Open view: Monday 8th May, 6:30


We, human beings, feel the need to protect ourselves on a daily basis. We feed ourselves, we try to take care of our health. We know that our vulnerability can change or end our lives in the blink of an eye. We escape or fight when we are in danger. Most of the time we do what is best for us and we put ourselves first. However, this ego has also caused a lot of problems over the years; environmental problems make headlines every single day, yet some people -some leaders- still believe there’s no need to invest in solutions. Directly and indirectly human life is destroying nature and its waters.

Recently, the wonderful news was announced by minister Finlayson that the Whanganui River in New Zealand finally has its human rights (source: ABC Australia). The Iwi (tribe) has been lighting for the rights of this living whole since the 1870s. Is it strange or even delusional to desire this recognition for the relationship between us, humans, and this force of nature?

Water will always be our most precious resource of life. However, it also difficult to fully grasp nature because our oxygen-needing bodies are not able to reach this underwater world. The closer we come to exploring, the higher the risk of drowning. Maybe some people are not able to have a genuine connection with nature because of a physical and mental distance? When our brains are made up of 75 percent of water surely we must be able to experience the deepest oceans in the imagination of the mind. Westerhuis challenges the viewer to fantasize what the experience of unexplored nature looks like and in this way dares the viewer to take a look beneath the surface.

Richard Westerhuis is an independent creative photographer with a love for pure and timeless photography. He believes there’s a beauty in being vulnerable and being yourself. During his voyages as a yachtsman he is constantly wondering what is beneath the surface of the water. In this series he combines his fascination for the oceans with portrait photography. The project’s title is inspired by the article ‘New Zealand’s Whanganui River granted legal status as a person after 170-year battle’ published on ABC Australia’s website abc.net.au (March 2017) and the article ‘There are now 3 rivers that legally have the same rights as humans’ published by the Washingon Post on washingtonpost.com (March 2017). The names of the pictures are inspired by the report ‘World’s top 10 rivers at risk.’ published by WWF International. Written by Wong, CM, Williams, CE, Pittock, J, Collier, U and P Schelle. (March 2007)

Richard would like to thanks the Camera Club and the models:
Cher, Joelle, Julia, Kim, Loeki, Luus, Marjolein, Nadine, Nathalie, Nicky, Nicoline, Reki & Rosita