Losing our minds by Eddy Verloes

I want this poetic-philosophical reflection to speak through my images in these corona times. In my series “Losing our minds” I consciously show only young people who are looking for themselves, for the meaning of life and the relationship between man and nature.

My series “Losing our minds” was taken at the beginning of the corona crisis 2020: a bizarre, but extremely fascinating period.

Man loses his mind because a stormy situation presents itself that is new and challenging for him. Fear tries to overpower him, he freezes, starts to reflect on the world and on the punishment that Mother Nature seems to send us. We have treated our Mother Earth too lightly, demanded too much of her in our egoism. Reflection is necessary.

I want this poetic-philosophical reflection to speak through my images in these corona times. In my series “Losing our minds” I consciously show only young people who are looking for themselves, for the meaning of life and the relationship between man and nature. It is sometimes difficult to draw the line between realism and surrealism, between reality and madness. Are those figures real or staged in my photos? Sometimes we as a layman have the same reaction: is this the real world in which we live or is this madness / surrealism? These are photos of ultra-Orthodox Jews who can enjoy their freedom in an unorthodox way in the storm (of their lives) and escape the lockdown.

My images however try to transcend the anecdotal and in that sense they not only reflect what is going on with the corona crisis in 2020, but they try to be a universal expression. They could take place anywhere in the world and not just on the Belgian coast where these photos were taken in one day and within one hour. The young people in my photos are of course a symbol of change / revolution / going against the tide. They symbolize spring that starts anew every year. Within these young people you see in my images “Einzelgänger”, those who only try to compete against society. Some idealists throw themselves completely and don’t care about anything. Their slogan is straightforward. More than ever we realize through this crisis that man is a social animal and it is difficult to stay in his room. In group we are strong, we go for it and we climb the highest mountains. In this case: dunes of course.

Ultimately, we are so dependent on the forces of nature that we cannot help but be guided by the flow. I consciously placed “Statues in the storm” last because I think the symbolism is the greatest: people become statues, as it were, puny – sometimes pathetic – beings in the universe. The wandering man looking for his own way, reflecting how to deal with himself, the others and the earth.

About Eddy Verloes

As a visual storyteller, Eddy Verloes creates a poetic and mysterious world in his mainly black and white photos that sometimes balance between realism and surrealism. He is always focused on the decisive moment and shoots with his soul, not with his camera. Some of his (street) photos are also spiced with a touch of humor and it’s difficult to put him in a box. Eddy Verloes studied literature, philosophy and arts at the University of Louvain (Belgium) and the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i.B. (Germany), is a lecturer at the Royal Military Academy and General Manager of Verloes Languages & Training. As a photographer, he studied at CVO Louvain (Belgium). 

Between 2015 and 2021 he has published 4 photo books (“No time to Verloes”, “Cuba libre”, “Zeezuchten” and “Losing Our Minds/Buiten zinnen”) and has exhibited in several galleries in the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. He has been selected several times for national and international competitions (LensCulture, CEWE Photo Challenge, Fotonale Brugge). In 2020 he has already received more than 30 awards/prizes including the jury prize of the 11th Photography Contest in France (Toulouse), he was the Belgian Winner of the EISA Maestro Photo Contest 2020, finalist at the PassePartout Photography Prize (Italy), Photo Festival in Cadaqués (Spain), Vienna International Photo Awards 2020, Athens Photo Festival (Greece), New York Center for Photographic Art, selected for PhotoPlace Gallery (Vermont), winner at the Open Call 2020 (“Fine Art”) Lucie Foundation Los Angeles, selected for the EYE-Photo Magazine (Austria), Winner at the Antwerp International Photography Festival, selected as one of the 25 Winners at the All-About-Photo Contest B&W, selected as one of the best contemporary photographers worldwide by the American site All-About-Photo, accepted into A Smith Gallery’s “light” exhibition (Texas), selected for the Atlanta Photography Group in the Tula Art Center, Winner at the 3. Fotowettbewerb des Museums Synagoge Gröbzig (Germany), Winner of the Life Framer Photo Contest 2020 (“Civilization”), selected at the Duncan Miller Gallery (California), SE Center for Photography (Greenville), Black Box Gallery (Portland), selected for the International Art Fair Venice 2021(Italy), selected for Rotterdam Photo Festival (The Netherlands), Travel Photographer of the Year 2020 (Best Single Image – People of the world). [Official Website]

Vision


It happened by the sea: the air turned green
and the wind began to roar under a sky
like a mad rolling eye;

the dunes shrank back, retreated, then settled
farther inland. And on the waterlogged shore
were black shapes, the likes of which I had never seen 

on a beach; from a distance they resembled something
as fantastical as runaways from hell. But when I looked closer,
they were orthodox boys from Lubavitch

or Pshevorsk or some such world-denying movement.
They were singing, dancing even: a strange joy clung to their
flapping jackets, as if they were expecting something

from the wind, as if it would carry them over the sea to set them
down on a sunny shore, where they would not be tolerated 
as oddities, but where an elated

voice would welcome them – ‘Welcome, boys!’ And, in my head,
death whistled a little tune: my head was a finely crafted green
cut glass, that reflected the light and that, at any time,

might shatter on a keening note
of the wind. But it just died down; just laid a gentle
hand on my face, still glowing bright from what I had seen.

Benno Barnard

Book

The Book Losing our Minds will be published in May 2021, Poems and songs are published in English.

“On a blustery day in the spring of 2020 Eddy Verloes met a group of excited Hasidic Jewish boys on a Belgian beach, an encounter resulting in a series of photographs which would travel the world and make his name as a photographer. He asked the famous poet, Benno Barnard, who knows and loves Jewish culture, to write poems to accompany the images. Losing Our Minds is the moving and witty result of their cooperation. Inspired by the photos and poems, Bart Bekker and Jan Vanwinckel of the studio project The river curls around the town took up the challenge to set these lyrics to music.” May 2021 the photo and poetry book + CD will be published in Belgium @Poëziecentrum (Ghent). Poëziecentrum

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