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In Provence people cook with ingredients their direct environment provides. Olives, garlic, olive oil, herbs, fish, salades, figs, peppers and aubergines. Freshly caught fish and crustaceans from the near by sea. Sausages and ham from animals that roamed freely in the mountains. Soft and hard cheeses from sheep and goat milk. Wild rosemary,thyme, lavender, truffles and fennel from the hill sides. Out of all these wonderful ingredients recipes came forth with a long history. What appears on the table today in the Provence differs little from the meals that were served centuries ago. The early inhabitants have known times of abundance but also failed harvests and hunger.
Food is the favorite subject for a conversation: on markets, in the streets and at home. All aspects are discussed with an almost religious fervor from the quality to how the dishes should be prepared. Whenever possible people will eat together. Not only do you taste the dish , it is also an important moment to share family ties, friendship and a way to show respect for the past.
This cultural heritage I have translated to a series of still life using only the ingredients needed to make these traditional dishes from this region.
In the tradition of the Dutch masters from whom I derive lot of inspiration I have added insects to these still lives. Small and larger animals that I come across in my garden.
Vintage bottles found on a local flee market. These bottles are probably from 1900-1930. I’ve photographed them as they are, dusty and with their reduced contents. Most of the corks are still there but inside the bottles.
After some research I’ve discovered the names on some of the bottles were brands. Most of these brands don’t exist anymore.
The bottles were used to store perfume, condiments, aroma or seasoning and household medicine.
The titles are the names marked on the bottles.
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See the series
In my series “Uyt eenen tijt” the central theme is temperance. I have chosen this theme as it refers to the present economic situation. We realise there is an end to growth and we need to develop a more enduring life style. Experiencing that we can be happy with
less . Value that which we have and treasure the old. Re use, exchange or share with one another. The quality, value and sustainability of products and services are becoming more and more important.
The measure in which images and objects appear more and more fleeting and become irrelevant at an increasing speed makes me conscious of the need to treasure the the past. This feeling is made even stronger by the excitement around the reopening of the Rijksmuseum. It is my way of paying tribute to that past.
The theme may not be apparent at first sight in my work You see lot’s of juicy and colourful fruit, crisp bread, glasses filled with wine, luxurious drapes reminiscent of the opulent paintings from the Golden Age, a time of abundance.
Yet moderation is a returning theme in 17th century paintings. These paintings contain many symbols warning the onlooker for the false charm of this abundance.
This inspired me to make still life in which this deeper meaning can be discovered as well. With objects, lighting and deployment that reminds us of these 17th century paintings.
For example in this century a lemon was used the make a sweet wine less sweet. In the still life the lemon was a symbol of temperance. For this very reason you will see a lemon in all of the pictures in this series.
To help me create the ambiance of this time I need to work with objects that have a history. They need not be 400 years old but one has to see that they have been used and have a history of their own. In a way my search for these objects using Ebay or the local second hand store is part of this new search for temperance.
Just like painters I try to capture the various textures of objects; the skin of an orange, the reflecting surface of glass or tin or the fabric of a woollen rug. Where the painter uses his brush I utilise lighting. A process that can take days even weeks to achieve the result I strive for.
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This series is based upon the Dutch Vanitas paintings from the 17th Century. Paintings executed in the vanitas style were meant to remind viewers of the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death.
‚Memento Mori’, because our time on earth grows shorter with each passing minute.
That’s true of course, but also a very grim way to look at life.
Now that I’m getting older time seems to go faster. My time is limited. But I don’t think about death, I think about LIFE. How to enjoy and cherish it: ‘Plan like you will live forever, an then live like there is no tomorrow’. I want to do the things that leave me with a smile and when I wake up in the morning I want to have the same sense of expectation for this new day as I had when I was a child.
I love the French expression: ‚le petit bonheur’, finding happiness in the small things in life. For me that is all that counts, each new day again.
A collection of beautiful handmade antique lace collars. How fascinating is the attraction of antique lace! Each photographed collar shows a different technique. I've captured them as a tribute to the amazing skills, the patience and the incredible amount of time it took to make such a piece of art.
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See the series
Terroir is the combination of the environment, soil and climate. The conditions in which food is grown or produced and gives it its unique characteristics. But for the French it is so much more. It also represents tradition, passion, energy and commitment.
After a year of hard work it's time in France to honor the results of what the soil provides. Almost every village has it's own festivities to celebrate the harvest of local products. Artisans are proud to present their products and to pass on valuable traditions.
For 'Terroir' I’ve used local produced products, local found Provençal vintage pottery and kitchen tools to make this series.
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The art of imperfection.
Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death.
The art of appreciating beauty in the naturally imperfect world, the antithesis of our classical Western notion of beauty as something perfect, enduring, and monumental.
Wabi means modesty, simplicity and quietude. It includes both that which is made by nature, and that which is made by man.
Sabi means things whose beauty stems from age. It refers to the patina of age, and the concept that changes due to use may make an object more beautiful and valuable. This also incorporates an appreciation of the cycles of life, as well as careful, artful mending of damage.
To discover wabi-sabi is to see the singular beauty in something that may first look decrepit and ugly.
