Paulien van der Bel - Photo by Henri van Leeuwaarde

My name is Paulien van der Bel. I was born (on december 25th, 1975) and raised in Nieuwe Niedorp, the Netherlands. I currently live in Amsterdam.

In these photographs I share with you you will witness those things that an individual may mindlessly pass by or may not so easily notice or see in daily life. Think about the urbex photos shot in a closed secured decayed property with the windows nailed shut and surrounded by fences. Or wonder about the macro photos taken of flowers and insects whose details are difficult to see with the naked eye. This imagery has been captured with my macro lens. Look at the photos with litter washed ashore on the beach and notice that this can also result in quite intriguing images. Review the architectural photo’s which show just a part of a large building’s line-pattern.

Saul Leiter (born 1923), an American photographer en painter, says: “I like things lost, things not seen. I like the idea that sometimes you have to really read the thing. I think of certain photographs as being read almost, as not being seen immediately; you have to look at them again and again.

Since my youth I have been fascinated by empty abandoned and decayed properties, factories as well as old houses. Abandonment and decay touch me in a certain emotional way. It is a pity to see how a building has been deserted, how decay slowly takes over as it is taken back by nature. It is quite a paradoxical experience, as the process is also beautiful to see. In my photos I will show the beauty of this process, the struggle between the decay of the urbanized environment and the re-emergence of nature. I have a big preference for colored photos as they present different kinds of structures and shades clearly emerging. In this way I emphasize the beauty and not the sadness of the decay, abandonment and neglect. On the other hand I preserve the mystique of abandonment by editing my pictures. The mystique of the desolation that I here and there display with a wink.

Frida Kahlo: “I used to think I was the strangest person in world but then I thought there are so many people in de world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her/him, and imagine that she/he must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it is true I’ am here just as strange as you.