It’s the end of the world – or at least of world’s civilizations. An increasing world population is depending on a shrinking amount of resources. Oil, water, fertile soil, fish grounds – among many other resources – are all near exploited yet we depend on them to survive. Mankind is stumbling into a disaster of inconceivable extent yet we ignore the facts. Not unprecedented, we are in denial of our dooming future – a future similar to what extinguished civilizations like the Sumerian or Maya. With near certainty, we will share their destiny. It is still time to wake up and change our live – but: will we?
It comes with my job (which I love doing) that I have to travel a lot. Sometime it’s exhausting but in general it’s great. I come around, see new places and experience different cultures. The other side of the same coin, however, is a terrifying ecological footprint. I am doing my best to produce my work with an ecological impact as small and as transparent as possible.
- All electricity used at my Brussels studio is 100% green and CO2 neutral (31.25% Hydro Power, 31.88% Wind Turbines, 36.82% Biomass – provider: lampiris).
- All electricity used for my web space is from regenerative sources (OK-power certificate)
- I don’t own a car. When possible I travel by train and pretty strictly avoid short distance flights (all flights where alternative ways of transportation take eight or less hours.)
- Those flights that are unavoidable are carbon offsett through Atmosfair (since Jan 2012). Environmental damage caused by flying cannot be undone. However, it is better to address the problem than to ignore it. Atmosfair invests in projects that compensate for the greenhouse gases that created by flying. For example, past atmosfair projects include the development of solar power, hydropower, wind power, and power fuelled by biomass in places such as India, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Burkina Faso. These projects save greenhouse gas emissions in amounts comparable to airplane travel. Atmosfair thereby follows CDM and Gold Standard.
It is always exciting to look at the first frames of a new project. Is it any good? Do the images live up to the expectations? As the winter sun of Brussels illilluminated the first role of 120 Ilford Delta 400 film from Ethiopia, I knew I am on the right track. It’s all there: the quiet, humble aesthetic of slow portraits, the aura of people that are firmly self-assured of their duty.
My current project, Apocalypse, is a long and multi-faceted documentary project. I look at foreshadow of a mega-earthquake that scientist expect to hit Istanbul in the near future. I investigate architecture designed to withstand the future – the Onkalo-Project in Finland (designed to last 100’000 years), the Norwegian Svalbard Global Seed Vault, etc. And I portrait traditional leader figures such as village elders, tribal leaders, sheikhs, and the like, whose authority is of a quality that is – to some extend – immune to changes in the sophisticated political organization of modern states. I shot sheikhs in Yemen (as part of my Socotra project), and now priests in Ethiopia – a country that adopted Christianity almost two millennia ago. (In two days, I will fly to South-East Asia (for security reasons I can’t disclose the country yet) and -among others- will continue the project there.)
For years, I missed so many competition deadlines, just because I never had an overview over all the deadlines. I now try to keep a list of all grants, competitions, call for applications, etc. Let me share it with you.