Due to the ongoing economic crisis a lot of people have lost their jobs. The 50+ generation has been hit exceptionally hard. These people are finding it nearly impossible to find a new job. After many years of service, often for the same company, they are now alone, confused and unsure of their future.
One of the most important things I learned during my time at the Photoacademy in Amsterdam was to stay close to myself. To choose projects that have real meaning for me. That way you can add depth and meaning to your storytelling. I also lost my job due to a major reorganisation when I turned 49, so I have special empathy for this target group. This was the first series I made straight after my graduation in December 2014.
To find the people for my series I approached the local unemployment office who organize specialized courses to help over fifties find work. They were immediately enthusiastic. I promised the candidates a good business portrait for their CV or social media if they agreed to be part of my project. I spent a good half hour with every person, taking down their stories. This was often emotional and sometimes difficult for them because of the bleak outlook they have. After that I took their portrait. I asked everyone to wear a white vest; in Holland the expression “je staat in je hemd” means that you are naked and exposed. It creates an deeper layer in my series.
Out of Work was published in Het Parool, a national newspaper. It was my first major publication as an emerging photographer.
About Peter van der Heyden
I graduated from the Photo Academy in Amsterdam in December 2014. I have worked in the music industry for many years with famous Dutch artists. I have always been very aware of the impact of an image in the public awareness. How the right picture can help to convey your message. This fascination with public imaging led to my graduation project. I chose 20 immensely talented people in their twenties from different disciplines; science, art, sport and literature. They are all prize winners in their own right. I chose to show their personality instead of presenting them as winners. My aim was to invite the viewer to consider the person behind the prize. I called the series “Behold” and it won the Juryaward at the Lensculture Portrait Awards and made it to the finals at the Kuala Lumpur International Portrait Awards.
Because of my network in the music industry I am often asked to do publicity and artwork shoots. My photograph of pianists Lucas and Arthur Jussen was recently published in the New York Times. I hope to grow in this field. In addition I plan to make portrait series that are close to my heart. [Official Website]