RPS-Benelux Chapter eJounal - volume 23 - Summer 2021

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VOLUME 23 / SUMMER 2021

WWW.RPS.ORG


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

VIEW FROM THE RPS BENELUX CHAPTER ORGANISERS

ARM-CHAIR TRAVEL In these difficult times I have made great use of the talks organised by the RPS. I have seen photos from all over the world giving me a satisfying feeling of having been there myself. Arm-Chair travel I call it. Inspirational! The Royal Photographic Society Benelux Chapter Copyright The copyright of photographs and text in this eJournal belong to the author of the article of which they form part, unless otherwise indicated

I have also had a lot of time to go through my own archive and I often find myself back in Australia, my homeland. Checking out all my great pics taken on my trips back. I’m longing for travel again as I’m sure many of you are too! I observed some Assessment Days for Print & Digital, see my impressions about it in the eJournal. Very educational for anyone wanting to go for a Distinction. We in the Benelux Chapter are continuing with our regular Study Group Zoom Sessions. We have had a guest photo club ‘Rarekiek’ come and present photos after André Bergmans and I have given presentations of our work to them. Armando was jury for their annual club competition last year. Read the article and be inspired by their photography. We are happy that a few of the members from ‘Rarekiek’ are now also joining in with our Study Group Sessions. So you see, we are open for all who are interested in photography.

Fingers crossed we can get back to physical meet ups soon. We want to combine this with Zoom sessions so we still attract our members/guests from afar, like France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and the UK. Cover photo © Toby Binder - Belfast Northern Ireland, UK

Editor & Designer eJournal Armando Jongejan Proof reading Dawn Black Webmaster André Meyer-Vitali Liability Disclaimer The author of an article is responsible and liable for all content, text and images provided by them. Neither the RPS Benelux Chapter nor the editor is responsible or liable for any content therein Photo Requirements 2000 pix long side and quality 8 no watermark or text in the photo and no borders around the photo

Meanwhile Pelt is taking shape. We are filling our weekend of 18-19 September with a programme. Saturday for our members, we have our Print Exhibition to see and will have a Documentary Photography workshop. On Sunday we will be open to all Pelt visitors with several presentations and portfolio reviews. We look forward to meeting you all there! More info inside. Our Theme of “Photographing in Times of Corona” will be looked at on our June 1st Study Group Zoom session. I’m very curious to the first results. We will publish them in the Winter edition.

Please enjoy this edition. Spread the link and feel free to contact us. Carol Olerud ARPS and Didier Verriest ARPS


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IN THIS ISSUE - SUMMER 2021

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60

48

62

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VIEW FROM THE RPS BENELUX CHAPTER ORGANISERS Carol Olerud ARPS and Didier Verriest ARPS

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IN THIS ISSUE

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“WEE MUCKERS – YOUTH OF BELFAST” AND MUCH MORE Toby Binder, by Armando Jongejan FRPS

18 THE ‘RAREKIEK André Bergmans 28 TWO DAYS OF OBSERVATIONS Carol Olerud ARPS 32 A SUCCESSFUL F-PANEL Mick Yates FRPS 46 A PATH THROUGH THE CONTEMPORARY DISTINCTIONS Richard Brayshaw FRPS 48 A VERNACULAR PROJECT André Bergmans 56 PRESENTATION COLIN HARRISON Carol Olerud ARPS 60 VISIT PHOTO FESTIVAL PELT IN BELGIUM Didier Verriest ARPS 62 PHOTOGRAPHY IS MY PASSION Nina Noordzij

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The RPS Benelux Chapter INTERVIEW

Toby Binder “If I had been born at the top of my street, behind the corrugated-iron border, I would have been British. Incredible to think. My whole idea of myself, the attachments made to a culture, heritage, religion, nationalism and politics are all an accident of birth. I was one street away from being born my ‘enemy’”. Paul McVeigh


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“WEE MUCKERS – YOUTH OF BELFAST” AND MUCH MORE an interview with Toby Binder by Armando Jongejan At the start of this year I was attracted by

sick, too weak, too old or too young. Also

the impressive series and photobook Wee

according to UNICEF, 400 million children are

Muckers - Youth of Belfast made by

affected by wars worldwide. In war zones

photographer Toby Binder from Germany. This

medical care often collapses completely and for

was not just like any reportage, but a long-

a large part of the population necessary

running series about a vulnerable environment.

treatment is no longer possible. Complicated

What is striking about Toby's photo work is that

operations cannot be carried out even years

he has an eye on social and political topics in

after a conflict because qualified staff and

post-war and crisis situations as well as in the

infrastructure are missing. For patients this

daily life of the people which prompted me

simply means death. In Europe, on the other

question him about his motives.

hand, they can often be helped with standard operations. The non-governmental organization

Your series about wounded children from

(NGO) Friedensdorf International enables about

Afghanistan comes in hard. It recounts the

300 children to receive such life-saving medical

pain of a war. Why did you choose this topic?

treatment every year. Currently, most of them

This work, which has also become a long-term

come from Angola and Afghanistan, countries in

project, originally began 8 years ago as an

which wars have been raging for decades. What

assignment for a magazine. I think it is

impresses me most

important to keep drawing attention to the fact

about this work is how the children accept their

that most victims of war remain invisible to us

fate without complaint and how grateful they

in our safe bubble, especially in times when

are for the help and in what great solidarity

Europe is once again sealing itself off from

children of different nations, religions, skin

refugees in an absolutely inhumane way. These

colours and cultures live together in the

“invisible“ never make it out of their country

children's home of the NGO – united in the hope

and the conflict zones because they are too

of a healthy life and a better future.

