Girlsforward IJburg

Tatshara - “Never give up on something when you can't go a day without thinking about it”

Youssra - "To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and don't worry about darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest"

Nahid - "I care about people who care about me, I don't care about people who don't care about me, that's how I am"

‘Girlsforward’ is a youth centre based in IJburg Amsterdam. The centre is a platform to encourage teenage girls for developing their skills. When they asked me to make a serie of portraits of the girls, I set these inspiring and strong personalities in the clean architectural grid of IJburg. From all over the city they come to meet each other here at ‘Girlsforward' in IJburg Amsterdam. Together with their mentors they are organising all kind of events, giving the girls the opportunity to show their talents into the neighbourhood and stimulating them to use new skills in their personal life. This ‘neighbourhood living room’ is leaded by the two powerful women Zaitoon Shah and Soumaya Alioui, who are using their never-ending energy to inspire and, whenever necessary, to help these young women.

While working on a documentary in Ireland, I travelled to Cork, where I saw a beautiful city with lots of different people. Wandering around I bumped into these guys. I decided to make a series of portraits about people who are forced to stop working at a young age due to health problems.

Jell Coleman

Vincent Anthony McCarthy

“I do regret the tattoos on my skin and also the immense amount of cigarets I smoked. But I am still a happy man.”

Jell is a former roofer spending his days fishing and hunting foxes, while recovering from a kidney disease. Being an astma patient as well, it is difficult to get back to normal. Even so he enjoys life very much.

"I got married when I was 16 years old. Having 6 children to feed, doesn’t make my life easy. Drinking a glass of wodka in the pub at times, lightens up my day."

Vincent has been working as a bricklayer and is already retired for some years. His knees are in a bad condition and he can only walk very slowly.

Safoan Mokhtari / KamiKazi.DNA

"Van stotterkind naar Rapper" ( @kamikazi.dna )

Rapper / CEO SterAlure Entertainment / Projectleider Jeugd & Veiligheid in Amsterdam / IJburger van het jaar / Sociaal ondernemer

My Place

This series has been created over the last few years. Whenever I was working abroad for a client I took a few days off after I finished my job to continue shooting new portraits. A series is gradually starting to emerge. It just shows a collection of a number of people. The only connection they have is the spot where they have been photographed. They feel comfortable here whether it's at home, work or on People are always surprised when I ask them permission to photograph, but in the end they really like to pose.

Sharin (left), 21 years and Amier (right), 23 years are friends for already a long time. Amier is the proud owner of his car. He afforded to buy himself this Mitsubishi by working as a security agent in a hotel. Sharin works as a contractor in the oil and gas business. Just a month ago this young man had a serious accident with his motorbike. Now he’s carrying for the rest of his life a piece of steel in one of his legs. He told me the sad news, he’s never able to walk without his crutches again.
(Melaka, Malaysia)

This is Ed, 53 years old, musician and comic-writer. For paying his bills he works in the maintenance.

On my way to St Augustine in Florida, I did a little stop at Flagler beach. Actually I didn’t realize it has been 9-11 until I saw this flag. Mikhail (71), a former photographer was willing to pose for a little while. Now retired and enjoying his holiday. 25 Years ago he moved from the Ukraine to Boston to work as a wedding photographer.

Fonds Gehandicaptensport

Portraits for ‘Fonds gehandicaptensport’

Figure skater Qiong Li Herman

Former Paralympic volleybal player Johan Reekers. A lot of prices in the pocket nowadays he is already for many years into handbiking.

De Hef school in Rotterdam

Campaign for De Hef school in Rotterdam




Our Grid / Growing between the lines

‘The insecure age group of this growing group of youngsters, set against the smooth and outlined background of the planned residential area, fascinates me as a photographer and resident of IJburg.’  

The IJburg district in Amsterdam consists of various small islands, each with their own atmosphere and architecture and each with their own group of youngsters aged between 13 and 19 years. All of them are still searching for their own ‘blueprint’ within the very structured and planned architecture of IJburg. 

All of them are still searching for their own ‘blueprint’ within the very structured and planned architecture of IJburg. 

Group Hajar + friends (2016)

Group Sophie + friends (2016)

Group Jasmin + friends (2016)

Based on this plan, I was given the photo assignment by ‘The City Archive and the Amsterdam Foundation for Arts 2016’. Different locations on IJburg were the decor - each of them for about an hour- of various youth groups. The locations have been carefully selected beforehand. In every group, one person is the main character. In this hour, at these outlined locations, his or her friends will pop round with their scooters, bikes, skateboards and so on. Via their school or social media, they have been instructed to come to this location at a set time. As the photographer, I mainly interact with the main character and let the friends do what they want. My main character is the spindle. The emphasis is on him or her, through the use of light and positioning - away from the group, in the front or at the back etcetera. The locations are places where you wouldn’t expect many people at first sight. I am deliberately looking for this slightly surrealistic effect as a prefiguration of the growth of the youngsters in the district that only really will take effect in the years to come.

More >>

THe brewers of HertogJan beer

Campaign for Hertog Jan beer

kitchen Crew of The Jane


Chef Nick Bril and his kitchen crew of The Jane in Antwerp

entrepreneurs of Qredits

10x portraits for Qredits for an outdoor exhibition in10 cities in NL from March until September 2019

Nadine in her shop ‘The Darling’ in Amsterdam

Bakery ‘Samen’ with Mohammed en Sahar

‘De Hoedenmakers’ Marcel en Dirk-Jan


Berlin / Dublin (2013-2015) 

This series of images is a search of frozen, industrial cityscapes where the individual blends in or contrasts with the graphic background. The images are a combination of reportage and staged photography. The slightly surrealistic locations have been chosen in advance and carefully framed. They are as important for the image as the photographed people themselves. Unknown passers-by walk through this street decor unsuspectingly, whenever lit out by a flashlight mounted to a streetlight.

There is no noise of street life or traffic. The streets are abandoned. In reality, there was traffic, or people walking through the picture. It sometimes took a lot of patience to isolate one person against the backdrop. At other locations, on the other hand, it sometimes took ages before something happened in my staged ‘frame’. 

More >>


Barcelona (2011)



Hongkong (2012)


A Hong Kong citizen would be able to leave their television, but can’t go without their smartphone. Of all the Asian countries, Hong Kong’s smartphone usage has been the most obvious in the last five years. The most popular searches are restaurants and bars. Ninety-six percent of the 18 to 34-year-olds are almost constantly on-line. Street life is dominated by people occupied by their smartphones and tablets. Totally self-absorbed, unaware of what is going on around them. Because of the bustle in the streets, this often gives a number of near crashes and augments frustration towards the fellow pedestrian increases.

More >>

Marcel Hensema


La Boqueria

Barcelona (20110)



Thai binh / Ninh Binh Vietnam (2016)


"The architects who designed the city, it is almost as if they built it for skateboarding,"

"You see existing benches everywhere and if you go somewhere outside the city, you will find existing quarter pipes. You would almost think; how has this not been made for skateboarding?"

Granite tiles, the long narrow wall, the smooth steps and the square in front of the MACBA museum in Barcelona all constitute a skateboarder's heaven. From every corner of the world, skateboarders gather here in the summer to skate. In the beginning, the museum wasn’t happy about this. But an adaptation of the square created an unintentional ‘improvement’ that would attract even more skaters. 

At most, for 2 minutes, they would serve as a model. Most of the time sweaty and still full of their actions. They’d rather not stand still for much longer. On to the next lap!

More >

> Website is still under construction <