Wesley Verhoeve’s new photobook, Notice, answers the question of what happens when your work as a photographer gets turned upside-down. Last year, Wesley was in Vancouver with plans to travel on, when—suddenly—the pandemic hit and everything changed. Instead of travelling the globe, he was confined to a Vancouver, BC neighborhood and called it home for five months.
Other photographers who travelled often for their work or photographed specific events, were also interrupted by the beginning of the pandemic. At that time, so much became out of our control, but.—of course—what matters the most is not what happens to us, but what we do with it. What Wesley decided to do was pivot, adapt, and capture, and the result is rather compelling.
About Wesley Verhoeve: Creator of Notice
Wesley Verhoeve is an Editorial and Commercial Photographer based in Amsterdam and NYC, and we were lucky enough to grab him as a speaker for our December Conference + Chill Film Photography event. Wesley is somewhat of a magical unicorn and scored the IG handle @Wesley (What in the actual F, right?!), which intrigued all of us at C+C. We are still wondering how he made that happen, and we’re dying to hear this story!
Wesley is also a brilliant film photographer who finds inspiration in his daily walks and jaunts around whatever city he may be in. During his C+C presentation, he let us into the inspiration and images for what is now his brilliant photobook, Notice.
About the Photobook Notice
Many of us found ourselves stuck in strange places during the first phase of global pandemic lockdowns. This was Wesley’s experience too. He used his time in solitude to walk around the city he was trapped in, and he took his film-based street photography experience to the beautiful Vancouver neighbourhood he would temporarily call home.
Like everywhere else, navigating COVID in Vancouver, BC wasn’t easy. While the city was normally busy and bustling, Wesley saw a completely different side of Vancouver. On streets that would be normally full of life, he rarely encountered another human. Yet, every day he took a walk, for a few hours, camera in hand. These daily walks became his meditative practice.
Here’s a few fun stats to note about the creation of Notice:
- Photos were taken over 123 days
- Through 307 hours of walking (1.6 million steps)
- That’s 1230km (800 miles)
- And 34,194 images created
In a world full of tension and uncertainty, Wesley used these daily walks to stay grounded and slow down. He wanted to pay attention so he could see more clearly—in all aspects of his life. In Notice Wesley illustrates exactly what he realized through these daily walks: that this Vancouver neighbourhood wasn’t so small after all; It’s a massive universe with tiny stories everywhere.
Using photobooks as a means for visual storytelling is unique through the lens of pandemic seclusion. Not only does Wesley gives us a glimpse into not only what Vancouver is like, but what COVID in Vancouver was like—pinpointing the story to a very specific time.
Although the viewer is given a specific context, they might not get what they’re expecting. Notice isn’t a sad story of life during the pandemic, but an exploration of how slowing down can actually bring about creativity, appreciation, and accomplishment.
Pandemic Seclusion and Art
There are other creatives who would pivot, adapt, and capture during the pandemic too. Author and Photographer Bill Hayes captured the empty streets of Manhattan between March and May of 2020 in his book How We Live Now: Scenes from the Pandemic. Photographer Rueben Radding documented his pandemic experience through the streets of New York City in his Corona Diary, which has a specific focus on chronicling the protests that gripped the city too.
Capturing Life During the Pandemic
Pandemic photography is an avenue by which the photographer can share their experience, but it also allows us to see the pandemic through a different lens too. The truth is that we’ve all gone through the pandemic motions differently. Film-based photobooks and other visual arts serve as a way to relate, even in our deepest pandemic seclusion. This is the viewers chance to step out of our own experience and see this period of time through another’s eyes.
Get your signed copy of Notice for €69,00 + shipping . Special Edition options for this incredible firm-based photobook are also available.
Love film-based street photography, community, and virtual photo gathering? Follow the Conference + Chill Instagram for more.
Post by Jennifer Standing
Badass Content Creator for Pepper