woensdag 16 december 2015

Because I a man orthopedic shoe maker I am always looking for better shoes or quality in leather etc..
I also teach at the academie of shoe design in Sint-Niklaas and so it is not just for me but also for the students and future shoe designers important to know why a special kind of material is better than something else, or why we place a contrefort in Leather and what the positive reasons are for our feet but more importantly for our shoes, and the long life we want them to have.

A few months ago I passed by Cocodrillo in Antwerp, a higher class shoe store if you will, there you can buy very expensive shoes from very well-known designers.
As it is my job I buy shoes from time to time to test the quality and know where the difference lies, last week I was in Madrid Spain for example and bought myself a pair of Carmina shoes €350 completely in leather and Goodyear welt!
I know this shoe will last probably a lifetime as all the material is very solid and real leather, a year ago I bought a pair of Floris Van Bommels with look exactly the same and are known for their quality in Belgium and Holland!
After a few weeks however the outer sole started to wear of, with is not normal for a decent pair of shoes I would think, all over my kitchen there were stripes on the floor, the outer sole was litterly losing its material!

Anyway back to Cocodrillo, I saw a pair of Giuseppe zanotti shoes with I absolutely adored and looked pretty cool, the price €500 was a bit high however but I thought money well spent for my company as research, and I would be able to walk around in real Zanotti’s!
Naturally being happy about my new shoes I wore them almost every day for about one month where I started to see the outer sole losing its material…also just like the Van Bommel’s.
Not really attractive for the shoe but especially for high end fashion shoes like that, which costed a lot of money!

There were also two zippers that kept sliding down after the first month, since I am a shoemaker myself I thought I would wear it a little longer because expensive shoes like this should be able to be worn longer.
After two months the outer sole started to look as if I had worn the shoes for a whole year!
So I contacted through e-mail the shoes store Cocodrillo, they said the shoes looked to old as I send a picture to show what the shoe looked like.
The women from the store told me to come by and show me the shoes.
And so I did, she looked at the shoes and said yes sir but these shoes are very old, in which case it is normal that shoes wear off…I said excuse me after one or two months of wearing these shoes this is what the outer sole looks like clearly crappy material!
The women said excuse me sir but shoes are not to be worn every day and some people are not so cautious of their shoes than others…like it was my fault that Guiseppe Zanotti uses crap material!

More and more I see this occurring companies trying to make more and more money by using cheaper materials and making their shoes not the quality they were 10 years ago but still charging the same amount of money.
Clearly something needs to be said about this as we (the customer) are willing to spend more money for goof quality but don’t fuck us over jack cause we don’t like this and we will let others know your “quality” is not exactly what you say it is.

More and more small companies try to make it in to the big world by creating better quality why can’t big companies who make a lot more money make sure we get the quality we pay for, just so the owner can make some extra money, for his yacht or something?!
As you can see in the pictures these shoes worn for two months are well over due the outer sole is almost completely gone Guiseppe Zanotti what a rip off!
The upper leather is soft bad quality leather with looks as if I bought it very cheap somewhere!

And Cocodrillo has seen the last of me when they clearly protect the company that sells them these crappy shoes that should just not be sold!
By the way you can clearly see the right outer sole is not the same material as the left shoe!

donderdag 9 januari 2014

A custom made prefab support for high heel pumps!

I have other passions in my life besides photography “shoes” for one...

