Couple and Painting, Grooves Bar - Shanghai, 1998
7 3/16 x 11 inches on 9 3/8 x 12 inch paper
Signed Edition of 50
(The Netherlands, b. 1942)
Although Bertien van Manen began her professional career as a fashion photographer, her relationship to the medium changed early on in response to Robert Frank's influential publicationThe Americans (1958-59). She has made it her practice to inhabit the culture she is documenting and, to the best of her ability, live the lives of the people she photographs. By learning local languages and devoting time to personal relationships, she is able to gain access to places that are often inaccessible to a stranger with a camera, such as the homes of ordinary people. The resulting color photographs weave between the public and private lives of her subjects who, clearly at ease in her company, disclose to her camera a shifting reality in the face of social and cultural change. In the last decade Van Manen has made pictures in Russia, the Ukraine, and China.