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The first solo exhibition of Lard Buurman just opened in Buro Leeuwarden. The show is part of the photo manifestation ‘Noorderlicht‘ by the Fries museum in Leeuwarden. The body of work which he created during the last three years is shown in full. Buurman studied photography at the Koninklijke Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in The Hague, the Netherlands. After graduating in ’97 he almost immediately started his successful commercial career. His work soon developed and progressed and aside from his commercial work for clients such as Carp, BLVD and Ben. He started to develop his so called ‘collage’ technique back in 1998 when he bought an Apple Macintosh and a scanner.

Buurman has always been fascinated by the ability to create an interesting image without the help of accidents, celebrities or other ‘extras’; where the existing reality is enough to create a strong image. He has always been intrigued by how someone could show some of his own personality through the photographs he or she took. The first person to inspire Buurman was Ed van der Elsken as he recollects, mostly because of his personal touch to an otherwise documentary approach. Other examples come in the likes of Nan Goldin, Larry Sultan, Thomas Ruff, Hans van der Meer & Hans Aarsman to name but a few. He recognizes the fact that they all work autonomously in a documentary way which is true of his own work.

From his early days at the academy he has always been ‘discovering’ which is something that has never left him. He believes it’s the first and foremost quality to create. To discover whether something that seems merely an odd thought or idea can in fact be translated into an image. This also led him to his current work. Through his documentary style of working and his interest for new digital techniques and possibilities he came across the idea of making real life collages, a sort of middle ground between documentary and staged photography.

Squares, steep stairways and little streets in an old town, soccer fields and market places among others are the backdrop for his seemingly ‘normal’ everyday images. As a real documentary photographer he shoots the situations as they are, he searches for locations with a lot of contrasts, like sharp straight lines and curvy buildings, small intimate squares or large wide open spaces, always with such an angle that certain depth and dynamic edge is given to his photos, making them at first glance seem like ‘nice’ shots of public space. Upon a second look, an intriguing world exposes itself which has a lot less to do with reality than what appeared only a moment before.

Buurman is playing with reality. By layering multiple images of the same location he plays with the notion of time and people. If you look long enough you will find ‘errors’ in time which expose themselves by looking at the interaction between people, the distance in which they relate to each other, the directions in which they walk, sometimes they come straight at each other without any sign of recognition or warning. The reality of the images challenges the normal codes of conduct between people and the way they interact in public spaces. The element of time seems to become irrelevant as sometimes the same people appear more than once in a photo.

His work shows how subtle reality can be manipulated. His images appear to be true, they appear to be the actual reality in which we live everyday. It shows how easily we can be fooled into things, how relative an image can be, how easily we can be manipulated into believing something which in fact does not exist or is inherently different from the truth. He forces us to reconsider the way we look at reality and all things derived from it. By looking carefully and cautiously the ‘real’ world opens itself and surprisingly enough is seldom what you thought it was upon the first glance.

Buurman has already started on a new series of images, for his up coming work he aims to be more consistent in his choice for subject matter and locations. He is currently exploring group interactions as found at big events, concerts, fairs and trade shows. Aside from these specific situations he continues to shoot locations and people wherever he goes, when it comes to the world Buurman lives in we can be sure that his drive for new discoveries will never really end.

Lard Buurman

Text: Bastiaan Rijkers from Lemon Scented Tea

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