Vreugdevuur Scheveningen is a deep dive into a working-class story of epic proportions, photographed and filmed by Romke Hoogwaerts. Every New Year’s Eve in Holland, two neighborhoods build rivaling bonfires on the beaches of the The Hague. These days they are the biggest in the world.
After the Second World War, The Hague, Holland, was a city of skirmishes every year over collections of discarded Christmas trees to burn on the night of the year's passing; often, the violence on the streets leading up to every New Year's Eve would get out of hand. With the blessings of local authorities, the violence slowly evolved into a battle between Scheveningen and Duindorp, two coastal neighborhoods separated by a harbor, to see who could build the biggest bonfire.
Romke Hoogwaerts' family is from Scheveningen, and he decided to make their bonfire story the subject of his first major photographic study. After two years of documentation, research, interviews and writing, his book and film are finally nearing completion. Read more about the story and photographs here.
About the book
Published by Gnomic Book, this 164 page book takes inspiration from photo essay books from the sixties. It is a soft cover book with 90 duotone plates. This will be Gnomic's 5th project, scheduled for release in September 2018.
The book includes two essays. The first is about the history of the Kerstbomenjacht ("Christmastreehunt"), accompanied by archival photographs dating back to the very beginning of the New Year's madness. Romke Hoogwaerts dug through city archives to find the finest photographs on the matter and even spent a week with Jos van Leeuwen, a legendary local press photographer with a story so fantastic (and archives so replete) that Romke has been developing an additional documentary to cover it.
The second essay in the book describes his initial experiences with the bonfires in detail and is complemented with a selection of outtakes from the book, as well as captions for the photos in the main sequence. Both of the essays are presented in English and Dutch. Read a little more about the book here.
About the film
For last year's fire, Romke came with a second camera in hand to gather footage of the event. That footage has shaped up to be a short documentary with a character of its own, studying the process of construction, all the emotion that gets put into it and the 'hardstyle' techno they play throughout the week. Watch an excerpt & trailer below, from the current rough cut:
Who is Romke Hoogwaerts?
Romke Hoogwaerts was born in Atlanta in 1990. His Dutch parents frequently moved for work, to Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, Singapore and Vietnam before Romke moved to New York City, where he received a degree in Visual & Critical Studies from SVA (2013). He has independently published several photography books, mostly for his former project, Mossless. For that project and for a variety of other publications, he has written about and interviewed hundreds of photographers. Vreugdevuur Scheveningen is his first major project as an independent photographer.
What are these rewards?
Besides the book and film, which you can read about above, we have a few other options for interested backers.
- Postcard set
A set of four featured photographs from the book (pictures coming soon), on its own or with the book. Either way, the documentary film comes with the set.
- 16x20" prints
For those who want to take their support to the next level, there are a few photographs available as signed 16x20" prints. Click here to see these options larger.
- Gnomic Book bundles
We are offering bundles of Gnomic's other recent and forthcoming titles as well, including Jason Koxvold's Knives and Shane Rocheleau's YAMOTFABAATA (both pictured below). Read a conversation between Koxvold and Rocheleau about these projects on The Reservoir.
Thank you for your support!
Risks and challenges
Printing any book is a labor of love and requires skill, experience, and patience. Every printing process encounters some challenge - whether they be paper availability, technical difficulties, or customs delays. Through our previous projects we've built strong relationships with some of Europe's finest printers and are confident that we will be able to work through any problems to deliver a beautiful result.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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