It was a winter day when I made this picture.
Then I came to the exhibition Farming folk. Adventures on the countryside in the The Hague Photography Museum and was surprised to see a familiar image.
Supernatural Dutch vegetables
This picture already made me smile from ear to ear. It meant I was not the only one attracted to a common vegetable filling the Dutch land with it’s beautiful shape and colour. The exhibition shows a couple of still lives of vegetables and by looking at them you kind of get the feeling the ones depicted are supernatural.
The mysteries of a farmhouse in holland
It was through the Facebookpage of This is The Hague that I heard of Farming folk. Adventures on the Countryside. The short introduction by Wim van Sinderen, the curator of the exhibition caught my attention . Now, I’m a huge fan of the Dutch countryside. Being a city girl it’s a completely different world to me with it’s own mysteries. Withing 30 minutes cycling I’m surrounded by polders. Every now and then I see a run-down shed, a single cow grazing in a meadow and in the distance a thatched roof farmhouse. What goes on inside the farm? I can only guess, let my imagination run wild & add the few facts on the Dutch rural life I hear on the news.
Dutch countryside adventures
In the seventies photographer Ed van der Elsken gave up his comfortable life in Amsterdam and moved to a small farmhouse in the countryside. He documented everything he saw and experienced. The exhibition’s subtitle Adventures on the countryside is borrowed from the photography book he published in 1980.
life after agriculture
For centuries the farming profession was passed on from generation to generation.
In the Dutch-language book that accompanies the exhibition Wim van Sinderen quotes author Geert Mak who says that the farmer no longer is found on his land, ploughing, but rather works from behind the computer making sure he runs his business according to all rules and regulations. RTL Z’s Toekomstmakers made a documentary about the future farmer. But not everyone is prepared to go that far and then this is what happens:
Photographer Lambert de Jong grew up in Friesland and wanted to become a farmer. He was a regular visitor at his uncle’s farm untill he moved to The Hague at the age of eight. The serie of photographs of his uncle depict the daily routine in a most personal, moving way. It makes you smile, but at the same you feel this intense loneliness. De Jong became 2nd in the category national: documentary for the Canon Silver Camera 2015.
Facts and fiction of the Dutch countryside
What truly attracts me in the exhibition is the combination between the purely factual images and the sensitive pictures that makes you connect with the farmers & the Dutch rural life. There are the objective photos of historical events, pictures of ruins of sheds and farmhouses that once played an important role in keeping the agriculture, the main engine of the Netherlands, running. Then there is the work of the photographers in this exhibition that have a direct relation with the farmers and the touching documentary It’s Been a Lovely Day that Jos de Putter, who decided not to take over the farm, took of his parents. Shots that are extremely intimate, showing the farmer and his family so vulnerable, creating an intense atmosphere that you feel you are intruding in their lives.
Farming Folk. Adventures on the countryside shows photos from 1885 till now. The exhibition book shows even more pictures, each putting their own magical spell on you. Fragments of Dutch novels and non- fiction complement the beautiful photographs on the life of the farmers folk. But, it didn’t satisfy my hunger. I wanted to hear, feel, experience the personal story of a farmer. I wanted to see if the pictures reminded them of their own adventures and that’s how the Dutch Culture Talk started.
The exhibition: Farming Folk. Adventures in the Countryside can be visited in the Museum of Photography, The Hague untill 13 March 2016.
Want to experience the Dutch countryside? Join me on one of my cycle tours & visit a (cheese) farm with me