Hidden behind the greenery, between vast meadows with grazing cows and picturesque farming villages, lives the Dutch Cowboy Kees from Kamerik. Kees chose to leave the modern and stressful society behind and lead a simple and pure life in a little wooden cabin surrounded by nature. Inspired by the old cowboys he lives by his own rules, Cowboy Kees’s rules of life.
With his typical cowboy hat, leather boots and big gray mustache, Kees looks like he came walking straight out of a Western. Although he doesn't ride a horse or roundup cattle, he does share the same values as the cowboys. For Kees, the cowboy life is all about freedom, listening to your intuition and feeling connected to nature. In his self-created cowboy world Kees enjoys the simple things in life.
The pure and free-spirited Kees intrigued me and in the past five years I often visited him, hoping to become a little more cowboy myself. A special friendship formed between us and I learned that Kees's basic and reclusive lifestyle was not only born out of idealism, but also out of necessity. When at some point in his life Kees lost almost everything that was dear to him, he realised that the most essential thing we have here on earth could not be taken away from him: nature.
The power of nature gave Kees the energy to slowly blossom again. He taught me that being a cowboy is not just about wearing a cool hat and leather boots, it’s about the lifestyle that it represents. Simple and pure, back to nature. We need cowboys like Kees to realise what life is really about. Kees is my natural self-help book in our modern society and he might just become yours too.
The Cowboy Kees photobook.
Click on the book for more information.
Exhibition of Cowboy Kees at Fotofestival Naarden (2021) and the graduation show at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (2020).