Positions and Practice – The Ongoing Project

Dearest Diane,


Helik van Rynswoud, https://helikvr.myportfolio.com/from-whitin-ongoing

“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.”
Ralph Hattersley


First, I had the choice of photographing a subculture, the same way I have done with my previous HND Drag Queen’s. I have been there, and the drag culture in Glasgow grew quite significantly during the last 3 years and their shows are much bigger, and so is their audience. I had a great time photographing them, but I think I am done for now. There are way too many people covering them at the moment and, because I am not physically very involved, I wonder how I can direct this project into a fine art approach.

It took me a while to decide which way to go now. I had some different projects in mind, and this has always been my favourite of all, because it talks about my history and my origins. The “From within” project are pictures that I have been taking during my visits to Brazil. They talk about my past, my hometown, my childhood and the difficult relationship that I had with my family over there.

First, I was unsure on how to talk about these images, since it is such a personal and intimate subject, and then I came across Sissel Thastum Lecture (1) about her work. Similar to me, she discusses in her images her perception of her mother and the place where she is originally from, her connection to her homeplace and nature. She described keeping a separation between private and personal, and this helped me on distinguishing what I would like to turn public and what I would rather not, for ethical reasons.

So, the ethical values, on being honest and respecting the feelings of the other person, which ethical values to follow in order to keep our work honest. I don’t think there is just one answer to it. Every person has a different history and needs different approaches. But, in order to produce a body of work that can tell a history, it is necessary to be sincere and vulnerable.

The images above were taken during my last trip to Brazil, and for them I took the intuitive approach, trying to be on a “trance” and let the subconscious to take me. It worked because I live far away, and don’t visit them very often. So, when I go, it was fresh, and my son was only months old. A young child can open your perceptions, and I had been thinking about this subject during my pregnancy. So, as a result, I continued producing these images.

I shoot in Black and White because it is nostalgic, and it is dark, sombre and melancholic.

During Sissel’s lecture, I came across two Welsh words:

Hiraeth- A feeling of longing associated with displacement, but not necessarily displacement from one’s original home. An intense yearning to be somewhere you are not.

Cynefin- A place where a person or even an animal feels it ought to live. It is where nature around you feels right and welcoming. (2)

In Portuguese we have a word that does not exist in English also:

Saudade – This untranslatable Portuguese term refers to the melancholic longing or yearning. A recurring theme in Portuguese and Brazilian literature, saudade evokes a sense of loneliness and incompleteness. (3)

I think my project will revolve between these words, and the interpretation of them.

My Kind Regards,





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