We see trucks, cargo ships, inland ships, planes and trains passing by on a daily basis, yet very few of us have any idea of the lives that are lived aboard. Families that live and grow up on ships, in constant mobility, live according to another rhythm than the rest of society. The physical visibility versus social invisibility of transportation jobs stands central to Waterways. The film allows the viewer to experience the way of life of the inland shippers by showing and engaging with the diverse crews on four different ships. This portrait-based film proposes the base for the concept Transport Nomad. A nomad, which although set right in the middle of western capitalism, clashes with this society’s expectation of sedentary living.
The photo series, of the same name, can be found in the social sciences faculty building, Pieter de la Court, as well as on www.geerterietveld.com .
Geerte (1996) studied international humanitarian action at the university of Groningen. For her thesis she researched the impact of mass media on public and political action and awareness around the disappearances of unaccompanied refugee children from Dutch refugee centres. This research showed the importance of correct discourse and imaging as they had (in this case) a direct impact on policy making. Therefore, she chose that she wanted to contribute to more correct and victim centered humanitarian media. The master in visual ethnography was then an obvious choice for the way in which students are put in charge of their research projects, taking all steps in the creation of ethnographic visual content. She was very happy to gain the necessary skills for people-centered filmmaking, but more importantly: this year confirmed for her that this is what she wants to do. Now, she interns in the communications department of MSF in Paris.