© Toby Binder - Afghanistan


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© Toby Binder - Afghanistan


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A different series is about the oil production

gruelling at the same time. Later, I reported on

in Baku – Azerbaijan. Is this about people or

silver mining in Bolivia and ore mines in the

environmental pollution? Or both? It is

Congo, where I also felt that the exploitation of

indeed a story about people AND pollution,

people and nature very often goes hand in

because these are actually inseparable from

hand. Those who make the profit are usually not

each other! I was originally in Azerbaijan to

interested in protecting people or the

work on a series about the most polluted places

environment.

in the world. The former Soviet chemical metropolis of Sumgait in Azerbaijan was one of

This series is produced in colour, most of

them at the time. While waiting for permits etc.

your work is in black & white. For what

in Baku, I also came across the oil fields there,

reason did you choose for colour? To be

which have been shown so many times before.

honest the issue of black & white or colour is

They are the oldest oil fields still in production

not such a big topic for me. Most of

worldwide. Ancient production technology,

the time I think in complete series and when I

leaking pipes, oil lakes. But since for me it is

have decided to photograph either this way or

always the people who make a place

that, I stick to it. My work on teenagers from the

interesting, I got into conversation with a couple

UK is shot entirely in analogue on black and

of ladies who were working on a particular

white medium format film. The series I

section of an oil field. I knew some Scottish oil

mentioned about the most polluted places is

workers who toil on the platforms in the North

digital and in colour. In this case it was also for

Sea with their broad bull necks and so was very

practical reasons as it was difficult to take

surprised to find four ladies in their 50s here!

photos at these locations. While I received great

They explained to me that in the Soviet Union

support from the local people, I was of course

even physical work was often done by women.

not welcome by the authorities and the

And that they were still there - just like all the

polluting companies! In Azerbaijan, for example,

old pumps and tanks. The interplay of absolute

I was arrested later on and was glad to be able

devastation with these admirable women who

to hide the small chip cards and save them that

have been putting their health at risk for

way. This probably wouldn't have worked with

decades for a pittance was fascinating and

some rolls of film!

© Toby Binder - Baku - Azerbaijan


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© Toby Binder - Baku - Azerbaijan




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It took a decade to capture your series of

The Troubles have been over for more than

Belfast in Northern Ireland. What was the

twenty years and although there are no more

trigger to visit Belfast? I first went to Belfast in

open conflicts, the two communities still do not

2006, having already worked on a project about

live with each other, but mostly side by side. If

the everyday lives of teenagers in different

anyone can change this, it is the youth!

working-class neighbourhoods in Scotland.

Therefore, they have to realise that they are in

Belfast, with the decline of the shipyard

this all together. I often showed them prints

industry seemed to me like a mirror image of

from the photos I made of them, but they were

Glasgow. Additionally, it was tense due to the

usually more interested in the pictures from the

historical conflict on the island of Ireland. So I

"other side" because they had never been there

knew the city already when I was thinking about

before, even though it is only a five-minute walk,

Brexit-related stories. After the referendum in

it is on the other side of the fence! Many still

2016, a lot of coverage has focused on places

think it is too dangerous to go to there. At least

that either voted overwhelmingly for or

once I met a denominational mixed teenage

predominantly against Brexit. As both can be

couple going through one of the gates in the

found door to door in Belfast, I decided to

wall. A very practical reason was also that it was

return there and focus on these areas. These

much easier to come into contact with young

were also the neighbourhoods that were

people, as they spend most of their time outside

inhabited by either a large majority of Catholic

and thus clearly dominate the street scene. A

Nationalists or Protestant Unionists. Regardless

small group of bored friends hangs out at every

of that it was the socially and economically

small corner shop at any time of day.

disadvantaged parts of Belfast. It is about unemployment, drug crime, and Most of the photographs are of teenagers,

violence. It feels uncomfortable. There must

why? On the one hand, I love working with

be sunshine in this part of the world too. Did

young people, they are usually more open, less

you capture that part too? The young people's

biased and more curious than adults. On the

everyday life is indeed rough and characterised

other hand, they are the future of any society

by unemployment, boredom, drugs and

and I therefore think it is important to look at

violence. This may be another reason why

their living conditions above all and to draw

Northern Ireland has a suicide rate among

attention to them. For example, the young

young people that is many times higher than in

people I portrayed were not allowed to vote in

the rest of the UK or Europe. Three young

the Brexit referendum because most of them

people I met in connection with working on the

were under 18 but this decision was clearly

book are no longer with us. This is devastating

about their future. This was the reason why my

and I also wanted to consciously draw attention

book "Wee Muckers" focuses entirely on

to that. These kids need a fair chance in society!

teenagers. The debate in the neighbourhoods I

Maybe sometimes it needs to feel

worked in was shaped by the generation that is

uncomfortable to start to change things. Of

still embittered by decades of conflict but the

course there are more affluent,

consequences will be felt above all by the

denominationally and culturally mixed

young. These young people, on both sides of

neighbourhoods in Belfast, too, where these

the peace wall, have much more in common

issues play a less important role. There are

than the old generation wants them to believe.

joyful moments in the lives of those I portray,


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which I also show, but which may come across a

The pandemic of COVID-19 makes travel

little more subliminally. I often work with young

difficult. What kind of series are you now

people, but I have rarely experienced such great

working on? In fact, Covid-19 has thwarted

cohesion and solidarity within a group. The fact

many of my plans. Even working on location is

that some friends partly replace broken families

not easy due to the many restrictions and the

is reflected in great intimacy.

current lockdown. I have started working on a series about teenagers in disadvantaged areas

Your work about Belfast changed after the

of big German cities. Unfortunately, many youth

Brexit, can you explain what it meant for

clubs and similar facilities are closed at the

you as a photographer and also in the

moment. What is only annoying for myself is a

streets of Belfast? When I was there eight

real exceptional situation for those affected

months after the referendum, of course there

directly, the kids who need support by anybody

was no direct economic impact or anything like

apart from the family. In addition, of course, I

that. It was rather the case that this referendum

have also dealt with the effects of the pandemic:

