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Bertien Van Manen, Beyond Maps and Atlases


The latest book of Dutch photographer Bertien Van Manen, put together shortly after the death of her husband, is a compilation of atmospheres. To obtain these empirical images, the photographer traveled all the way to Ireland, a country she observed across its verdant landscapes, in the cerulean blue of its sea, the authentic local characters, or by way of singularities of which she has become a seasoned hunter. Her signature style is clearly recognizable: poetic blurs, abstractions, half-shadows, suggestiveness, free association, photographic accidents. Although the narrative thread is slow to unfold — anyway, it is never really at issue — the photographs are always juxtaposed with refinement and precision, leaving room for the interpretation of Bertien Van Manen’s personal experiences, her feelings, and her way of looking at human beings and things. It is an unusual journey which starts with a dive into water and which stirs the viewer’s imagination with mists, ocean swells, a bird’s flight, a horse ride, a sheep skull, a lamb being devoured by a predator, and the struggle of an old woman with the force of nature. There is also a festive touch: the photograph of a disco in Letterkenney, in the north of the country, highlighting, against a dark background, only the arms and elbows of the dancers—a magnificent incitement to euphoria and corporeal joy.

Beyond Maps and Atlases
Bertien Van Manen
60 pages
32 color photographs
€40.00 £35.00 $45.00
ISBN 9781910164433

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