2019 - Ongoing
Back in September 2019, in the small town called Zandvoort by the west coast of The Netherlands, I met a woman named Henny. She was walking her dog, a Podenco Ibicenco, when I noticed her by the stormy beach from distance.
What seemed like a random meeting that day became a friendship; exploring nostalgia and vanity through photography.
Henny just turned 71 and lives on the 6th floor of a concrete apartment building in Zandvoort. She lives alone with Bella, her dog – her husband passed away four years ago. Together, she and her husband had moved in because of the apartment’s ocean view. They wanted to feel free, she told me one afternoon while smoking a cigarette in her kitchen.
It turned out, however, that the ocean view was to be a short-lived dream; soon, a beach hotel is going to be built just in front of the apartment, blocking the alluring view.
Henny’s late husband had worked as a portrait photographer and she as a fashion stylist. With their planned future together cut short – and quite literally the million-dollar view they had moved to get – Henny and I started working together, trying to capture a piece of her fabulous past.
We slowly, but steadily started to create a space that allowed us to explore her as a character by styling her in her own old clothes and embracing her self-perception – her self-image. With Henny in the role of the stylist and me as the photographer – a dynamic reminding her of her late husband, Peter – the meetings became playful explorations of their shared past.
While the talk of the town – the new beach hotel – was threatening Henny’s ocean view, the rampant COVID-19 entered our world. Suddenly it was not only Henny’s closest surroundings that were reshaping, but the modern world as we knew it.
In the late Fall of 2020, I met with Henny for the first time since the global lockdown in the Spring. And now, with everything being closed down yet again, the project has once again been put on hold. But soon, hopefully, Henny and I will meet again and add a new chapter to the story.