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Gert. A portrait

The story of Gert. A portrait

Gert (Gerard) and his girlfriend

Gert is moving around in a wheelchair, he was hit by a motorcycle when he was 12 years old and it left him severely handicapped. Most of the days he spends downtown in his scoot mobile, whatever the weather is. He always has his photos of “the good old times” and he shows them to anyone who cares to talk to him.
He is like a mobile tourist office. He knows the best places to have a coffee and sandwiches. Every now and then people give him some money.

Gert lives in a customized home and Social Services keep an eye on him. He has a girlfriend who lives with him, sometimes you can see her a few meters behind the scoot mobile.
She used to be very pretty and Gert shows a couple of photos of her from the time she was a teacher, but then something happened and it made her completely lose her head. Whenever she walks behind the scoot mobile she is totally in herself, swearing and raving like a town crier and repeating everything Gert tells three times. She is difficult again, is what Gert than says.

When I came to Gert´s house to make the portrait, she was there too. I was taken on a little tour in his house and we ended in the bedroom, a small sized room filled with teddy bears and other stuffed animals – oh, and a bed of course. “Sit here”, Gert told his girlfriend, “Willem is going to take our photo”.
It had to be there – well – I could think of a better place. Suddenly I felt stuffy and I got the jitters. I hurried to make the photo.

The photo dates back to 1994, Minolta X700, 35 mm lens, a little flashlight to the ceiling and Ilford FP4, printed on Ilford MGFB.1K