My series “Losing our minds” was taken at the beginning of the corona crisis 2020: a bizarre, but extremely fascinating period. Man loses his mind because a stormy situation presents itself that is new and challenging for him. Fear tries to overpower him, he freezes, starts to reflect on the world and on the punishment that Mother Nature seems to send us. We have treated our Mother Earth too lightly, demanded too much of her in our egoism. Reflection is necessary.
I want this poetic-philosophical reflection to speak through my images in these corona times. In my series “Losing our minds” I consciously show only young people who are looking for themselves, for the meaning of life and the relationship between man and nature. It is sometimes difficult to draw the line between realism and surrealism, between reality and madness. Are those figures real or staged in my photos? Sometimes we as a layman have the same reaction: is this the real world in which we live or is this madness / surrealism? These are photos of ultra-Orthodox Jews who can enjoy their freedom in an unorthodox way in the storm (of their lives) and escape the lockdown.
My images however try to transcend the anecdotal and in that sense they not only reflect what is going on with the corona crisis in 2020, but they try to be a universal expression. They could take place anywhere in the world and not just on the Belgian coast where these photos were taken in one day and within one hour. The young people in my photos are of course a symbol of change / revolution / going against the tide. They symbolize spring that starts anew every year. Within these young people you see in my images “Einzelgänger”, those who only try to compete against society. Some idealists throw themselves completely and don't care about anything. Their slogan is straightforward. More than ever we realize through this crisis that man is a social animal and it is difficult to stay in his room. In group we are strong, we go for it and we climb the highest mountains. In this case: dunes of course.
Ultimately, we are so dependent on the forces of nature that we cannot help but be guided by the flow. I consciously placed "Statues in the storm" (photo 22) last because I think the symbolism is the greatest: people become statues, as it were, puny - sometimes pathetic - beings in the universe. The wandering man looking for his own way, reflecting how to deal with himself, the others and the earth.
Is there no hope, no spring found in my images? Definitely. Youth represents spring. She sings, fights (a way), cries, laughs, works, prays and admires. All these aspects can be found in these (primal) images. Let us all be a Ramses Shaffy (famous Dutch singer): self-willed paving our own way with respect for themselves, the Other and Mother Nature.
June 2021: Exhibition "Buiten zinnen/Losing Our Minds" with poems of Benno Barnard - Antwerp, Maagdenhuismuseum, June 27 - August 15
March 2021: Selected for a Solo Exhibition in "All-About-Photo" (California) with the series "Losing Our Minds", March 1-March 31
February 2021: Selected for the Nature Art Show exhibition @ Grey Cube Gallery Berlin with "The sea watcher"
February 2021: IPA (International Photography Awards), Honorable Mention with "The sea watcher" (Losing Our Minds), Los Angeles
February 2021: APA (Annual Photography Awards) Winner (Category: Street - Honorable Mention) with "The sea watcher", London
January 2021: Selected for "Memory exhibition" @ SE Center for Photography, Greenville (South Carolina), March 5 - April 11
January 2021: Selected for the Rotterdam Photo Festival (Theme: Planet Human), June 30 - July 4
December 2020: Selected for the Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards (UK)
December 2020: Selected for The International Art Fair Venice 2021, April 1 - May 7, 2021 - The Body Language
December 2020: Finalist "Travel Photographer of the Year 2020", Best Single Image (category: People of the World)
November 2020: Finalist @ ND Photography Awards (Photojournalism/Story) 2020, United Kingdom, with my series "Losing our minds"
October 2020: Selected with "Losing our minds" for "Photo of the Day" @ Don't Take Pictures magazine, New York.
October 2020: Finalist "A Picture Show" (Image & Identity) @ the Black Box Gallery (Portland) with my series "Losing our minds"
September 2020: Winner Life Framer Photo Contest 2020 (Theme: "Civilization") with "Losing our Minds"
September 2020: Winner @ 3. Fotowettbewerb des Museums Synagoge Gröbzig (Thema: Jüdisch-Christliche Verbindungen in unserem Umfeld)
September 2020: Finalist Atlanta Photography Group in the Tula Art Center ("Strange time") with the series "Losing our minds" (Atlanta)
August 2020: Selected as one of the best contemporary photographers worldwide at the American site All-About-Photo (California)
August 2020: Selected as one of the 25 Winners at the All-About-Photo Contest B&W - Published in AAP Magazine #12 (California)
August 2020: "Losing our minds" published in "EYE-Photo Magazine" # September 2020 (Austria)
July 2020: Winner Open Call 2020 ("Fine Art") Lucie Foundation (Los Angeles) - printed in the Musée Magazine + exhibition Fall 2020
July 2020: Shortlist Athens Photo Festival 2020 (Greece) - exhibition @ Benaki Museum - Pireos 138 (Greece) - Sept.16 - Nov.15
July 2020: 2.Prize Vienna International Photo Awards 2020 ("Free subject") - exhibition @ Galerie LIK (Vienna) - 2020 Sept.1 - Dec.31(Austria)
July 2020: Finalist Photo Festival In Cadaqués 2020 (Spain) with "Losing our minds" - Exhibition in Cadaqués - Oct 15-25 (Spain)
July 2020: Finalist PassePartout Photography Prize 2020 (Italy) - exhibition @ Piazza di Pietra Gallery (Rome) - January 2021
July 2020: Laureate "Grote Prijs Sociale Fotografie" (Belgium) with "Losing our minds" - Exhibition in Ghent - 2021, Jan. 15 - Feb. 15 (Belgium)
July 2020: Belgian Winner @ EISA MAESTRO Photo Contest 2020 with "Losing our minds" - Published in Focus Magazine 7/8 - (The Netherlands)
June 2020: Selected with "Losing our minds" (click here for photo) @ the Duncan Miller Gallery - Santa Monica - California (USA)