the quest – a photographic journey
23 November 2018 • The Netherlands
It is very special to see my novel Night Train to Lisbon in truly beautiful images. With these images and quotes from the novel, the reader will experience in a very different way how the search for answers to the existential questions of life can look like.
Life is not what we live; it is what we imagine we are living.
My journey lasted eleven years. For eleven years I partly lived my dream, my night train dream. It was sometimes in the foreground, sometimes in the background. But constantly present.
It started in 2007 with the reading of the novel Night train to Lisbon. Right after reading the first page I was deeply touched. The tone of the book touched me, but above all the protagonist who changed his familiar life from one moment to the next. My desire was touched. Almost immediately I knew that I wanted to visualize this book, but how and what and why? I had no idea yet. Searching years followed where I kept rereading the book. Only in early 2015 I decided to realize my dream. I still had no idea why. With the novel in my hand I booked my first trip to Bern. Just before I left for Bern, I met the writer Pascal Mercier. “Bern is the most important”, Pascal Mercier told me. In April 2015 I took the train to Bern. My first visit to Bern made a deep impression and touched me enormously. My journey had begun. Nourished by Bern, Lisbon appealed to me further.
After Lisbon I arrived in Bern again in the summer of 2017 and in the days that followed, I knew I was there to finish the project. I felt more freedom and space than the first time. And I saw it in the way I photographed those days: different, freer, more intuitive, and with more confidence. The grand finale came in the spring of 2018: actually taking place in the night train to Lisbon. From Bern I travelled, just like the protagonist from the novel, via Paris to Irun. The circle was complete when I get off the night train in Lisbon.
It became a personal journey and representation of the book Night Train to Lisbon. A journey that has changed my life. It wasn’t always easy. But I now know that you can see again in the dark. If someone who needs images to understand the world, I realize that I needed this quest. The search for the images that the novel evoked from me. I needed the images to get an answer to those recurring questions about who and where I am, what I do, how I do things and above all how I manage to find ways of dealing with things. I discovered that I know nothing for sure, and to be content with this for the first time.
This photographic journey has reminded me of what is important to me. In Bern and in Lisbon I recognised that cheerfulness, loneliness, sorrow and desire are all a part of me and help me progress further. I need these contradictions and to move between them in order to create. They remind me time and time again to keep my spirit alive and to trust my intuition.
The novel Night train to Lisbon has become the story of my life. The photo book the quest, and this exhibition is the imagination of that story. My wish is that, as Night Train has become my story, the quest becomes your story. In this way we pass it on to each other.
I know where I am going, but not where I will end up.
All images in the book are available, contact us for the possibilities.
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