Thoughts – April 29, 2015

Yesterday I took the train to Antwerp and then a tram and finally arrived at my destination.

At work I am a member of the first aid team and one of four, well, I guess the best translation would be confidents. We listen and try to help colleagues who are harassed, sexually or otherwise, feel they are close to a burnout, depression or have other psychosocial problems. It is not my day job but I volunteered for both positions. I am very happy that I am not really needed but aware that this does not mean there are people with problems at work.

Anyway as a confident I have to follow yearly refreshment training.
So that is why I went to Antwerp.

I liked the change in routine. Driving every day to Brussels and enduring traffic jams becomes tiring.

After the boring legal stuff, new laws and so on, we attacked the 2015 hot item: burnout.
That topic was extremely confronting. Back in 1995 I suffered from a total burnout followed by a severe depression.

It took me more than 9 months to get my act back together and when I finally did I wasn’t the man I used to be.
There I was, extremely emphatic and very aware of what I wanted and did not want.

I believe that my recovery was also the starting point of the slow death of my marriage.

Yesterday Sweetheart and I talked about that time. I told her I knew exactly where and when I was the moment I felt I did not exist anymore.
I cannot start to explain how it was. I had no emotions, no feelings but lots of aggressive feelings. I was an empty shell and convinced I only existed because some imaginary writer wrote about me.

* * * *

As I was half an hour to early I had the opportunity to shoot my very first images with the Olympus OM-2n and the 50mm f1.4.

I used the much acclaimed aperture priority exposure control and my very first shot was one of a statue against a bright blue sky.
It was spot on.
A few other shots learned me, after developing and scanning, that the 50mm f1,4 is, wide-open, incredibly sharp even in the corners.

This camera and lens was sold new 34 years ago as I saw on the original invoice that came with the Olympus.

 * * * *

Late this afternoon I went for a walk and I took my Olympus bag with me. The sun was shining, the sky loaded with clouds.

I met a group of elderly people, 3 couples and a man alone. They all smiled at me and said hello and how are you.
Young people are less open is my experience.

They sat down on a bench and I, 100 meters further, stopped and composed an image.

One of the old timers approached me.
“Hi,” he said, “can we borrow you? You seem to be a professional photog.”
I chuckled. I had only 35+ years old material with me.

“Would you take a photo of us all? We represent almost 4 centuries of friendship.”

So there I was holding a digital Canon point ‘n shoot and making a group photo while everybody was happy and laughing and the light was just right.

We chatted for a while and one of the guys told me a cheesy joke about a guy who couldn’t get a chick and then asked a photog for help.

We finally went our ways but it reminded me that life after all isn’t that bad.

Trunks (2015) Olympus OM-10 with 28mm f3.5 and loaded with Ilford FP4+
Trunks (2015)
Olympus OM-10 with 28mm f3.5 and loaded with Ilford FP4+


  1. Stephan I can relate so much to this post. I had a similar moment following the loss of someone I cared deeply for. Like you it changed me and how I viewed life. It is easy to get lost in the day to day shite we deal with to survive and live that you miss what’s really important.

    The image could have been taken by me I love it and I never tire of this type of image. What I live also is that you’ve used old kit and made it live again added to which you have clicked with a charming group of elderly folk into the bargain.

    I’d call that a good day.


    • I like this image for the light and the shadows, the structure of the bark and the grain but also because it show the latitude film has. I have the impression we have very much in common 🙂


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