Jaap Bosman was always called “Lange Jaap” (tall Jaap) by colleagues at the Hoechst-site in Vlissingen, because in our shift there were 3 operators with the same Christian name …
and Jaap was indeed as tall and strong as a bear, always wore the largest size overalls and shoes and his helmet always seemed too small for his head.
In 1987 he had reached the age at which people could start enjoying a well-deserved retirement.
A few weeks earlier I was asked if I could take some pictures of him, to use for a kind of farewell book he would get as a present.
Of course, “official” photos would also be taken, but I gladly complied with the request, because I liked Jaap a lot … and for me he was a caricature of the typically tough and hard-working laborer from Zeeland.
Jaap was always honest and straightforward, never pushed the boundaries and was averse to hypocrisy.
So I did my best to photograph him in his natural way.
Jaap worked hard for many years at the phosphorus furnaces of Hoechst in Vlissingen, under poor working conditions (which were considered “normal” at the time).
Fortunately, he also was able to enjoy his retirement for many years …