Man and Machine

Artist statement

For many people largely invisible, parking enforcement in The Hague has undergone big changes in the last years. The City of The Hague has digitized paid parking and introduced scan cars, transforming parking enforcement into a high-tech operation. A few years ago parking enforcement was done on foot, checking paper parking tickets behind windscreens of parked cars. Today scan cars traverse the city, automatically identifying license plates for which no parking fees have been paid.

The photographs in the series ‘Surveillance and Enforcement’ were partially made with an infrared camera, the same technology which is installed in the scan cars. This camera was used to portray some of the enforcement officers and to photograph the scan cars emitting infrared flash to detect license plates of parked cars. The infrared photographs show the infrared light which is normally invisible to the human eye.

As a photographer I am passionate about documentary and portraiture. In my work I investigate the impact technological advancement has on people and society, on how we live and work. My work is not intended to impose an opinion but to give the viewer a nudge towards thinking about both the good and the bad modern technology has to offer, about the effects it has on our lives and on our society and about what our (near) future could look like.

As a project manager I am responsible for implementing new technologies, mostly ICT, in businesses and governmental organisations. For the City of The Hague I was responsible for the introduction of the scan cars and the computer systems needed for digital parking enforcement. This gave me a behind-the-scenes view on the operation and the people who run it. During the years I worked for the Parking Department I witnessed the change into a technical, ICT-driven operation.

I am grateful for the opportunity to photograph the people, the equipment and the operation. I would like to thank the Parking Department within the Enforcement Division of the City of The Hague and Abstract Computing International, the company which supplies the scan cars, for giving me access. Many thanks to all the people who worked with me on the making of the photographs.

Maurice Timmermans, 2019

In August 2018 the series ‘Surveillance and Enforcement’ was submitted for the LensCulture Emerging Talents Awards. LensCulture is a photography network and online magazine about worldwide contemporary photography (www.lensculture.com). The series got a positive review, which can be read by clicking on the button below.