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Bertus Gerssen

Foto: Shireen van Dorp

Photo: Shireen van Dorp

Bertus Gerssen
Documentary photographer

Spijkermakersstraat 116
2512 ET  The Hague
The Netherlands

info@bertusgerssen.nl
+31 (0)6 4178 9582

I photograph worlds not known to everybody, but at the same time recognizable nonetheless. My interest lies with groups, communities and subcultures: from isolated villagers to squatters.

I portray people emphasizing their surroundings. I work with a mediumformat camera, on negative-film and always use an off-camera flash. This way I obtain clarity, detail and sharpness.

My latest publication ‘In Situ’ was released 31 March 2017 during the Rewire Festival in The Hague. ‘In Situ’ is an ode to the Underground Music Scene, its organisers and its visitors.

On the 21st of december 2012 the national newspaper NRC-Next was entirely devoted to ‘The end of times’. My photo series ‘The end of the Mayan calendar’ had a prominent role in it.

Late 2008/early 2009 I made a series about squatting in the countryside, a fairly unknown phenomenon that occurs across the Netherlands. The series on rural squatters was published in ‘Vrij Nederland’. For ‘DocuDenHaag’ commissioned by ‘Het Nutshuis’ I portrayed residents of The Hague resulting in ‘The social landscape of The Hague’.
‘Volkskrant-magazine’ published a series of six portraits of squatters entitled ‘Forbidden to dwell’ (Oct 2010). Both NRC-Next, and NRC Handelsblad published pictures of my small documentary about Surinam men and their songbirds.

In 2008 I graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague with the book “Who is there will stay there’. It tells the story about youth in my native village Urk. I started this project from my curiosity into why the local youth chose to remain in their village, instead of going to study in other cities and discover the ‘outside world’.
A selection from the book was published in a supplement of the newspaper NRC entitled ‘Enclaves’.

These are but a few examples of my social documentary work.
In my work I concentrate on the life of ‘regular’ people. I point my lens at youth, living communities and social injustice, to name a few.

Prizes and awards

2018

31 August 2018
In Situ was selected as one of The Best Dutch Book Designs 2017 by the Student Jury.

2013

22 Dec
Winner photobook pitch Huis Marseille. Prize: € 1000,- for the realisation of my photobook about Den Haag Underground. Juried by Koos BreukelThomas Manneke and  Nanda van den Berg

Publications (selection)

2017

31 March
In Situ book on the Underground Music scene of the Hague. It is an ode to it’s organisers and it’s visitors. Its selfpublished and selfprinted using a Risograph stencilmachine

2012

21 Dec
Nrc.last, special edition of the NRC Next‘The end of times is also a new start’

3 Apr
NRC Next: ‘Handy ain’t it, those fingerprints?

2011

16 Dec
NRC Handelsblad; ‘Birds are more important than women’

24 Nov
NRC Next‘Birds first, then the wife’

2010

16 – 17 Oct
Volkskrant MagazineForbidden to dwell, a photo series with interviews about living, squatting and the squatting ban. Download the article (only in dutch): Forbidden to dwell

June
The Word Magazine: The Breakthrough Issue Music SpecialThe last few outlaws ride the waves; Article on Radiopirates in Londen and Holland. check it out here

2008

27 Dec
Article in winter edition of Vrij Nederland magazine: Countryside squatters in cooperation with writer Judy Zweytzer

24 Dec
Article in supplement of NRC newspaper entitled ‘Across borders, enclaves’. with photo’s of the project Urk, ‘Who is there will stay there’. Download here (in Dutch only)

June
‘Wie er is die blift er al’ (Who is there will stay there), self published book; ISBN 97890813223

Exhibitions (selection)

2018

9 March- 8 June
Peer in Gallery, Solo-exhibition In Situ

2018

9-16 Feb
‘VOID’ group exhibition at The Grey Space in the Middle for the GRAUZONE 2018 Festival. Photo’s of In Situ were shown

2017

31 March-2 April 2017
‘In Situ’ Solo exhibition and booklaunch of ‘In Situ’ during Rewire festival 2017, The Grey Space, Baruch Paviljoen, Den Haag

2013

13 – 14 Dec
‘Den Haag Underground’ exhibition at festival State-X New Forms, Paard van Troje, The Hague

7 May – 28 June
Off the Grid‘, group-exhibition at the Nutshuis, The Hague with Corine Vermeulen and Justine Kurland

2012

3 Sep – 26 Oct
‘Me and my hero’, a group exhibition at the Nutshuis, The Hague

2010

5 Jan – 19 Feb
‘The social landscape of The Hague’ DocuDenHaag; together with five other documentary photographers I tried to show distinct or maybe not so clear changes of the community of the city of The Hague

2009

20 Apr – 22 Jun + 1 Sep – 3 Nov
‘Who is there will stay there’; Hogeschool of Utrecht, Faculty Community and Law, Utrecht; Hogeschool of Utrecht, Institute of Social Work, Amersfoort

2008

28 Jun – 6 Jul
Final exam exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

Education

2003 - 2008

Royal Academy of Arts The Hague
BA Editorial Photography

1994 - 1999

University of Groningen
MSc Molecular Biology