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Photographer of the Netherlands: Robin de Puy – Jan

Robin de Puy – Jan

What is it like when your memory starts faltering, when you can’t remem- ber who or where you are and your grasp of reality starts slipping? The great-uncle
of Robin de Puy has Alzheimer’s disease. He is 81 years old and has been living in Denmark since the 1960s, he has a Danish wife. De Puy describes her uncle Jan Mallan as an intelligent, headstrong man with an unstoppable urge to live, to learn, to know. ‘A man who loves his surroundings, his wife, and life.’

But Jan increasingly fails to manage basic daily chores. Sometimes it seems he is stuck in a loop, repeating the same motions, asking the same questions. De Puy: ‘I’m scared of losing him, scared that the disease will take his identity.’ But she also observes that when he claps his hands to chase away invisible sheep, picks a wilted flower to give to the love of his life, laughs about a crumbling cookie or weeps for his memories of World War II, it’s like layers are being peeled away and her uncle shows his deepest core. ‘You would expect him to become less like himself, but in fact, the opposite is true,’ she says.

Robin de Puy is a much awarded portrait photographer (the Netherlands, 1986) and this year’s Photographer Laureate. For Fotoweek and BredaPhoto she made an intimate portrait of her uncle in black and white photos. Cameraman Maarten van Rossem filmed his language (a mixture of Danish and Dutch) and gestures.



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Mohammad Abdulazez (Azouz) – Saraab (Mirage)
Azouz (SYR) tells the personal story of his flight from Syria to the Netherlands. He shares the horrors and the hate, his hopes and his fears.

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Eva Beazar – A constructed family
Talented Eva Beazar (BEL) made a series of ‘hybrid portraits’ for BredaPhoto. She placed passport pictures of friends and family on top of each other. The result is a series of intense black and white portraits in which multiple persons morph into one.

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Hideyuki Ishibashi – Présage
Hideyuki Ishibashi (JPN) makes mysterious collages out of old pictures he found on flea markets or online. He cuts images into pieces, adds elements, and shows both the process and the end result. What do we see? Is it reality or fantasy?

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Johan van der Keuken – We Are 17 & Les Copains
The book We are 17 (1955) caused quite a stir. For the first time, the lives of youngsters were documented in so much detail. They smoked pipe, drank wine, philosophised about the future. Critics spoke of a ‘doomed generation’. Sixty years later the book is published again, next to a new book with recently discovered pictures.

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Lin Zhipeng (223) – Untitled
These intimate and raw snap- shots depict China as we rarely see it. The searching, eccentric youngsters experiment, smoke and have sex. Lin Zhipeng (CHN) is one of the pioneers of contemporary Chinese avant-garde photography.

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Lucie Marsmann – Ulla & Willi
Her grandparents Ulla and Willi owned a photo shop and portrait studio and were in the habit of photographing each other. When Lucie Marsmann (DEU) stumbled on their immense archive, she decided to rearrange some pictures, pairing them with her own photos of memorabilia.

Lucie Marsmann

Lucie Marsmann




Anika Neuß – Delusion. The phenomenological case of Sybil Isabel Dorsett
The American Shirley Ardell Mason (1923–1998) suffered from dissociative identity disorder, causing her to experience multiple personalities. Anika Neuß (DEU) visualised Shirley’s sixteen alter egos for BredaPhoto.

Anika Neuß

Anika Neuß




Zoë Parton – Sofie
When Zoë Parton (BEL) was nine years old, she lost her older sister Sofie in a traffic accident. To deal with her sister’s death she made a striking photo series in which Sofie is omni- present, without actually being there.

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Chantal Stoman – Lost highway
Chantal Stoman (FRA) shows three short films and photos she made while driving through the megacities Tokyo, São Paulo and Mumbai. Invisible in her car, she could penetrate the soul of the city.

