Featuring: Harmen Meinsma
Presented byPresented by Melkweg Expo and United Photo Industries with support by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York
Curated byFleurie Kloostra
Print support byEpson
This program is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands, New York
At Photoville 2019, Harmen Meinsma shows The Last Season I & II, existing out of two projects in which Harmen wanders the streets looking for extraordinary personalities who will pose for him. The first project is shot on the campsite in Hoek van Holland, where every year a few hundred Dutch people come together to celebrate the summer months. The second project has Rotterdam as its backdrop, where Harmen shows the cultural diversity of its inhabitants.
Once Harmen finds his subjects and builds a mutual trust with them, he then plans a production with a team of stylists to give these people the star treatment. Our society is all about being young and vital, so Harmen picks out older models, and he gives them the glamour and attention they deserve.
It’s his mission to put these personalities on a pedestal using his camera and creative team. He usually focuses on people with a flamboyant character, and those who enjoy being in the spotlight. In all his images, he likes to exaggerate with the use of styling, selecting the locations, and glamorous lighting. It’s a celebration of growing older, being different, and not being afraid to stand out from the crowd.
Harmen Meinsma, (b. 1991) started his photographic career in Balk, a village in the north of Holland. During his teenage years, being gay in a small town was very isolating for him. Harmen spent most of his time creating various styles of decor in his bedroom and taking photographs of himself and his friends. His photography thus became a positive escape.
Over the years, Harmen’s work further developed into the photographic career he has today. His practice has moved from a focus on self-portraits, towards a fascination for the eccentric and free-spirits of this world. The creative framework of fashion also allows Harmen to build a fantasy world filled with color and costumes.
Harmen is not interested in capturing reality, but he does become inspired by what he discovers in real life. He forms this reality following the direction of his own imagination, casting his subjects as the main characters. Through his work, the photographer gives the unconventional subjects of society the spotlight they deserve.
His drive as a photographer is to make images come from a sense of empowerment, and a celebration of being different. Harmen treats his subjects with tremendous love and respect: an aspect this is visible in every image he produces.
Melkweg Expo is an exhibition space for contemporary photography and a platform for young artists in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It is part of Melkweg, a venue that stands for pop culture in the broadest of senses, and organizes hundreds of concerts, club nights, films, theatre performances, expositions, and multidisciplinary events each year.
Melkweg Expo shows art that concerns identity, society, or just new emerging talents. By showing quality work in an accessible way, Melkweg Expo wants to highlight eye-opening topics and reach people who don’t often visit exhibitions.