- especially for Northern Ireland - once again

burials without relatives, empty city centres,

had huge potential for division. Often people

isolated hospitals and old people's homes, etc.

voted completely independently of possible

But all in all, I'm looking forward to when you

consequences for their own lives. The Catholic

can finally travel reasonably unproblematically

Natioanlists voted against Brexit with a large

again…?

majority because they see themselves as Irish and European. The Protestant Unionists see

Based in Argentina and Germany Toby works on

their link to the Kingdom historically and as life

assignments and personal projects. His work

insurance and were therefore mostly in favour

has been awarded internationally. If you want to

of the Brexit. The fact that in everyday life

buy his book Wee Muckers - Youth of Belfast,

socially disadvantaged families in particular face

contact Toby at his website. A teaser is also

the same dangers on both sides was hardly

available.

noticed. More than once I heard the answer "I voted that way because my family told me so.“ The under-18s were not allowed to vote anyway making them feel ignored and always forgotten even before. "What's going to get worse with Brexit?" they asked. It was not foreseeable at the beginning that the actual implementation of Brexit would drag on like this. That's why it will be interesting for me to see what will actually change for the people in 2021 after the final implementation. Therefore, I will travel to Belfast again as soon as possible. Then it will

“Wee Muckers – Youth of Belfast”

unfortunately be with passport and annoying

Photography Toby Binder

border controls…

Text by Paul McVeigh

Price € 35 Hardcover, 24 x 17,5 cm, 120 pages, 87 duotone ISBN 978-3-86828

Pages 4, 10-11 © Toby Binder - Belfast - Northern Ireland, UK

Signed and numbered (500)


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© Toby Binder - Belfast - Northern Ireland, UK


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© Toby Binder - Belfast - Northern Ireland, UK


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© Toby Binder - Belfast - Northern Ireland, UK


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© Toby Binder - Belfast - Northern Ireland, UK


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The RPS Benelux Chapter EVENT

The ’Rarekiek’ We had a full house for this occasion. Our audience comes from far and wide and this evening we had an international audience from France, Belgium, UK and The Netherlands


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© Theo Mastenbroek - Metamorfose


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PHOTO CLUB THE ‘RAREKIEK’ RECIPROCAL EVENT, AN IMPRESSION article by André Bergmans Photo club the ‘Rarekiek’ (Netherlands -

An impression and introduction

Goeree Overflakkee) and the RPS Benelux

Magda Korthals considers herself to be at the

Chapter have some members in common and

beginning of her photographic journey but if

so it happened that some of our RPS members

this is the beginning, we are going to see some

presented to them and now it was time for a

impressive imaging in the future. She showed a

return visit. Four of their distinguished

wide variety of work in terms of

photographers, Magda Korthals, Jaap Peeman,

genre, subject matter and in-camera and post-

Anne-Marie Vermaat and Theo Mastenbroek

processing techniques - work that has already

were lined up to present their work.

gained distinctions in exhibitions and competitions. She wants to develop herself into

We had a full house for this occasion. Our

documentary work but I consider her portraits

audience comes from far and wide and this

just as strong. As a result of Corona restrictions,

evening we had an international audience from

she explored some story-telling still-life

France, Belgium, UK and The Netherlands.

photography.

© Magda Korthals


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© Magda Korthals


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Jaap Peeman has 40+ years of experience in photography. He is a people photographer with a focus on long-running series in the socialdocumentary genre. Most of his work is taken on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee. This proves once more that you can travel to far away places for your photography but you do not need to. We saw series of people living on the island, series that had a strong emotion of nostalgia; series about disappearing people, places and customs. Jaap grabs those with his camera before they are completely gone.

© Jaap Peeman - Dieppe


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© Jaap Peeman | above - Jannie, Greenhouse Peach | below -Ellen, Glass and Stone


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Anne-Marie Vermaat describes herself as an intuitive and not a very patient photographer. She has a preference to photograph people and animals and for some obscure unexplained reason, she loves to photograph hairdressers at work! We saw series of police horses trained to be riot resistant, tattooed hairdressers at work, pictures taken in the subway in North-Korea and boxers in the ring. She does not shy away from bluffing herself into situations to take images and in the next life she wants to be a photo journalist. I do not think she has to wait that long because she already is.

© Anne-Marie Vermaat


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© Anne-Marie Vermaat


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Theo Mastenbroek has a long history in the analogue world. Even after moving into digital photography, he continued to make some use of analogue methods when he felt that it gave a better technical result. His way of working is mostly in-camera and relatively little in postprocessing. He works on single images in the abstract and landscape genre. Theo underpinned his knowledge and skills with printing and exhibiting his work. Large format prints on various qualities of paper and silk made on a large format printer were shown in various exhibition settings. Some work in mixed media was shown like cyanotypes on precoloured paper. Theo’s roots in the fine art, gallery world, could not be clearer demonstrated. We are what we photograph If there is one thing this evening clearly showed is that there are as many styles and genres as there are photographers. We are what we photograph and we photograph what we are. Like the Dutch photographer Robin de Puy once said: ‘Ik ben het allemaal zelf’ (It’s all about me).

