Finally, he asked for help. He could aim the camera, but doing that and pressing the shutter at the same time more than a couple of times became untenable. Thankfully he had his girlfriend Marije by his side that day, and together, they devised a system where she would trigger the shutter when Ydwer would tell her to. It was far from how he imagined the day would have looked, but it worked.
At a typical photo shoot, pre-accident, he would have been satisfied with the heaps of high-quality pictures to choose from. However, this time, there were disappointingly few, and only because he had been shooting kiting for so long that he knew how to follow the kiters and anticipate their tricks. As rough and discouraging as that day was, it was a turning point and a chance to move forward. Despite delivering excellent shots, he knew the gap between what he used to be able to do and his new limitations. Frustrated, he chose to change his perspective. It was time to do something new, perhaps even better.
Many of the shots that came out of that day, and days since, are filled with motion, emotion, and intrigue. Often they are out of focus, intentionally or not, leaning towards the abstract. The perfect cover shot is no longer the goal. Taking pictures for the sheer joy of it is. Imperfection abounds and has opened space for viewers to find their own interpretation in the photos. The end product is an experience for the photographer and audience alike.
Instead of epic shoots for major brands in far flung locations, today’s shoots look a little different. Ydwer’s face lights up when talking about a recent sunset where he wasn’t able to get into position for the perfect shot so instead he just sat back and enjoyed the colors and silhouettes, soaking it all in. No one will see what he saw that day, something he used to be able to share all the time pre accident. But now, he was enjoying the beauty. The goal is no longer the perfect captured image but to love what he is doing at every moment.
Other projects of late for Ydwer have included his book, Unseen, published this past winter, which is a celebration of kiting and his desired love for the elements. He also spends time riding his adaptive bike, racing it even. And he co-founded Amongst Friends, a creative agency, with Jason Broderick where he is helping other visual creatives in the kite industry excel at their craft.
Ydwer has changed the narrative for what life can look like post-accident. Rather than dwelling on the loss, he has a persistently positive outlook with a focus on what he can do. He has accepted this new challenge head on and found a way to create moving art, advise top creatives in this sport, and be an encouragement to anyone who has had a similar setback. Everything is possible to Ydwer, it just takes a little adapting. ■