zondag 30 september 2012

Like an Echo from the Past Noorderlicht Safe Haven Korrie Besems Photography

Safe Haven

Man and nature form a harmonious dyad. The landscape is open and safe, in part designed by man, who in turn seeks rest and recreation there. This is landscape as a museum, a playground, and a canvas on which we paint the intimate stories of our lives.

Korrie Besems

A Contrived Past

The current urban landscape in the Netherlands is more and more derived from neo-traditional architecture: complete suburbs are built in this style. The houses appear old but gleam with newness. Project developers do not sell individual houses but 'images' that look familiar and safe. Colourful artist's impressions on billboards with appealing slogans win still hesitant buyers over. Many picturesque examples from the history of Dutch architecture are nonchalantly copied and some locations could be mistaken for Disneyland. Examples from other countries are also popular; colonial houses from the southern United States and the 'Medieval' Tuscany village are most in demand.

Korrie Besems documents this new urban landscape in her photographs. The guiding principle is the need to show the artificial and unnatural transformation process of the densely populated Netherlands. Our country has been self-made already for centuries by land reclamation, the struggle against water, a close-knit infrastructure and good housing. The Netherlands is designed in every detail to every farthest corner of the land but even so, partly due to international pressure, it constantly soon gets turned upside down again. Subsequently the 'shelf life' of landscapes and residential areas seems to be becoming shorter and shorter. The question arises of what this means for the general historical consciousness as well as the cultural value and meaning of earlier developments in architecture and urban planning.

Besems's sharply-focused photographs betray an ambiguous attitude of disgust and admiration and with that acquire multiple meanings. Besems tries to unravel the resistance to the neo-traditionalism and place it in perspective.

Bernard Hulsman has written an essay for this publication in which he investigates why neo-traditionalism has been able to grow into such a widespread phenomenon in the Netherlands; the land of an unbroken modernist tradition in architecture. See for a review ...

Spend your holiday at a superb location in the old harbour of a small rural city Stavoren at the shores of the IJsselmeer Lake with bicycle routes, courses of navigation and footpaths to a magnificent wooded area and lakes nearby. All this is just a short distance from a delightful harbour house in the 't Hanzekwartier in Stavoren, with its friendly outdoor cafés, restaurants and hotels, and the oldest city that is part of the famous Friesland eleven-city skating marathon. 

In the year 2000, the Hanzekwartier was named after the historical and glorious period of the trade union, when merchant ships sailed the seas with their valuable cargo. Today, the old harbour is a fishing port, visited by the brown 'charter' fleet and pleasure yachts from home and abroad. A blend of languages is heard in the harbour and pubs, like an echo from the past

From the sun lounge on the first floor, enjoy the maritime hubbub in the six-person harbour house reminiscent of the warehouses from the olden days. The south-facing balcony has a view of the IJsselmeer Lake, the Hanzekwartier and ancient Stavoren. Two doors on the ground floor provide access to the house: one of them to the built-in storeroom and one to the hall, bathroom, lavatory and a double bedroom. The second floor has two spacious double bedrooms and a bathroom with a bath and lavatory.

A house you will certainly love!
  • Fully furnished and extremely comfortable with a private parking space around the corner.
  • With museums, places of interest and picturesque towns such as Hindelopen and Workum nearby.
  • Options for sailing in a historic three-master or a round-trip to Enkhuizen with the ferry.

zaterdag 29 september 2012

The Experience of Nature Noorderlicht Terra Cognita 2012 Photography

The Enchanted Forest

Mysterious, unfathomable and timeless. We lose ourselves in the overgrowth, wandering in a world which by turns is serene and sinister. Here man is only a nonentity, out of his element. This is a primeval landscape that appeals to primeval instincts.

Safe Haven
Man and nature form a harmonious dyad. The landscape is open and safe, in part designed by man, who in turn seeks rest and recreation there. This is landscape as a museum, a playground, and a canvas on which we paint the intimate stories of our lives.

