I was delighted to come across the series Olifantenpaadjes, otherwise known as Desire Lines, by Dutch photographer Jan-Dirk Van Der Burg. A desire line is a path created by a continuous passing of people over a singular piece of land. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between two places and is often a shortcut between other constructed routes. The image of a path created by people walking or cycling is seen by some as a small act of defiance against those paths mapped out for us by society.
The book Olifantenpaadjes, first published in 2011, offers 77 examples of these unofficial pathways. Pedestrians can be seen traversing pavements whilst evading traffic-safety barriers and avoiding designated pedestrian areas. Jan-Dirk Van Der Burg explores this curious phenomenon with his remarkably well crafted medium format photographs. For me his images have a similar european feel to them as the work of Joachim Brohmn, Hans van der Meer or the early work of Andreas Gursky. This wonderful collection of photographs not only demonstrates our defiant desire to not keep off the grass, but also humorously depicts how inherently lazy and impatient we can be when faced with the simple task of getting to where we want to go. Something I’m sure we can all relate to.
You can see more of Jan-Dirk van der Burg’s work on his website here.
All Images © JanDirk