Eyes on the horizon

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A walk to the beach with a toddler is something many dads do on any given day. That the walk would lead to a three year project is however not an everyday occurrence.

In the summer of 2011 two year old Lasse gazed towards the sea and exclaims “an airplane” while pointing towards a ship on the horizon. The ship appeared suspended in the air as the hull was disguised by low clouds of evaporating seawater, hence in a two year old mind it was an airplane. This simple observation starts the process in dad Bruno’s mind on our relationship to the horizon.

Is the sky the limit?

Born and raised in The Hague the sea has always been central to Bruno since he himself was Lasses age. A place of peace and tranquility became a place of reflection on the state of mankind and a world where everything goes faster and grows bigger on a scale of economy.

Frame after frame

He conceived the project in 2011 with the idea of photographing the horizon once every day for a whole year. However that meant that he had to remain in The Hague, every day for a whole year and go to the beach once a day rain or shine. It appeared impractical, limiting, cold in the winter and possibly even a bit boring. So after meeting technical photographer Roelof de Vries the two devised the system. A high quality Digital Single Lens Reflex camera was a must to print the 2 meter wide prints. The camera is placed in a large surveillance camera housing equipped with windshield sprayer and wiper as well as heating to remove condensation on the glass and camera. A weatherproof case with a solid state computer to control the sequencing, store images and automatically upload them to the internet. The contraption is placed on the roof of the NH Atlantic hotel in Kijkduin along the southern beach of The Hague and bolted in on the 31st of December 2011. Some exposures at night are up to 4 minutes long so the camera must be steady in the blustery North Atlantic winds. The camera is aimed with the horizon in the center of the frame. As the system is now automated the frequency of images is upped to one every hour with the first frame taken at midnight on the new year of 2012. The one year result is 8785 images (one every hour for 366 days + 1 image) which are downloaded throughout the year by Bruno.

A different view

In October 2012 as the project nears the end a first exhibition opens at Broft / van der Horst Galleries in The Hague. Are these photographs, are they unprocessed and is this The Netherlands?  The reception by the audience is enthusiastic and enthralled. Such variety in a frame journeying not in place but only in time. At the end of the year the “camera rig” was removed from the hotels roof and the next phase began. From the 8785 images Bruno selected 23 for the exhibition opening at Panorama Mesdag on 9 November 2014.  The transition from a familiar midday horizon with a muted hazy bluish grey color palette, till the dramatic at sunset, followed by the blue hour (literally) ending in the darkest time of day just before sunrise. It is mesmerizing that what we often perceive as a peaceful and quite line dividing heaven and earth can be so dramatic and different throughout one year. Sometimes it does not even visually exist but yet is the subject of eternal fascination.

See for yourself

The exhibition runs from 10 November 2014 – 1 March 2015 at Panorama Mesdag in The Hague.

A book signing of the limited edition book  (2012 copies) will take place at the Gementemuseum in The Hague on 4 December 2014. The book is priced at 212 Euros.

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