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Photo essay Landscape

Thieu Riemen

Photographer Thieu Riemen captured stunning landscape images of the Dutch/Belgian region "Kempen."

 Tell us a little about your background?

I am a Dutch artist-photographer based in the South of The Netherlands. Originally I was educated as a painter at Academie voor Beeldende Vorming Tilburg (Academy of Visual Arts) and art historian at Leiden University. My photography develops from an emotional involvement with the landscapes in the South of the Netherlands.

Can you tell us a bit more about your project ‘Kempen’?

The Kempen is the region south of my hometown Tilburg, in the south of The Netherlands. My work develops from an interest in a specific place or as in the case of my project ‘Kempen’ from an interest in the landscapes of the Kempen. I have an emotional connection with these places because they constitute the landscape of my childhood. I spend a lot of time investigating narrow geographies within these landscapes; I tend to move around in certain areas over and over again with the changing light and through the different seasons. Wandering around, it is fascinating for me to see how we have changed and how we continue to change our surroundings.

The Kempen series has originated from my profound feeling of loss. I mean the loss of familiar places, the loss of the original landscape and the visible history of it and of course the loss of biodiversity and free space. Since my childhood days I have seen the Kempen changing continuously and often rapidly. I photograph mainly rural places, because for me, it is in these rural places that the signs and traces of human presence are juxtaposed in a meaningful way relative to the natural world.

Alas many of the rural places I knew in my childhood have disappeared because of housing and industrial developments, so I am also searching for places in the Kempen that bear some kind of reminder of those lost places. Reminders, sometimes almost visible and tangible, sometimes more indeterminate and associative. So often I choose to photograph contemporary rural places that evoke feelings connected with those lost places of my childhood.

What makes you focus on documenting everyday scenes?

As said above, I am looking for places that can express my profound feelings of loss. Many of the rural places I knew in my childhood have disappeared because of housing and industrial developments, so I am also searching for places in the Kempen that bear some kind of reminder of those lost places. Reminders, sometimes almost visible and tangible, sometimes more indeterminate and associative. So often I choose to photograph contemporary rural places that evoke feelings connected with those lost places of my childhood.

What defines a good picture for you? Or what are you looking for in a picture?

I am always looking for pictures with a right balance between form and expression. It is impossible to say what that balance is, but mostly I can feel it. All my images arise in the ongoing process of searching and scanning for that ideal balance in form and expression.


Which other photographers, designers, artists or creative people are you loving at the moment?

Amongst others: photographers Richard Misrach and Joel Sternfeld; writers Karl Ove Knausgard and Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer.

 

© Pictures by Thieu Riemen