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Returning was always a tough experience

Returning was always a tough experience
Photo Information
Copyright: Bert Hoetmer (bertolucci) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1885 W: 126 N: 4149] (13366)
Genre: People
Medium: Black & White
Date Taken: 2009-07-11
Categories: Decisive Moment
Camera: Panasonic Lumix G1, Lumix G VARIO 45-200 f/3.5-5.6 OIS, SanDisk SDhc X3 8GB, Hoya HD Protector 52 mm
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Induastrial Decline - Le Declin de l'industrie, The B&W's, Old People Portraits, People in the frame., Evocations in black and white [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2012-12-02 5:59
Viewed: 3705
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 22
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Returning was always a tough experience

Captured in Maastricht, the capital of Limburg, the southernmost province of Holland. Until the mid sixties it was a thriving coal mining and industrial region. Nowadays hardly any industrial activity is left. The ruined structure in the background is the former 'Sfinx' earthenware factory that closed its doors some 5 years ago.
I captured this old man, lost in thoughts near one of the old factory entrances. A scene that belongs to what economists call ‘the shift from an industrial to a service economy’.

Some background info about the pic: It was shot from a tour boat in the locks of the ‘Bassin’ (the old river docks of Maastricht) and I had fully zoomed in (200mm=400mm in full frame). The sky was grey-ish and I darkened it a tiny bit during the PSCS6 processing to make the white hair of the man stand out more against it.

The title is a ‘six word story’. About this type of story: In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway made a bet , challenged by some colleagues, that he could write a complete story..... in just six words. He came up with the famous "For sale: baby shoes, never used" . The colleagues paid up and Hemingway is said to have considered it his best work.

(Edit February 1, 2013: In a recent article this Hemmingway story is refuted.)

This pic was posted in the Six word story group of Flickr, it explores the things the "shortest of short stories" can do for photography. And vice versa.

I’m still very busy. This is #3 of the ‘evocation in black & white‘ triptych.

danos, kabel, jhm, aliabazari, Royaldevon, lucasgalodoido has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To UlfE: different generationsbertolucci 1 2012-12-06 12:11
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • danos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13706 W: 295 N: 27300] (109643)
  • [2012-12-02 7:29]

Hello Bert,
nicethe B/W format with the old man to be in his thoughts.I like the POV with the man to be placed perfect in the frame.Your note completes the whole scenery.

Have a good afternoon,Danos

  • Great 
  • kabel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 259 W: 0 N: 322] (1930)
  • [2012-12-02 9:01]

Hello Bert, Wowwee! First, your ambitious six word story title "Returning was always a tough experience" does indeed explain this magnificent b/w image with the strong graphic background in a uniquely Hemingwayesque way. I am so impressed about your intellectual notes and the willingness on your part to litereally raise the bar here a bit.
With his downward glance, the mans' face shows us the pain that accompanies the economic shift taking place in industrialized nations these days. We have been going through that shift for the last 30 years here in the U.S. and now we are going through a "digital revolution" that will eventually reduce jobs for the many to jobs for the few.
Your 'evocation in b/w series' is very intriguing and I am looking forward to the next installment. Will you be creating a group or personal theme about this?
Have a great day,

  • Great 
  • emka Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10143 W: 144 N: 25376] (123537)
  • [2012-12-02 9:53]

Hi Bert, Quite different from your usual graphic shots. very sad story. And similar stories happen in so many places. The town or factories once busy, now are abandoned. And what about the people like this old man?
Impressive omage.

Warm regrads


  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 24418 W: 523 N: 40847] (175764)
  • [2012-12-04 2:41]

Dag Bert,

Een beetje een leeftijdsgenoot van mij, ja mijmeren over de vervlogentijd meer kan men niet meer doen.
het portret van de man vertoont duidelijke sporen van bezorgdheid, de rimples maken het beeld alleen maar mooier samen met zijn grijshaar.
Goed gedaan Bert deze kon wel in zwart-wit door de man zijn leeftijd. Bedankt.

Groeten uit Vlaanderen,

Hi Bert's
Portret van een mooi en aantrekkelijk, met een goede selectie van zwart en wit. Blootstelling en zicht was goed. Rustig.
Bedankt voor het registreren voor deze leuke foto

met betrekking

  • Great 
  • UlfE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2518 W: 81 N: 3654] (14641)
  • [2012-12-05 12:33]
  • [+]

Hi Bert,

A very nice picture indeed. I love the low perspective, the B&W and the close up of the man in lost in thoughts. Great idea to let his grey hair stand out.

Interesting note on the transformation from an industrial to a service economy.

Many can for sure mourn times gone by and be sad that traditional industries with great products and a long history are being closed down. Especially those that may have been employed there all their life.

The question is whether it was better before. The younger generation does not want poorly paid and often dirty industrial jobs. They are more interested in the skilled and well-paid jobs in the emerging service sector. My guess is that many think that Maastricht is better now. TFS and have a nice evening!

Kind regards,


Hello Bert,

I love your photograph and I love your text.
It makes one think beyond the picture!

There are so many places like this ... once thriving, now just heart wrenching memories. Your angle on the man is perfect; it gives us wonderful textural details, a sense of mood and leads on to where his thoughts are going! A real classic.
Thank yopu!

Have a lovely Sunday,
Bev :-)

  • Great 
  • korbee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 602 W: 0 N: 868] (6619)
  • [2012-12-23 13:38]

Deze kan letterlijk zo in de krant of weekblad Bert,je kan haast kijken naar de gedachten van deze man,de tijd dat de dingen uit vevlogen tijden...
De oude pleepottenfabriek op de achtergrond is een stille getuige.

Ik wens je een heel gezond 2013 voor jou en je dierbaren.


Wat een sterk portret in in prachtig z/w....

Hello Bert,
Great b&w portrait with perfect background.
Interesting notes.
TFS and best regards

Olá Bert,
belo retrato desse senhor, e a opção pelo P&B me pareceu acertada. Belo trabalho.
Parabéns e Abraço,

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