Depth of Field, volume 7, no. 1 (December 2015)Maartje van den Heuvel: New ‘Masters’ of Dutch Landscape. Photographs of the Most Man-Made Land in the World

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Leisure

The phenomenon of leisure being the modern widespread activity in which man intervenes in nature – instead of older activities like farming, fishing, and hunting – also became a subject for artists. Hans van der Meer (b. 1955) focused on the experience of the Dutch landscape through the activity of amateur soccer, and later on he photographed soccer fields all over the world.[34] (Fig. 6) Although Van der Meer became a renowned sports photographer because of this, with these projects he actually sees himself as a photographer of landscapes. The scenes are not chosen based on the nature of the game or the type of players. Instead, he chose these places on the basis of their backgrounds. In his monumental photographs and the photo book Artificial Arcadia, Bas Princen (b. 1975) drew attention to the artificiality of leisure in the landscape in two ways: in his photographs leisure itself is presented as an artificial experience of nature, but the environments themselves are also often unnatural. (Fig. 7) Leisure activities like artificial climbing, motor races, or camping take place in landscapes that were not meant for this purpose and often are temporary building sites not meant to be a landscape at all.[35]

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Fig. 6. Hans van der Meer, Aartswoud, 1998, from the series Hollandse velden/Dutch Fields, chromogenic print, 70 x 100 cm.

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Fig. 7. Bas Princen, Dam, a reserve pylon of the Westerschelde Dam is used for climbing practice, Wednesday afternoon, August 2003, chromogenic print, 120 x 150 cm.