The past few weeks have been extremely busy for city photographer Tahné Kleijn. She made still lifes of 58 small entrepreneurs in her city of Helmond. “I worked 12 hours a day, but it’s worth it,” she says. “Entrepreneurs are happy with it, this just gives them an extra boost.”
In a few weeks, the photographer developed an action to support the local middle class. In her own style she takes photos of the products of shopkeepers, museums, bar owners and many other entrepreneurs from Helmond.
Still lifes of local products
Helmond was the second city in the Netherlands with a corona patient and the municipality quickly took measures. Kleijn saw ‘with pain in her heart’ how entrepreneurs suddenly had to close the business, she says. She immediately supported her favorite restaurant by ordering a meal. And that meal provided inspiration.
“I built the first still life within minutes,” she says. “And that tasted like more. Within a week I had portrayed the products of seven well-known shops. They are all kinds of different things, from a bicycle shop and a snack bar to a driving school and a star restaurant.”
Heart under the belt and extra income
Kleijn makes the photos completely free. Initially, the still lifes were intended to support entrepreneurs via social media. To support matters financially, Kleijn decided to sell the photos online as posters. The prints cost 40 euros and the full profit goes to the entrepreneur.
Kleijn: “Many businesses now work with gift certificates that customers can hand in later. Nice, but if people who hand in coupons do not earn anything extra, I wanted to find a way to support things without costing the entrepreneurs themselves.”
‘Just as sweet Ikea’
As a city artist, she has ‘a short line’ with the municipality, she says. In any case, he was interested in the prints. Furthermore, she has so far earned almost 400 euros from the photos.
Kleijn: “I wish there were more, but I am realistic. For the average Dutchman, 40 euros is quite a lot for a print, who is not an art lover, just as easily hangs an Ikea poster on the wall. That’s why I came up with a plan to make the project more accessible to a wide audience. ”
That became the quartet game. She made an appeal in the local newspaper and found dozens of retailers who wanted to participate. In the Helmonds quartet, they are divided into 13 different categories, such as “Having a drink”, “Leisure” and “Sweet tooth”. “Helmonders will soon be able to play with and for their local entrepreneurs.”
The artistic games cost 7.50 euros and all profit goes to the entrepreneurs. The quartets are for sale on the website, at the local tourist office and from the retailers themselves. “I thought, I will have 500 printed, but I will never lose them all,” she says photographer. “I have now sold two thousand! And I am still receiving new orders.”
Deny local entrepreneurs
Kleijn herself does not earn anything extra from her hard work. As a city artist, she receives a fixed amount per year to create projects that are accessible to a wide audience. “All my great ideas this spring did not go through, so I will keep busy. It is a lot of fun to do and has also broadened my view of the city. I am now a regular customer of all kinds of entrepreneurs that I have thanks to this project get to know.”
She hopes the quartet will do the same for the players. “The fact that all those families play with their products is very nice for the entrepreneurs. It would be fantastic if families discover new local products thanks to this quarter.”