A boy points at a lightbulb, as a small girl watches closely

Imaging for Good: Modern-day storytellers

Stephan Gloudemans is an IT Support Professional from Canon Netherlands and the winner of an EMEA-wide internal photography competition, which challenged our Canon colleagues to think about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 global goals have been adopted by world leaders and aim to address a range of social, economic and development issues, such as poverty, inequality and climate change in order to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Stephan’s image addresses SDG 4 – Quality Education and SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy.

“Before I took this image, I already had the picture in my head. My son is a very bright boy, into tech and electronics, and built this small project for school many months ago. So, first I had to search for it – somewhere in the house. When we finally found it, we changed out the tiny LED bulb for a small bicycle bulb, so that it would show in the photo, then I asked my son and his seven-year-old sister to sit for the picture for me.

He was very happy to explain the project to his sister. He’s very good at doing that. Once or twice a day they have a fight, but when they are calm and in this kind of setting, they are very good for each other, but as you can see, she has a bit of blush on her cheeks – it was already past her bedtime. He explained to her that sunlight is captured by the panel and converted into electricity, which is stored in the battery and electrifies the lightbulb. She had a lot of questions; “how does it work? “What is sunlight made of?” Difficult questions! But she’s always been very interested in nature and in everything that lives. When we’re in the playground, if she disappears for a minute, we will always find her playing with ants and snails, all the small animals.

The irony is that I am always calling out “please turn out the lights!” when we are at home. I am concerned with sustainability, recycling and energy conservation and regularly tell my children “It’s your future, you must care about it.”

A boy points at a lightbulb, as a small girl watches closely
We have a busy family life, but when you’re a photographer you can make time stand still

I’ve been a photographer for around twelve years and worked at a photographic studio before the financial crisis. Afterwards I joined Canon and have worked here ever since. But, like my father, I’ve always been a storyteller. My dad is a professional storyteller for over 25 years has been all over the world. He tells stories at festivals, schools and theatres all over the Netherlands and even in China, and Canada. He says that “every day we sit in front of the TV waiting for a good story. We search for them on YouTube, we read books. We even arrange our life in stories. My father uses words and music to trigger the imagination of his audience.

I tell my stories through pictures and I always try to use atmosphere and detail to help the imagination of the viewer. Because the story is in the eye of the beholder.”

Written by Stephan Gloudemans

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