© Theo Mastenbroek - Freedom



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The RPS Benelux Chapter DISTINCTIONS

Two days of observations Distinctions in Contemporary, print, book and digital assessments for Associate and Fellowship criteria on Wednesday 20 th & Thursday 21st April 2021


MY IMPRESSIONS AS AN OBSERVER by Carol Olerud ARPS

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As an avid watcher of many talks held by the

but during COVID-19 the assessments are

RPS online in recent times, I of course signed up

online. For the print and book applications there

as an observer or the Contemporary

is a print assessor at the RPS House (he has no

Distinctions assessment days in April. Yes, for

vote). This is a temporary alternative, because

both days. I had already been an observer twice

the assessors are not able to see the original

before, for Visual Art and for Travel, both print

prints or books.

assessments for A & F panels. This would be the first time that I also observe a digital

Through Zoom, the first panel is shown, while

assessment.

the Chair reads the Statement of Intent. Then all photos are shown in a slide show twice. The first

Book yourself a place as an observer

vote is given after this. The Chair then asks for

Through the RPS website you can book yourself

comments from the assessors. Photos are

a place as an observer. It is also posted on the

assessed on the criteria of the genre, on the

RPS Facebook pages, in the Distinctions and the

Statement of Intent, quality and ability and if the

Contemporary groups. The fee is £5,- per day.

intention comes over. The overall view of the

You receive the Zoom link and on the day, you

panel is also important. If it is a Print application,

sign in just prior to the session start at 10am UK

we get to see someone who is actually in RPS

time. It’s really interesting to meet the

House in Bristol – the Print Specialist, gives a

assessment team and print specialist at RPS

qualified opinion on what he sees. The photo

House in Bristol.

prints are described, the mounting is inspected

The whole process is confidential, so no names

and any technical issues are mentioned. Any

are mentioned and by attending you agree to

actual printing faults will also be pointed out.

keep it confidential. Names do get announced

The assessors then have the opportunity to ask

when a panel is successful, which is really nice.

specific questions and query any uncertainties

The whole procedure is very respectful and

they may have seen on their screens. This is

informative for the observers. All observers are

really interesting because the observers only

muted and have their videos turned off.

have the Zoom images to go from with the resolution that gives us.

RPS Criteria for Contemporary Photography “Photography that communicates a visual

The Assessors have already had the high-

realisation of a stated argument, idea or concept”.

resolution images to look at on their calibrated screens at home, several days before the

The day begins with submissions for the

assessment but when it’s a Print assessment the

Associate Distinctions and follows on with

opinion of the print assessor is final. This is a

Fellowship Distinctions and on the first day also

qualified person, has a Fellowship Distinction, so

books were assessed for Fellowship as well.

there are no doubts about this judgment of the

It was a long day! (10am- 4pm UK time) an hour

printed work.

later for me in The Netherlands. A lunch break is included and a few comfort breaks as well.

Before the second vote is given, the Chair sums up all the comments and then gives space for

During the current lockdown, RPS House is

any extra comments from the assessors. When

closed to the public. Usually, the assessments

all the last votes are in, the Chair announces the

and the assessors are at RPS House in Bristol

verdict.


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This to me was a good learning curve

RPS website for every genre. The Statement of

I can imagine if the applicant is watching that

Intent is also extremely important, if the work

this would be extremely nerve wrecking. When

doesn’t match up to the photographer’s intent, it

it’s a Yes, everyone is happy, we hear the name

won’t be successful.

and they all clap and congratulate the successful applicant with their new Distinction.

The different genres have different criteria. I’m

When it’s a No, it is explained by the Chair,

less familiar on Visual Art, but Travel lies close to

sometimes a re-submission is recommended.

Documentary and also Contemporary. Travel

The assessors are asked to add extra comments

requires a “Sense of Place” and this is most

in their reports so when the emails are sent out,

interesting to see whether a panel conforms to

the applicant has a thorough report on why

the criteria requirement.

their submission was unsuccessful. Contemporary Photography also lies close to While I was watching I quietly thought of my

Documentary Photography “which communicates

own opinions on the panels. This to me was a

a clear narrative through visual literacy”.

good learning curve. I actually agreed with

I attained my Associate in Conceptual and

everything most of the time. Sometimes a

Contemporary in 2018, so I’m a member of the

success was unexpected for me and by listening

newly named Contemporary group. I’m putting

to what was said and discussed I gained

a panel together for my Fellowship submission,

knowledge about the process. The criteria are

so I really wanted to see how these assessment

very important and this can be found on the

days went, you learn so much.


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I would recommend everyone who is interested

Of the six applicants for Digital assessments,

in Distinctions to go and observe on these

only one was successful out of both Associate

assessment days. I have yet to observe a

and Fellowship levels. Which proved for me how

Licenciate.

difficult it really is. This success was for a Fellowship Distinction and this was Mick Yates.

On Day two, it was Digital assessments. The

His work was outstanding and fully deserving of

same procedure occurred, only there was no

the acceptance. Congratulations!

Print Specialist. The panels, first A then F were assessed. The same team of assessors was

On the first Print Day, there were eight

present.

successes (out of fourteen) in A & F and Book standards, which were also fully deserved.

Watching the Digital submissions, which could also be in a panel layout or in a continuous row,

The Contemporary Group will be giving a talk by

I felt that perhaps the applicants were more

Richard Brayshaw FRPS on Monday 19th July on

relaxed about their submissions and of the

“A path through the contemporary distinctions”.

requirements for the expected high standards.

Worth booking a place if you are interested in

This is because, I think, that when you print out

this journey. See page 46 for further details.

your work you are more critical. Printing faults will be seen. I think you could easily

To celebrate Mick’s success, Armando has

underestimate how difficult going for a

invited him to share his panel with us for our

Distinction is.

eJournal, so please enjoy the following pages.

