Unintended. A photo project By Dirk Dom

Unintended. A photo project

By Dirk Dom

I’m more and more gravitating to walkabout photographs. It started for real last Winter in Spain at the Costa Blanca with the little Olympus Tough, and here in Antwerp, Belgium, I began to take this camera on every single walk. Every now and again I took my Olympus PEN with the 75mm lens instead. Since the last five years I had shot nothing but film, it was quite a change for me, a delightful experience!

The project I got into I called “Onbedoeld”, “Unintentional”, as I only shot stuff which wasn’t intended to be beautiful like art or architecture but things which were nice through light and composition. I kept in mind Edward Weston’s saying: “Composition is merely the strongest way of seeing”.

In the beginning I often came home completely exhausted with 400 shots, but that evolved into about 30 shots a walk.

Being continuously on the road made for some really special shots. Sometimes I thought: Wish I had my Mamiya C330 or my Linhof with me! No! With those camera’s I would have been there a different time or taken another itinerary or not have experimented. These little cameras are marvellous!

Like this shot: a car, in winter, half frozen, half dry. Just there the moment it was thawing out.

One of my experiments: A wire with minimum DOF

Sometimes I discovered truly fun things… Plaster came off a brick wall…

An original way of stealing a bicycle…

The next one was a complete surprise. I shot the little Tough and because I aimed straight into the sun and the thing has only a screen, I couldn’t see anything at all. After four shots I gave up. Imagine my surprise when I came home and looked at my photographs!!!

This guy was cleaning his driveway with a high pressure cleaner.

My funniest shot.

The banner on the left says: “Zorgbedrijf”, “caretaking facility”!

For the next shot I want back six times. Finally I nailed it with a 300mm equivalent lens which had cost me $30!

Nature entering the City…

Light in winter… A few weeks later the Sun had turned and risen and the shot got impossible. Then they made a new bicycle road there and the lovely holes in the cobblestones were gone…


Rusty hold of a boat…

After about eight months of shooting, I selected down to 216 shots and I made a photo book of it. Did it completely myself. It’s 6 by 6 inches, printed on my own color laser printer in 11 signatures, cut, sewn the tekst block, made the cover, punched the cover lettering, filled it  with acrylic paint, glued it together, made the slipcase. It’s not completely perfect but I love it!!!

I hope this motivates you to get out there and shoot,





  1. I add my compliments to this nice set of pictures: composition, colour and… the eye of the photographer! Super!

    The Olympus Tough is a little gem: I bought it for the lab at my old job, for macros it’s just the perfect!
    And the Pen-F with the 75mm is a terrific combination: I also enjoy walking the streets of Antwerp with this little camera hanging from my neck.

    I also love the idea of printing my pictures: I’ve done for holiday pictures, but never for personal projects… Time to do it!

  2. I do the same thing at times, (not often enough), and it’s like a photographic freedom. Very enjoyable.
    Great idea to make photo books. Thanks Dirk

  3. Amazing Pictures. Wow. Very creative and love the use of a small camera. They are the best. Very nondescript and as you have shown here you can get some pretty incredible shots with them. My little Leica C is my small camera…I should bring it with me more and do what you have done here. Thanks for sharing your art work.

    • Yes, the Leica Is the absolute go anywhere camera (except in winter when Dirk’s Olympus Tough is clearly the thing). And do you know of any other camera with that marvelous “through window” scene mode?

  4. This is fantastic – just wondering if you could share how you bound the book from the printed pages…

    • Hi!

      I printed the signatures (20 pages each, five A4 sheets on 120 grams/square meter high quality color copy paper) using Microsoft Office Publisher, using the “booklet” printing mode, one booklet per signature. I learnt how to sew a book block through the Youtube films of “Sea Lemon”, how to make the text block and the cover and glue it together. The only thing I didn’t do myself was to cut the finished text block straight and perfect, I had that done on a big guillotine scissors in a copy center, it cost me two Euro’s. I sewed one dummy (in 80 grams copy paper) to check if I mastered the sewing. I used thin white thread and a normal needle. To punch the signatures I folded them first, put them together and put them in n opened thick book, in the middle fold. An old Yellow pages would be perfect for that. Punching i used the same needle as for sawing, I put it into a piece of a broomstick, drilling a hole and tapping a M3 thread across it, then fastening with a M3 screw. Sewing was about two hours for the text block (11 signatures) After gluing I pressed the text block between a little press I have, after you glue you need to keep it pressed for 24 hours and put plastic sheet between the part you glue and the rest of the block to avoid warping by humidity.

      Stuff like the fake leather I bought mail order from a specialized bookbinding shop. I looked at a lot of high quality books to see what I wanted in looks and lay out.

      Because of the fold in the middle of the signature & paper thickness, middle photo’s are more out than end photo’s, you have to shift them inwards in Publisher, for how much, you need to sew a dummy signature. With this book, it was 0.25mm inwards per sheet as I got more to the middle.

      The pages fit onto an A4 piece of paper, I gave 3mm’s extra space lengthwise for cutting.

      Printing the booklet cost me about 30 Euro’s in toner, quality is quite acceptable, I used original HP toner, not the cheap off brand one. I have a HP Laserjet Pro 400 color laserprinter. For color, it’s quite acceptable, black and white, not.

      Setting up the printer takes a bit of experimenting, I made careful notes of that. Check everything 100% every time you print! Each signature I first printed the outermost leaf to check and then the 4 innermost ones.

      The shots I post processed in Photoshop, levels, burning and dodging, color adjustment, some perspective corrections, getting rid of stuff which hampered composition. All shots were JPEGS, didn’t shoot RAW.


  5. A very nice set of mixed images.
    Walking and carrying a camera always, makes for pleasure..
    10 years ago, after heart excitement, walking part of exercise.
    I have over time, developed it to different themes..

  6. Of course what you saw was intended to be beautiful art. You made what you saw art! Well done. Very well done.

  7. A very enjoyable and varied set of pictures – including some which are really ‘well seen’. Yes – they do motivate me to do more and try harder!

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