Today i added a book on Hendrik Kerstens to my inventory. At first glance you see a classic portrait , but when you follow his works through several decades, you note 3 elements in the photograph. The model is in most cases Paula, his daughter , who progresses in age, and looks when getting older ….more and more like a “dutch Golden Age” figure by Johannes Vermeer. Secondly the props within the photograph ( mainly hats ) are common household items. Blankets, plastic bags, empty tin cans ….all have a function within the portrait. Modern elements making a classic portrait of a beautiful woman. Hendrik Kerstens is now also represented in the US and his name as an important dutch photographer is now established among the great dutch photographers from his generation.
‘HENDRIK KERSTENS DID NOT TRAIN FORMALLY AS AN ARTIST. HOWEVER, HE WISHED TO DEVOTE HIMSELF TO A MORE CREATIVE PROFESSION AND IN 1995, AT THE AGE OF FORTY, HE LEFT THE BUSINESS WORLD AND TOOK UP PHOTOGRAPHY. HIS WIFE ANNA WORKED FULL TIME TO SUPPORT THIS CHANGE OF DIRECTION. IN A REVERSAL OF MORE TRADITIONAL ROLES, KERSTENS CARED FOR THEIR YOUNG DAUGHTER PAULA, WHILE ALSO STUDYING PHOTOGRAPHY DURING THE DAY. HAVING A CHILD LEFT A DEEP IMPRESSION ON KERSTENS. THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY, HE EXPLORED THE ACCOMPANYING FEELINGS OF RESPONSIBILITY, VULNERABILITY AND LOVE HE FELT TOWARDS HIS DAUGHTER, STARTING WITH DOCUMENTARY FAMILY SNAPSHOTS.
AS PAULA PHYSICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY GREW, KERSTENS SEARCHED FOR AN ARTISTIC MANIFESTATION OF THESE CHANGES, LEADING TO HIS INTERPRETATIONS OF THE GREAT DUTCH MASTER PAINTERS OF THE 17TH CENTURY WITH PAULA AS HIS MUSE.’
EXCERPT FROM AN ESSAY BY MARTIN BARNES, VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM, LONDON
this book is now availabel at www.ftn-books.com