SO 2014 honorable mention Selection Of Dutch Photography award

Excited, flabbergasted, really honored: I received an honorable mention for a prestigious photo award: SO2014 (Selection of Dutch photography 2014). A nomination for this award is already a great milestone because all the nominated pictures are published in a book. The awards ceremony was on November 26 in the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam.
So I was already happy with the nominiation itself but to be awarded with an honorable mention is  just so awesome!


Scroll down to see the images and find out the story behind the photos.

Karen and her husband Kendall, son Cash (16), nephew Steve (17), 4 dogs, 1 cat, an iguana and more than 40 birds lived in a truck trailer. Next to this trailer was the classic car garage of Karen's (handicapped) husband Kendall. He invested his savings in buying dilapidated vintage cars, for restoring. The money he earned was his pension for later, 16-year-old son Cash helped his father and had already collected a few old-timers himself.

Almost everything the family owned was completely destroyed by a fire in the middle of the night. They were not insured, that was practically impossible because they lived in the middle of nowhere and too far from the fire department. Cause: an improperly extinguished campfire at the end of the day. Karen, Kendall and the two boys escaped in the nick of time, it was a matter of seconds. Not all animals survived.

The fire was not lit by the boys but they were suspected though. They were handcuffed by the police, while the trailer - their home! – was burning before for their eyes. The boys were separated from Karen and Kendall and helplessly witnessed Cash’s favorite pet die in the fire. The boys were released the same evening without an apology or victim assistance.

Exactly one week after the tragedy, I met Karen at a small petrol station / snack bar where she worked. As an ‘advanced student’ of the Foundation Workshop Texas I was looking for an assignment for the weekend so I could bare myself to the merciless (and inspiring!) critiques of  Ben Chrisman, Anna Kuperberg, Craig Fritz and Jerermy Minnerick the days after.

Fascinated by her story and incredible will power ("God has his mysterious ways. He closes a door but he opens a window.") I asked if I could record their story by making photos. Karen invited me to stay with them in the trailer sleeping overnight on the bench. It was a dirty trailer that hadn't been used for a long time and where the family had found a shelter together with their pets that survived the fire: one cat, two dogs and 23 birds and probably still somewhere a big fat rat.

The jury of SO2014 consisted of: 

Dennis Baars (TBWA\Neboko), Jaap Biemans (Volkskrant Magazine), Scheltens&Abbenes fotografiePiet Paris (Harpers Bazaar Nederland), en Karin van Gilst (Stedelijk Museum).