They’d been out there on the horizon; during dawn, during dusk, present as if painted on the stretched out on the far-away as the sun begun low, set higher and then sunk again. They’d been out there, looming, daunting with a coy taunt, that slight, beckoning pull that was too soft to acknowledge in reality, but too forceful to ignore.
They’d been out there, on the horizon, whispering ‘ come, come on over’ . And so we went.
The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think. Virginia Woolf.
I draw, I write – the two processes are the same to me; they help me to understand, to make connections. I have no objection to showing the drawings, but when it comes to writing I feel I don’t have the entitlement to write. I mean, publically. I don’t know the rules, English is not my first language. I write about feelings, not facts.
Writing is personal and challenging, yet I find it very gratifying – because it helps me to understand.
I hope that by being personal I can be general too, that someone will relate and we can have a conversation.
I’m sitting on a hunter’s platform overlooking a valley. Right in the middle of it I can see what I think is the outskirt of La Roche. A river twists and bends its way through the city and then the trees and I imagine myself walking there only a few hours before. The signage hadn’t been very clear to me and I’d felt utterly lost, after a few confused looks at the map I’d picked up earlier I’d mustered my best french and asked a local man if I was going the right way. Yes, he said, and he said it with so much confidence I had trusted him entirely. A little further down the road, I’d asked another group of locals again and they had said yes with perhaps even more confidence than the first. It was probably because of that, that it took a little while before I found out, but I found out soon enough to eventually find my way looking around and behind trees and signposts. They had sent me the wrong way, I guess it’s just the tourists walking these routes and not the locals. It didn’t really matter, though, the tracks and climbs and views were just as beautiful. It was just a little harder to navigate, walking a different route from the one I’d planned in the opposite direction.
I can’t find my pen, it’s gotten dark now, but it’s ok, a pencil will write the same words. The colours of the world have changed so much in the last few hours. I didn’t even notice, I was lost in another world, flipping the pages of my book until it got hard for me to read the words. The sun had set without me noticing and with it slowly the light had disappeared. I looked up in utter astonishment, and when I did my breath was taken away. Water drops and layers of dew and steam fogged the windows. Obscuring what was outside, covering the world which was now in warm shades of red, orange and yellow where street lights were turned on and in shades of deep dark blue and purple everywhere else.
We have been hinting at it for a while and sometimes showed some sneak previews, but today is the happy day where we finally launch Hannelore Commers’ first solo publication ‘Hiraeth’ (try pronouncing that really quickly six times in a row). Because of this joyous fact, we sat down with our favourite Belgian girl and talked about photography, about growing up and about the meaning of that Welsh word she picked as the title of her latest body of work. This girl keeps amazing us, not only with her pictures but with her words as well.
Our day in Liverpool ends quickly though and the next day we find ourselves on yet another ferry to Dublin, where we get our first taste of Gaelic. All the road signs are both in English as in Gaelic and I rejoice in trying to say all the words out loud. I quickly memorize the word for exit as we pass the sign at least every five minutes on the highway and I don’t think I ever stopped saying it during those three weeks.
Ireland, I haven’t seen you for a while. A couple of years it has been since my feet touched your soil, but if I think of you I hear the music playing in my head and images of roads winding under flowery skies and over green hills littered with stone hedges come to me clear as if it happened just yesterday.
A quiet camp, everything is still, only a striped cat searches for some food besides the fireplace. We are waking up to cross the empty town and catch the first rays of sunshine. The desert wind is casting goosebumps on our skin while I’m taking photographs of the makhtesh. Suddenly, the weather changes: we cannot see anything but the sandy mist. A local lady stands next to the ibexes, just in the moment when they notice us, they are running away. I was wondering what happens to those born near the desert, how they change: it seems like she knows here every rock, animal, the changes of the seasons…
Tired of the winter, we tried to escape it on the curvy roads of Israel, changing the boundaries of routine to the chaos of colours, smells and noises. Coming from the cold of -20°C, seeing palmtrees when we step out of the plane in Tel Aviv seems almost surreal. Crossroads of history in Jerusalem; narrow bazaar streets; our tiny flat with a cat sleeping on the roof. Standing in the crowd with the locals, with tourists and soldiers, I’m trying to catch some of their colourful stories.
“The thing that astounded me the most on the camino was the great amount of love. There was room for everyone in the group, and everyone took care of each other – it was like a big camino family, and it surprised me how fast you can bond with other people. I have never met so many different people in one place, and it has made me realise that I can be exactly the person I want to be.”
Laila was a camino celebrity, but she just didn’t know it yet. The beautiful young girl from Denmark made the boys walk a little faster each day (she will hate me for writing this, but it’s the god honest truth). I had heard all about her on the first day I bumped into the group of pilgrims at the ruin, but only got to meet her after they all went out to go for a meal. “Laila is with a Dutch lady called Mirjam,” L said. “Excellent,” I replied with a confidents smirk on my face, “I can spot a fellow Dutchy from miles away.” And I did, when the two tall blond ladies walked in, the accent wasn’t too difficult to spot.
“When you are young and you have no husband or wife, or kids, or house, or job you can just get out and go. You can sleep on couches, shower in truckstops, eat all your meals out of cans, because you are resilient and you are more open to the experience.”
Jeff Luker has been with us since issue #1 rolled out of De Resolutie’s printer and we thought it was about time to have a chat with the thirty year old photographer from Plympton, Massachusetts. Jeff does what we dream about, using his travel bug to create a beautiful, free spirited body of work that he was able to translate into something Urban Outfitters and Levi’s got just as excited about as we are.