Bertien van Manen’s Glimpses of the World

Bertien van Manen’s Glimpses of the World

In 1975, Bertien van Manen, who has died at 89 in Amsterdam, was working as a fashion photographer when a friend gave her a copy of “The Americans,” the groundbreaking collection of photos that the photographer Robert Frank took on a road trip across the United States in the 1950s. Inspired by Mr. Frank’s work, she became a documentary photographer.

Using cheap point-and-shoot cameras — they were unobtrusive and produced grainy shots that, to her, represented the messiness of life — Ms. van Manen captured intimate images of daily life in China, post-Soviet Russia and coal miners in Kentucky.

Ms. van Manen spent several months with her subjects over a period of years. In Kentucky, she rented a pickup truck and drove around the Appalachians looking for female coal miners. In Cumberland, Ky., she met a coal miner named Mavis and her husband, Junior. “For some reason,” Ms. van Manen wrote in The Guardian, “I was quickly welcomed. The locals have a reputation for aggression and hard-drinking, but I liked them. The rest of us put on masks and try to be good, but they are just the way they are.”

“There is a kind of offhand intimacy to her work,” said Susan Kismaric, the former curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where Ms. van Manen’s work has been exhibited. “She cultivated that very deliberately.”

Ms. Kismaric, said Ms. van Manen’s style is largely a thing of the past. “A lot of the work now is very premeditated, quite intellectual and less reliant on the photographic capability of the camera,” she said. “Bertien was very interested in making clear to the viewer what it felt like to be in that place at that moment.”

Source link



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

Social Media

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.