Bertien van Manen

Hakob, Yerevan, Armenia, 1994

C-print, 25.5 x 38.2 cm
Collection Fotomuseum Winterthur, gift Bertien van Manen
Inv. no. 1995-003-005
© Bertien van Manen

Bertien van Manen
b. 1942 (Den Haag, NL), lives and works in Amsterdam, NL

Very direct, but never cynical, the colour pictures by the Dutch photographer tell stories of friendship and love, happiness, pain, aging, loneliness and death. Communal apartments, furniture and wallpaper, cutlery, clothes, bouquets, odds and ends, portable radios and televisions are at the same time scenery and mirror. The photographs of the interiors and their residents speak of poverty and the attempt at a dignified life. Bertien van Manens method gaining a unique colour tone from the photographed scene sharpens their meaningfulness dramatically. Thus her reportage photographs are cleary distinguished from most journalistic work. Image construction and colour do not serve a senseless aesthetization of a difficult, at best unspectacular every-day life, but are instead direct emotional expressions of experience.