Guest Posts Stories

How it started, and the magic of things

Finding a subject to photograph can start by fascination.

As a graphic designer I always dealt with photographs, from others or my own.

I’ve been asked to photograph portraits to illustrate articles and interviews, buildings, props and many other things. I did this as part of my profession, but more or less mechanically.

Then came a period of unemployment. I stayed all days in the house, and I sometimes felt discouraged and apathetic.

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During a private concert with singing bowls I met a black cougar. Not on earth, not in my dreams, but in me. She was lying in a tree and she was beautiful.

What do I have to do to end this misery? I asked the cougar. She yawned and looked the other way.

No really! I have to know what to do, I insisted.

The cougar turned her head and her yellow eyes rested on me.

I’ll tell you what to do. You get out of the house and for six weeks long you go everyday out to walk for at least half an hour.


I followed this advice.

I did not feel like seeing people, so I went to industrial environments. Only me and my camera.

And there, in the midst of old stuff and nothingness, I revitalized when I discovered the beauty of decay. I got fascinated by forms and structures and colors of steel containers, industrial doors and everything rusty. The subject got me, I got into metal!

I got more and more energy from walking with my camera and photographing made me forget my worries.


In this area there stood a huge building. It was a repository for farmer equipment and iron. The company relocated to a new industrial area and there was not much activity anymore. I wanted a way to visit this building.

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One evening I watched a regional channel on tv. My husband said: There! That is the director of that company. Immediately I noticed that there was abstract art hanging behind his desk. That gave me the courage to send him an e-mail in which I asked to visit the old building. And he said yes!

A fellow worker guided me and even brought me to the roof. It was so exciting to walk there, roaming every floor of this huge repository.


I sent some pictures to the director. And guess what? He bought twenty photographs for its annual report and paid me even more than I asked.

That’s how I got back on track.

Ten years later I still love the beauty of decay.



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  • Reply
    AC Khoo
    September 21, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Thank you, Carien, for sharing a part of yourself… And what an encouraging piece! Gives one hope and motivation to carry on…. I am happy how the beauty of decay helped you. And wish you all the best from hereon.


    • Reply
      September 21, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Thank you, Ac!

  • Reply
    September 21, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    What a wonderful inspiring story Carien. Thanks for sharing.
    Joanne @

    • Reply
      September 21, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      My pleasure, Joanne 🙂

  • Reply
    September 21, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    What an interesting and motivating story Carien! I totally appreciate the textures you share in your photographs and love your creative titles.
    Thanks for sharing that with us here.
    And now we know the rest of the story.

    • Reply
      September 21, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Thank you, Patricia!

  • Reply
    Leigh Goessl
    September 21, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks Carien for sharing your story with us. Your work is amazing. Sometimes when I am places and see rust, I think to myself, “What would Carien see here?”

    • Reply
      September 21, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      Haha, so rust makes you think of me, that’s great Leigh, thank you!

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