we are ivar

portraits & stories of people I met

Meet Barry, Nelly & Sheeta.

To be as straightforward as possible, without these two wonderful people I would not have been here.

Who I am now is for the biggest part all thanks to my parents. They showed me the true beauty of nature and taught me to be curious and respectful to other people. They supported me when I wanted to join the Royal Ballet Academy, and when I wanted to quit. They might have been disappointed when I had to leave my high school, but instead of showing this they helped me finding a job. They were supportive when I left that design & programming job 5 years later to explore other jobs, which eventually lead to me rolling into the photography world.

Thank you for everything Barry & Nelly. 

Meet Estefania.

The story of how I met Estefania will be accompanied by another photo, a photo that I sadly did not have have the opportunity to take during my recent brief visit to Berlin, as I did not get to meet up with Carlos, Brüno and Michael the Dino

 

Luckily I did get to enjoy Estefania's hospitality and wonderful cooking in Alaska (or find them on Facebook). If you're in Berlin and looking for a new and tasty (vegan) place, make sure to stop by at their bar. It's definitely on my list of stops for the next Berlin trip.

Meet Joan & Sucre.

Would you ask "Is Joan a photographer?", I'd answer yes. His portrait skills are some of the best I know. But if you would ask "What is Joan?", I'd answer differently.

During the years I've known Joan he has been many things, to name just a few: a photographer, a tattoo artist, coffee lover and pipe maker. But these are not the things that define Joan for me. To me he has always been a wonderful person who's way of discovering, following and developing his passions, is a true inspiration. 

 

This photo is to me not only a reminder of the wonderful time I spent at Joan's house, but also a reminder to our wonderful friend Sucre. Since the photo was taken she sadly has left us and is now spending her days in the afterlife, continuing being the lovely being she is. Rest in peace dear Sucre.

Meet Tim & Shanna.

For the past 9 years I have been traveling to Chalon-sur-Saône, France, for the street theater festival Chalon dans la Rue at the end of July. The magic of being surrounded by (street) theatre, acrobats, dancers and other creatives, makes me look forward to the next year as soon as the festival has ended.

  

Besides being inspired by the creativity, another reason that I keep coming back to the festival, is that it has brought me much closer to some of my friends. Meeting and catching up with Tim & Shanna on the local camping and the festival, has become something to look forward to as well.

Meet Atilano.

After having worked together with Atilano in Berlin and Istanbul, it became a habit to see if we could grab some drinks or dinner at his bar, Bar Raval, whenever we would be in Berlin at the same time. 

 

While living in Berlin (September 2013-August 2014) Atilano would often call me to invite me to try out a new cafe, a restaurant that just opened or to have me join him to an event. Through these moments I was able to see even more from Berlin than I would have by just exploring it by myself. Atilano has shown me a big part of why Berlin is such a wonderful city.

 

When it comes to meeting people Atilano has been an ongoing inspiration for me. No matter who he meets, wether they're known or unknown, young or old, small names or big names, he always treats them with the kindness one would treat a friend.

Meet Maria.

The good thing about moving to Berlin is that it's a popular city not far from The Netherlands. Because of this friends would often come and visit to keep me company for a weekend. This was especially great in the beginning, when trying to find my way around, but it would also make the city feel quite big again once they had left.

   

Quite early on in my year long stay in Berlin, two friends made it over and we ended up, just around the corner of my home, in a bar called Fuchs&Elster. Maria was working in the bar that night and due to an overlap in our musical and art taste, this time the city felt a little more like home after my friends were on their way back to The Netherlands again.

Meet Lorenz, Romy & Yannik.

August 2013 I decided I would set out on a big adventure "To live in one country a year, for the next ten years". The first stop on this world trip was Berlin.

 

Quite soon after I left The Netherlands I realised that this way of traveling wasn't the way to go for me. I found that while I was searching for my place in my new town, I would not as easily meet new people. Luckily I got to meet a small but close group of friends through my roommate Moritz.

  

Lorenz, Romy & Yannik were three of the friends in the group of people that made me feel at home much sooner than I had expected.

Meet Reo.

Reo and I met many years ago when he came to visit a mutual friend in my hometown. From the first moment we met it was clear that we would go on many adventures together.

During my second visit to Japan, in October and November 2014, Reo once more showed me the wonderful world he and his friends are living in. Through him I've been lucky enough to meet many people I now call my friends.

  
See you next time Reo!

Meet Taka.

While staying on Okinawa I called Taka’s guesthouse “Bougain House” my home. His welcoming nature extended far beyond opening his door and sharing his knowledge of the island. He has made me feel very welcome by introducing me in to his friend group.

 

Thank you for this Taka, it really is the greatest gift there is.

Meet Watabe.

