In 2016, Natascha Libbert was commissioned to photograph the sea locks of IJmuiden – large constructions which allow ships and boats access to the Dutch port, and which are therefore of tremendous importance to the economy of the Netherlands, and in particular the port of Amsterdam further downriver. But while they’re important, they’re not necessarily exciting photographic subjects, and some of what makes them significant is hard to pin down visually – as is shown by the phrases and thoughts that the Dutch photographer jotted down in her notebook while working on the project, such as “man-made landscape”, “90 per cent of all trade is transported by sea”, and “at sea, the brain receives 85 per cent less information than on land”.
“I was trained as a sculptor, and this was the first time I had used the camera,” wrote Jacqueline Hassink in the Financial Times in 2011, of her breakthrough project The Table of Power. Between 1993 and 1995 Hassink contacted forty of the largest multinational corporations in Europe, asking to photograph their boardrooms. “I wanted to find a table that symbolised modern society’s most important value: economic power,” she writes. Nineteen refused, while the remaining 21, in Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy, eventually agreed.
The book was published in 1996; it was the first time that photographs of these places had been made public, and in the spring of 2009, after the global recession, Hassink decided to revisit the boardrooms. With The Table of Power 2, she examined how boardroom design, revenue and employee numbers had changed over the intervening years.
Hassink, who has died aged just 52, was born in Enschede, the Netherlands, on 15 July 1966. She trained to be a sculptor at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, and then at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art in Norway, but after graduating in 1992, presented herself mainly as a photographer, publishing nine books – including another celebrated title, Car Girls, in 2009. It was shot over five years at car shows across seven cities in three different continents, including New York, Paris, Geneva, Tokyo, Detroit, and Shanghai, focusing in on differing cultural standards on ideals of beauty on the women paid to pose with the cars.
A major retrospective of Hans Eijkelboom’s work is on show at The Hague Museum of Photography until 07 January 2018, including his well-known series of shoppers and his more conceptual work.
Unseen burst onto the international photography scene in 2012, pitching itself as “a photography fair with a festival flair”. Organised by Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, along with arts organisation Platform A and Vandejong Creative Agency, the fair is back for a fourth year, and this time it includes a festival called Unseen, with exhibitions and events, such as Magnum Contact Sheets, held in various locations across the city. Unseen Photo Fair champions emerging photographers alongside more established names, and newly commissioned work is a key component of the 2015 edition. Luke Norman and Nik Adam from Wandering Bears Collective have been commissioned to create a collaborative project with Charlie Engman, for example; each artist will make five images that will be reworked collaboratively and then put on show, to be presented in the Unseen Niches. Norman and Adam often rephotograph works by adding paint or other marks, and Engman often uses digital post-production and collage in his work. Another highlight is a new project by Peter Puklus, who was commissioned by Unseen to produce the official artwork for the …
“Children treat play as an absorbing and essential aspect of their everyday relation to the world,” says Dutch photographer Annegien van Doorn. “Why do we lose this natural playfulness when we grow up?” Luckily for van Doorn, she seems to have escaped the cull; creating photographs, videos and installations with a sense of mischief. By disrupting the fabric of the everyday, she manages to draw attention to it, highlighting the apparently unremarkable conventions which both govern and reflect our lives. “The banal, the quotidian, the obvious, and the ordinary fascinate me,” she says. “How do we give meaning to our daily life? I am looking for the places we use [to] transform our surroundings from one day to another. The traces we leave behind to make changes that give form to our needs and desires. These interventions speak about who we are and who we want to be in this world.” Born in The Netherlands in 1982, van Doorn graduated from the St Joost Art Academy in 2004, and the University of Barcelona, where she …