It started as an experiment. I wanted to photograph students of the Hageveld high school during their first day of school. The experiment eventually evolved into a five year project spanning two books. The whole idea was to isolate the student from the group during the first day of school. The students were asked to walk into a regular classroom. The difference being that the classroom would be completely blinded to ensure you had no sense of the outside world. Furthermore, I avoided any form of contact that would offer them some direction or any kind of comfort. They were just asked to be in the room. Some students just stood there for minutes without saying a word and others posed like models and kept smiling. They would all lose their self-image at some point. Eventually they would show more of their true identity. At first, it seemed to be an easy experiment. However, after the first three or four students I was not so sure anymore. It was difficult to see them struggle; holding on tightly to anything that would offer them any form of comfort. But it worked. During the last day of the same school year I did it again and the difference was enormous though sometimes difficult to see. So I presented the pictures randomly in the first book ’295’. You have to see for yourself and decide which picture was taken first and which one taken 295 days later. The entire experiment, exhibition and book presentation was a success and it was fascinating to be a part of it. To develop it from an idea to a workable project with the school, parents and students. And finally to create a book for the project and work with designers, printers, writers and all the people who helped to bring it to life. 5 years later I did it again with the same group. 2095 days after the first picture. It was so intriguing to see how they evolved. Every picture tells its own story and it would be great if every student had a photo series like this.