One senses that it has survived to bear the marks of time precisely because it has been so well cared for throughout the years. The kind of beauty that can come only with age.
You won't find wabi sabi in Botox, glass-and-steel skyscrapers, smart phones, or the drive for relentless self-improvement.
Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness or irregularity, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.
Wabi and sabi both suggest sentiments of desolation and solitude. These may be viewed as positive characteristics, representing liberation from a material world and transcendence to a simpler life.
He waited so long before the light
allowed to be captured bright inside the studio
and on a table the objects are arranged
so, that they are in peace and desire no other fate.
The mass turned into the front,
the cavity of a bowl, where the light slides in
tranquil and as a polder sky wide,
the shadow is there and does not move anymore.
He has transformed time into space
and healed the painful fate in these things
when he painted them. They are saved
of life and healed of changes.
Inspired by Giorgio Morandi I’ve made the series ‘Natura Morta', Italian for ‘still life’.
Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964) was born in Bologna, Italy. He is mostly known for his still life paintings in subtle tones of apparently simple objects, like vases, bowls and bottles. He shows us his extraordinary world of the "thing" where peace, quiet, light, space and timelessness are the decisive factors: "The only thing in the visible world that interests me are space, light, color and shape."
This poem by the Dutch poet Renée van Riessen explaines perfectly what I feel looking at Morandi’s work:
Hij heeft zolang gewacht totdat het licht
zich helder in het atelier liet vangen
en op een tafel staan de voorwerpen geschikt
zó, dat ze in rust zijn en geen ander lot verlangen.
De massa naar de voorkant ingekeerd,
de holte van een kom, waar het licht in glijdt
verstild en als een polderhemel wijd,
de schaduw is er en beweegt niet meer.
Hij heeft de tijd in ruimte omgezet
en heelde het pijnlijk lot in deze dingen
toen hij ze schilderde. Ze zijn gered
van het leven en genezen van veranderingen.
Tineke Stoffels, Den Helder The Netherlands, 1957
As long as I can remember, I have had the urge to create. With paper, paint and brushes or textile arts. In the garden with plants, behind the stove with food, indoors with paint, furniture and fabrics.
Many years ago when my father gave me his old camera, I discovered photography as the perfect medium. Photography for me as a means of expression is the ideal combination of technology and design. Because I think mainly in pictures, the camera helps me to visualize my thoughts and ideas. To get the result I’m striving for, I want to understand and master the techniques I require. I keep trying until I succeed and am satisfied.
The biggest source of inspiration for me is the past. As a child I loved to listen to the teacher during history lessons at school. And I am still curious about the history of a region, a building, a city or village. I like to collect old jars, glass, textiles, and especially kitchen utensils found on flea markets.
My interest in art was born when my aunt took me at the age of 12 to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I still feel how impressed I was by the works of the Dutch Masters : the use of light and shadow, the colors, the clothes, the subjects, the techniques.
In my studio I can fully concentrate on the creation of a new work. With the use of my camera and strobes. For preparing and assembling a new still life I take plenty of time. Until everything is placed the way I want.
I love natural materials, simplicity, symmetry, strong lines, sober colors and exquisite detail and apply that as much as possible in my work. Where possible already during the assembly of the still life. Or afterwards in post-processing.
The digital 'dark room' is the final stage. Photoshop gives me the tools I need to convert the picture into a painting like image. A process that takes several days. Although I follow a specific procedure, I leave room to be surprised by what comes up seemingly spontaneous in this process. The 'work in progress' dictates me what to do.
One often wonders upon seeing my work, whether it 's a photograph or a painting. For me it's both.
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Vintage Style Still Life Photography by Tineke Stoffels
Tineke Stoffels is brilliant at composition and captures light in a way that still life photographs look like paintings. She combines photography with digital paint, which adds to the vintage, 17th. century style painting effect.
ARTzaanstad 2017, Zaanstad, The Netherlands 16-06/18-06 2017
3th Salon Artistique of the Internation Women's Club Provence, Centre Culturel, France 10-04-14-04 2017
Galerie Meander, Zevenaar, The Netherlands 27-11-2016/ 15-01-2017
Giga Foto Expo, Galerie Thyade, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 08-12/ 31-12 2016
Goodman-Bell Expositie, Kunstcentrum Haarlem, The Netherlands 24-09/23-10 2016
FMR Exposition L'Appertement, Lorgues, France 10-7 2016
Zomerexpositie, Het Kunstcentrum, Zaandam, The Netherlands 09-07/03-09 2016
ARTzaanstad 2016, Zaanstad, The Netherlands 20-05/22-05 2016
Expositie Fotografie, Kunstuitleen Bollenstreek, Hillegom, The Netherlands 19-03/09-04 2016
Fotografie, SBK Amsterdam Zuid, The Netherlands 24-01/28-02 2016
Mirabeau, Cotignac, France July 2015- present
Art Exhibition IWCP Centre Culturel Lorgues, France 20-24 April 2015
Lustrum Exhibition of DNC Cote d'Azur Theoule-sur-Mer, France 5-12 October 2014