Monday, July 09, 2007

Tough on the oustide

Today we went to the city of Leiden, not far from where we live. We saw many beautiful buildings, nice shops, and - like in every city - all kinds of people. I like to look at people and I'm always wondering what is going on inside their heads!
The people that impressed me most today where the teenage boys and girls that were hanging out in the monumental 'Burcht' (fortress) in Leiden's city centre. They were all dressed in gothic fashion style and they were chatting, having some fun and enjoying their music. The teens were sitting together inside the walls of this old fortress and they were surrounded by some framed poster-sized pictures that caught my attention. I had a look at all the pictures and noticed that some of them were severely damaged. The impressive pictures (portraits of these gothic teens) were made by photographer Albert Goossens, a man who obviously sees the outer and inner beauty of these kids.
I had a talk with some of these boys and girls and they were very open and friendly. I asked them why some pictures were damaged and they told me that some people just don't like them and ruin these pictures on purpose. I am upset by this behaviour because it tells me something about the way people look at these young people. Yes, most of them look tough on the outside (like the fortress where they have found some shelter), but they are all vulnerable individuals who need our love and deserve our respect. I don't know what I can do for these teens, but I needed to write about them here and I took the liberty of copying some small pictures from the photographer's web site so that I could paste them in this blog entry (I will let him know) and I ask you to take some time to look at these pictures in a larger size on Albert Goossens's own web site. (Please click on Burchtbewoners 1-7 and you will see all the pictures). Tell me what you think.


Carolanne said...

The photography was really good. It captured a lot of their personality I think. However, they still seem to be so sad.

One of my son's friends turned "got" or more correctly, "emo punk" and when we caught up with him, N and his other friend found him scary. It surprised me since they know what this kid is like on the inside and they explained that was why they found him scary.

Mike said...

This seems to be a good example of young people today. They look lost, lonely and in need of meaning.

I think the only thing we can do is show them love and care.

John said...

Hi Paul!

Imagine my surprise that I had been tagged whilst I was out of the country! You do not play fair my friend! I have not answered your tag yet but I have responded in kind - consider yourself tagged!


jonboy said...

Great insight. Great photos.

little david said...

When we lived in Hawaii, our son (who sported multicolored spiked hair and played in a punk band) seemed to bring home the strays: the girl whose stepdad abused her, the boy who injected heroin into his tongue so his father (the cop) wouldn't notice, the pink-haired girl who ran away from home (on another island) because her mother said she hated her. All of these kids felt welcome in our home which they described as being pretty close to what normal must be. Greg just has a tender heart for those who are suffering and he taught us a lot about compassion.

Vicki said...

I'm late getting to your recent posts, Paul. I've sort of been "otherwise occupied." ;)

The photography is beautiful and I think Mr. Goossen captures more than just an image. There's a lot of expression in the children's faces, and you can see the loneliness and vulnerability.

Panda said...

Thanks for your comments, friends. I did send an email message to the photographer, telling him how much I appreciate his photographs - because of the time and money he has obviously invested in this project, but more importantly, because of the love and respect he is showing for these kids. I received a kind reply from him. He told me that these teens have quite some stories to tell (just like Little David describes in his comment). I am sure God confronted me with these kids because he wanted to tell me something. I am crazy about my own kids and my heart breaks for the kids that are not appreciated, abondoned or ignored - sometimes even by their own parents. Don't look at their cloths or other 'please don't touch me / keep your distance' fashion statements. Look in their eyes and listen to your heart.