Hendrik Kerstens

It was unusual for Hendrik Kerstens to want to document the life of his daughter, Paula. As he notes on his Website (hendrikkerstens.com), he simply wanted "to be there" to capture "the fleeting moments that fade from memory all too quickly." What is unusual is the way this Amsterdam-based fine-art photographer goes about that task: by evoking the paintings of Dutch master painters, especially Johannes Vermeer. "It's a way for me to shake up the concept of time," he says. "I'm taking someone today with modern tastes and portraying her in the style of 17th-century artists." In doing so, Kerstens literally immortalizes his daughter, "as if to stop time and oblivion."

The project came about one day after Paula had returned from horseback riding. "When she took off her hat, I saw that her hair was held together by a hair net, and it reminded me of the portraits of the Dutch masters," Kerstens says. What fascinated him about those paintings, he says, "is the way [they can be] seen as a surface which can be read as a description of everyday life, as opposed to the paintings of the Italian Renaissance, which usually tell a story. Northern European painting relies much more on craftsmanship and the perfect rendition of the subject. The use of light is instrumental in this." Kerstens himself crafts his portraits with a Toyo 8x10 view camera.
Kerstens: "Some people have wondered whether it is right to make your child the subject of work like this. Some of the pictures contain some nudity. It is a responsibility we take very seriously. We have to live with Paula, and we have to face the consequences that these pictures will be around in 50 years, when she is older. Some people say that a girl of this age is too young to give permission to be photographed; but I think if you listen well to your child, you can know if she is giving permission. You have to be sensitive. As for Paula, she loves to be photographed." Aqui, o site do fotógrafo

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