Bertien van Manen
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Bertien van Manen’s blissful images of family holidays in den Eikenhorst (literally meaning Nest of Oak Trees) from the 1970s are the subject of Easter and Oak Trees.
Lightness dominates these black and white images, and the obvious pleasure, family warmth and security of her children and family in the less politically correct ‘70s. Children pose, play and run but ultimately the photographs communicate the intimate comfort that comes with family, uninhibited in their expression and exposure to the camera. Easter and Oak Trees offers an enticing invitation to share a small part of this familial idyll.
Whilst this work is some of the earliest made by van Manen, it has all the qualities found in her mature work, such as Let's sit down before we go (2011).
Bertien van Manen rolled into photography almost by accident, taking pictures of her children with an old camera. As her work became more public she was soon drafted into the world of fashion photography. In 1977 she tired of the industry, and on discovering the documentary photography of Robert Frank and Josef Koudelka, van Manen began to explore the developing relationship between herself and her subjects, keeping a closeness and developing a personal, organic style of photography.