September 25, 2017
Alone, not lonely
Naive is the right word. How could I think that the rustle and bustle of Hamburg wouldn’t be so bad? Was I still under the influence of the movie ‘Gandhi’ that we watched the day before my departure?
Anyway. I change my course toward the old-mature town of Neumunster where I roam around in the drizzling rain for 3 hours without capturing a single image that hits me. I decide to return to the campsite and put on my bookkeeper coat. As I’m busy rounding off the 2nd quarter, the neighbours come around the corner for a chat and a ball game with Floyd. Once again, making contact happens automatically. Why have I been thinking I can’t do that for years? Making contact spontaneously.
Demonic soap bubble
Did I truly start believing in a demonic soap bubble? The light of my spotlight has always been focused on Jeroen, who quickly and automatically starts conversations always and everywhere. I stay behind looking over his shoulder. And I regularly feel left out, telling myself: ‘see! I can’t make contact spontaneously’. In all my thousands of repetitions, I turned this negative mantra into a truth. I realise now that this was simply very comfortable. Safe in my own comfort zone cage with mind-made bars.
Let’s get together and feel alright
In the cosy harbour city of Flensburg, where I am engorged by the annual market, the soap bubble starts to show more and more cheerfully coloured cracks. The fancy bowl hat man. The dancing rock-and-roll couple. And the pots and pans musician. They make my day shine. In an abandoned Sunday Kolding, the soap bubble receives its death stroke. The 24-year old Yugoslav blonde says ‘Hello!’. She sits next to me in the grass to chat for an hour and then takes off again. In the birthplace of H.C Andersen, Odense, the neighbours invite me over for tea and I refuse their offer to eat breakfast together the next morning. Some time for myself. Is this a fairytale?
Or is it a feel-good movie? Unfortunately, soap bubbles live within me as a community. By ‘travelling along’, I want to pop many more of those bubbles. The question: ‘can I take a picture of you?’ burns on my tongue with every meeting without finding its way to my lips. As suggested by Kim, I curl up in my bed at night and watch the documentary by top photographer Robin de Puy. She travels through America on a cool chopper with the desire to create a portrait report. Scared to embark on this adventure, she prefers to stay in her hotel room.
A sigh of relief
A sigh of relief shivers through my body. As a beginning photography amateur, doubtful and uncertain about what I want to capture and how, I can still give myself an ocean of space. I let a Mount Everest-sized pile of opportunities pass by. But I did see them. Satisfied with a few decent vacation shots in Flensburg, my effort is rewarded after 48 kilometres of roaming and searching with an image that hits me right in the heart. This is me. In this moment. Looking at my shadow. The black, angular soap bubbles are at the edge of the light. Touch down for the first one that is now behind me.