PHOTOBOOK BY THIEU RIEMEN
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Brabant is a province in the south of The Netherlands.
The landscape of the Netherlands is a small-scale landscape, it is densely populated, industrialized and crammed with all kind of built objects. The Brabant series shows mainly rural places. These places are almost entirely the result of human behavior and intervention. My photography is an expression of wonder about what motives people to act as they do.
Traces of technology, of industrial and agricultural activities tell me about the use and exploitation of the land. All kind of buildings, materials used, roads, canals, more or less disturbed or cultivated vegetation allow me to see how we have changed, and how we are still changing our surroundings. I explore these gradual and rapid changes in my photographs, sometimes by taking again and again pictures of the same subject and place.
Mood and genius loci
I am usually not very interested in capturing the presence of the landscape in a sort of dry manner; in a more or less objective way as to give a clear record of human actions or to give an image of the exact structure of a location.
Light and weather conditions are clearly very important to me. I have an enormous fascination for light effects. Carefully I try to choose the weather and time of the day (preferably at the end of the day) to take my photographs. Sunny weather with nice blue skies are seldom seen in my pictures; I am far more fascinated by the gloom that comes with nightfall. In addition many times at dusk silence descends on the landscape. The silence at the end of a working day contributes greatly to the atmosphere of a location.
My emphasis on the importance of having particular light and weather conditions is just because of my interest in the experience of a location; I often spend much time on one particular location and I return frequently in different seasons when I feel a special bond with a place. With experiencing a location I mean feeling the distinctive atmosphere or emotion that a location evokes: the genius loci, the ‘spirit of the place’. To me the genius loci is an very meaningful aspect of the landscapes where I wander around with my camera. In capturing the landscape the omnipresent sky is an important means to strengthen the expression of mood of a landscape.
Another reason why I chose to render a distinct sky in my images, is that the skies for me convey a feeling of transience and impermanence of all human enterprises.
I am always very interested in the history of a location or landscape; I read as much as I can about it and try to imagine how people before our times used and changed the landscape. In my vision the skies – although highly variable and changeable – are the timeless elements in the photographic image. Never the same but substantially not changed since ancient times, thus being eternal in contrast with the volatile earthly things.
Thieu Riemen (b. 1958) is a fine-art photographer and teacher who lives in Tilburg in the south of The Netherlands. Originally he was educated as a painter at Academie voor Beeldende Vorming Tilburg (Academy of Visual Arts) and art historian at Leiden University. Photography was continuously a part of his visual artwork and profession. The rise of digital photography gave about eight years ago, with his first digital camera, a fresh new boost to his landscape photography.THIEURIEMEN.NL