The black rain
I received an email from De Volkskrant on an afternoon at the end of December, to know if I was available to complete an assignment before early Jan. Yes I was available and the reportage sounded super exciting.
Note: It is WAY LESS exciting to be in Belgium in winter. The landscape is empty, flat, wet and not the happiest. If you are lucky you might spot some ray of lights in the morning. The rest is plain grey sky, and green fields. Here are two images I shot with my phone while driving on my way to the assignment.
I was then driving for a couple of hours up north to Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands. It’s a small village surrounded by a gigantic steel Factory “Tata steel”. The inhabitants are saying “We are surrounded from all the side, our only escape is the sea”. I was going to meet Sauw Buwalda, an ex sailor that crossed the 7 seas, lived many lives, and was born and always lived in Wijk aan Zee when he was on the ground. Now almost retired, he explained me how he was struggling to push ecologic deals between one of the biggest factory of Europe and the little town that Tata Steel is surrounding.
This topic and story beautifully written by John Schoorl, are nowadays essential. Even if the question should have been asked years ago, at EU council and each EU gov.
“How do we cope with our giant factories and the pollution they produce at the time of climate change or should I say World Climate Crisis ?”
The factory surrounds the village for 75 % the next 25 % the sea closes it. In between the village and the factory 1/3 of natural sand dunes, the 2/3 thirds are chemical waste produced by the factory covered by sand and therefore looking like dunes…
For the technical aspect I was asked to photograph this how I wanted and in black and white.
I photograph with a Nikon D850 and a 35mm 1.4 and a 24-70mm 2.8
I enjoyed the assignment because the story was important, the scenery was apocalyptic and I discovered that the Dutch actually love Wijk aan Zee due to its “artistic” potential, extreme contrast between nature and industry, quiet place without tourist and many other reasons. After I photographed I took an extra time in the Netherlands to visit friends in the beautiful city of Amsterdam.
The story publish by the Volkskrant
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