Project: It takes my mind off things.
Is the Netherlands not – secretly- a gun nation? Considering the fact that the Netherlands is in the top five of European countries creating fire arm components. Plus we have an extremely controlled environment which necessitates hunting. As last consider the numerous shooting clubs (some over a hundred years old), where Dutch men and women regularly empty their magazines with enormous satisfaction. As I delved more into the latter example, the more I discovered the media's stigmatising behaviour surrounding this subject. A culture that seems under fire. In 2011 a horrible shooting took place in the Netherlands. In Alphen aan de Rijn, Tristan van der Vlis killed several people in a shopping mall, before taking his own life. Tristan was a member of a shooting range, with a registered fire weapon licence, which allowed him to keep his weapon at home in spite of his psychotic illness and suicidal tendencies. In the wake of the incident, not only the government but the whole nation wondered how this was allowed to happen. With just a few shots, Tristan van der Vlis casted a shadow over Dutch shooting culture. The pressure is on the clubs, where the rules have been examined and adjusted. Now, the clubs have been given a huge responsibility by the government: Responsibility for their members. But what does this responsibility mean? Do we really have to worry? Or is it a matter of stigmatization, where we distrust every gun enthusiast ? Even though only three percent of the shooting incidents in the Netherlands happen with a registered weapon? It leaves the overarching question; how can you even decide who is dangerous and who is not?
Thesis: Eventually I got into trouble.
As a photographer with a main interest for people, invading people's personal spaces and the worlds I entered; I felt as if i was balancing on the edge of ethics. Who am i to photograph them? But the biggest question was; how can I stay out of trouble? And not lose these people's trust.