This year will be the 200 year celebration of the Royal Dutch Sea Rescue Foundation, or as we Dutch say; ‘KNRM’ . ‘200 Years of KNRM’, is something special. After a long year working on a landscape assignment for the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam doors will open on 22th of Februari to see the duoshow by my dear colleague, Robin de Puy, and me.
Collaborating maritime museums
Various exhibitions are being developed by 12 museums across the country. The connecting factor in this programming is photography. From February 22, specifically in the Maritime Museum, visitors will be able to see an overview of modern photography in two large rooms. The photography is shown in large format, making the images even more compelling.
Photographers Robin de Puy and Jeroen Hofman The photography for this assignment was made in 2023 by two Dutch top photographers and a gift for the KNRM: Jeroen Hofman and Robin de Puy. Hofmans went on a tour with his camera to all KNRM coastal stations. He has mapped out the locations, the fleet and the surroundings of the rescue stations, making the workplaces on land and water of so many volunteers visible. He does this from his favorite perspective: from above. The same volunteers, the rescuers, are recorded in a personal manner by de Puy. As the winner of several portrait photography awards, she has invited rescuers to leave their dry suits and life jackets in the closet and show themselves as they are in everyday life.
New Work; Hedwige
oktober 4, 2023
A diptych about a controversial landscape. A polder, once reclaimed from the sea and now given back to nature. With pain in the heart for many.
Thanks to Jan Stel for the presentation.
Congratulations to the Province of Zeeland, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and Zeeuws Vlaanderen for making a compromise that can hopefully grow into something beautiful.
The Hedwige-Prosper polders project is part of the Belgian Sigma Plan: this integrated plan is reinforcing dikes and quay walls and opening flood areas to protect land along the Scheldt Estuary and the upstream basin against floods. In this specific project, the outer defences of the Hertogin-Hedwige (hereinafter referred to as Hedwige) and the Prosper polders – low lying areas of reclaimed land are being removed, reopening these areas to the tides. This process (which can be called ‘depoldering’) involves moving dike protection inland. Doing so will provide room for water during tidal surges, thereby reducing the risk of floods, and re-establishing an estuarine natural area. While nearly all Sigma Plan projects take place on Belgian territory, this is an exception as the Hedwige polder lies on Dutch territory. Works are expected to be completed in 2023.
Framed presentation of Hedwige Diptych bij Jan Stel @Postwork Imaging
New Images, ‘Zeeland’ project.
juni 20, 2023
Last month I have made a lot of new material for my upcoming book ‘Zeeland’. Soon more about the book.
Veerse Meer 2023
Zeeland and the invitation to look longer
It’s March 2020. The era of the coronavirus. Everyone must stay inside and only a few are allowed to go out. At that very moment Zeeland appears in sight of Jeroen Hofman. It’s an empty province and at the same time it’s aesthetic and harsh, he notices. The photographer rents a few holiday houses in the swampy province, always in different places. He takes a close look at the landscapes that slowly and almost unnoticed awake after the pandemic silence. Meanwhile, the unruly nature of what he sees intrigues him more and more. He notices contrasts everywhere: the silence of salt marshes and beaches and in the distance the industry of Terneuzen and Vlissingen. The landscapes are full of character. Wide, empty, untouched and always with tiny signs of human presence in the background. Sometimes it’s blurred and sometimes sharply defined. The Zeeland Bridge, heavy industry, windmills, Neeltje Jans and impressive churches from times long past. Landscapes with nature and tourism at an appropriate distance from each other, but intimately entwined. And always with the presence of water meandering in between everywhere.
Rilland, Zuid Beveland
Again and again the photographer returns to these landscapes of Zeeland, descending ever deeper into the flat land by hovering above it like a bird of prey. He starts to see more and more sharply and with ever more layers. The small differences between fog and a grey sky, between spring and summer and between a fresh westerly wind and winter freezing cold. He separates the temporal drama in a mass of clouds from the timeless state he intends to capture. He has the gaze of an old master. Just as Ruisdael chose an incidence of light, like Koninck catched a cloth field and like Vermeer took a mysterious higher position to see what we see. And all this in a composition that Mondrian might have chosen. Hofman waits, high in a cherry picker, for that one thing to happen. In the corner of his eye, it looms next to the Drowned Land of Saeftinghe with the nuclear power station of Doel, the ports of Antwerp and the Scheldt in the distance. Hofman captures Zeeland in photography and film, frozen moments, and movements in a slow procession of colours.
Everything is magnified in Zeeland. The people are proud and a bit surly. The wind and rain are harsher, and the contrasts are bolder. Hofman observes landscapes that contain tranquillity on the edges and industry in the centre. With lazing and strolling tourists on the endless beaches and with the clouds of industry far at the horizon. The rhythmic turning of white blades and here and there some last shreds of real nature. A reality that has been linked for centuries to the damp clay and to a dream about what might be happening just beyond the horizon. And Zeeland wants it all. Many guests, a thriving industry, a telling heritage, and also untouched nature. Zeeland must act, otherwise it will drown. It is a province that struggles for its existence, with a community that sets and rises over and over again. With and against the sea and with and against the Germans, the nothern provinces and – still palpable – a cruel Spanish king in the distant past.
Jeroen Hofman searches for the moment where the click of the camera captures eternity. A balanced moment that is only there for a moment and then finds its form forever in a monumental photo. He waits for what was bound to happen. It is tapestry, an abstraction with man as a fabric, to give an abstraction a measure. It’s beyond the drama. Caught in light and a sky that is almost nothing anymore, but in the meantime stands firm. Captured in an image to live with and to be included in. In a feeling that lasts, something that exceeds the one-off impression. In a seagull, a cloud or a lonely walker arriving where he should be. It’s as if it isn’t true, but at the same time it’s hyper real. The time and space taken by the photographer is transferred to us, the viewers. In a constant invitation to look longer and look again. In a viewing box in which you disappear.
Whether documenting the city parks of Amsterdam and Rotterdam or the Frisian islands, I have a particular method: working from up high, standing on an elevated platform. The trouble of renting a hydraulic hoist for every shoot pays off: seen from a bird’s eye view, the architecture of the parks, or the vastness and tranquility of the islands, become clearly visible. It’s a height at which you can no longer understand what the people below are saying and the birds above you are just out of reach.
photo by Koos Breukel
For my latest project, ‘EILAND’, I visited the Frisian Islands in the Wadden Sea. They are a popular tourist destination in the Netherlands. The islands are the perfect natural escape; a place where endless thoughts make way for endless horizons.
A few works have since been bought by private collectors and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its embassies. Much of my commercial work is offered to me by people who have seen my personal work and want to incorporate my style or aesthetic fingerprint into their products or projects.
Jeroen Hofman (b. 1976, NL) studied photography at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. He experienced his big breakthrough with Playground (2011), a series in which he photographed emergency response training facilities in his now characteristic manner. Inspired by the work of Hans van der Meer, Edward Burtynsky, Gregory Crewdson and others, he began taking photographs from a high vantage point. Gradually, the role of the landscape became more important in his work. In Park (2018) Hofman documented communal spaces and how we share them. As well as producing autonomous work, Hofman also makes portraits. He has won several awards and prizes, including the Silver Camera twice: once for Playground and, in 2014, for a portrait of Hans van Manen.