Monday, October 5th, 2020
Back in the days when serving in the army was still mandatory in the Netherlands, I spent time in jail for deserting. I never understood the concept of learning to use a gun to kill another human being.
When I moved to the US in 1996, where gun ownership is prevalent and firearms are socially acceptable, the horror of this concept really hit home. For years I had the idea of doing a project on ﬁrearms, but never had the time.
In 2016, after yet another mass shooting in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida where 49 people were killed, I began working on Fire Arms. I finally found the time, as I was laid up with a broken leg. I began by making paper models of popular guns, which I then burned and photographed. The models themselves are very intricate and it takes about one month to build each gun.
On a personal level, creating these models was a very meditative process while I was bound to a wheelchair with my leg in a cast. The subsequent burning of the models marks an end to a dark period in my life, which I captured photographically. These images allow me to tell a story of my individual suﬀering, but also a story of global suﬀering and the hope that with them, I can contribute to gun awareness.