For a while now I have been working on a photo project about the return of the wolf of the Netherlands. I wrote a proposal about this subject to the magazine Vrij Nederland and was selected to make a story about this subject, that will be published in VN later this year. I have been focussing on the threat, the anticipation, the waiting for an animal that symbolises wildness and danger. I photographed in areas where the wolf might be entering our country. I collected photographs that were taken with camera-traps specially placed in order to capture the first wolf of our country in 118 years. These camera's work with sensors and show all kinds of animals, ranging from deer to pigeons.
Yesterday something changed. I still feel the adrenalin pumping through my veins at the very thought. A wolf, no: The wolf, is now roaming our country. It is here. It was on the news, on the radio, on the internet, in the papers, and most of all, it is in Drenthe. The air is full of expectation and speculation. Some people are so happy that the Netherlands - a small country filled to the brim with people, towns, roads - can have some nature. Our quiet, timid, man-made nature suddenly resembles real wild nature, now that there are wolves (though at this time we are still talking singular, one wolf only) living in it. Others are fearful, the wolf is an evil animal that might eat sheep, dogs, chicken, or, why not, children. All fairy tales have some truth in them, that is the thought. A wolf expert was on the news yesterday explaining that this particular wolf appears to be unafraid of people and therefore it might attack humans. (!) Ah, imagine the parents with young children living in Drenthe, reading Little Red Riding Hood before bedtime.
I am thrilled by these developments and my story feels way more urgent than it did two days ago. I still have to gather my thoughts about what this will mean for my work; the focus will shift, the project will change completely. For the better, though. Tomorrow I will take my camera and head for Noord-Sleen. Who knows who I might meet?