By Lieneke Hulshof

Roads didn’t used to be paved in the dim and distant past. People went barefoot or had sandals, and their feet got very dirty. Washing your hands and feet after reaching your destination was not a luxury. All the better, if someone else was prepared to do it for you.

How humble is the job of washing another person’s filthy lower extremities. Maria Magdalena washed Jesus’ feet. She dried them using her long hair.

Washing another person’s feet has become a thing of the past since roads are now paved and we all wear shoes. Modern technology has taken over. It survives, as a sign of humility, in wedding ceremonies when newly-weds do it for one another. Pope Franciscus does it each year for the homeless and refugees.
Up until the 1990s Hans Aarsman had earned a reputation in the world of photography. Then he started to feel that photographs taken by other people were more important.

‘Looking at photographs taken by other people broadens your view of the world. You go to places you have never visited, in times when you didn’t even exist. Your own photographs are no more than a scratch on the enormous surface of reality. I feel no urge to show the world what a good photographer I am. I find it much more exciting to discover relationships in the enormous abundance of photographs already available. Humbling, isn’t it?’