Into The Unknown
Unseen nature made visible, from the microscopic to the extraterrestrial, from our fondest hopes to our deepest fears. We travel through space and time, through dreams and narratives, on the borders of photography and computer generated imagery.

vrijdag 21 september 2012

FOTOGRAFIA Festival Internazionale di Roma XI Edition: Work the Dutch Photobooks Photography

The concept that the XI FotoGrafia di Roma is intent on exploring is the theme of “Work”. Likewise as curator of the photobook exhibition, I am also interesting in broadly interpreting this theme. I am also intrigued with the idea that  a photobook is a physical product of a photographer’s work and adds another subtle layering to the intent of XI FotoGrafia.
As a photobook commentator and blogger, many, if not most, of the photobooks for this exhibition are being discussed and posted on my blog. As of today, I still have a half-dozen books yet to discussed. Interestingly there are some additional photobooks that I have become aware of since finalizing my exhibition selection that although will not be at FotoGrafia, I will include on my blog to continue this theme of investigating “work” through the month of October.
After some additional consideration, I decided to add yet another layer to the photobook exhibition with a working assignment for the photographers and their respective books. I requested the exhibition photographers to re-photograph a double-page spread of the book’s interior, providing a minimum of direction. Only that they should choose a double page spread which they think captures the essence of their book. The results have been humorous, provocative and revealing.
We will exhibit this mash-up of singular interior book images in conjunction with the photobooks. I hope that this will create a diverse and interesting dialog between the many surrounding interior photographs with the book objects and the viewers and participants of this exhibit. As a preview for the exhibition, many of these interior photographs are now revealed below.

zondag 16 september 2012

Unseen an International Photography Fair Amsterdam

Unseen is an international photography fair focused on undiscovered photography talent and unseen work by established photographers. The first edition of Unseen will take place from 19 to 23 September 2012 at Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek, kicking off the gallery season by celebrating yet undetected, cutting-edge work. See for a review ...


Unseen had the chance to speak to WassinkLundgren, the Dutch duo based in London and Beijing. Thijs groot Wassink (1981) and Ruben Lundgren (1983) work in partnership on various projects, focusing on photography and film, and playfully turn some of the unwritten rules of these media upside down. At Unseen, WassinkLundgren will be showing a new body of work in a solo presentation at Van Zoetendaal Collections.

Could you tell us about your photographic partnership? Can you explain your creative process?
Sure. We met at the Utrecht School of the Arts in 2005. We became friends, shared the same interests and our collaboration seemed like the most logical thing to do. It was simply more fun to do things together. And it's great to be able to bounce ideas off one another. As our work is often conceptually driven this is a really useful element in our collaboration. Since late 2007 we have lived in both London and Beijing, so we have become heavy Skype users. That tool is a life-saver!
How would you describe your work? What would you say is the most prominent theme in your work?
This question is always challenging. Greg Hobson of the National Media Museum in the UK described it very accurately by saying that we work on photography and film projects that "shift mundane, often unnoticeable, everyday occurrences into visually compelling and gently amusing observations of the world around us". This, together with an interest in how the medium itself works - or distorts the thing we're looking at - is among the important aspects in our work. It is visible in almost all projects. From Don't Smile Now.... Save it for Later! (2008) to Hans Kemna: Catalogue (2008), and from Empty Bottles (2007) to Luxiaoben(2011). 
When someone looks at your work, how would you like them to feel?
A short moment of confusion or a laugh would be a good reaction for us. A while ago we heard the word 'mind fuck' in relation to our work. That expression is actually quite suitable. It is great when our work leads to a minor mind fuck that leaves the viewer slightly puzzled.  

