Raymond Kruin’s interests are as far-flung as the globe. Whenever I visit him at his home near Aruba’s rocky shore with its raging seas, our conversation ranges through time and space.
Aruba, a Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela, may be only twenty miles long but, thanks to Raymond’s longtime love affair with the computer we talk of politics in India, of scientific breakthroughs, of world economics – about everything!
For most of his life this intense, quiet-spoken man has skimmed the surface of these white-capped waters as a wind surfer, explored their depths as a scuba diver, and seen the potential of this islands environment in his own backyard too. He knows his island and the secret beauties of its marine and land environment like almost no other.
On shore, with a powerful interest in engineering, physics and mathematics, it is computers that engage and inspire him. A decade or so ago, Kruin, a keen amateur photographer, discovered orchids. Suddenly his love of exotic Nature and the infinite possibilities of the computer came together in an altogether original art form.
“I am fortunate to have and care for an amazingly diverse collection of orchids... As they bloom they present me with great image-making opportunities as well,” says Kruin. It would be hard to improve on Nature in the form of the exquisite orchids that surround his house.
Kruin uses their graceful to bizarre shapes and dazzling colours as the starting point for what almost amounts to a new art form. Constant onscreen experiments have produced many unique images.
“Managing my plants is an adventure,” he says. “Their unique differences are simply amazing – and certain orchid flowers exude a sweet and sometimes intoxicating fragrance too... I connect with the talents of those who develop these exotic plants. Orchids are imagination gone wild.”
Even as he strives to create new impressions using Nature’s bounty, he is very much aware that it is still the original that is…well… original. “It’s my wish,” he says, “that Nature’s art-fullness – which genuinely awes me – shines through in my images.”
* Former columnist, foreign correspondent, The Toronto Star.