I see women on consultations wearing high heels every day.
For 25 years I have seen this and tried to rehabilitate women every time in wearing shoes with not so high heels or pumps without the pointy tows, but I soon realized that this was going to be a lost battle.
Women were not going to wear as they said “old ladies shoes”!
Since women come to the consultation with excruciating pain and walk in with a shoe that is too much of a high heel to be humanly possible, or pumps that are yes too small for a humans foot, or as the patient says "yes I know they are too small for my feet but I liked them so much!?"
So as an orthopedic shoe maker I tried not to understand a woman’s mind but to work the other way around since I teach at the academy of Sint-Niklaas “Shoe design” I realized that it might be an idea to try and make designers aware of the important things to care and think about when designing a shoe.
Right at the beginning, if designers know a few basic steps in orthopedics or biomechanics they can start creating shoes that are not just comfortable to wear but won’t deform your feet or tows!
Things that hopefully will change the industry for good as shoes created today are created with one thing in mind and one thing only that the design needs to be able to sell as much as possible without taking any consideration in any orthopedic knowledge what so ever.
For some reason in the past orthopedics and fashion never seem to work well together, it was almost a decease nobody ever wanted to deal with, in a way understandable if you see the shoes company's tried to make "orthopedic correct" and failed miserably in designing any descent looking fashionable or feminine looking shoe.
Until the last few years where designers showed more creativity and designed really beautiful shoes with lots of colors and (bling bling) that were possible to wear without having to deform your feet first.
For example the way plateau shoes were designed to make it look like you have a high heel even though it is pretty low when you think away the plateau.
To me it seems company's have finally learned that there is not just a possibility to create beautiful shoes that are “orthopedic correct” without having to make them look like moon boots or square blocks on your feet but that people will actually benefit as well from this knowledge and buy more shoes from a company that can make beautiful fashionable feminine shoes that also keep your feet fit.
Or how insoles are becoming a very important part of any shoe these day's more and more company's have insoles that you can take out of the shoe to create the possibility for people who wear inserts, and need to insert them in any shoe they have.
Imagine a shoe were you don't even have to take out the insole to place your personal high and thick insole in your fine pumps!
And this is where we come in, because we have tested what supports really do help a foot to be in an upright position and stay that way without allowing your tows to deform!

So we created an insole that can be worn in any shoe especially high heels that have the 4 important supports needed for any foot to stay in shape and keep looking healthy without any deformations.
Or the #healthyhighheel #insert was born.
To prove to people that it works we create the #custom-made #flip-flops 

Since #flip-flops don't give any support what so ever this was going to be the real challenge, giving support to peoples feet on a "shoe" that don't give any support at all.
And we did, today we make these #Flip-flops with a insole created for your foot on top of your existing #flip-flop.
They don't just look good they feel great satisfaction guaranteed and when your feet are supported trough the summer who needs ugly "orthopedic correct grandma shoes!

zondag 1 september 2013

Paul Van Hoeydonck

About four or five years ago, I was told about a Belgian artist who was the only artist in the world who had his art displayed on the moon?!
Needles to say I was impressed and more so intrigued by who this amazing person could be!
Over the years I began to read about him and discovered that he was mostly a self made man, this might not be very impressive to you all, but for me it gave the whole concept much more meaning.
He studied History of the art and majored in it, but never finished art school, he actually started art school but wasn't satisfied with the teacher telling him what to do.
He believes that as a teacher you need to be able to sparkle the students interest so they can develop there own personal sense of direction, not trying to push a student in a direction you as a teacher think is the right direction, or as Picasso once said,  "Everything You can imagine is real"
Clearly a big mistake on the teachers behalf because Paul left and started to do what he liked doing, creating art without any pushing in any direction from anyone!
A very important development in the life of an artist, find your own way looking at things.
In a way I could feel his pain as I have met my very own mind numbing people who always seem to know better what is good for you.
In the 60s, 70s and 80s Paul was one of the most famous artist in Belgium with some really nice exhibits across the land.

The last 20 years for various reasons it became silent around him, when spoken about the subject Paul Van Hoeydonck http://paulvanhoeydonck.com/ as such, he became not more than a small footnote that after a while was forgotten all together, and if possible not even mentioned at all.

Paul on the other hand kept on working, and showed it to people who were interested to see it, all over the world.

In Belgium however people forgot to mention him not realising that he became bigger and bigger in almost every country but Belgium!
I tried to locate him and thought for a few years that he lived in Deurne a suburb of Antwerp, but never found the courage to contact him!
Once I did call him up and heard a young mans voice saying his name and I soon realised this couldn't have been the same person, as Paul Van Hoeydonck had to be in he's 80s by now!
So I started to look him up again on the internet and found he lived in Wijnegem, actually right around my corner.

Because the respectable age of the artist these days he had a secretary doing most of his "other stuff" so Paul could concentrate on his work, what he is still doing today by the way, as you can see.