Contemporary Photography Distinctions organisation 21st and 22nd April 2021

RPS Distinction staff team

Andy Moore LRPS (Distinctions Manager) Ben Fox ARPS (Senior Distinctions Assistant) Simon Vercoe LRPS (Distinctions Assistant)

Contemporary Panel members

Tessa Mills FRPS (Chair) Richard Brayshaw FRPS (Deputy Chair) Ray Spence FRPS Armando Jongejan FRPS

Print observer at RPS House

Paul Michel FRPS (Chair Visual Art Photography)

Distinctions Committee member Iñaki Hernández-Lasa FRPS


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The RPS Benelux Chapter DISTICTIONS

A successful F-panel “Our collective memory is driven by the 'mug shots' of victims at the Tuol Sleng torture facility and the skulls from the Choeung Ek Killing Fields”


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© Mick Yates FRPS


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STATEMENT OF INTENT - FRPS CONTEMPORARY - 22 APRIL 2021 by Mick Yates FRPS

Between 1975 and 1979 the Khmer Rouge

And most importantly, how can we get an

killed an estimated 2 million people in their

audience to 'look again' at events long past?

attempt to create an agrarian society cleansed of urban Intelligentsia. Forty years later the

UNFINISHED STORIES tells the personal

Genocide's devastating impact on Cambodian

accounts of Cambodian friends who have never

society still resonates, and personal stories

spoken out before. II combines a photograph

remain untold.

which illustrates the strange phenomenology of the now often beautiful landscape with a

Our collective memory is driven by the 'mug

quotation from their traumatic experience.

shots' of victims at the Tuol Sleng torture facility and the skulls from the Choeung Ek Killing

The aim is to hold the viewer's attention for

Fields. Those accused were meticulously

quiet study, in a manner which has a long

photographed, tortured until they confessed.

photographic pedigree.

and then killed. The Khmer language Is used to respect the The camera was in effect their executioner.

storyteller whilst also anchoring the geographic location of communal suffering. English aids the

Yet there are almost 20,000 mainly unmarked

Western audience.

grave sites across the forests. The story of the Genocide is today buried in an anonymous

This series, in chronological order of events,

landscape.

combines present-day photographs of that historical landscape of death, made real with

Despite its power to judge, the camera also has

narratives of personal pain in that same

limitations in telling such complex stories.

landscape.

How can we condense Genocide into a short series of contemporary images? How do we

show bodies not there? How do we best communicate intense, horrific stories of survivors without falling foul of triteness and trope?

285 Words


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Fellowship presentation plan - during the assessment, the name and membership number are in black (anonymized)


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© Mick Yates FRPS


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© Mick Yates FRPS


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© Mick Yates FRPS


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© Mick Yates FRPS


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© Mick Yates FRPS


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© Mick Yates FRPS


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© Mick Yates FRPS


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UNFINISHED STORIES; FROM GENOCIDE TO HOPE by Mick Yates FRPS ABOUT 2 MILLION CAUSALITIES

In 1999, Ingrid and I founded a primary school

Prince Sihanouk tried to keep Cambodia

program in the northern Reconciliation Areas,

neutral, but he allowed Vietnamese supply lines

along the border with Thailand. Working in

to cross the country during the Vietnam War.

collaboration with Save the Children, the

US bombs killed tens of thousands of innocent

Ministry of Education and even some ex-Khmer

Cambodians in a vain effort to disrupt these

Rouge, the partnership helped rebuild the local

trails. This helped push the population towards

education system. Keo Sarath and Beng Simeth

the Khmer Rouge, which was a tragic error.

led the programs, and these two men feature in my subsequent documentary photography.

The Genocide was stopped in 1979 by the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, although

I agreed with our Cambodian friends on a rough

their army only left the country in 1989. Still,

project outline and an intensive series of visits

very few of the original Khmer Rouge leadership

to both record their stories (some with video)

were brought to justice. The UN backed tribunal

and experiment with different photographic

only opened investigations in 2007.

approaches. Almost from the first of these visits, it became clear that, despite its power to judge,

From a personal perspective, my wife Ingrid and

the camera also has limitations in telling

I have a fairly long-standing relationship with

complex stories. I was also acutely aware of

Cambodia and its people. In 1994 we first

ethical considerations in portraying Genocide,

visited as tourists with our then young children.

and I did not want to fall into the traps and

Some parts of the country still saw fighting

tropes of ‘dark tourism’. At every stage the effort

between the Royal Cambodian Army and the

was collaborative with our friends and various

Khmer Rouge. In fact, we heard shell fire when

Cambodian experts and institutions.

we were visiting the famous Angkor Wat temple on a lovely blue-sky day. This prompted our

I settled on the idea of photographing today’s

interest in the country and in researching its

landscape as the visual centre of the work and

history.

linking back to the rather anonymous history of the Genocide. These landscapes included sites

Until the death of Pol Pot in 1998, parts of the

of atrocities which are rarely visited today. Initial

country remained under Khmer Rouge control.

work using portraits or other more traditional

Reconciliation with the rest of Cambodia only

documentary techniques just wasn’t creatively

started then.

‘cutting through’.


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I CHOSE INFRARED FOR ITS POWER

Learning from previous mistakes, I sought

After much experimentation, I chose infrared

advice via the RPS online system. Originally, I

for its power to show ‘hidden’ detail in the

was thinking of applying in the Documentary

forest, whilst actually at first looking like

category, but discussions lead to a decision to

‘traditional’ black and white. I wanted intrigue

apply in Contemporary given the complexity of

and not exaggeration.

the story and the mix of photographs and text.

