First of all, I am writing this from my own perspective. I am trying to make a small difference in this world and I would like to explain why. For the people I work with, for the people that do the same work, or any one who is taking of the “I don’t wanna see this” – glasses.
Sad as it is, in this world, we are together consuming a shitload of meat and other animal products. Recently the article of Volkskrant said; “if we all stopped eating meat for one day in our small country (The Netherlands), 500.000 lives of animals will be saved.” Only in our country. Only in one day. Can you imagine? This, along with a lot of other facts in the meat and diary industry, made me kind of want to puke.
I myself, until March this year, was eating animal products too every now and then. I thought, if it would be organic and only once in a while, it would be ‘fine’. I said all those things to myself, so I could continue the pleasure of taste.
For some reason my eyes opened. Something felt wrong. I couldn’t hide behind the illusion I myself had created anymore, and dove into the depth. I eliminated all the meat products from my diet and a lot of fish and even eggs too. The next months I noticed I actually felt more energetic, healthier, and my skin got better. And most importantly, I was happy with the choice. I’m an animal lover, a planet lover, and therefore I knew I made the right decision.
So there I was, biking around the city, smile on my face, no problem, everything good, just me and my happy choice in life for this better world.
That feeling of “my own happy choice” did not last long.
Now here comes the problem. I am a photographer and I make my money by photographing. Photographing food. Food. Animal products.
“Dammit” – a little voice in my mind started nagging. “You made that happy choice, but now you keep going around promoting the cruelty behind that industry by making pretty pictures of it?”. “Oh sh*t”. And there I was, lying awake at 4 am, eyes wide open, staring into nothing. Thinking about the spareribs I shot that day that had little purple flowers on it. The photo turned out nice, it was a nice photo. But how that sparerib got on that plate was not so nice. I received a generous pay for it, it was a big brand, but it felt like I sold my soul to the devil. “Dammit.”
“Should I quit taking those pictures of spareribs with freaking flowers on it, or stick with ‘my own happy choice’ and separate work from private? – You’ve gotta earn money you know”. Basically I was stuck, because my work can almost not be seen separate from who I am, and what I stand for.
The days and nights that followed I have radically took down all food photography from my new website (which I had just uploaded and upgraded, was proud of and paid a good amount of money for - but that aside).
Unsurprisingly, what remained was actually as a result even much better. It was the core. My portraits, atmosphere and art photos. This is what I stand for, what I want to smash into earth (and space yes). It’s not commercial at all and those are not the photos I make the most money with, but it is what I breathe, what I am.
Wow, all of a sudden my own individual ‘happy choice’ seemed multiplied.
This is where an important decision was made. And so I decided: I no longer want to promote meat through the form of beautiful pictures which idealize the product. I want to strive to collaborate with mostly conscious brands, who are also against animal mass production. And of course, I still love food. Some photos of non-meat dishes are still online (editors note: have a look at ours ;).
To make a change in the world, start with yourself.
I would like to thank The Cold Pressed Juicery, especially Nathalie, for going with me through this and helping me out wherever I had question marks.
Find my portfolio here, and contact details too. Hit me up if you want to grab coffee or sip a juice together and talk this through.