making the existing options ‘the plan’. Why can’t doing shoots with musicians or learning about film-making be the plan? Or to be a photographer at Grahamstown? To be a StoryTraveler or to take photographs in Zimbabwe? Or all of these *and* more? Why not? They just need to be presented in a language decision makers like to hear, filled with “inter-culturalisation”, “urban landscape”, “stimulating talent”, “across borders” et cetera.

This is where those friends come in:)  I have a sneaky suspicion if I could just sit down with you and chat properly we’d have a plan before we reach the bottom of the bottle. And then we could have another. Just because…

The title comes from a song of the new Fleet Foxes album “Helplessness Blues”. Listening to it right now:)