During the MA, I also researched the use of text

EXCELLENT ADVICE

with photographs to overcome the camera’s

I would like to single out the excellent advice

story-telling limitations. In my images, the

(and on-point questioning) from Richard

rather beautiful Khmer script is used to respect

Brayshaw FRPS which in particular helped better

the storyteller whilst also anchoring the

connect the Statement of Intent to the work. In

geographic location of communal suffering. A

my mind, getting that connection right is key to

small English sub-title aids the non-Cambodian

the Fellowship process.

audience. I was honoured to receive the Fellowship on The resultant series, in chronological order of

April 22nd. I admit that I was rather taken aback

events, combines present-day photographs of

by the positive comments that the work

an historical landscape of death, made real with

garnered, both at the assessment and

narratives of personal pain in that same

subsequently on social media.

landscape. I also published a book titled Unfinished Stories; From Genocide to Hope. This book is dedicated to our friends and tells their stories in full. It is not a pure photobook but is more an illustrated history of the Genocide made real with personal biographies.

Unfinished Stories; From Genocide to Hope Photography by Mick Yates FRPS Foreword by Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Cambodia Designed by Victoria Yates Prices £35 (UK), £40 (Europe) and £46 (rest of the world) including post and packing Hardback with dust jacket 27,4 x 20,5 cm, 106 pages UK ISBN: 978-1-9163092-0-3


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The RPS Benelux Chapter DISTICTIONS

Richard Brayshaw He will outline his personal photographic journey both toward and through the distinctions


A PATH THROUGH THE CONTEMPORARY DISTINCTIONS by Richard Brayshaw FRPS Richard Brayshaw FRPS is the deputy chair

Finally he will try to answer any questions you

of the RPS Contemporary distinctions panel.

may have about the distinctions or anything else he discusses.

In this talk he will outline his personal photographic journey both toward and through the distinctions. He will also discuss, from his point of view, the contemporary distinction process in general. This will include topics such as what does contemporary mean in the distinctions context, the role of the criteria in the assessment and the actual assessment process. He will draw examples from his own and other distinction panels. There will also be a brief detour into the 1-1 advisory sessions which the RPS now offer.

© Richard Brayshaw FRPS - Deep Space

Organised by the Contemporary Group DATE AND TIME Monday 19th July 19:00 to 20:00 (start 20.00 CET) VENUE ADDRESS Online Join from your location

Confirmation by email Book your ticket(s)

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The RPS Benelux Chapter HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY

André Bergmans “My dad, after the war, and in training in the UK as military facilities in the Netherlands were destroyed. He was in Wolverhampton, Cardiff and Blackdown training as a repair engineer for anti-aircraft guns (ack-ack engineer) and as a sergeant/sniper”



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A VERNACULAR PROJECT by André Bergmans Like so many of us I had to redefine and

FASCINATED

reschedule my activities when Covid-19 hit. One

Why are these old vernacular and found photos

of the things on my to-do list was rearranging

and even newer but ‘unknown’ photos so

my family photos. I got help from eleven

fascinating? I did a little field research by posting

cousins and a few aunts who are in in their 90s.

some old vernacular photos into a large

My main question during this process was why

Facebook group of enthusiasts for old

these old photos are so fascinating and

photography and specifically asked for

intriguing even if it does not concern your own

responses. I found at least three partial

family.

answers.

VERNACULAR PHOTOGRAPHY

GLORIOUS IMPERFECTION

The common denominator in all the definitions

We are so spoiled by perfect photos these days

of vernacular photography is that the subject in

that the sometimes clumsy imperfections of old

the photo relates to everyday domestic family

photos become appealing to us. Imperfect

life and common things. These photos often

photos taken today are not kept anymore and

have a practical purpose as they are not

literally never see the light of day.

intended as fine art. These photos are often created by unknown amateur photographers

NOSTALGIA

and as a result may have serious flaws like

Nostalgia has a strong power. Nostalgia in the

stains, wrong crop, innocent by-passers in the

sense of a sentiment for the past, a longing for

image, fingers of the photographer, grain and

the ‘good old days’, the pain of time passing by

scratches, light leaks, motion blur, wrong focus

too quick and a desire to time travel.

and poor development just to mention a few. Still, they were kept….

HISTORY People interested in history find a lot of material

FOUND PHOTOGRAPHY

in these old photos and are studied and

Vernacular photography is not intended as art.

analysed to understand the past. The search for

So why does it happen that these photos end

the story behind the photo and its context is

up in collections, exhibitions and photo books

key.

and there is a large community of collectors and enthusiasts that are chasing flea markets,

So, the mixture of aesthetic beauty, sentiment

charity shops or simply pick up photos from

for the past and more scientific interest in

dump yards and the street? What happens in

history does give these photos a strong appeal

most cases when found vernacular photos end

to many of us.

up in an exhibition is that the photos were systematically collected with a purpose in mind and, more importantly, were taken out of their original context and put into a new context.

Page 49 | My dad in the Dutch army in training as an ack-ack repair engineer in the UK (1946). The back side of the photo reads… “to my dear sister (Netty) from Jan”

Page 51 Granddad as a young man. Year unknown. They still needed a chair to sit or stand still because of the longer exposure times and had a particular taste for backdrops



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WHAT DID I LEARN? The project with my cousins to create a family photo album is still ongoing. I have created two photo books so far. Apart from the family history and family bonding I learned a few things about photography and got some new ideas as well. First, I learned how to read photos even better and look at every detail to understand the story and background. A second eyeopener was to understand what makes a vintage photo really a vintage photo and how to create one myself. A third topic I learned is a bit more about the history and technique of photography. Last but not least the awareness that you can also create images by using found material as analogue or digital input and still be the original creator of the final result. This could easily trigger a next project. KNOKOLIEPLOEG We see a group of people, probably three couples (page 53). They apparently are having a good time with a drink. In front we see a sign hanging over the table with a date: October 10 th 1920 and a word ‘De Knokolieploeg’ - a Dutch word which cannot be found, as such, in any dictionary. ‘Knokken’ in Dutch means to fistfight. ‘Olie’ means oil and ‘Knokolie’ is a nickname for Dutch jenever (gin) with a negative aggressive impact. I would translate ‘Ploeg’ in this case as a gang of thugs. So, the whole text means ‘The Fistfight-Oil Gang’ (Gin Gang). Apparently they gathered often and decided that the photographer should make a picture and that a sign with a date and title was appropriate. The ladies have a small spoon with their glasses as they added sugar to their (lemon) jenever. The gentlemen do without but smoke cigars. By the jewellery and watches we can tell these people are at least not poor. The couple at the top are the grandparents of one of my cousins.


