My work develops from an interest in a specific place or as in the case of my series Brabant from an interest in the landscapes surrounding my hometown Tilburg. I have an emotional connection with these places because they constitute the landscape of my childhood.
I spend a lot of time investigating narrow geographies within these landscapes; I tend to move around in certain areas over and over again with the changing light and through the different seasons.
The Brabant series has originated from my profound feeling of loss. I mean the loss of familiar places, the loss of the original landscape and the visible history of it and of course the loss of biodiversity and free space.
Since my childhood days I have seen Brabant changing continuously and often rapidly. These changes in the landscape are, of course, the result of our efforts to provide food, housing and other needs for a growing population. Eventually to create a better world for more and more people. I look at these changes with mixed feelings; these inevitable changes have an upside and downside. The downside has to do with loss. The images of the Brabant series show mainly rural places. It is precisely this rural aspect of the landscape that has got lost largely in the last fifty years.
My sense of loss has been strengthened by the fact that it concerns the context of my youth. So it is often somewhat painful for me to see all these changes, not only the negative aspects of the changes. I guess that is why I have a preference for fading light or for the last light of the day for the subjects of my images.
In a broader perspective the traces of human activities in the countryside of Brabant, captured in my images, are in the end a kind of ‘pars pro toto’ for the enormous and irrevocable impact of mankind on this planet.
— Thieu Riemen, Tilburg, The Netherlands