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The Dutch photographer questions the viewer in her singular atmospheres, which play with the bizarre and the comical, light and colour, abstraction and surrealism.

Wendelien Daan wears many hats. The Eindhoven native, now based in Amsterdam, is a photographer, visual artist, creative director, cinematographer and short-film director. Her portfolio is an ongoing questioning of what defines the image we look at and observe. This former fashion design graduate of ArtEZ/University of the Arts quickly discovered the path she had to follow: a love of storytelling through photography, between silver and digital. Since then, Wendelien Daan has travelled extensively, first settling in Amsterdam, then New York and Paris, where she has collaborated with magazines (Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Madame Figaro…) and brands (Neiman Marcus, Nike). It was after the 9/11 attacks in the Big Apple, where she was at the time, that she decided to return to her Venice of the North, to concentrate on Europe. Her portfolio explores themes of identity, equality, surrealism, abstraction and alienation, with the image of today’s woman at the heart of her reflections.

Capturing the Unexpected

Wendelien Daan immerses the viewer in an atmosphere that is at once strange, comical and disquieting, playing with the notion of perception. Her images capture, astonish and question the eye. She manipulates the effects of light and shadow, colour and situation, creating an aesthetic all her own: “I enhance their beauty in such a way that it embraces imperfection, often zooming in to transform forms into something unexpected,” she explains. Her work is thus an attractive combination of visual arts between colour and black and white, which she presents in many cultural institutions and museums around the world. Today, Wendelien Daan continues her surrealistic series between studio shoots in “her beloved Amsterdam”, as she puts it, and unusual locations for editorials, commercial commissions and personal projects. Examples include the burnt-out theatres of Lebanon, the streets of Tokyo or Diamond Beach on the glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón in Iceland, a famous spot that earned the nickname Diamond Beach for its blocks of iceberg glistening in the sunlight.

Nathalie Dassa

Pays-Bas – Amsterdam