I am a Dutch 22-year-old with a background in psychology and anthropology (University College Utrecht). For me, photography is a way to express myself and my view of the world, and help others do the same. Whatever the subject, I try to capture it from a place of mindfulness and appreciation: In a world that often seems to forget the absolute beauty and lightness of all that is LIFE, I try to spread love with my work.
I used to struggle a lot finding my place in this world. I couldn’t relate to what society seemed to expect of me, and it left me feeling lonely and misunderstood. I grew more and more inwards, and stopped believing in myself. This all changed when, through a lucky series of events, I ended up doing an orientation year at a school in Zeist (“de Vrije Hogeschool”). For a year, I worked on personal development along with 40 of my peers. They taught us in many subjects, such as anthropology, psychology and philosophy, but the main thing they taught us was to think for ourselves. To decide for ourselves what we want to believe. To separate that which seems worthwhile from that which feels toxic. To be responsible for our own beliefs and the way they affect us. I was taught the power of true autonomy, and I’ll be forever grateful.
At some point, I realized that I didn’t need to find my place in this world - I needed to create it. I took my frustration and incomprehension about things, and turned it into purpose through my photography. Only months after I finished the orientation year, the ‘What “Real” Men Cry Like’ and ‘What “Real” Women Laugh Like’ series were born, along with my photography career. In the following years, I was able to deepen my understanding of the world and consider many more beliefs during my years studying Liberal Arts & Sciences at UCU. Together with a growing interest in spirituality, this knowledge has shaped the way I look at the world now, and the work I create.
Although I still have a lot of things I would like to change about this world and the way many people think and treat each other, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t change anyone else. The best thing I can do is to just shine my light as brightly as I can, and hope it will inspire someone along the way.
the alternative viewfinder
I’ve created the alternative viewfinder out of this mission to spread love and awareness in this world & to assist others on their path towards happiness and peace wherever I can. I believe that the current state of our (Western) society is unhealthy in many ways, plagued by consumerism, competition, hate, and extreme individualism. Nevertheless, I also believe that this world and the people in it are fundamentally good. If I were to give a diagnosis to our society, it would be a lack of love and understanding: We are so busy hiding our own fears and insecurities from one another, that we forget we all have them; We are so busy fighting for our own beliefs and needs, feeling so deeply that we are right, that we forget the other side is fighting for the exact same reasons. Through my work, I hope to trigger self-reflection about this concept and share the things that have greatly helped me in making peace with myself and this world.
First and foremost, the Alternative Viewfinder is a photography blog, where I share and talk about my work. However, as my work is becoming increasingly influenced by this mission and my own personal and spiritual development journey, so is this blog, and I’m planning to blog about these things outside of my photography as well. We’ll see what happens. All I know for sure is that I’ll continue to spread the messages important to me.