SYLVESTRIS PICTURES

There's only one moment
to take the right picture.

A. J. Verhoef

EXPOSITIONS

PHOTO EXPOSITION

Coletiva de
Artes Plásticas

On the occasion of the 44th commemoration of 25 April 1974, an exhibition was organised of various disciplines including photography, painting and sculpture.

BIOGRAPHY

Photography is a
lifestyle for me

That’s why I almost always have my camera at hand. Not to capture everything that is happening, but rather to photograph what is so wonderful and only lasts a second. 

It is special to look attentively to the play of light of flowers trapped in ice, or capture the contrast of summer flowers against an ever-darkening sky.

I can experience a lot of pleasure in it, in particular when the photo is printed properly.

Because I’ve been able to discover the pleasure of photographing at a young age, I have been following courses in the field of analog photography quite early.

With the digital camera and photo software it’s easy to edit the complete picture as you wish, but this is beyond the limit for me.

My photos are not edited afterwards. No Photoshop for me, just one chance to make the picture that I have in mind. This is the creative and artistic challenge for me. There is only one chance to capture the perfect light, the intended aspect ratio, the proper contrast.

I regularly visit galleries and exhibitions in museums for modern arts. The museum for photography Haags Foto Museum in The Hague, the Netherlands, is one of my favourites. In Portugal its Serraves in Porto and Gulbenkian in Lisbon. The various forms of modern art at international art fairs, such as in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels and Lisbon teach me to observe my surroundings in a different way, each time again.

During my professional work as a communications consultant for the local government, I have also been active in The Hague private owned sculpture museum ‘Beelden aan Zee’ for several years. I attended a number of courses to become a qualified tour guide and facilitator in several projects in the field of modern sculpture. In that period I optimized my way of observing and interpreting my surroundings. Something that makes photography even more interesting for me.

My name is Abrahamina Verhoef and I lived and worked for a long period in The Hague. I complete HBO in Culture and Society in The Hague, got my Communication B certificate in Utrecht and then I pursued Sociology for a few years at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

For four years there have been exhibitions of my photos in the Coimbra and Viseu districts.

REFERENCES

"One Chance to Take the Right Photo"

By Cynthia Adina Kirkwood

Abrahamina Verhoef is more than a photographer. She is a visual artist. Her photographs of nature are edgy, always instilling wonder and, sometimes, foreboding.

Her work, like that of the American painter Georgia O’Keefe, can transport an object from reality to surreality. In O’Keefe’s Summer Days, for example, an imposing sun-bleached deer skull with antlers floats above a diminutive yellow blossom and a tiny grouping of desert flowers in a cloudy sky above red hills.

Verhoef’s Tachyon also propels an everyday image to a place of fantasy. It is a photograph of a wildflower seen on roadsides in central Portugal. The tall blossom, which looks like deadly carrot, is photographed from below, looking up at a robust white tapering stem. At the end of the stem, green spokes shoot out clusters of yellow flowers into a blueish sky, disturbed by wisps of cirrus clouds and a blinding sun. A tachyon is a hypothetical particle that travels faster than light. Because of the particle’s speed, an observer would not see it approaching but would see two simultaneous images of it, appearing and departing in opposite directions. Scientists have not found any evidence for the existence of such particles. However, Verhoef manages to take a haunting photograph of the nonexistent.

Also in the Flowers series, a Verhoef photograph seems to pay homage to the still-life painting from the Dutch Golden Age. Verhoef, who is Dutch, pictures two glass vases. The smaller one in front holds a blue hyacinth and a stout vertical leaf. The other vase holds several flowers, including white freesias and a deep purple tulip. In between the two vases, a brown-tinged white rose has fallen on the counter. The withered rose could symbolize death, which is often represented in the 17th century paintings. The reflection of light and of the flowers on the glass vases is remarkable. Verhoef has the sensibility of a painter.

The photographer talks about “the cycle of life”:

On an early winter morning in my Portuguese garden, I saw something extraordinary. It was four degrees below zero. The wind and ice droplets in the air had worked together that night. On a large tree trunk, ice crystals were formed in beautiful patterns.

Because the sun was rising already, the miracle should quickly disappear.

Just in time, I was able to read the language of the wind and the air in the ice. And a little bit became visible about who was visiting there.

In her series, Ice Patterns, each piece is unrecognizable as ice. Only after the viewer has been alerted to the subject is it clear. Otherwise, the photographs are flourishing waves of grayish and bluish white, which are shaded expertly with light and shadow.

Verhoef also has a series called Flowers in Ice.  The roses, tulips and other flowers do not seem real. One piece, Water-in-Fire, astounds the viewer. Water droplets are in the foreground and columns of red stand tall behind them.

“There is just one chance to take the right photo,” she says.

“I have been following courses in the field of analog photography quite early. My photos are not edited afterwards. No Photoshop for me, just one chance to make the picture I have in mind. This is the creative and artistic challenge for me. There is only one chance to capture the perfect light, the intended aspect ratio, the proper contrast.”

This visual artist does not waste her chances. 

@ Cynthia Adina Kirkwood, journalist and author of Turn On, Tune Out

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