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Nina Verbruggen – Das war einmal
What does a day in the life of Mrs. Bouwels (92) look like? Nina Verbruggen (NLD) made a multimedia installation about her grandmother. She can live on her own because she has a support network and can pay for help if she needs to. Not everyone is so lucky.

Nina Verbruggen

Nina Verbruggen




Danny Veys – A guide to digging for forgers and foreigners
Danny Veys (BEL) travelled the Yukon region in Canada on foot and by canoe with a large format camera. 120 years ago, this was the scene of an unprecedented gold rush. Veys retraced the footsteps of these gold diggers and shows the impact of mining.

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Antoine Wagner – Creatives in exil
Migration is a big issue of our time, says Antoine Wagner (USA). He paired landscapes of the Swiss mountains, that were a major source of inspiration for exiled romantic composers of the 19th century, with portraits of over twenty emigre artists living in Hamburg today. The men and women in the photos come from Colombia, Syria, China and seventeen other countries. Wagner’s great-great-grandfather, the composer Richard Wagner, lived in Swiss exil for nine years.

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Nanó Wallenius – Only last spring I started wearing pink
Is pink a rebellious colour? It is for Nanó Wallenius (FIN) who was forbidden to wear pink as a child, it would make her look feminine and weak. Now she explores traditional views of femininity and gender stereotypes in pink self portraits.

BP2016 Nano Wallenius lo-res

Erien Withouck – All living on a giant’s solar model of the universe
Erien Withouck (BEL) likes strange text combinations and regularly dives into the archives. With wordplay, she challenges us to think about the context and meaning of photos.

Erien Withouck

Erien Withouck




Brigitte Zieger – Women are different from men
Brigitte Zieger (DEU) is critical of the way war and violence are visualised and legitimised in our society. She processed found photos of women holding guns and pistols. The result is frightening and attractive at the same time.

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Fotograaf des Vaderlands (Dutch ambassador of photography)
To be announced September 7th.

BredaPhoto & World Press Photo present: The Absent State. Five photographers from five continents show the impact of the withdrawal of the government in their country.


* Weekend of 1 and 2 October: The Absent State weekend
Sat 1 October 13:00 – 14:30h
Talkshow with 5 photographers and journalists of The Absent State
MOTI – free entrance
Sun 2 October 14:00 – 16:00h
1-on-1: meet & greet with 5 photographers and journalists of The Absent State
Breda’s Museum courtyard – free entrance

While global poverty rates have declined, social inequality is on the rise. How people around the world cope with declining social security is a major issue for our times. In the project ‘The Absent State’ the Dutch international photo festival BredaPhoto and the World Press Photo Foundation will give 5 photographers from 5 continents the opportunity to tell the story of economic inequality and social security in their societies. This project will show how people cope with these economic challenges and how they look for creative solutions.

The five photographers have been selected because of their participation in the prestigious Joop Swart Masterclass run annually by the World Press Photo Foundation. They will make work that addresses the following issues: How are communities functioning in places where the government can not or does not make economic and social well being a priority? How are communities responding to the withdrawal the welfare-state? What are the consequences for vulnerable people and how are they coping?

Photography can help visualise the answers to these important questions, by showing the similarities and differences in communities around the world. But pictures alone are not enough; they require a context and investigative story to support their representations. To achieve this, the project will pair photographers with writers to report on the situations the photographs portray.

The end result will be a major exhibition curated by BredaPhoto and the World Press Photo Foundation, to be shown during the 2016 BredaPhoto International Photo Festival, starting on 15 September 2016. Also a hardcopy publication will be presented, made by photobook designer Hans Gremmen. After the Breda festival the exhibition will travel around the world to reach as wide an audience as possible.

The photographers:
Jia Dai Tengfei – China
Yannis Kontos – Greece
Baudouin Mouanda – Congo
Alejandro Cegarra – Venezuela
Bryan Schutmaat – USA

The Absent State is a project of BredaPhoto and World Press Photo, in collaboration with crowdfundingpartner Yournalism.