Here it is. Our first book together; all images of Margaret Lansink and all poems by Rene van Hulst. Printed in two blacks and silver in a design by Akikio Wakabayashi. A book on an inspiring story which still has so much relevance today. A book in which we do not want to lecture but give every individual a small nudge to help build a society where empathy for the other is omnipresent.
As Katharine Oktober Matthews wrote in the preface of the book: “Every moment contains multiple possibilities, though sometimes we cannot feel it. Small decisions, small gestures, and small actions ripple outwards from our bodies into the lives of others, collapsing the many possibilities into the determination of reality. With a casual and careless stroke, we can crush the spirit of another in passing without any awareness of having done so. Equally, we can unknowingly radiate to others the inspiration and joy to live another day. Our deepest acts of both cruelty and kindness may in fact be invisible to us.”.
Being aware of this notion makes the start of a different interaction between humans. Even if we didn’t know each other beforehand. Just like the Dutch counsel Jan Zwartendijk and the Japanese counsel Chiune Sugihara who issued the visa that saved the lives of thousands of Jews. People both consuls didn’t know beforehand.
Or as Oktober Matthews says it so beautifully:
In her black and white images, Lansink traces the feeling of everyday saviours like Zwartendijk through an intuitive view of Kaunas and Japan. She mixes scenes from ordinary daily life with shots of blurred confusion, and layered scenes with reflections that hold us apart from what we see. In his series of short poems, van Hulst muses on the potential of our human existence: we are all afraid and alone, together. In combination, the photographs and words dwell in the possibility of any given moment for a person to choose fear, apathy, and anger, or to choose compassion and kindness. Gently, they urge for kindness.