53

Above: The Fistfight-Oil Gang, couples drinking jenever (1924) Under: My aunt doing laundry as a child with her mini washtub (1931)


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LAUNDRY 16th May 1931 Utrecht (Netherlands). My aunt as a child, playing with her mini wash tub and ironing her clothes. I noticed that in many of these photos all the toys and dolls were deliberately photographed. Girls toys and boys toys were different and preparing for the future and no questions asked about that of course. DRAMA CLUB During the first world war the Netherlands was a neutral country. My grandfather (first row in the middle) served in the Dutch army and guarded the borders with Belgium. Many refugees from Belgium entered the country but also spies and smugglers. In the second photo we see my grandfather fully on the left side in the front row. This photo has been a mystery as the people wear the uniform of the Papal Zouaves but these did not exist anymore around 1916-1918. The mystery was resolved when we found the original which proved to be a picture postcard. On the back side my grandfather had written something like: “Dear family. It may surprise you to receive a postcard from my side as I have not given any sign of life while I have not forgotten your hospitality. But if one has to go to work every day and is involved in all kinds of banter one does not have too much time available… This picture is about the drama club where I have a modest role as well… Best regards…“ (1938?). So, my grandfather was in a local drama club…

Page 54 | Above: Granddad in the army during the first world war (1916-1918 for him) Under: Granddad (front row left) in the local drama club in a piece on Papal Zouaves (1938) Page 55 | Grandad in his younger years. Year unknown. One photo shows him in his Dutch railways uniform. He was a railway man all his life



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The RPS Benelux Chapter VIRTUAL MEETING

Colin Harrison Having a sense of humour is great, you don’t need to be so serious all the time. Having fun is what it is mostly about


PRESENTATION COLIN HARRISON - DIGITAL ADVENTURE 2021 article by Carol Olerud ARPS After our Benelux Chapter Annual General rd

Colin then proceeded to tell us and show us his

Meeting on 23 March 2021, we invited Colin

workflow which is always interesting as you can

Harrison FRPS FIPF FBPE MFIAP MPAGB EFIAP/

pick up new tips and tricks this way.

d3 MPSA GPAS AWPF APAGB to give us a presentation which was titled Digital Adventure

Having fun is what it is mostly about

2021. Colin is an extremely enthusiastic talker.

Colin uses a mouse to make his selections and

He has been awarded many Distinctions as you

cuts out his images to then make montages,

can see by all the titles behind his name. He is

creating a new work. He is extremely creative,

very experienced and likes to share his

likes to have fun and even goes to extremes!

knowledge. Having a sense of humour is great, you don’t He began with showing us examples for setting

need to be so serious all the time. Having fun is

up an Licenciate Distinction panel of ten photos.

what it is mostly about. I really appreciate this,

Colin explained about colour schemes and what

as I think this is very true. Life is complicating as

the criteria are and how you need to show

it is, so enjoying your hobby like this gives you a

technical ability.

sense of freedom.

© Colin Harrison - The Clock Watcher

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Keep it simple!

Colin also tipped us about many software

Colin showed us some of his panels of success,

programmes which he uses, one of which is

for example the SPSA – Photographic Society of

called ‘Original Flood’ it’s free and can be found

America Silver Portfolio. This was with 15

at http://www.flamingpear.com/older.html at

photos in a panel of old red abandoned cars in

the bottom of the website page you find it.

fields taken in America. For his Gold Portfio, GPSA – Photographic Society of America Gold

A few weeks later we also had to opportunity to

Portfolio, he showed us his panel of 20 images

listen to another RPS talk by Colin, on a Flower

which was of abandoned vehicles with a blue

Photography Masterclass. This was also

night sky and red tinted windows repeating in

extremely inspiring! Your own garden can be a

all the photos. Statements of Intent are

huge source of inspiration. The creative ability of

required for both. Colin showed us his method

Colin is truly amazing!

in Photoshop, it looks easy but you do need the skills!

Instead of asking for a fee, we donated to a cause close to his heart and in The Netherlands

We then saw a large selection of his work which

we collected money from our members in our

has gone into many international photo salons.

Benelux account. Jeroen, our Treasurer,

His work is beautiful and he is prolific in many,

transferred this to www.KWF.nl (Koningin

if not all genres.

Wilhelmina Fonds voor de Nederandse Kankerbestrijding) and we are very pleased to

Colin tips us with ‘Keep it simple!” His ideas

announce we raised €132. Some opted to

often come later, he takes many photos and

donate directly themselves, also in other

gets triggered later. He doesn’t use a tripod and

countries, so we came up with a total of approx.

has even made his own self built flash.

€185. This is fantastic and we’d like to thank everyone who donated.

It was a joy to listen, there was time for questions after and many of our viewers took

Colin’s talk was inspiring and left us with a lot to

this opportunity. Colin is happy to help, contact

think about, creatively and positively.

him through his website. Colin sent us all a pdf

Thank you to all who attended and especially

of the talk, so very handy for us to refer to. If

thanks to Colin! Do check out his website!

you want a copy, please email us.

