On May 18th the ArtUndressed festival kicks off in Miami, Florida. I am participating in the nude art exhibit with three works. Two photographs from the series 'The Russians Are Coming!' and one from the WAM series. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, please stop by and make a few snapshots of my work there. I will not be attending and this should not be considered as a political statement. I rarely attend to group exhibits that require a lot of traveling. Shipping the artworks with all the red tape involved is enough stress for me.
After deactivating my personal account on Facebook I noticed that I lost interest in most other networks too. But I did in fact miss a few things. Such as easily contacting my models and a private way of sharing photographs through the Messenger. I am aware all this can be done through WhatsApp and other products. And last but not least there is always E-mail, but I noticed that a lot of people I work with are so swamped with work related messages that responding can not always be a priority. For some it is even harder to catch up on E-mail using a smart phone.
So, I decided to create my own network for friends and models. I have been working on it for a month now in my spare time. A lot of tweaking needed to be done. The site is fully functional now and I am testing it with a few friends.
First of all, the site is completely secure to protect people who create an account by using the SSL or https protocol. Most of the content is shielded from the general public by a registration system. Registering to the site is free, but accounts are manually activated to keep those away who have no business whatsoever to be an active member of the site.
Furthermore the site is divided into groups. One has to subscribe to a group to get to see its content. A membership request for the group Models Sets will only be activated if you have actually posed for me or if you belong to a small group of trusted friends. This way models can always pick up their photographs on the site without fear of works being distributed on the web without their consent.
There is also a private messaging system which makes it easier for me to separate my own important messages from the pile of mail and app messages I receive through various other channels. Models and friends can create their own profiles and befriend people, much like any regular social network. This network however is microscopically small, despite the many photographs hosted there, and of course it is only about photography.
Two sections however are open to the general public and that is my new portfolio that still needs to be expanded and the news feed. If you have posed for me or if you have been in contact with me over the years feel free to register. So far I have not invited people to join for two reasons: I am not completely certain this will actually work as an efficient way to keep in touch with the people I work with and I only want people in who really care for my work. In other words; I want to keep this site as exclusive as I possibly can. I am not aiming for lots of traffic.
The site you are looking at right now will stay my main site for quite some time and I will keep updating it, but please have a look at the new site too: https://hansvanderkamp.net.
I love Russia, or better I love the Russians. I have very little to state about the Russian government. To me it is a government like any other, maybe corrupt, but certainly not as corrupt as many other countries with the USA topping the list of dubious regimes.
It was a sad week. The cover model Evgenia for the new series I am working at called 'The Russians Are Coming' - which is basically a satirical approach to the many news items of the last few months blaming the Russians for just about everything - died of a heart attack on her 25th birthday, most probably caused by bad drugs, an overdose or even suicide.
It broke my heart. I was working hard at Moscow's Sunlight Studios, so the models were lined up behind me. When it was her turn to be photographed I looked over my shoulder and I immediately felt that something was wrong. At first I thought it was her age, because she seemed so young and fragile to me, so I asked for her passport. She was 24. It is not uncommon for models to be skinny and fragile, but that eery feeling stayed with me during the entire shoot. She turned out to be the best model I worked with for a long time. The result of the shoot was a series of great photographs. I picked one for the folder to be printed for the Kriebels exhibit at Ahoy Rotterdam.
When I returned from Rotterdam I was told she had died on her 25th birthday. Since then I have not been myself. In a blind rage over some demanding models and a highly talented filmer with a total lack of social skills I deactivated my Facebook account and moved to VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, a social network without advertising and a very tolerant attitude towards nudity in photographs.
It is that time of the year when we burn a lot of candles and we will be burning them for Evgenia. She will be sorely missed.
While organizing a trip to Amsterdam for my old friend Alexander Donskoy who facilitated my first exhibit in Moscow, he unexpectedly asked me how much time I could free up for him. I hesitated, but he persisted and I answered two weeks, not knowing he was going to invite me to Moscow. It was a present for something I had done for him that I would have done for any of my friends. To be precise, I had no real clue what I could have done for him that was important enough to receive such a gift, so at first I refused.
During my previous visit to Moscow Alexander and his crew noticed that I smoked like Brezhnev and drank Vodka like Boris Yeltsin. Also my political ideas where a bit to the left of theirs. It must have been a funny sight, me drinking vodka and chain smoking, while they were all non-smokers and drinking water or Starbucks coffee. I was living up to the worst of Western prejudices against Russians, while they were perfect global citizens.
This must have been at the root of their decision to surprise me at the airport with a traditional Russian ceremony, a Soviet hat and a vintage Чайка Limousine - the kind that Soviet leaders used - waiting for me to escort me to Moscow's Business Center. It turned out to be the best two weeks I had in a long, long time and of course I did a lot of photography there too and I will be posting a selection of these works soon.
At first we were a bit reluctant to participate in The KamaSutrA Festival in Utrecht. We imagined the event to be all about vibrators, piercings, sex toys, pole dancing etc.
This was also the reason we hesitated just having an exhibit with photographs at the KamaSutra Festival. However, as we were once again invited to participate the idea came up to have a full photo studio setup and to invite people from the audience to be photographed. Short photo sessions, but done with the same quality equipment we would use in our own studio.
Our biggest fear was that people would not be willing to be photographed in front of a crowd of people visiting the event, but this turned out to be a very pessimistic thought, because we photographed hundreds of people during the three days of the Festival. Actually we are still editing the photos made during the three days of the festival.
So far, the results of Day One and Day Two photo shoots have been sent out to the people photographed, but photos taken at Day Three are still being edited and we hope to send them out before we leave for a photographic journey to Moscow, Kazan and Petersburg on October 20th.
Our participation turned out to be such a success that you will also find us in the Ahoy Rotterdam with a similar setup for the 'Kriebels' event. We sincerely hope to see you there too!