Michiel van Mens, Comics & Co, Cartoons,


During my Military Service I was trained as a photographer and “corporate journalist” . I got the unique opportunity to work with a professional photographer, traveled through Europe, wrote reports and made photo reports, stood for days in the darkroom with a beautiful magazine at the end of the month. After my service I made photo documentaries in Poland, The Baltic States and the Ukraine. I traveled through the Crimea, visited Odessa as well as the KGB prison in Vilnius. I wanted to photograph like Ed van der Elksen and in 1993 began a long-form reporting on Amsterdam Oud-West. It resulted in several exhibitions. Until in 1996 all vintage prints were destroyed by a flooded studio. From then on, I put away my Canon F1 camera. The negatives stored in a safe where they remained for 30 years. With the advent of the Iphone, I picked up the thread of photography again. Soon I bought a digital camera and started street photography again.

Michiel van Mens, Comics & Co, Cartoons,

My military service brought me more than photography. I met someone there who could talk passionately about Artificial Intelligence. Together we started a company specialized in applying Neural Networks. Today we would call it a start-up. We were involved in predicting wave heights at sea, heart rate disorders and prediction models. Since then, I have always remained working in the world of data.

But both worlds, that of photography and that of data analysis came together again in a wonderful way. My knowledge of advanced algorithms and programming skills enabled me to create new images. The starting point is the image; the technique should not play a significant role for the viewer. In the making, however, technology does play a crucial role. And because I write the algorithms myself, I have a great deal of freedom to manipulate the images. The algorithm is the connecting link between the input (a digital photograph) and a “carrier. That can be paper. For example, as a print of a photograph.  But it can also be a silkscreen print or an etching.  I used the algorithmne to create Comics. Or animations. But the algorithm can also send “its image” to a sewing machine or to a series of drones floating in the air that can bring the desired image to life.

I am currently working on an ambitious project to use drones to create extensive gravity art in public spaces. In doing so, I hope to develop an innovative means of creating ‘ art on the wall’ in neglected suburbs, thereby contributing to an improved living environment.