Loch Ness

/ Tuesday, October 25, 2011 /
Ik kom met vragen, oude vader,
ik vraag een uurtje van uw tijd
en waag me in ‘t koude water
van ons beider kindertijd.

Mijn eigen kroost is meegekomen,
zie eens hoe u op hen lijkt!
Ik wil u mijn kinderen tonen
zodat u mij als u bekijkt.

U moet nog wensen hebben, vader,
ik wil meer dan een ademtocht
iets dat u heeft bewaard voor later
omdat het toen niet kon of mocht.

Schudt niet met uw rimpelige hoofd,
het is een angstkreet die u hoort,
als mijn vader van mij is geroofd
ben ik de laatste van mijn soort.

Ik had nog vragen, oude vader,
maar u strijkt op de bodem neer.
Hier laat ik mijn rouw te water,
uw oudste zoon, de oudste van het meer.

Loch Ness, Geert Smolders


/ /
                                                                                          Untitled ©  Chrissie Smolders

Last time I visited my grandparents, I wandered about the house and secured some of my memories on film. This picture was taken in the attic; it was the main playroom for the grandchildren. When playing with my nieces, I'd pretend to be a race horse and run around on the carpet. The same carpet still lies there, after almost a decade. I haven't seen them in years.

Until recently, I never really felt like my camera could comfort me and be valuable to me in a different way. I'd read about photographers, saying that their camera got them through a difficult time. Now I know what they mean. In ten days I'll be back in New York, and I'll be there for ten weeks. It's what I have been looking forward to for months; so much so that I sometimes forgot to be in the present. But there's a chance of losing something back home. Because of that, I feel a tremendous need to capture everything that I'm afraid might go away. It's worth wondering though, whether I should spent those hours clinging to material scenes that mean so much to me. Maybe I should just be with someone very consciously.

This is me

/ Monday, October 24, 2011 /

Can you get closer to me?
What does this crop tell you that the larger framed photo doesn't?
Is there more access to me?

For my fellow Dutchmen;

/ Tuesday, October 11, 2011 /
Kijk allemaal eens op Besloten Kring.
Een website met enkel tekst, die zeer te waarderen is. Te vinden zijn verhalen, gedichten en overpeinzingen, geschreven door mijn broer Geert Smolders, en zijn talentvolle kornuiten. Ik laat de woorden voor zich spreken.

nu word je nooit meer aangesproken
laat achter wat een ogenblik vermag
en vermaak jezelf onafgebroken
tot wereldse confectie van gezag

ik beloof dat ik je niet zal zoeken
noch je gezicht zoals het is verspreid
door strak bijeengebonden boeken
als aanklacht tegen de onenigheid

volgens jou hebben we niks verloren
aan gemene stemverheffing en is
ons vriendschapsideaal onaangedaan
lichamelijk zichtbaar perfect bevroren
verstilde geliefde vriend tot kennis
nu zijn we vreedzaam uit elkaar gegaan

Sonnet voor de naamlozen, Geert Smolders


/ Saturday, October 8, 2011 /
                                                                                    the Hairpiece ©  Chrissie Smolders

When we came to visit her last time, Hope was still doing her hair. During the two months I was working with her, I've seen her with approximately five different hairstyles. It's quite amazing what it did to her appearance. It's almost like a continually shifting identity. I will be documenting this more closely when I go back this winter.

Or, maybe I should watch Good Hair! It seems like a fun movie.

A Soft Spot

/ Tuesday, October 4, 2011 /
                                                                             Polar Bear  ©  Scarlett Hooft Graafland
Last week I went to visit Huis Marseille in Amsterdam. The photo museum at present has the work of Scarlett Hooft Graafland on show, who is a sculptural landscape artist and photographer. Her photos are often surrealistic and draw you in with their soft colors while they touch on contemporary and environmental issues.

This specific image made a big impression on me when I saw it. The various shades of grey make it a very dramatic image, but those bare legs sticking out can't help but make you smile. Now, you may not be surprised to learn that that polar bear is Graafland herself. In an interview I read that it was -25°C (which is -13°F) at the time. Seem cold? Please. Forget about worrisome practicalities and insecurities about relevance for a while, and do as Scarlett Hooft Graafland does: "Sometimes I just get an idea and I think it's so great. And it just has to be made somehow."


/ /
Do you know the feeling when you suddenly come up with a plan of genius? When for a short moment you gasp for air, your body gets all hot and tingly and your thoughts start tumbling over each other?

It happened to me when I was riding the train back to Brooklyn. The most exciting plan dawned on me; I should start writing about people I saw on the subway, and afterwards take their portrait. The subway fascinates me endlessly; Wall Street members next to mumbling drunks and discontent hipsters. The environment they're in is so natural to them that they seem able to create their own comfort zone. I started to carefully watch people, and let loose my imagination about them by whatever they were factually doing. I started to write little bits and pieces.
But I couldn't gather enough courage to actually take the portraits. I'm not sure what they should look like. Should I show their faces? Or only details? What is left to the imagination and interpretation of the viewer? The possibilities are never ending.

However incomplete now, I wanted to share a piece of something I wrote.
There's a young man sitting across from me on the E-train. He's swaying his head on the rhythm of his song, while his fingers animatedly follow the spitting of the lyrics. The shadow of his cap increases the darkness of his face and I look at his dirty, white sneakers. They tap at the slow bass while his lips mimic the words of song. Resting his head on the metal bar on the side of his seat, he lacks every regard for his surroundings.

He got off at west 3rd street and I hesitated to follow him. I thought maybe he had seen me watching him and writing. At the last possible moment I got out and caught him walking to the train towards downtown Brooklyn. As I was a few steps behind, he looked back at me. I stopped. He walked on.
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