During my stay in Okinawa Watabe came over from Tokyo to visit Reo and I had the privilege hanging out with two longtime friends.

 

While many of the words they exchanged were unknown to me, their laughter was recognizable and contagious.

Noren market.

It was very early in the morning when Reotook me to a place he has wanted to introduce me to: Noren market. Noren market is an old maze of little shops, sheds and market stalls. While many of the market people were either too busy or too tired, there were also the ones which excitedly greeted us with big smiles.

 

The market as it currently is will be shut down at the end of next year to be replaced by a more modern market. For many of the old market people this sadly also means that their long life on the market will come to an end. Reo has taken it up himself to document the market and it's wonderful people to help preserve the memory of Noren market.

Meet my Okinawan friends.

The most important thing for me about traveling is the chance to meet people. To listen to their stories and to create new memories together.

 

On Okinawa I have been lucky enough to step right into the center of a group of people with welcoming hearts, open minds and broad smiles.

Meet Mr. Nagae & Mr. Eita.

Finding random presents for friends and family has never been a hard thing. However when it comes to souvenirs or birthday gifts, I’ve always been struggling. This trip was different though. Going in I knew what I wanted and it was on my mind daily.

 

After a lot of research I came in contact with the knife masters Mr. Nagae and Mr. Eita. They showed me four handmade Santoku knives. They had the exact characteristics I was looking for: all from the same family but all unique and very beautiful.

Meet Naoko, Mana & Yusuke.

Four years ago I was invited to work a iStock & Getty event in Tokyo. During this event I had a local / translator assigned to me: Yusuke. It didn’t take long before I would call him a close friend instead.

Maybe it was his infectious laughter or maybe it was the moment he spontaneously started breakdancing on a subway station.

  

Last time we met Mana had just been born and Naoko and Mana spent time with her parents. The brief moments that we did meet were long enough to see what a beautiful family this is. Fast forward four years and Mana will be getting a new sister soon. Sadly this did once more mean only seeing Naoko and Mana shortly, but as last time the time spent together meant a lot to me. 

 

Thank you for being such welcoming and inspiring people Yusuke, Naoko and Mana.

Meet Sato.

After a short walk through the even smaller Chinatown of Nagasaki I found myself in a maze of little back streets. It felt as if the streets at crossroad were fighting for my attention.

 

The random path I picked led me to a small bar with a bartender, Sato, who told me that he didn't speak any English. I told him this was not a problem as I didn't speak Japanese either. 

 

Sato taught me five new Japanese words, we shared many things about our life, and confirmed that language doesn't have to be a barrier.

 

Matane Sato!

Meet Hiro, Rihana & Mar.

Whenever I told anybody I was heading to Sado I got surprised looks. From foreigners who never heard of the island, me included, and from Japanese people who were wondering why I would be traveling there. Off season.

To their question of “Why?” I could only answer that it was quite random, I gave the Airbnb map a spin and it just happened to stop above an isolated pin on Sado Island. 

 

After having spent two weeks with Mar, Hiro and Rihana I now know how to answer the why. The island looks wonderful, her buildings, the nature and the ocean. The people are friendly and warm. 

 

Mar and Hiro showed me their island. They let me taste their food. They let me enjoy their stories and company. But best of all, they made me feel at home while being on the road.

Meet Reiko.

Where Tokyo feels like a city of the future Sado Island feels as if it has stopped time at one point and decided not to give in for bigger, higher, faster and flashier.

Reiko runs a small noodle store which feels as if time isn't allowed in. Everything looks real and feels true. Even the sliding door is still a sliding door, rather than an automated one.

 

The food she serves is as warm and welcoming as her smile.

Meet Shigeto & Sacchan.

As the sun was setting over the Sea of Japan I ran into a rather unexpected couple. The duo, Shigeto and Sacchan, were on their way back after a long day of traveling from one side of the Island to the other. And back.

Right as Shigeto was telling me that Sacchan normally liked to eat, sleep and repeat, Sacchan dropped down to roll around in the cool, wet, sand to enjoy the fresh air flowing in from across the Sea of Japan.

Meet Masa.

For those who know Masa it will not come as a surprise that the four years in between our meetings vanished as soon as Masa stepped through the door of the Getty Tokyo office and broke into a big smile.

Quite fascinating how friendship can make our feeling of time change that much. As always it was a pleasure meeting up with Masa and talking about our visions and dreams.

Meet Mr. & Mrs. Fukumoto

Four years had passed between the moment when I first met Mr. & Mrs. Fukumoto and the time I would meet them again. However this time would be slightly different as Reo, their son and my good friend, would not be their to join us and act as translator.

 

By the end of day it was clear that you really don't need to fully grasp each other's language to have a wonderful time together. Sign language, small sentences and having a good connection goes a long way.