From the series Empty Bottles, 2007 © WassinkLundgren (Flowers Gallery, Uncommon Ground)

Could you tell us about your Tokyo Tokyo and Empty Bottles series?
Oh, where to begin from.. Well, perhaps the shortest way of describing these projects would be the following. Tokyo Tokyo is a body of work in which we both photographed the same subject, roughly at the same time, but from a different angle. This makes the people in the photographs almost sculptural and the images feel a little like a distorted 3D picture. For Empty Bottles, then, we photographed people picking up the empty bottles we laid in front of our view camera. It is a documentary project, as we documented a tiny part of the recycling industry in Beijing and Shanghai, while it at the same time prods the notion of documentary photography. 
Tokyo Tokyo and Empty Bottles series have been published in limited edition photography books. We recently spoke to co-founder of Radius Books and Assistant Director of the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, Darius Himes, and he mentioned that there is currently a “deep love and interest in the photography book.” Would you agree? What do you think is the importance of photography books?
Yes, we agree with this - without a doubt. A "deep love and interest in the photography book" is a nice way of putting it, as it often is referred to as a "hype". The fact that we actually know more people making photo books than people buying them, is, however, slightly scary. Part of the attractiveness of making books probably lies in the fact that it is relatively easy and also accessible for the audience. It is like a stage on which you can display your thinking or tell your story: we are no exception to this trend. Despite the hype, the basic criteria for a good photo book have not changed much over the years. The best quote on this would be John Gossage in The Photobook: A History: “Firstly, it should contain great work. Secondly, it should make that work function as a concise world within the book itself. Thirdly, it should have a design that complements what is being dealt with.” The recipe is still as simple is that.

From the series Project Zuidas, 2012 © WassinkLundgren/Van Zoetendaal Collections

What’s next for WassinkLundgren?
Unseen Photo Fair. Shortly after that we shall have a solo show at Foam, which we are really looking forward to. We are also very excited about a different kind of project we embarked on approximately four years ago: a publication and a show on the history of the Chinese photo book.  For this project we have been sourcing Chinese photo books in collaboration with Martin Parr. In 2013 all this should end up as a show at Arles, and a little later as a book published by Aperture. But that's still a long way away.

WassinkLundgren will be represented by Van Zoetendaal Collections at Unseen. For more information on the duo, see their profile here or their personal website wassinklundgren.com.

zaterdag 15 september 2012

Enduring ('Safe Area') Srebrenica | The aftermath of war Claudia Heinermann Photography

Enduring Srebrenica

Preface to: Claudia HeinermannEnduring Srebrenica, Westerbork, 1982 (photobook)

Preface Final, 34kb
Many reasons have been mentioned why the international community failed to protect the people of Srebrenica. The city was not defensible, the ‘safe area’ concept untenable and the course of events unavoidable. The local combatants had launched attacks, violating agreements to lay down their arms. The Government of Bosnia had given up Srebrenica anyway. The UN administration and their peace keeping forces had made mistakes: bad coordination between commanders and insufficient armament. The Dutch Blue Helmets stood against heavy odds: the besiegers were numerous and better armed. Too many people were seeking refuge and the protection forces did not have a choice. By refusing full access to the camp, by sending people away and by cooperating with the besiegers in the separation of men, women and children, they had only tried avoiding chaos. How could they have known that Mladic had in mind killing all men and boys?

These and other arguments are half-truths, or even less. So-called justifications of non-action were but poor excuses. The survivors of the massacre and their relatives insist to know the truth. They do not want to listen to arguments apportioning blame to others. They know, of course, who carried out the genocide, but they ask why the international community had allowed this. In particular in the Netherlands statements have been made holding everybody else responsible, but not the Dutch. Blame was put on the UN Security Council, NATO, France, the Government in Sarajevo, the headquarters of UNPROFOR, the Bosnian troops and even the victims themselves.   

