Message in a Photo (MIAP) is a private Dutch foundation that was established in 2013 by Diane van der Marel.

I believe everybody has an artist mind in themselves, but that we tend to lose our imagination and creative thinking while growing into adulthood. As we think we know how things work we lose sight of perspectives that can bring a broader sense to how we are all connected. So we desperately need artists who have the power to use imagination and stories and reconnect us with what we have lost.

Our relationship to and with nature and other species is not in the right frame of mind. We feel we can control the way the want to live and therefore forget the boundaries of the world around us and where we are dependent on. This is now the most important issue we have to face. As there is only so much materials, nature and animals in the world we need to cherish their function and existence and acknowledge the fact that we all exist in a natural system and are interdependent.

Luckily change is happening. We are starting to see new ways of living, consuming and connecting to our natural environment. This change of conscience is still very fragmented and the movement desperately needs speeding up. The transition to new systems has been done before and we have all the knowledge, network and skills to change, but we need a new narrative and imagination that can be passed on and suppress the feeling of fear and loss that comes with change.

What will the future look like?

Then we come back to the role of the artist to make the unimaginable visual. Once we can imagine new ways of living in a way that does not extract from natural resources and the loss of species we can come to a system of regeneration. Nature gives back more than it takes when we collaborate with the system in a healthy way.

With MIAP, message in a photo, I want to help artists visualize the stories which show us these forms of regeneration and collaboration. If we keep on looking at the existing problems the same way, we will see only the fear of losing, while if we challenge ourselves to look outside our comfort zone and image different perspectives we can build a new world where we all gain.

Let’s get inspired by these new stories.