Dutch Perspectives in Documentary Photography

Dutch Perspectives in Documentary Photography

THEME: Human/Nature
The event – including a Dutch group exhibition and a debate – is in all its aspects related to the theme of the human interaction with the rest of the nature. Humans often tend to act like there is humankind versus nature, but in fact we are all part of the nature surrounding us and interact with the other elements in different, rather subjective ways. Our actions have impact on ecosystems and the climate and this becomes more and more visible, which inspires artists to raise awareness. The overall theme of the 2 events refers to a current Dutch artistic view on the topic, using documentary photography as a visual vehicle to illustrate the human interactions with the rest of nature in the era of the Anthropocene. 


As makers of ‘Dutch Perspectives’ and participants to the 8th edition of the Bucharest Photo Festival, we believe that the interaction between humankind and the rest of nature is one of the most important features of our identity on Earth. Identity doesn’t exist on itself and is already related to the complex relationships between the different elements of the environment; the impact of the humans on nature and the planet is huge, with some direct and urgent consequences at this very moment. So our approach (interaction humans/wild and domesticated animals, impact of the humans on climate change and the way the humans influence the nature in urban areas) are elements of Identity and define the very core of humankind. 

The famous psychologist Erik Erikson once said: ‘In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity’. We participate in the festival with this quote as a metaphor for all the 40 photo works involved!


Both events have been developed by the Bucharest Photofest team in close collaboration with guest curator Ioana Cobzaru, a visual artist and independent curator who lives and works in The Netherlands. The curatorial concept addresses the theme through the artistic work of 4 different Dutch documentary photographers, all working within the Human/Nature concept and who are at different stages of their career (which also creates an interesting diversity in their approach and point of view). Given the aim to highlight complex interactions, the curatorial concept consists of 3 main sub-themes: 1) our interaction with animals, rather domesticated or wild, and the impact we humans have on their natural habitat and behavior; 2) the human impact on the climate, through the eyes of an artist who works both academically and artistically; 3) how nature, and especially the vegetation in human habitat, has been transformed to serve the interest of the humans, with less and less natural value nor vegetal identity.

The group exhibition will embody the above in the light of artworks from 2-3 series for each photographer (40 artworks in total). Alongside the exhibition there will be a live photographic debate, moderated by both the festival director and the guest curator, in which the Dutch photographers will engage with each other and with the audience to discuss the exhibition theme and the sub-themes, but also the visual storytelling as a powerful tool to raise awareness and to address topics that the spoken word often finds it difficult or too sensitive to discuss. The organization is encouraging a lively discussion and aims to also identify differences between the different cultures and countries with respect to creating documentary storytelling, to finding inspiration and to the usage of visual language and artistic tools.


– Olivier van Hartingsveldt

– David Hup 

– Anna Ziya Geerling

– Sterre Arentsen

Each photographer will show 10 artworks (40 in total), from documentary series corresponding to the event sub-theme that their work represents. The works will be presented at the same venue (following a curated exhibition design, with specific mock-ups developed in closed collaboration with the artists). The artworks will be printed 50×70 cm on average (with a few works smaller or largerfor each artist, depending on the curatorial design agreed with the photographers). The printing and hanging is in kind sponsored by the professional partners of the Bucharest Photofest and do not involve any costs for the participating artists. The artists can bring printed information about their works and also video work to the festival, but it has to be discussed with the organization in advance.

The aim is to accompany the ‘Dutch Perspectives in Documentary Photography’ exhibition by a live photographic debate organized as a panel discussion, in which the 4 Dutch photographers will interact with the audience and each other about (but not limited to) different ways of telling visual narratives, how to create a powerful documentary series, how images are supporting text in an article based on documentary photography, what makes a documentary image relevant. The debate will be moderated by the festival director and the guest curator. The aim is to also invite 1-2 Romanian documentary photographers to participate in the panel of discussants. The Dutch photographers will have the opportunity to highlight their opinions with images on a screen, making the discussion more lively and offering the audience a visual journey through the photographer’s practice and artistic point of view.

Ioana Cobzaru is a visual artist and an independent curator based in The Netherlands. She has Romanian roots, but lived for the past 31 years in Amsterdam and at the moment she obviously relates the most to the Dutch perspective in curation, but also in photography and art in general. Nevertheless she is very interested in international photography and in particular to learn about the Romanian photographic practice and artistic point of view.

She is passionate about documentary photography and is aiming to spend more time in visual research, while for the past years she has worked with fine art portraiture, experimental photography and influences by other cultures (in particular the influence of Japanese photography on the Western style and movements of the past century, such as the Dadaism and the Surrealism). She has exhibited extensively in group exhibitions and festivals in Paris, London, Madrid, Rome, Milan, Melbourne, New York and India to name a few. As a curator she has experience with curated exhibitions at international art fairs, curated exhibitions of individual photographers or a group of visual artists at Dutch galleries, with organizing and moderating international symposia as satelliteevents to exhibitions and with writing exhibition reviews (galleries, museums)

Olivier van Hartingsveldt

David Hup

Anna Ziya Geerling

Sterre Arentsen

Both events are free of charge. Check the schedule for opening hours, venue address and more.