On 6 June I suffered a severe stroke; my life changed completely overnight. The paralysis on the entire left side of my body and my five months stay in the hospital and subsequent rehabilitation center put life into perspective. I did not want to throw in the towel, however, and focused my energy on rediscovering the connections between my brain and the rest of my body and documenting my experience as well as the many connections that continue to help me think positively. Lisa Vos of the Dutch national newspaper, Algemeen Dagblad, summed it up best in her article on June 29, 2019: “My stroke is a gift. If I panic, cry or feel sorry for myself, I’m lost.” The reactions to this were overwhelming and I will never forget the many visits in the hospital. People often ask me how I stay so cheerful and positive; during my stay in the hospital and rehabilitation center I met many people who certainly had more difficulty seeing the silver lining. Based on these questions and experiences, I have tried to document the techniques and mindset that help me, in the hope that it will be helpful for people who need more mental support and strength.
While writing this book, all kinds of memories of pictures that I have taken over the years came back to me. As a photographer for almost my entire life, publishing a photo book has always been a dream of mine. These memories gave me the idea to turn this into a photo book as well.
I have been deeply impressed by the large team of people who have coached and supported me. I get emotional when I think about the support from Sander, our son who lives nearby, and the care from Ineke, my wife. My gratitude for realizing this book goes out to Alicia Mensing for the design, to Raymond Nieuwenhuizen as editor, and Lianne Mellor for the English translation. My thanks also go to Saskia Peters-Merks and André van den Berg for all the advice and corrections. Thanks in part to the sponsors, the proceeds of the book go to the foundation For Each Other With Each Other, Foundation Veme. Through the purchase of this book, you help create a home for severely handicapped children.
You can make someone happy with this book to help them gain control over their thoughts. Gaining energy from meditation and breathing. During the last months of the book, life changed again because of the corona virus; probably now more than ever people can use that extra energy. Or you can keep the book for yourself and relax, enjoying the many photographs, made with the mindset “photography is experimenting with light”. I’m looking for connections, are you with me?
All proceeds of this book go to Voor Elkaar Met Elkaar (VEME).