For photographer Aad van Vliet we made a customized IPIbox, which, placed on a column, has been given a prominent place in a church in Hilversum. Aad is happy with his custom made IPIbox, as witnessed by his story printed below.
In 2006 the Mennonite Congregation Hilversum Huizen (DGHH, founded in 1878) merged into the Vrijzinnige Geloofsgemeenschap Hilversum. In 2010, the DGHH still had about 100 members, many of whom were over 75. There is virtually no recruitment of new members, so the faith community is aging.
For years, the members gathered in the church on the Boomberglaan in Hilversum. However, that building received a new owner in 2010 and with it a different purpose. The sale of the church was symbolic of the end of an era. Because what remains when an ancient meeting place disappears? And who were the people and what was their story? In short, what will remain?Anne de Jong (1965) walked around with these questions. Anne is chair of the church council and one of the younger members of the DGHH. In response to his questions, we came up with the project “Living Stones”. This project consisted of a series of portrait photos of the members, supplemented by a brief description of who they are and what Baptism means to them.In 2010 we started approaching the members and asking them to cooperate. That was not easy. The number of really active members is small and many members no longer had much contact with each other. Furthermore, it turned out that many people were not enthusiastic about the plan to be portrayed. Partly because their Mennonite dictates that you do your work for others in the background. After all, it is not about the individual, but about the religious community.Still, I started taking the first shots in December 2010. I wanted images with a recognizable style. Photographed up close, the head of the people turned slightly to the left and in the home situation, with subtle information about the person being portrayed in the background.
The first shot was with Mrs. Proper, a spirited 91 year old lady. Then to Mrs. Laan (then 102 years, died in 2012). Beautiful conversations and I was able to make shoots in peace.After photographing those first two ladies, I took the previously made photos of the ladies Proper and Laan with me during subsequent sessions. This allowed people to see how the recording would become. Everyone then became enthusiastic and it also resulted in new stories. Not everyone knew each other or people had not seen each other for a long time. That way I became a connector as a photographer. A nice side effect of the project.We chose three different shapes for the presentation of the photos. A website, small tiles (20x20cm) on the wall and a display. At the time I have been looking for a suitable way to present the photos in a big way. As a paper size I wanted to have about 40 × 50 cm, with a square portrait of about 35x35cm on it. A book was not possible because the project is growing and portfolio boxes are too small or simply not beautiful.Good advice was expensive until I came across Rob Sas. Rob turned out to have developed beautiful portfolio boxes, the so-called IPIbox. He was also able to supply them in a wooden version, which gave me the solution at a stroke. The paper size has become 42x52cm and I print the photos on Epson Hot Press Natural, satin laminated. The advantage of this type of paper is that people can browse without damaging the print.
We placed the IPIbox on a beautiful column and gave it a place near the altar and the baptismal font in the church, which we now use. The effect is wonderful. Not only because of the presentation, but also because of the stories that evoke the sight of the photos among Church members. Moreover, a pleasant side effect is visible to me: I have been commissioned by various members and acquaintances of members to make a portrait session. I am convinced that this cannot be seen separately from the presentation with the IPIbox!
Hilversum, March 2013, Aad van Vliet