It was some time ago that I first saw the innovative and lovely video of a girl called Lotte growing from a baby to a beautiful eighteen year old and I marvelled then at the skill and the patience of the film maker.
It was only recently that I found out he was from Utrecht and so I had to talk to Frans Hofmeester about his projects and THAT video.
He was happy to talk and we had a really nice conversation.
As a new father Frans Hofmeester was afraid that he would forget how his children, Lotte and then Vince, looked like as he and they grew older.
He saw what all parents saw, that their children change within minutes and the changes are constant. So he decided to film them on a regular basis. This was before the time of social media as we know it today.
He was ahead of his time.
He feels that records like this should be available to the world. We can see that millions have seen the images of Lotte and Vince on Facebook.
But Frans also thinks they should be on display in museums so that we can all see them.
He told me that his images are most popular in the USA and he has appeared on several talk shows over there.
His children have been very tolerant of him over the years, but for them it is all they know.
Frans said that Lotte was his director. She approved every shot, but also approved the showing of each of her emotions. We see the whole gamut of her sensitivities and it is to her everlasting credit that Lotte accepts the images he took, whether she was sad or had a bad hair day or just wasn’t feeling right. Frans filmed at random times and tried to make sure he was never boring.
He prefers to film in natural light and we can see this is reflected in the outcome of his work.
His projects involving his two children are his favourite work and as he says, what could he do to improve upon it?
He is still filming today. We can see Vince growing into a young man whilst Lotte is of course recognised by some as she goes about her daily life, but we all know the Dutch way of just letting people live their life so she is usually free to get on with her life like any other Dutch teenager.
Frans was able to see his films being used in a promotion by the government in Wales for Positive Parenting:
It is not just his two children that occupy Frans Hofmeester. Another project that he has developed and one that brings colour and imagination to an otherwise bland wall is the Vaartsche Rijn mural project. I passed them every day when I last visited Utrecht and marveled at the colour and the imagination that they showed. Flowers brought natures natural colours under the bridge and then the hands reaching through them made me wonder just what was going on. Art should make you think. Frans had deliberately involved the local community and you can see in the hands, the contribution that people made towards the project.
Frans Hofmeester asked the public what they liked and they came up with Colour, Flowers and People and so the work reflects that. They are the peoples hands.
Frans is at the moment developing another participatory art project for somewhere in Utrecht.
It is to the municipalities credit that Utrecht sees Artwork and Sculpture as important.
He loves the old town, to be expected he enjoys the old and new architecture.
We on the other hand enjoy his work. It is rare to see something so beautiful and original.
Utrecht should be very proud of Frans Hofmeester.