Screengrab of part of the group in Zoom meeting


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© Colin Harrison - End of the battle


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The RPS Benelux Chapter PHOTO FESTIVAL

Photo festival Pelt In addition to the numerous guest exhibitions, a total of around 1,000 photos are exhibited mostly in the open air (corona proof) and in a few indoor locations, including our Chapter


VISIT PHOTO FESTIVAL PELT IN BELGIUM | FROM 6 JUNE - 30 SEPTEMBER 2021 by Didier Verriest ARPS

During the third edition of the biennial

Our exhibition

photo festival ‘Lens op de Mens’, more than 300

The RPS Benelux Chapter 2021 Print Exhibition

photographers show their work in the streets of

is also in the main location of Fotofestival Pelt:

PELT from 6 June - 30 September 2021.

Cultural Center Palethe. There are in this location three other exhibitions: Barbara

The theme of this edition is again ‘man’ in the

Vandendriessche, Eddy Verloes | Buiten

broadest sense of the word. An international

Zinnen / Losing Our Minds and WPC Team

jury of professional photographers made a

Belgium 2021

selection from all submitted photos. A record breaking number of images was submitted by

Address and opening times

photographers worldwide. In addition to the

Cultural Center Palethe

numerous guest exhibitions, a total of around

Jeugdlaan 2

1,000 photos are exhibited mostly in the open

3910 Pelt

air (corona proof) and in a few indoor locations. Every working day 09.00 – 16.30 h and during General info

activities in the cultural center.

Cultural Center Palethe is an ideal starting point

Extra Sunday openings on 6 June, 4 July,

for a visit to all exhibitions of ‘Lens op de Mens’.

1 August, 5 September, 14.00 – 17.00 h.

It is very centrally located on the route and there is plenty of parking space. Route plans

BENELUX CHAPTER WEEKEND

and information magazines are available at CC

During the weekend of Saturday 18th and 19th

Palethe and at the local catering.

September 2021 there are all kind of workshops

The almost 3 km long route runs along the

in cooperation with our RPS -Benelux Chapter in

streets and squares of Overpelt centre and is

the ‘Zinnezaal’of Cultural Center Palethe,

permanently accessible. Along the route, there is a wide range of catering establishments

Some of our meetings must be confirmed, but

where you can relax with a refreshing drink and

be aware, we have an interesting program with

a tasty snack.

talks and lectures! More info soon.

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The RPS Benelux Chapter MEMBER

Nina Noordzij “My development as a photographer has largely been stimulated by the increase in digital techniques”



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PHOTOGRAPHY IS MY PASSION, GRAPHIC DESIGN MY PROFESSION Nina Noordzij an interview by Armando Jongejan FRPS Nina Noordzij is a member of the English

characteristic of my way of working. I call it

speaking Photo Club 16/24 in Villebois Lavalette

Photo-Graphique.

in France. She is also a member of our RPS

The interweaving of abstract forms and

Benelux Chapter and we met during our ZOOM-

figurative images gives my photography an

meeting on 23rd March. This meeting was a

extra dimension, with freedom for the viewer’s

good reason to ask her some questions.

own interpretation. Reflections of architecture and nature are melted together into a new

What is your background and what is your

image, often with the recurring graphic pattern

relation to photography?

as the connecting element. The rich colour

I studied Graphic Design at the Royal Academy

shades and light/dark accents create abstraction

of Art in The Hague (Netherlands). Since 1988

from a distance, while from close by infinite

I’m the owner of the design studio Collage,

details are recognisable. My immediate

working mainly for publishers, theatres and

surroundings inspire me, and the translation of

cultural festivals. As a graphic designer, I

this into an image reveals both chaos and

regularly come into contact with photography.

structure on closer inspection.

In my working life, it has therefore become part of my way of looking at things: zooming in and

When we visit your website, we see also

out, framing and editing. When I take specific

other subjects, what is the relation with

photographs in this context, they are related to

Photo-Graphique?

graphic design.

For some years now, I have also been photographing nudes. By seeing the naked body

In contrast to my graphic work, for which I work

as a sculpture in an environment staged by me,

on commission, my photography artworks are

it becomes a form within the image. New visual

totally autonomous.

connections arise and it is up to the viewer to discover them.

My development as a photographer has largely been stimulated by the increase in digital

Who inspires you and what can we expect

techniques. These enable me to obtain exactly

from you in the near future?

the image I am looking for: to intensively edit

The work of Levon Biss, Peter de Mulder, Niki

my own photos and thereby create a new

Feijen, Zenna Holloway appeals to me

image.

enormously and after seeing his Zoom presentation, John Paul Caponigro certainly

Your photography is not just a file from the

cannot be left out.

camera, but a result of post processing. What do you want with your alienation of

My surroundings have always been my source

your images?

of inspiration. In the past fifteen years I have

I strive to share beauty. Just as in my graphic

travelled extensively and my personal archive is

work, abstract concepts are important angles of

filled with the most beautiful landscapes from

approach when choosing a subject. Nature is a

all over the world but staying close to home has

recurring element in my work. Life in the French

become the rule in COVID time, which is why I

and Frisian (part of the Netherlands)

focus on 'nearby', in photography terms 'on a

countryside gives my endless inspiration. The

macro level'. A vision for the now and an

graphic elements that I add to my photos are

elaboration for the future. To give my


65

photographic ambition more space, I have to

I weave the graphic patterns, as if I were a

reduce my graphic work. In France, I exhibit as

spider, through my photographs. The

much as possible, which keeps me on my toes

combination of rigid graphic patterns and my

and allows me to focus on my development as a

photographic images intrigues me and I want to

photographer.

develop this further.

© Nina Noordzij - page 63 | Hidden places 10 © Nina Noordzij - page 65 | New Glory © Nina Noordzij - page 66-67 | Hidden places 8





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© Nina Noordzij - Airy


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© Nina Noordzij - Hidden places 2 Page 72 - Frisian light


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