POSTCARDS FROM FRYSLÂN
What does it mean to belong? Is it determined by the people you share your blood with, is it tied to a specific place? Or is it something entirely different, a feeling, a hope to fit into a community that shares values? «Postcards from Fryslân» aims to answer the universal question that insinuates in everyone’s mind at least once in life.
The province of Friesland (Fryslan in local dialect) locates in the northern region of The Netherlands. The author Bouwe Brouwer was not born or raised there, but his parents and grandparents were. His first name, Bouwe, is a very typical Frisian name that you cannot hear anywhere else in the Netherlands. With this project, he hopes to learn more about the place and the people that live—and lived—here. And in doing so, to learn more about his roots and belonging. People from Fryslân are looked upon by the rest of The Netherland as stubborn people. Going back as far as the Spanish occupation, they have a history of resisting authority.
«Postcards from Fryslân» is still an ongoing project—hopefully lifelong—that the author plans on developing further. The research is getting more and more methodically by the day. When it started, it represented only a collection of places that seemed interesting. Currently, the hope is to cover most of the province, as you never know in advance where the best narratives are. But still, it is all candid, unposed and in the public realm.
Bouwe Brouwer is a Street Photographer and a teacher at a refugee camp based in a small town in the Northern part of the Netherlands. He studied Fine Arts and learned to work as an illustrator. After that, he became a primary school teacher, with no possibility to pursue his creativity for quite some years. In 2008 he started writing, and in 2013 he set out to become a photographer. A year later, he moved to a new town: it was the perfect chance to explore his new surroundings. Bringing his camera along, what was once only a fun activity shortly became a thorough analysis of new territories and slowly evolved in his ongoing project «Postcards from Fryslân».
When Bouwe Brouwer first started taking photographs, it was both in colour and black and white, partly digital and partly analogue. He tried different approaches and was mainly overwhelmed by all the possibilities of Street Photography.
At the moment, he is working on a long-term project about children at the refugee camp where he works. There are also several smaller side projects going on, and he is planning on publishing a book and some zines soon.