Interview with Jet van Gaal

Blueprint – Your skin is the blueprint of your life

To me, beauty is a face of which you see that it has lived; wrinkles that show that you have laughed; the color of your pigment and other external characteristics that connect you to generations that have preceded you; structures of the skin that create special patterns and scars that tell about setbacks that have formed you. These are substantial characteristics that make us unique. It is part of our identity. I see our skin as a miracle of millions of individual cells that together form the largest organ of your body. It protects us from the outside world and is at the same time the passage to our inner world, to our personal stories.

Can you find 3 words that describe what your book is about?

Vulnerable, self-acceptance and beauty.

What was the motivation behind this project?

It intrigues me that we often do not find ourselves beautiful or good enough and rather praise others. We think we are all different, but we all have the same uncertainties and feelings. I would like to shift the focus from the outside to the inside and raise awareness of how taking a different perspective and focus, can reveal a new reality. Reveal the strength which lies in Weakness and shows the Beauty in Imperfection.

Why did you decide to give this project the form of a book?

It’s an intimate project with intimate photos and for me, it was immediately clear that a book was the best form for this project. The images reinforce each other and in a book version, it remains small, intimate and tangible. The feeling (tactility) and appearance of the paper also plays an important role.

What do you expect the viewer experience when they look at your book?

To create awareness and to see your own or other’s imperceptions in a different way. Focus more on the inside, rather than on the outside, because that is who you are.

As this is our first interview, can you introduce your work in general?

To open the eyes for the vulnerability in all of us and the details that are usually overlooked or too easily judged. That people discover the ties that bind us and the common humanity inside us, beyond appearance, looks, backgrounds, race, and cultures.

How do you see this book in the bigger frame of your work?

This book is a small part. It’s only about our outer characteristics, but this applies to more things in our lives. I think we strive too much for perfection, work hard, judge quickly, we often forget what is important to us and how many beautiful things are around us and to enjoy ourselves. With my photography, I want to show the beauty and positivity in small things or subjects that need attention.

Can you say something about the editing of your book?

The editing and design I did by myself,

Knowing that every detail is important, could you mention some technical detail that was of special importance for the realization of the final product?

For me, the choice of paper was the most important. I wanted to choose paper that came close to the skin feeling. The paper is a bit yellow and has a nice structure, it is also quite thin so that the viewer can perceive the vulnerability of the subject.


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