After Arjan started a new job, he talked to one of his new colleagues about his work as a photographer.
"I have nothing against gay people, as long as I don't see it."
For a moment Arjan could not believe his ears. A fierce discussion followed, this colleague apparently had a hard time when he saw two men walking hand in hand or kissing.
The comment touched him deeply, because of this type of colleagues he had waited so long before coming out of the closet. His former manager also indicated that he had problems with homosexuality and the art that Arjan produced because of its homosexual character. These situations, the remarks and the many incidents against homosexuals, have haunted the back of Arjan's mind for a long time. Today, in his opinion, too many people still limit others in developing their full potential on the basis of gender, sexuality or origin.
In the first months of 2020, Arjan noticed how many hate-related incidents based on discrimination took place. He had expected the acceptance and tolerance of minorities to improve over the years. Instead, he saw that more and more boys and men around him were letting their sexuality fade into the background at various times. Sometimes by not walking hand in hand together at certain places, by avoiding a train station where there had been incidents before or by wearing different clothes because it might irritate others. This inspired Arjan to make ESTRANGED.
He made a series of photos in which we see young people in different vegetation. He made this choice because every person grows up in a different home. The models are present in the image but at the same time they are pushed into the background. Often the focus is not on the eyes as we are normally used to. Instead, the focus is on the hands and the vegetation with which they connect as a symbol of the environment in which they grow up. These young people often radiate a strength but are vulnerable at the same time.
They grow up in a world where people say they are accepted...