Only The Sky Remains Untouched
“To face your traumatic experiences is perhaps the toughest of all missions“
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You can read a beautiful review by Colin Pantall (writer for a.o. the British Journal of Photography) here, by Jim Casper (Lens Culture) here by Douglas Stockdale (The PhotoBook) here and in Dutch by Arno Haijtema (Volkskrant) here.
Soldiers who suffer from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are emotionally wounded and carry these wounds with them all their lives. The past 2 years I’ve been working on my new project ‘Only The Sky Remains Untouched’: portraits of 15 war veterans who suffer from PTSD. All photos were taken at ‘De Hembrug‘ in Zaandam, the Netherlands: a former weapons factory. In the heart of this terrain lies the so-called ‘Shock Forest’ where explosives were tested. Sybren Kuiper, who also made my book ‘Here are the young men’, has made a beautiful design for this new publication. It isn’t the book’s purpose to victimize these veterans. The goal is to show how severe this mental state can be, and how necessary it is to get it treated in an early stage. I use photography, interviews and imagination to represent these mental wounds: this inner war still going on.
The book couldn’t have been published without the 121 backers on Voordekunst.nl. A special thanks goes out to my two ambassadors: former marine Peter Bercx and former senator Marie Louise Tiesinga. It’s with delight that I mention 3 special funders who donated generously: Brenda Crombach of Formula Installatie Services, Petra Leene of the Amstel Gallery and the men of the Marines Business Club. Thank you for your commitment and big heart for the veterans and brothers in arms!