Gerard Kingma (1964) is a freelance self-educated fine-art and documentary photographer from The Netherlands. He usually photographs beauty in nothingness, using analogue medium format and large format cameras. About the series ‘Brickworks Rusthoven’ This series started out as visual record of current remains of a once thriving brickworks industry. The...
Gerard Kingma (1964) is a freelance self-educated fine-art and documentary photographer from The Netherlands. He usually photographs beauty in nothingness, using analogue medium format and large format cameras.
About the series ‘Brickworks Rusthoven’
This series started out as visual record of current remains of a once thriving brickworks industry. The province of Groningen where I live, the most northern province of The Netherlands, has for a large part been reclaimed from the sea. As a result the soil is a heavy clay which lends itself exceptionally well to the production of bricks, fired in large ovens. However, this industry has all but disappeared; of the 55 factories that once existed, only one remains. The province is dotted with factory ruins in unexpected places. Some drying sheds for instance are still used to store caravans, and some remaining smoke stacks serve as mobile phone network masts.
When I arrived at the site of the former brickworks factory ‘Rusthoven’ on an icy winter morning, to my surprise I found that the site was inhabited. A group of people had settled between the ruins to live ‘off the grid’. They showed me a different way of life, in close contact with themselves, each other and nature, in harmony with the earth and their surroundings. They lovingly transformed the site into a Peace Garden. They live by the Mayan calendar.
In the months that followed, Rusthoven turned out to be a place where I was never judged, no questions were asked. The group welcomed me into their lives without wariness or argument. I made portraits of them in their surroundings with my large format 4x5" view camera on sheet film. This is a process in which both photographer and subject have to engage fully. The resulting images are about contact between the subjects, their surroundings and the photographer.
Unfortunately the site has been sold, the group has scattered and the remaining ruins have mostly been demolished. The Peace Garden has been destroyed.
Drying shed at dawn
Willem warming his hands
Rietje at the wood stove welded from brick trolley parts
Stef inside the furnace remains
Annie in the drying shed
Mitt and Annie in front of the furnace remains
Sieger in the pool, dug out in the factory foundations
Rietje's kitchen garden