Hans van der Meer Time to Change – The Changing World of the Dutch Cow
The gap between the consumer and ‘the world of the cow’ has been growing over the past few decades. In Time to Change—The Changing World of the Dutch Cow, Hans van der Meer takes the cow as the starting point for his research into dairy farming, animal welfare, technology-driven food production, and its impact on the environment. His interest in these questions stems from his own experiences. Although van der Meer lives in the centre of Amsterdam, when his farmer friend, Jaap Hemke, is away, he looks after Hemke’s farm, 60 kilometres to the north of the city. Over the course of nearly two decades of doing this, Van der Meer developed a deep interest and insight into dairy farming.
Van der Meer’s photos are the trigger for a series of observations highlighting the complexity of modern farming. Additionally, he asked farmers and innovators questions on the future of dairy farming and the directions it would take. Is biological the (only) way to go? Is environmentally and animal-friendly farming incompatible with large-scale production? Can traditional methods and hi-tech practice co-exist or even be combined?
In many photos, the cow looks puzzled, even inquisitive. Through the project, Van der Meer provokes the viewer into considering the future of food production and consumption: How will we shape the future in food production? And what will the role of the animals be in it?
Hans van der Meer
Hans van der Meer (b.1955, Leimuiden, The Netherlands) studied photography at MTS in The Hague, followed by a residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. He is best known for his series on amateur football, Dutch Fields (1998) and European Fields (2006). Through photography, film and writing Van der Meer examines the world around him. Since 2002 he has been collaborating closely with Paradox. Van der Meer is based in Amsterdam.