The establishment of the Yugoslavia Tribunal has enabled the international community to try those who are guilty. Mass murderers, perpetrators of the genocide and culprits behind the scenes have stood trial and are being sentenced. However, the responsibilities of the protectors were not under discussion. Those responsibilities are mainly political. In 2002 the Government of The Netherlands stepped down, following the publication of an officially mandated study about Srebrenica. However, this decision, though widely understood as an act of statesmanship, was not based on the recognition of co-responsibility as protectors. On the contrary, the study that had led to this decision concluded quite the opposite.  

Recently questions concerning political and legal responsibilities have been raised again. Is the UN always immune from the actions of the peace keepers? Are Blue Helmets the sole responsibility of the UN, or also of the country where they come from?  Can survivors and relatives hold UN peace keepers responsible in civil proceedings? These are valid and urgent questions. Following the adoption of the Principle of the Responsibility to Protect by the General Assembly of the United Nations a new debate is necessary. However, the most penetrating questions are neither political nor legal. These are the live or death questions of the people concerned: Why did you not keep your promises? Why did you break guaranteeing our safety? Why did we have to surrender our arms, depriving us of the one and only possibility to protect ourselves? Did this not imply an obligation on your side to go to any lengths protecting us?  Why did you separate us from our husbands, fathers and sons? How have they been killed and where? Where are their bodies?

These questions have been asked time and again. They still are. Though inconvenient, they have to be listened to. They should be recognized as valid and be heard. They deserve an answer. Silence is neglect.

Answering that it is a long time ago and that life goes on would repeat the failures of the past.  Those who lost their loved ones would feel this as betrayal.

Answers repeating a denial of responsibility are beside the point. The survivors and their relatives are not convinced by merely legal answers. They seek justice, but also solidarity. They have a right to ask why the world allowed the slaughter, and to repeat the question when the answers reveal that they are not taken seriously.

The book of Srebrenica cannot be closed. The victims will not forget what happened and they will recall events, also after the perpetrators have been tried. The story will have to be told and retold, by the spoken or the written word and with images, during commemorations of the dead and in classrooms, as long as the survivors and their children demand this.

Jan Pronk
Preface in: Claudia Heinermann, Enduring Srebrenica, Westerbork, 2012

See also a review (Dutch) Oorverdovende stilte in Srebrenica ...

vrijdag 14 september 2012

A superb Retrospective of the Golden Age of Photo journalism The Great LIFE Photographers Photography


Many of the images from the pages of LIFE magazine are iconic: the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square on V-J Day by Alfred Eisenstaedt, the aerial shot of a near drowning on Coney Island by Margaret Bourke-White, Gordon Parks' "American Gothic" portrait of cleaner Ella Watson, Larry Burrow's photo of a GI shot dead onboard the Yankee Papa 13 in Vietnam, Phillipe Halsman's swirling composite of artist Salvador Dali in "Dali Atomicus" and Milton Greene's photo of Marilyn Monroe. The Great LIFE Photographers eatures pictures by more than 200 of the century's best photojournalists on staff at the magazine throughout its history. But lesser-known works still retain enormous storytelling power decades later, attesting to the skill and artistry of photographers who placed themselves mere feet from the action to frame the shot. George Strock was following troops in New Guinea when he discovered the bodies of three U.S. soldiers half-buried in the sand of Buna Beach in 1943. Carl Mydans caught the faces of terrified young children huddled in the snow hiding from a Russian air raid in 1940s Finland, and George Roger snapped a young German boy walking past hundreds of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp corpses in 1945. Some works such as Lennart Nilsson's microphotography of the moment of conception; William Vandivert's photo of young Welsh girl badly injured in the Blitz; W. Eugene Smith's picture of a mother bathing her deformed daughter, a victim of mercury poisoning, in Japan in 1971; and Michael Rougier's portrait of a Korean boy found orphaned by his mother's dead body made the world wonder and inspired change. And some, like the picture of Joseph Goebbels' cold, hard stare taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt in 1933, prove that immutable truths can be caught forever by a lens in a box. Deanna Larson is a writer in Nashville.