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Jan Dirk van der Burg

Why venture outside to take photos, when there’s already so much to be found online? Dutch photographer Jan Dirk van der Burg scavenges the internet and composes beautiful series like ‘aldermen of mid-sized municipalities with a buzz cut’ and ‘radiator whores’: prostitutes advertising themselves next to radiators.

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A strange thing is happening to documentary photographer Jan Dirk van der Burg (the Netherlands, 1978). For fifteen years he was always on the road, studying human behaviour, now he hardly ventures outside. Our lives have become increasingly digital.

To Van der Burg, the abundance of images on social media is an enrichment. ‘Photography has become more democratic. People aren’t photographing professionally, but they produce very interesting and sometimes very pure photos.’

As a professional photographer he takes the role of curator: constantly searching for photos to categorise. Among his finds are series like ‘aldermen of mid-sized municipalities with a buzz cut’, and ‘radiator whores’: prostitutes advertising themselves next to radiators.

Van der Burg also made Tweetbundels (2015), ‘unwanted biographies’ of people he followed on Twitter. For his 2011 book Desire Lines (‘Olifantenpaadjes’) he photographed the unintentional paths left by shortcuts. He also has a weekly visual column in national newspaper de Volkskrant. During BredaPhoto he was named Photographer Laureate 2018 – 2019. Van der Burg: ‘I’m a Photographer Laureate who hardly has time to take pictures.’