I’m feeling rather jealous:) I’m jealous of Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen who’ll be trawling along the Pan-American Highway while doing a photography project, for the next 40 weeks. 40 weeks! Nice:) I’m jealous of the friend who’s sailing the oceans. Jealous of the one who just grabs his things and goes. On the other hand, I am also jealous of the friends who are simply happy at home.
The idea was to start in Alaska somewhere and make my way down to Terra del Fuego. The idea was to take pictures along the way while stopping in the smallest of places as well as the exciting big cities. The idea was to go by car. The idea was to go with a boy. A beautiful, exciting boy who would make me laugh. And to just travel travel travel. To disappear a little, only to emerge with an amazing amount of visuals and stories.
Kadir van Lohuizen is an amazing photographer and one of my favorite contemporary photographers. A sailor before he became a photographer, Kadir has covered wars across Africa and South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy from 1990-1994, published a very cool book about the diamond industry way before Blood Diamond came out and established the Noor agency with several other photographers in 2007.
(copyright by Kadir van Lohuizen)
‘Diamond Matters’ won the Kees Scherer Prize for best photo book in 2006. The book basically follows a diamond’s life. Starting in the mines of Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo, it shows hard work and poverty. From then on it moves to Antwerp to the rough diamond exchange market and to Surat in India through which 70-80% of the world’s diamond production passes through to be polished. A 13-year-old boy works 12 hours a day in one of those polishing centres. He gets to see his parents once a year. The book ends with a jewellery store on 5th Avenue in New York as well as a jet-setting party in London.It’s an amazing book, not just because of the photography but the designers also did a fabulous job. One cover is made out of faux velvet, the other is a rough cardboard-like paper. The paper also changes as the story develops; starting with a rough grey-ish paper it ends on a highly glossy one. Quite cool and poignant.
Projects like this make my heart beat faster. They make my eyes bigger and my feet itch. They make me feel jealous in a good way. Ever since I was a little girl and saw photos of wars, artists, musicians, exotic places and vast open plains, I wanted to be there too.
I can understand people who are slightly monomaniacal about certain things. Who basically really just want one thing: to read all the books in the world, or to see all the art that was created, to climb all mountains or to sail all oceans just because they are there, just because you can. And just because it would make you sad if you didn’t.
In an interview with NRC Handelsblad this Saturday Kadir chatted about his project on migration in the Americas (for more information: www.viapanam.org) as well as being a modern-day photographer. He explained that he’ll be adding videos as well as blog posts to his website. The reason for doing so is that he feels that in about 5 years time photographers won’t be able to make a living from photography alone. I think he’s right. Somehow you need to be a better photographer than you already are, and you also have to diversify and be able to make videos and preferably be a good writer (blogger) at the same time.
It’s quite something you have to do. A little frightening even but also very exciting. It’s exciting as all those elements, video making, interviews, writing and exhibitions are part of my project.
So while I sit here watching the rain and type this, I am re-editing the sponsorship application in my head. The idea is still the same. The idea is still to see to travel, to take photographs, to laugh and see new things while driving through those vast open plains or highly populated cities. The only difference is that now I have a cool and realistic plan to make it happen. And it has to happen. Not just because it’s cool or it seems like fun. No just because I would be sad if I didn’t, but because it would make me feel alive when I do:)