You could argue that I’ve chosen Rineke Dijkstra for this week’s You Should Know… post because I really like saying (and typing) her name, but you would only be part right. The truth is, Dijkstra is one of those rare photographers whose work you come across and are immediately stopped in your tracks. Seemingly simple in regard to technique, Dijksta’s portraits are so compelling on both a visual and conceptual level that they force you to stand back and stare at them.
The Big Deal: Dijkstra is one of the world top portrait photographers. She mostly works in series’ comprised of individual portraits, focusing on subjects who are in a state of transition (adolescence, pregnancy, military deployment). Dijkstra’s images are decidedly simple, forcing viewers to deeply engage the work on a personal level. She writes, “If you show too much of a subject’s personal life, the viewer will immediately make assumptions. If you leave out the details, the viewer has to look for much subtler hints such as how her shoelaces are tired, or her lipstick or the state of her nail varnish.”
Life in Brief: Born in 1959, within the Netherlands, Dijkstra attended the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, finishing in 1986. She’s won several awards for her work such as, the Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize and exhibited at events such as the 1988 Bienal de Sao Paulo. She has published two photo books – Rineke Dijkstra: Beach Portraits and Rineke Dijkstra: Portraits. Her work is collected by major museums around the world and she currently lives and works in Amsterdam.
Hilton Head Island, SC USA, June 24, 1992
Kolobrzcg, Poland, July 26, 1992
Amoy Botanical Garden, Xiamen, April 23, 2006
Vondelpark, Amsterdam, May 12, 2006
Frieze Magazine – Rineke Dijkstra
Eugen Sakhnenko is a Toronto-based freelance photographer and the co-creator of the Knock Twice blog, which is where a version of this post originally appeared. It's is an online resource to assist and inform budding creative professionals. You can visit Knock Twice here.