While staying in nature in the Netherlands (close to my home), in Switzerland and in the United Kingdom, I saw the confrontation in all kinds of topics and structures. I got inspired by this and therefore I created the series "Balanced Beauty". The images refer to two opposing principles or forces that permeate all aspects of life. It feels like a representation of cosmic duality, as sharpness in ice splinters confronts soft rounded shapes of snow for example. Life is so full of expression, touch and duality.
Bug me (L) and I am fluffy to go (R)
No. 2: on the left: a mottled shieldbug (Rhaphigaster nebulosa) is hanging around on my garden hedra in Spring. The bug used to be very rare in the Netherlands though it is making a grand tour across the country nowadays. On the right: a barn owl chick (Tyto alba) was in a deep sleep while I was helping out with the barn owls. It finally grew up to a safe and sound adult barn owl. Armored versus furry. Beauty and details can take on
many shapes and structures.
Fresh (L) and Antlers (R)
No. 3: on the left: I was cooking at home and I saw how wonderful the shadows of the shutters came together with the structures of the freshly cut leek. On the right: a frozen rosehip creates interesting textures in the ice. Tthe leaves on top almost seem like antlers. Layered versus one shape (whole). Beauty and textures are everywhere if
you look just closely enough.
Black and white beauty (L) and Brushing water (R)
No. 4: on the left: a young mute swan (Cygnus olor) swam right next to me in the river 'De Dommel', Boktste Beemden, the Netherlands. The outlines of the swan and the water lines are fixed. On the right: the water spray of this waterfall in Graubunden, Switzerland, is like soft feathers, brushing the stones. There are almost no contours detectable. Fixed versus dynamic. Beauty can be roughly polished or softly brushed.
The voyeur (L) and Softly (R)
No. 5: on the left: a green frog (Pelophylax ridibundus) just came out of the mud where it was sleeping. The sand particles are still on its front legs. His gazing eyes and slimy body confronted me. On the right: a delicate close-up of the feathers of a rosy pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) as quietly and softly as you would expect. Slimy versus feathery. Beauty can have all kind of touches, it all belongs to Earth.
Rough and raw (L) and Serenity (R)
No. 6: on the left: a large skull of a wild sheep was hidden in the bushes, while tiny ticks were crawling over it. The skull was almost clean to the bone when I took it out of the bushes. On the right: waves passed me by while sailing on the waters of Inner Farne, United Kingdom. There is a certain rhythm and calm in looking at the waves, hearing them and smelling them. Rough (raw) versus serenity (smooth). Even in death there is beauty and the waves will still be rolling on in the surf.
When the light kicks in (L) and Webbed feet ready (R)
No. 7: on the left: as I was walking through the frozen landscape of Borkel, Valkenswaard, the Netherlands, I saw the light and fog arise close to this wooden fence. I was amazed by this spectacular sight. On the right: a female, common eider (Somateria mollissima) stands on her webbed feet on the beach at Seahouses, Northumberland, United Kingdom. I can see the intricate patterns on her legs and feet, looking like a reptile skin. Sinister versus bright (warm or inviting). Both beautiful on their own.
Suffocating (L) and Free as a bug (R)
No. 8: on the left: as the gloomy forest closes in on me, I feel like I am suffocating in the darkness and bleakness in the nature development area of Turkaa, Diessen, the Netherlands. On the right: a lady bug (Coccinellidae) in our garden is ready for leaving its spot. Its intricated wing structure can be seen quite clearly. Freedom awaits. Stifling versus free spirit. Beauty can be very dark and mysterious, though spreading your wings can be quite liberating.
Strong (L) and Stability (R)
No. 9: on the left: making a fist in the shadows of a room, to be strong or even stronger than before. In life it is sometimes needed to show no vulnerability. On the right: the mountain range of the Corvatsch in Graubunden, Switzerland, is a mighty place to be. Even in June snow still holds on to the rocks. Strong (defensive) versus stability (peace). Radiating your own power to be firm and kind can be very beautiful, which can in turn transfer into peace.
Loneliness (L) and Kittiwake love (R)
No. 10: on the left: the shadow of a garden chair in which nobody is seated expresses the loneliness one might feel; the emptiness and the sadness that cloakes many people in this world. On the right: two kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) stand closely together in their love on the cliffs of Inner Farne, Farne Islands, UK. As gull species, they are the only ones that almost exclusively build their nests on cliffs. Loneliness versus togetherness. Silence and loneliness can be peaceful and beautiful at times, though not for too long.
Everyone needs someone to care about.
Razorblades (L) and Innocent (R)
No. 1: on the left: in a small stream close to the agricultural lands of Gorp and Roovert, Goirle, the Netherlands, I found broken ice that caught my attention. As razor blades the ice seemed to have very sharp edges. On the right: heaps and bundles of snow create fantastic soft sculptures in the nature development area of Turkaa, Diessen, the Netherlands. Sharp (spiky) versus round. Both beautiful and daunting at the same time.