POST, 2023

POST explores the intersection of constructed memories and perceptions of masculinity in visual culture through the use of AI-generated imagery. With this project, I aim to investigate the role of photography in shaping our perceptions of the past and question its authenticity in the age of digitalism where memories can be constructed and manipulated.

As a child, I spent hours immersed in my grandparents' photo albums, fascinated by the details in each picture. I longed to connect with the people captured in those images and to have a glimpse into the past of my grandfather. In those albums, I discovered a part of my heritage tied to my grandfather's birth in Indonesia during World War II. But there was a silence surrounding the past, making it difficult to grasp the full story.

To bridge that gap, I decided to train an AI bot to expand my family history based on my grandparents’ photo albums ranging from the 1940’s to the 90’s. These AI-generated images evoke similar elements found in my grandparents' albums - landscapes, clothing, and colors from that time. However, everything is completely false. Combining the visual style of my grandparents' albums with its vast database, the AI bot comes up with a dark-skinned man running through a field of flowers, located in what seems to be the Alps - an image that is not necessarily rooted in our visual memory. It's interesting to see how the bot makes room for a new narrative.

The link between the concept of memory and masculinity in this project is multifaceted. On the one hand, memory plays a significant role in shaping our perceptions of masculinity over time. By looking at the recurring symbols in the AI-generated images, such as suits, belts, and hats, we can see how these have been used as stereotypical visual markers of masculinity through different eras. On the other hand, the project also explores the idea that memory itself, like masculinity, is a construct. Something that can be manipulated and fabricated. This raises questions about the authenticity of our memories, and how our perceptions of masculinity might be shaped by constructed memories rather than actual experiences.

The photos are UV-printed on plywood, often used in construction - a stereotypical masculine environment. By printing the images on this material, I create a physical representation of the constructed memories that we hold onto. The images become tangible objects that reflect the fragility of our memories and the impact they have on our present.

POST was first presented at the Springboard Art Fair in Utrecht in June 2023 and has since been exhibited at Unseen, with Galerie Ron Mandos, PhMuseum in Bologna, Vogue: What is Beauty in Milan and Preus Museum in Oslo. POST received the Judge's Pick at the OD Photo Prize 2023 and was selected by Foam Amsterdam for the Foam Talent programme 2024-2025. 
Blue Mood (Al Mar), 2021 - 2022

Blue Mood (Al Mar) delves into the emotional landscape of adolescent men, drawing inspiration from my personal memories and the stories of friends and family. It serves as a sequel to my graduation work, Come Home, and features a cast of characters whom I guide through the transformative journey into adulthood.

One of the key figures in this series is my cousin Jens, whose parents made the decision to relocate to Spain, close to the place we frequented during our childhood. Jens's presence becomes the foundation upon which the narrative unfolds, with his face often being the only face fully visible to viewers. Thus, Blue Mood (Al Mar) simultaneously becomes a personal, intimate document and a universally relatable tale.

Having grown up in Terneuzen, a small town in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, I initially felt a longing to escape its homogeneity and conformist nature. Moving to the big city provided the freedom to embrace individuality and escape the confines of conformity. However, over time, elements from my hometown began to play a more significant role in my photography. Paradoxically, the yearning to leave was replaced by a desire to revisit and relive the experiences and memories of my past.

The visual language employed in Blue Mood (Al Mar) is reminiscent of a nostalgic visual essay, invoking a sense of yearning and reflection. The saturated colors employed in the photographs not only evoke a sense of warmth but also lend the images an aged quality, reminiscent of vintage photo albums. It serves as a conduit for fleeting memories and sensory experiences. My aim is to transport the viewer into a vivid and evocative fever dream.

Works from Blue Mood (Al Mar) has been exhibited with various galleries such as 1014 Gallery in London and Josilda da Conceição Gallery in Amsterdam. A selection was also exhibited at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, as well as being featured in several (inter)national magazines such as i-D, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and HERO Magazine. Work from this project was also selected for the Palm* Photo Prize in 2022 and presented at Unseen with Galerie Ron Mandos in the same year.

Come Home, 2019 - 2021 

Come Home is a visual essay that delves deep into the complexities of the masculine landscape, exploring themes of love, intimacy, and personal growth with a tender and empathetic gaze. Through a series of powerful portraits, sun-drenched stills, and sultry details, I capture the raw emotions and visceral experiences of five protagonists: Jens, Derrick, Chris, Tjeerd, and Tim, each grappling with their own notions of masculinity and sharing their stories of love and intimacy with unflinching honesty.

Recalled moments from my childhood in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen are woven throughout the project, merging seamlessly with the stories of the five protagonists. Through these symbol-filled scenes, the project invites viewers on a journey of self-discovery and emotional awakening, connecting us with the universal desire for human connection and the transformative power of emotional expression. With its raw honesty, poetic imagery, and nuanced exploration of the human psyche, Come Home explores the boundaries of visual storytelling. 

This project has been nominated for Best of Graduates 2021 by Galerie Ron Mandos, won the RM Photo Award and selected photos have been nominated for Rabobank Portrait Prize Talent. This project led to a selection for Rising Stars 2022 by NRC and has been covered in international magazines.