Door Joan Gannij

Martin Bril and I were formally introduced by cancer. But I had crossed paths with him several times over the years after first relocating from America in the late 1980’s.

Henk van der Does of the Greek Island bookstore had published a series of postcards with my photographic images of the writer Charles Bukowski. Martin admired the louche man of American literature and expressed interest to Henk in meeting “the photographer,” but it never came to pass. He was fighting his own demons back then and as an author of travel books, I was constantly on the road. Except for a few telephone calls when Bukowski died in 1994, we had little contact.

Joan Gannij & Martin Bril. Foto door Sander van Ommeren
Joan Gannij & Martin Bril. Foto door Sander van Ommeren

It was in 2002 that our friendship began through the most unpleasant circumstances in the most unexpected environs: a cramped doctor’s office in the OLVG ziekenhuis, Amsterdam. Just that morning I had heard from a friend that Martin had also been diagnosed...