Boudewijn Bollmann People We’ve Met

‘People We’ve Met’ is a duo exhibition of photographers Marieke van der Velden and Boudewijn Bollmann. Both are interested in the personal stories behind the news


About the exhibition


Photos are frozen moments, which are fixated somewhere in the world at any given time. In that process, the photographer is not a passive registrar; he or she chooses actively where the lens should be directed to. This is also the case for Marieke van der Velden and Boudewijn Bollmann. Both adjust overall perceptions by not focussing on capturing the newsworthy moment, but shift to the portrayal of the everyday lives of the people who are affected by it.For example the exhibition includes photos from the complex series Oumar’s journey. Boudewijn Bollmann met Oumar (originally from Guinea) during his residence in the Vluchtkerk (Refugee Church) in Amsterdam. With integrity Bollmann photographed his stay there and during the wanderings through the Netherlands that followed. He documents Oumar’s life now for more then two years, in which he aimed his camera at both his struggle for human dignity, as well as his daily routines. Currently they are still in contact with each other. Oumar can stay in the Netherlands and is united with his children after five years. He was relieved that they could leave Guinea before the Ebola outbreak. Friendship and brotherhood is a recurring theme in this series, as well as the other work of Bollmann.Marieke van der Velden also focuses on the documentation of everyday life in unusual places. For example, there will be some portraits in the exhibition, which she photographed in Afghanistan. In 2012 she moved to the dynamic city of Kabul, where she asked residents to bring her to their favourite places in this city. This resulted in a range of portraits and remarkable stories, including her meeting with Nilofar. During a bombardment of the Taliban she got a piece of shrapnel in her back that damaged her nervous system. Now she is part of the wheelchair basketball team for women and she also studies law.

The title of the exhibition refers to the approach of these photographers: Both raise awareness for social issues through personal stories. Characteristic for their attitude is that they try to exclude any form of judgment as much as possible. Above else these portraits show that there is a range of truths inherent in these complex issues. Marieke van der Velden puts it aptly: “Those personal stories seem not important on the hugh stage of world politics but I believe they are. They give us back our recognition as human beings and prevents us from thinking in opponents.”Boudewijn Bollmann (1983) lives and works in Rotterdam. His photos are published in among others Vrij Nederland and NRC Next. Parallel to the exhibition at Bergarde his work will be exhibited at the National Museum of Photography in Rotterdam.Marieke van der Velden (1974) lives and works in Amsterdam. Her photographs have been published frequently both nationally and internationally. For her photo series ‘A Monday in Kabul’ she received the Zilveren Camera (2013).