Sunday, October 19, 2014

Netherlands Adventures!: Breda International Photography Festival

Last week, we went to a city called Breda.  I'll add a map so that you can orient yourself:

I'm in a photography class through Central College and my teacher, his name is Jan Theun, knew that there was a photography festival going on in Breda.  Since he was going to Chicago during the time when our class would take place the week after, he decided to make this a special class by going on a field trip instead of just sitting in the classroom looking at the pictures we took and critiquing them as a group.  We were all into the idea and were pretty excited to go.  We had no idea of the adventure ahead of us....

Up until this point, I have personally never had a problem with the trains.  But that morning, of all mornings, I misread his email and led our group (Abby, Kristin, and I) to the wrong train station.  We were supposed to meet Jan Theun at a station just outside of Den Haag (The Hague) Centraal.  So he was calling us (my phone is stupid and I couldn't call him-- I tried) trying to coordinate where we were and where we'd meet each other.  Jan got off the train to look for us in Leiden, but we had gotten on an earlier train, not really seeing an issue with that.  The doors closed on him before he could get back on the train and so he was stuck.  But he hopped on the next train and got to our original meeting place.  When we realized that we were at the wrong station, he simultaneously realized that the power was out and several trains at his station couldn't move.  So he hopped on a tram to get to Den Haag Centraal.  There we met and we had to find a new route.  Instead of going right to Rotterdam, we had to go to Gouda first, then go to Rotterdam, then we finally arrived in Breda.  It was a long and unnecessary route.  We got there about an hour and a half after we had initially planned to be there.  But we were finally there.

The theme of the photography festival was love, with the title being "Songs from the Heart."  Each photographer had an area of their own to display their images, blown up to a giant size.  Here are some of my favorites:

Artist: Koen Hauser

It's kind of creative what this artist did.  He asked people to send him pictures of their greatest moments of happiness.  Then he changes them a little.  The happiness is still there, but the context is different.  I also like these photos because while all of these pictures show happiness, the subject isn't always smiling.  There's more than one way to show that you're happy.

Artist: Wiesje Peels

I like these circus photos because they show dedication.  These photos were taken after the show was finished.  Everyone is absolutely exhausted, but they still seem happy.

Artist: Simon Roberts

I like these because they're light-colored and stark.  I found myself really liking the photos of abandoned places too.

Artist: Anne Lucassen

This project was called "Meet Me In The Quarter Life."  A quarter life crisis is "an identity crisis that hits young adults.  It's a period in life when you become independent and have to make choices that impact the rest of your life."  This piece of art doesn't seem like much, but it's an outline of the Meuse river.  The artist, while she was experiencing her quarter life crisis, followed this river thinking about her life and where it was going.  Ultimately, she decided that she didn't need to know all the answers to all of the big questions that we have at this age.  I thought it was cool that she has something so tangible to remind herself of what she discovered during her quarter life crisis.

Artist: Martijn van de Griendt

I loved this exhibit.  It's called "Exit Wounds (As If)."  The artist took Polaroid photos of the women he has been with in his life (and of women he can only dream to be with).  I loved the raw quality-- both because of the gritty quality of the Polaroid and because most of these women are vulnerable, although not in a dangerous way or even a sexual way-- and the honesty that these photos bring.  They're beautiful.

Our trip to Breda was short and the end of the trip ended up being awful for the three of us.  As we walked to the train station, it down-poured and we took the train soaking wet and biked in the cold.  The comforter on my bed has never felt warmer.  I'd like to go back to Breda, but I'm not sure when I'll find myself making a return trip.  We'll see though.

Until next time!  Tot Ziens!


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