Persona February, 21st 2024 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 454 - Frank Lodder

frank lodder – 1

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 454 – Frank Lodder
It could be a construction worker working on the Amsterdam North/South line, a posing model in his studio or ‘just’ a girl walking around the streets of Malawi. Frank Lodder portrays people. Preferably in a way that reveals something in the photographed subject that was not yet visible.

frank lodder – 2

It is perhaps the driving force of the South Limburg-born photographer: making the invisible visible. At the ‘By Photographers Art Fair’ in Loods 6 in Amsterdam I saw work by Frank Lodder.
A few weeks after the exhibition I visit Lodder, who lives at the back of an old country house that borders the Naardermeer nature reserve. It is a large space, a residential studio. To the right of the door I see all kinds of recording equipment and lights. In the middle of the room is an old wooden farmhouse support pillar. We are sitting at a wooden table, in the ceiling I see the grids of round lamps, a little further away is a black refrigerator and on the right a sturdy chest of drawers. “It comes from Limburg, it contained chasubles and other priestly vestments,” says Frank.

frank lodder – 3

To the left of the table I see several photos hanging on a round wall – it looks like an apse of a church – including a large one with his daughter’s face on it. Frank – white beard, black glasses: “That was the start of my current photo project entitled ‘Making (IN)VISIBLE’. In this project I want to make invisible things visible.”

frank lodder – 4

On a photo report in Malawi
Lodder took his first serious steps on the path of photography about fifteen years ago, when he made a report for The Red Cross in Malawi, a project in which Frank follows photo model Yfke Storm who visits Red Cross projects. “We filmed in villages. In one of those settlements I saw a girl of eight or nine years old. Our eyes met and we both stood still. I looked at her, she looked at me. There was recognition, something magical happened. She looked so special. It seemed like she was looking through me.”

frank lodder – 5

Lodder pushes the button. The result turns out to be a special photo indeed. Reason to submit the image for a National Geographic photo competition. A number of responses follow, including one from a female scientist, a gifted woman born in Sri Lanka. Frank says about this scientist: “She analyzed me based on this photo. We talked for hours. According to her, the portrait said more about me than about the girl. I’m so glad I met her. Because here the theme that I have always been working on has emerged. She has made sure that I see what I am doing.”
The look of the photographed girl was an eye-opener for Lodder. “She looked beyond the lens, right through you. A portal to another dimension, to the soul. The young generation is wiser than we used to be. That’s what I want to try to show. I want to stand in front of them, look them in the eye.” He shows a reduced photo of the Mona Lisa. “I studied the Mona Lisa. She also has that different look.”

frank lodder – 6-

Big change ahead
The young generation also has a goal, according to Frank. “The Age of Aquarius has now arrived. A big change is coming. Technology offers great opportunities to clean up the shit our generation has left behind. Technology becomes more of a group process than an individual thing. The young generation has a wisdom that makes it possible to solve all kinds of problems. There are fewer prejudices, there is a more objective view of things.”
It is precisely this fact that he wants to visualize, especially with portraits. “I want to capture the change and how people move through it. A portrait shows you things about the person portrayed that others have not yet seen. Things that surprise, attract or repel.”

frank lodder – 7

In the film HUMAN (2015), filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand had men and women tell their stories in front of the camera, with their faces large on screen. Will it look like this? “I want to show it even more through the eyes of people, people from different cultures. One is crying, the other is laughing and the third is unperturbed.”
Lodder will soon make a new series of portraits. “The best photos are taken ‘in between shooting’, when people forget that they are being photographed. They then get a relaxed look.” However, the photo that could perhaps be called Frank’s ‘key work’ is not an example of this: it was taken in a fully controlled setting. It is the photo of the girl who has taken off her face mask, showing the contours and white skin where it has been.

frank lodder – 10

“In the autumn of 2020, the corona period, I had the exhibition ‘Corona extra’ with friend and colleague photographer Henk Braam in the Nijmegen Stevenskerk. I looked into the future, at the consequences of corona for social life. The theme of ‘eyes’ manifested itself there for the first time. My version of the Mona Lisa was created there. The exhibition then went to the Nijmegen Theater, but no one was able to see it due to the second lockdown.”
After the corona period, Lodder will continue photographing the Portraits in his studio. “The new generation is wiser than we used to be at that age. And you can see that when you look them in the eye. I want to show that with the portraits. I invite the viewer to look, very simply, at the eyes of the person portrayed.”

frank lodder – 14

Leading up to photography
After studying AVP (Audio Visual Productions) at the Sittard University of Applied Sciences, Lodder started as a cameraman in 1995. He does news topics for the current affairs program Network, TV drama, sports, many medical programs – “I was in the operating room for years” -, documentaries such as ‘Connecting Delta Cities’ (commissioned by the UVA), a film for BNN about drummer Richie Backfire, Try before you die (also BNN), Heilig Vuur (NCRV), Man bijt Hond.
Then, 15 years ago now, the photo shooting begins. Lodder then gets tired of camera work and goes to Malawi with Yfke Sturm. He records the construction of the North/South line for the municipality of Amsterdam. The photos were on display at the metro entrance of Central Station in the Information Center.

frank lodder – 15

Love for photography
“It is the most beautiful profession there is. It has no fixed working hours and it is really different every day. Make money or make nothing. Most of us have a part-time job these days. Me too, I drive around VIPS and speak to a lot of people, so I continue to see how people are holding up in these times of major changes. Lately I have had regular visitors from Ukraine. I hear whole stories, I find it fascinating (and I also get paid for it).”
“I am guided by my intuition, by what I see”
“I am guided by my intuition, by what I see. And as little as possible because of what others think of something. A nice statement in this context: ‘Tomorrow I will take my best photo’.
1) girl Malawi, 2) photo exhibition ‘Corona Extra’, 3) Moreen 3, 4) photo exhibition ‘Corona Extra’, Moreen, 5) photo exhibition ‘Corona Extra’, 6) Blijburg, 7) skull Faisel, 8) portrait of daughter, 9) self-portrait, 10) exhibition at Central Station construction of the North/South line Amsterdam 

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