vrijdag 14 november 2008

A Dutch promising documentary photographer 101 Billionaires Rob Hornstra Photography

101 Billionaires By: Photography: Rob Hornstra Text by Hans Loos, Arnold van Bruggen. Translation by Cecily Layzell. Published in 2008.

Under Vladimir Putin's rule, Russia has reclaimed its position among the superpowers of the world in the past eight years, the economic recession and the tumultuous nineties seemingly all but forgotten. Thanks to the country's huge abundance of raw materials such oil and natural gas, the Russian economy is flourishing as never before. After a mere 18 years of capitalism, the January 2008 issue of Finans Magazine reported that there are currently 101 billionaires in Russia.It is difficult to detect much prosperity in the book 101 Billionaires, which portrays an entirely different segment of the Russian population. Far away from the glitter and glamour of Moscow, the world's most expensive city, we find the impoverished Russians, victims of the 'tough-as-nails' capitalism with which Russia made its name immediately after the fall of Communism.

I consider Rob Hornstra (b. 1975) as one of the most promising documentary photographers of the younger generation in the Netherlands. His photographic vision, his feeling for subject matter and his wit make him stand out in the field.

Hornstra works on his projects with an impressive amount of energy and ambition. Already at his final exams at the Art Academy of Utrecht in 2004 he produced a prize-winning documentary photo book on post-communist Russia of remarkable quality and intelligence. He published it himself and the book sold out very quickly (Communism & Cowgirls). His second self-published book, on Iceland, saw the light of day in 2006 (Roots of the Rúntur). More recent projects have taken him to the Russian Caucasus and Siberia. Hornstra combines portraiture with interior photographs and occasionally a landscape. He uses colour to create a atmosphere that is both realistic – with ‘nostalgic’ overtones when it comes to the worn-out interiors and environments of the former Soviet Union – and intimate. His ‘snapshot’ style and the use of flash contribute to that effect, however without ever becoming harsh or confrontational. His photographs radiate a warm humanism with a slight surreal touch.

Hornstra writes extensive, personal, as well as informative captions with his photographs. He has proven to be a talented writer.

Hornstra’s commitment to documentary photography has led him to organise exhibitions and debates. Currently he his trying to establish a centre for documentary photography called FOTODOK in his hometown Utrecht (the Netherlands). Frits Gierstberg Nederlands Fotomuseum. Read more an interview ... & a review ... & a review by 5B4 ...

See also Witness 3 Martin Parr Three ways to make book Rob Hornstra ...

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