Saturday, 22 November 2008

YVAN, ex-and impressions. Series of portraits of one man and many hats. One afternoon in the life of a photographer.


He spent a lot of time in France over the years.
As a young artist, he transformed a van into a camper van, drove all through Europe and North-Africa.
When he saw something inspiring, he’d climb on top of his van and paint until it was finished or dark.
In the South of France he encountered a French lady of the aristocracy, she taught him a lot about pigments, making your own paints, painting with your hands and palette knives.
He would tell me about the gorgeous smells of linseed oil, resin, right down to Indian cow’s urine.
A joy to have in the studio.
From the series: Ex- and impressions.
THANX, M, (*_*)


In this portrait, Yvan went all German for me.
He spent time all over the world in his quest for perfect glass-making.
Switzerland and Germany were amongst the countries that he visited.
He is such an interesting man, full of stories. You'll get to know him better...

He mainly talked about the fatty food and the beer.
Ja ja , Meine liebe Damen und Herren, more to come, great fun we had.


The studio was set up; I knew what I wanted from that session,
Yvan and his partner arrived, he put on a hat, and tried different personages, once we'd decided, I put him in place, let him do his thing, made the composition and took the images that I wanted.
Some, like this one was just a one off.

Yvan is a very profound man, with a few beautiful philosophies.

His father had died, suddenly, on a Sunday morning, sitting in his favourite chair, his fishing gear ready to go out on his weekly outing.
That's how Yvan found him.
He was very serene about it, we talked and he said to me: father and I had always spoken all the words that were needed, nothing was left unsaid, all was well...

Wise words of a sage that I carry with me always.

Think about it!
Do and say what you want to do for the people you care for and say what you want them to know!
It could be the only solace you have....


I can tell you why we have been friends for so long, I respect Ivan, we are both idealists.
He did well in his artistic career, got very good reviews and successful exhibitions, when he was invited by Unicef in Paris, along with other young painters.
They wanted to make special Christmas postage stamps, and thus raise money for their charity.
So, he had to present them with some of his work.
He was very excited and set of for Paris, in his camper van, these were still his traveling days.
He arrived and parked in between all the BMWs, Mercs, big cars, took his portfolio and walked towards the entrance of the imposing building.
Once in, he looked around and saw all the marble and expensive finery, turned around and strolled out.
They don't need me here! he said.

He never looked back, it was not fame he was after, just to live of his Art and enjoy what he was doing, and he did, on both counts.
True story.


Here, he gave a whole impression of a Russian trapper, looking for his pray or was it his way?
He had us rolling with laughter, he is just so witty, the accent spot on, some Flemish words 'Russianised'...

The lighting again was an interesting challenge, because of the hand, ah well I'm sure you'll let me know if I've pulled it off!


It was getting late, almost the end of the shoot and the hoot.
Ive always said it: 'Ç’est dure la vie de modèle'
Ivan had, like most people, underestimated the strain of being at your best in front of a camera for a couple of hours.

We had a short break and then a few more shots.


Don't ask me where he got this hat from, but needless to say there was a lot of laughter going on.
As you see, he was very straight faced, telling me all the things that would happen in my future, none of which came true, except that I had found the love of my life, Paul and that there were other men in my life... indeed, my sons, and two fantastic male friends
( see here: ) one of which he was one...
You didn't have to be a clairvoyant, nor need a crystal ball to see that.

All the different hats also meant shifting the light settings, each time a new challenge, a new exercise.


I feel this one speaks for itself; all the women will have had the man ogling them, trying to attract your attention, looking you up and down in a very appreciating manner, usually with a shy mate next to him.
Often he'll say hello first, you'll look and think do I know this guy?
That's all he really wants I suppose.
I've always thought that if you were to approach him, he'd just crumble, hehe.

The real Ivan is not at all like that, well he is charming in a very gentlemanly way... and no, I am not a 'feminist'!


After a cup of coffee, we were all set for the last shots.

In the seventies, Ivan had a second fantastic gallery, set in beautiful countryside, along a canal.
There, you met the locals and farmers, sitting next to the nobility and local aristocracy, often in deep discussions
A French camera crew was making a film with the great Jacques Brel in the area; they sent a delegation to ask Ivan if there was the possibility of some food.
Never one to say no to a challenge, he agreed, called his wonderful mum.
The village baker provided him with huge loaves of fresh brown bread; from a farmer he bought an enormous cured ham on the bone.
He was struggling in the kitchen, when a man popped in and asked him if he could assist?
Reluctantly Ivan passed him the knives.
The guy started to cut very thin slices, neatly from around the bone.
Ivan, in surprise, watched the precise, meticulous and perfectly executed gestures. He said jokingly; looks like you've done this before.
Without stopping or looking up, the man replied: " Indeed, I'm a surgeon in a Parisian hospital, had my holidays, they needed a doctor, I liked the idea of experiencing how a film is made!"
True story.


We met Ivan regularly and each time he was wearing some other headgear.
I remarked he must have quite a collection and that we should have a photo session.
Always game, he agreed, a date was set and he arrived with a whole suitcase and a bag full of props.
He completely got into the different characters, depending on each hat.
It was the most hilarious shoot I ever did.
I'm still surprised no shots suffered from camera shake, we were laughing so much.

Here he was ranting away in American, giving me a piece of his mind in no uncertain terms, on politicians(in general).
He'd had an exhibition in Washington...
He is a very peace-loving man!


Proof that EVERYBODY can look 'mean' and 'scary'... even the kindest of people!
He had really taken a shine to my sunglasses, now because they are 'mirror' and very dark, you cannot see the eyes and that instills fear in people because our eyes say so much, we read a lot into them!
Friendship is important in life, in my experience, true friends always leave you with a sense that your batteries have been recharged... if you feel 'drained' after they've gone, have a rethink!!! LOL.


A couple of years ago, he decided to buy himself a bike.
So often he'd suddenly arrive on our doorstep, always a very welcome guest.
He's on his second one now and gets so much pleasure out of it. Meandering through the small picturesque roads of Flanders, he enjoys a nice pace in everything...

The tough biker with the soft centre.


No matter how long we've not seen each other, since we both moved around quite a bit, we always pick up the 'thread' where we left it... it is like we've never been apart...

Keep smiling, keep shining,
Knowing you can always count on me
For sure
That's what friends are for

For good times and bad times
I'll be on your side forever more.
That's what friends are for

I never thought I'd feel this way
Well you came and opened me
And now there's so much more I see
And so, by the way, I thank you.

And then for the times when we're apart
Well, then close your eyes and know
These words are coming from my heart
And then if you can remember

Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me
For sure
That's what friends are for

In good times and bad times
I'll be on your side forevermore
That's what friends are for...

Watch and listen on you tube here

All the best for now. Take care of yourself and your friends, cherish them, they are rare!
Thanx, M, (*_*)


Lisa Purcell said...

He should have been an actor. Quite a character. Great photography.

maleentjeh said...

Great series !!

shivani said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
shivani said...

Heartwarming...loved to read the last few lines..:))