In the car with Gertjan after being apart for a long while—we are in a long-distance relationship. This was shortly after traveling to another country alone for the first time, trying to find Gertjan in a Brussels train station, and then nervously meeting his mum and sister before driving to his home. I remember him smiling as I took the photo.
I watch you in the neon light, you, looking more beautiful than ever. Your power grows with the luminescence that allows you to glow, even when you glow anyway. You even glow brightly in complete darkness. I reach for my camera and the shutter lingers; I love the way movement is captured in those seconds that it takes for the shutter to close again. I captured these 12 images over the past few months, some last year. They are fragile, colorful moments. Each photograph contains a momentary painlessness, a kind of hope that I am lacking these days. I look back at these images and think, Take me back, please, to that moment, that one precious moment.
At a concert with Gertjan. I annoyed him because I said I didn’t like the music. We had a good time, though, despite the atrocious sound engineering.
Walking to his mom’s car after the concert. I stopped and Gertjan carried on walking. I told him to wait so I could get a shot of this beautiful green-lit scene.
I dragged Gertjan down a street in his hometown, where I was attracted to the beaming neon light. He told me that there were always lots of men driving by: It was a street with strip clubs and sex workers.
Gertjan in the car shortly after we’d wandered around some art galleries and taken lots of photos of one another. I always adore how the colored lights look on his face.
My silk green shirt on the grass. This was taken on my first film camera, using one of my first-ever rolls of film.
My brother Burt walking. We went to a nearby field where we took photos, played music, and danced one summer evening.
The Goldfish Bowl is a small shop that is more enjoyable to visit than the bigger aquariums, which you have to pay to get into. You can find some peace here.
Gertjan’s legs in a turquoise bath during our second stay in my house. We tried to fit comfortably in the small bathtub together, but it didn’t quite work out.
Burt doing his DJ set in the basement of an art gallery.
Someone dancing in a purple haze, while Burt performed some of his songs.
A restaurant sign that I stopped to capture. I had taken the long way home so I could walk longer, to get some space.
Rookie is an online magazine and book series for teenagers. Each month, a different editorial theme drives the writing, photography, and artwork that we publish. Learn more about us here, and find out how to submit your work here!