This is my birthday portrait. This year on the 19th of April I turned 28. The inspiration for this image came from my grandmother; when I was little my grandmother had a beautiful calligraphic script of the poem Desiderata (Latin: desired things) by Max Ehrmann 1927 on her wall:
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
The line of this poem that struck me even as a child in the most profound way is: “gracefully surrendering the things of youth”. What does this mean in our changing times? I have been all too willing in my own life time to surrender my things of youth and be a proper “grown up”. My birthday portrait is based on this; is it time to retire my things of youth? Is it time to retire my big black boots, my concert t-shirts and my short shorts? When are we really grown up? When is it time to surrender ourselves to time?
This is the image that inspired my profile picture and my self portrait. It was taken the first time I used my new camera and was actually an accident.
I knew that I wanted to take a photograph like the one of the soldier above, but didn’t know how to capture the spontaneity of it (something which I highly prize). So, upon receiving my camera I took it out of the box, prepared it without reading the manual (which I never do anyway) set it to auto, stood in front of the bathroom mirror and admired myself and the camera through the viewfinder. Whilst doing this I accidentally pressed the shutter release, the flash suddenly popped up and I heard the shutter click.
This is the truth, this is how this picture was taken, and this is why. This is also what I leave out from my images, this is the unsaid, the unwritten, the unseen.
I have been asking myself about the truth a lot lately, the truth is that very few people know me. Very few people know what I think, feel, create, experience and dream of. Nobody really knows all the things that I have been, seen and done in my life.
This isn’t because I am a dishonest person or because I don’t desire closeness. It isn’t due to a lack of interest and effort on the part of others either. More, it’s an inability on my part to communicate what I think and feel to others without an intensely intimate relationship. The truth is that I have spent my entire life terrified of being rejected by others.
The truth is that I, like the soldier above, have been the villain and the victim.
From here we launch ourselves on a journey of truth and openness. From here we share our perspectives and views on life and hopefully discover something together on the way. I implore you to join me…