Dutch photographer and video artist. She studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam between 1981 and 1986. She worked as a formal portrait photographer until the early 1990s when she began to take her own style of portraits. The Beaches series (1992–6), for which she photographed adolescents in their bathing costumes on beaches from the Ukraine to the USA gained her international attention. Dijkstra mostly works in series of portraits, capturing her subjects in moments that are both selfconscious and unwittingly revealing. In Julie, February 29, 1994, a mother clutches her newborn baby to her bosom in front of the white walls of a hospital. In 1997 Dijkstra made a series of one-minute videos taken in two night clubs. After selecting her models from the clubbers, Dijkstra let them perform as they wanted in front of the camera, as in The Buzz Club, Liverpool, England, March 1, 1997 (see 1997 London exh. cat.). Dijkstra's portraits differ from those shot by other documentary photographers such as Wolfgang Tillmanns during the 1990s, both in her use of obviously posed compositions and in the distance that she creates between herself and her models in their often startled, confrontational expressions. Presenting a variety of models ranging from matadors to shop assistants, Dijkstra draws not only on the history of documentary portrait photography represented by August Sander and others, but also on the history of portrait painting as well as on each model's desire to present his or her own imagined image.
Photowork(s) in Progress/Constructing Identity (exh. cat., ed. L. Roodenburg; Rotterdam, Ned. Foto Inst., 1997)
Rineke Dijsktra: Location (exh. cat., ed. D. Smith; London, Photographers' Gal., 1997)
The Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize (exh. cat., ed. S. Cotter; London, Photographers' Gal., 1999)
CATHERINE M. GRANT
27 March 2001