I've portrayed fifteen veterans in a dilapidated weapons factory at the Hembrug site in Zaandam. The place is a symbol of the suffering of former soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The book Only The Sky Remains Untouched consists of black-and-white portraits showing fifteen combat veterans of varying ages, combined with photos of the interiors and exteriors of a former weapons factory ‘De Hembrug’ in Zaandam. All of the veterans took part in UN peacekeeping missions. Some were sent to the Lebanon, others to Bosnia or Afghanistan. Wearing camouflage trousers and bare-chested they lie on a wooden stretcher in the dismantled space of the weapons factory. Their partial uniforms show one half of their identity, a shared identity as proud members of the Dutch armed forces. Their uncovered bodies show the other half, that of a human individual, vulnerable and alone.The book is designed by Sybren Kuiper
I live and work in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Since 2003 I've had several group and solo exhibitions in museums, galleries and at photofestivals, both national and international. With my series of Dutch marines before, during and after their service in Afghanistan, ‘Here are the young men’ (Netherlands-Afghanistan, 2009-2010) I regained worldwide praise and recognition. Reviews of this project have been included in the Daily Mail, the New York Times Lens, the Huffington Post, the Financial Times and the Vanity Fair. The series won an Honorable Mention Award at the renowned online photo magazine Lens Culture. In 2013 I published the book: ‘Here are the young men’ in collaboration with acclaimed Dutch photo book designer Sybren Kuiper. In 2016 the photo book ‘Only The Sky Remains Untouched’ was published, again in cooperation with Sybren Kuiper. This book won the international Photo Book Independent Award 2017 during the LA Photo Festival. My work is represented by the Amstel Gallery in the US and by Gallery Pennings in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.