I contacted Dirk Fret who arranges his agenda and I told him I really wanted to take pictures of Paul if this was even remotely possible?
I send him my website so he could see if it was a style he liked or not, and that I had been taking pictures before.
A few weeks turned into months and two weeks ago he contacted me asking me if we could arrange something this last week.
I went to Paul Van Hoeydonck's house and found a somewhat older house that from the outside could never reveal the Artist inside.
So I met him after all these years, and the man is still my hero today even more so because I had no idea that he created so many things over the years, his house is a small factory filled with treasures behind every corner.
On one of his walls a plastic case with picture inside and an actual little aluminium man or "fallen astronaut" as the world knows it.

Needles to say I was very impressed, so many things I saw that carry so much history and beautiful peaces of art and some I didn't understand but probably made very much sense to the artist for sure.
This is my humble homage to the artist as I think we are all to blame if he is not known in Belgium for the art he creates still today.
I am contemplating to buy a peace of his art, mind you not because of the investment value.
But a memory to a Nice man who made me realise that working hard for what you believe in, makes you believe it yourself most of all, and this is the most important input you can generate, because you become your own generator for your own creations, and if you,  by all people don't believe in what you are doing than how can you expect others to understand or even like whatever it is that you do.
He had to fight so may years to get recognition in Belgium, since 40 years ago his little friend arrived on the moon with can only be described as the most expensive art transport ever accomplished in the world today, or as I would like to say a very small statue but a giant leap for mankind ;-)

Ohhh let people laugh…I’m on the moon!
Paul Van Hoeydonck

zaterdag 6 juli 2013

Faro, a place to go!

Back from Faro...
What a wonderful experience (and place) surrounded with very nice people, doing remarkable things, 
Met up with Joao from Boom and Paulo from The photographers lounge at the restaurant to have a look at the location to get a feel of the place where what photo etc...

Than we went off to Paulo's to see the prints always a very intense moment when you see your photos printed on cotton paper!

After the paper choice and size, the passepartout and frames...

 Back to the restaurant to have them measured and fitted onto the walls to be able to shuffle them around to make sure they look good as a whole!

And the two months expo is off!

vrijdag 31 mei 2013

Up close and personal

It is Monday morning and my girlfriend tels me she took a day off to spend with her kids, and if I would be interested to come and spend some time with them...

I bought my new Nikon D4 Saturday so I have been testing for two day's now just a little playing with the new buttons and positions of those buttons that makes the camera worth a lot more so I was told.
The video possabillity is an overwhelming featcher that makes me want to try this new world of capturing, not just frames but intire movements, like little story's waiting to be told.
A very fast capture and freezing a single moment or what we call a photo is something else than capturing everything that went on before or after the photo without recognising where within all those frames the actual picture you wanted to make went!
Not mentioning yet everything that is captured without wanting it to be displayed or heard in the backgound... like trembeling or unexpected sounds that enter your video extavaganza?!

When I was in LA I had the groovy opportunity to have an interesting conversation with Charles Lucima about the quality of video and how it could very well be the future of photography.
We contemplated that when taking that perfect shot right before or right after the shot made there might have been an even better shot, but in all fairness we would never know this unles we shoot in bursts of 3 shots for instance, but then who is to say that right after these bursts or before there might have been another perfect shot or the best shot of them all…
There is just no way of knowing this unless video becomes such a good quality that a single shot you take out of a video you created is a large enough format usable in your photographic work, so that you can slowly work your way through the length of the video until you bump into that moment of delight.
Needless to say the quality is not yet what it would have to be at this moment but the future might be closer than we think, and handling the D4 gives me a very exiting sensation when I see the quality of the film produced, and wonder about the talk we had in LA.

Anyway since I love portrait photography, my girlfriend’s kids would be the next specimen to place in front of my lens.
I decided to use a tele/macro Sigma lens 70/300, just a very old lens I bought a long time ago when the price of the lens was still very much an issue, and even though the lens is a reasonable 5.6 it is great for outdoors working with a lot of sun and fast photography. 
Her kids are 5 and 8 and the smallest is always everywhere and at the same time, very explosive, I needed to be ready for that one moment she would be or, one moment focused on something else or far enough to be able to focus on her face and close enough to be able to let the macro do its thing…

And then it happened, she let her guard down when mom asked to do her finger nails (red) and I moved backward to try and focus on her face, being less than 2feet away from her it was not an easy task and I practically fell over the railing leaning back but I could see the moment happening as I moved slowly away from her and…there she was!