It was too hard I guess …

Via Facebook and Instagram I asked whether the followers could see which symbols or hidden messages can be found in the photos I took for the series “Life in Quarantine,” “Working from Home” and the photos I take with the title “ Lockdown 2.0. ” It was too hard, I guess… Don’t worry. I am happy to help you to parse or analyse photos.

De eerste foto

Het lijkt enorm lang geleden. Die eerste foto die ik plaatste in de serie “Leven in Quarantaine.” Eerlijkheidshalve moet ik wel even verduidelijken dat deze eerste foto gemaakt werd zonder dat ik de intentie had om er een serie van te maken. Dat werd het wel. 

De foto maakte ik zeven dagen nadat de eerste lockdown begonnen was in Nederland. Officieel sprak men toen van een ‘intelligente lockdown.’ De scholen sloten de deuren en ons werd opgeroepen om thuis te werken. 

Quarantaine Dag 7: BMX-les

It seems like such a long time ago. The moment I took the first photo that would become part of the series “Life in Quarantine.” I have to admit that I didn’t think about starting a series of photos when I took the photo that you can see below. It turned out to be the very first photo.

I took this photo on the seventh day of the first lockdown (March 2020) in The Netherlands. Back then, the government referred to this as an ‘intelligent lockdown.’ Schools closed and people worked from home.

Even before the children were homeschooled, my better-half worked from home. The patterns or the rhythm of our lives were changed when the schools closed.

As a self-employed photographer and writer, I had to find out the hard way what a lockdown can do. No more work. No photos, not writing and no creating new websites. After being a homeschool teacher, I did what the children did. Especially what the oldest one did just before I took this photo: being bored.

“I do miss BMX lessons,” was the cue to invite our oldest one to step onto the table. The table in our living room. It had become the place where the children received their education and where my better-half worked.

The hidden message

This photo shows more than one hidden message. Let me start by stating that the lockdowns have changed our lives. Not just ours. Everyone who has experienced a lockdown can truly say it changes your life. The background of this photo shows something present in our living room for some years now: an old map of The Netherlands. This is a good symbol to show that we weren’t in this alone. All around the country parents became homeschool teachers. Many people had to work from home.

You can see two people in this photo. My better-half did what she had to do: work from home. Without giving in to the distractions surrounding her. Working from home can be quite distracting at some moments.

The one on the BMX bike wasn’t able to ride. Not just because the lessons were cancelled. Also because of the gear. The gear wasn’t complete. Pay particular attention to the slippers.

 

If you take a closer look, you will see something that returns on almost every photo. A vase with branches. A vase that does not contain water. It was a holdover from the last bouquet my better-half bought. On February 20, 2020. So before the lockdown started in the Netherlands.

The branches are present in every photo. The water in the vase has not been topped up for a long time. This symbolizes the idea that certain things continue but in a modified form. The way you were used to doing things has changed radically after this first (intelligent) lockdown.

Virtual Reality

This photo is part of the series “Working from home.” After the reopening of the schools, a special situation arose. The children went to school. The parents continued to work at home. My other half was constantly working to ensure that companies and institutions had sufficient protective materials at their disposal. That was a difficult task. One where you sometimes don’t want to be disturbed.

Little had changed for me. No assignments, nothing.

The hidden message

She got flowers for her birthday. It showed that people were thinking about her. You can see them in the background. Just like the branches I mentioned earlier.

The two mugs 'represent' us as parents. The text on hers: "For the sweetest mama." The text on mine seems clear enough to me (“Papa” / “Dad”).

On the front (left) you see Peclavus hand cream. My other half had bought this through a webshop. We did that en masse in 2020 and even in 2021, by the way. What was special: this product was ordered from Voetzorg Levendaal in Leiden. We know the owner through her daughter, who is in our daughter's class. Shortly after the lockdown, she (out of necessity) started a webshop. You can only applaud these kinds of (local) initiatives and wish the entrepreneurs and professionals in question a lot of strength.

Vegan cooking class

Quarantaine Dag 43: Vegan Kookles

It’s true, we do cook a lot of vegan meals around here! This photo shows the mother and the father,’ without the children. The children were home that day.

The hidden message

What better way to demonstrate an 'explosive' situation than with a gas bottle? Not that it was particularly dramatic. It required adaptability from us as parents. Well, not just us. It also required adaptations made by the children. Fortunately, it has never been an explosive situation. Perhaps not on this photo…

As a stay-at-home-dad, I receive a lot of unwanted advise. Many people make assumptions. This also includes the question about who is “the boss” at home. To cut it short: none one is boss around here. So, the spoon my better-half swings can be interpreted in two ways. She doesn’t hit me or is she about to do this? Meaning: is she the boss as many people think or not. Well, one more time: she isn’t and I’m not. We’re equal.

The things to cook with are different from a regular meal. This is a reference or symbol for vegan cooking. Some state it’s just a matter of eating plants. Well, in case you’re still wondering: it isn’t just a matter of eating all plants… or flowers.

The photo also shows a fiery wish that would eventually fall through camping. We did not do that in 2020. On the one hand because of the measures, on the other hand, because we got a family extension in the form of a chocolate brown Labrador.

Are you still paying attention to the branches?

Surfing class

Quarantaine Dag 26: Surfles

A reference to 2015. Then I was in Vrouw Magazine (Father’s Day Special), a section of a national newspaper in the Netherlands… Also on an ironing board. To show that sometimes it is a matter of balancing. This time we redid the photo.

The hidden message

It shouldn't be particularly difficult to analyse. Let’s begin with the laundry. It shows that in a family with children there is always laundry. You never seem to be finished when it comes to washing clothes.
The small box on the left isn’t a washing machine or laundromat. Yes, there is a picture of a washing machine visible. It’s a symbol of the fact that the washing machine is sometimes too small.
So, why surfing? It symbolises the situation we ended up in. An unpredictable one. With the right balance (notice the hand at the front of the ironing board) you can move forward. But wait, there is more!
The photo shows that impossible things can happen or something that seems possible can’t happen. Also, it shows that sometimes you use measures or things in another way that you’re used to.

Portrait photography course

Dag 30

This is not the ‘official’ photo of the thirtieth day. Each photo session consists of several photos, of which the best is used. Or the worst … whatever you want.

The hidden message

A photo with my old company logo (www.harmjagerman.nl). That is just not the hidden message. When you look closely at the photo, you will see the 'rolling eyes.' Number two rolls the eyes and that is a reference to all the previous photos that we took as part of the photo series.


Admittedly, the idea of taking photographs was and is not always received enthusiastically. There are days when people are asked why we do this. A fair question. We do this to make others smile in difficult times. Little jokes in a strange time. That's how you could describe it.


The photo Number 1 wanted to take would probably have failed due to distance. Distance is important. Especially when you are closer than ever before, it is sometimes difficult to find or get the distance.

Had enough explanation?

Have you had enough explanation? The photos that were taken in the Lockdown 2.0 series (the current photo series) also contain many symbols. If you are curious about the photos, use the buttons below.

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