Dutch Photographer Rineke Dijkstra Wins the 2017 Hasselblad Award

Previous winners include Wolfgang Tillmans and Sophie Calle.

Rineke Dijkstra. Courtesy the Hasselblad Foundation. © Rineke Dijkstra

The Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra is the recipient of the 2017 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. She will receive approximately €100,000 ($105,578) for the prize, and an exhibition of her work will open in October at the Hasselblad Center at the Goteborg Museum of Art in Sweden.

Previous winners include Wolfgang Tillmans, Sophie Calle, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Jeff Wall, and Walid Raad, among others.

Dijkstra is known for her photography and film focusing on children, adolescents, and young adults, documenting their forming identities, and follows how they might change over the course of time.

Her early 1990s work captured mothers and their newborn children directly after delivery, as well as bullfighters just moments after leaving the ring. The aim of these series was to document conflicting emotions as experienced at once while in extreme circumstances.

Rineke Dijkstra, Almerisa, Asylumseekerscenter Leiden, March 14, 1994. (1994). Courtesy The Hasseblad Foundation. ©Rineke Dijkstra

One of Dijkstra’s most acclaimed projects is her ongoing portraits of a Bosnian woman named Almerisa Sehric. First photographed in 1994 when Almerisa was a six-year-old living in a Dutch refugee center, the series went on to capture her development into a teenager, then a young adult assimilated into Dutch culture, and later, becoming a mother. The work is just as relevant today, as the refugee crisis continues to unfold, and immigrants are often reduced to a faceless number.

“Rineke Dijkstra’s photographs and films speak brilliantly to the intricacy of the portrait image: its embodiment in time; its capacity to reveal history; the contingency of the act of exchange between sitter, photographer and spectator; and, ultimately, photography’s revelation of the self,” said Duncan Forbes, Chair of the Jury for the Hasselblad Award 2017 in a statement.

“At a moment when the portrait image dissipates itself in an economy of narcissism and fractal celebrity, Rineke Dijkstra reminds us of the photographic portrait’s public potential,” he concluded.

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