“There is an aggression implicit in every use of the camera” the late Susan Sontag has said in her seminal statement, ‘On Photography’. And if that’s the case, Venus Veldhoen, portraitist and social motivated photographer, renders that statement true in her determination to use her camera lens to paint the social reality she seeks to document and share. Here work spans the continents from social documentation of Mexico disposed to China rambunctious punks to South Sudanese woman. Her portraits, travel illustrative and other assignment work grazing the covers and spreads of many magazines, commentaries on the people themselves and society’s relation to them. Venus has also a penchant for multicultural topics and issues related to our global area. All part and parcel of the woman herself- Half Dutch with part Vietnamese and Somalian an Indian heritage- exemplifies ethnicity and identity in creative flux.
To one sense, Venus’s becoming a photographer of the highest artistic integrity was destined to be. As a child of a Netherlands mercurial artist, Venus was groomed for a life artistic. But making her way to the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in photopgraphy (BA) and VU University Art History (BA) Amsterdam and the UVA University Art History (MA). Her masterthessis she wrote about the surrealist photographer Claude Cahun (1894-1954) and the New Woman in Paris.Venus realized that she could combine her passion for commercial media with an eye towards the aesthetic, a determination that for her, art lives when it was made accessible to a wide audience. ‘Photography ’ is a modern and young art form and is getting more and more popular in the 21st century. “It is interesting to work with such a young art form” she says. However, all personal history and commentary aside, it’s Venus’s ability to snatch the Cartier Bressons moments that reside in here subject, to examine them under the blistering posture of what photography does best- create empathy and narrations in a single, unwavering presentation – That makes her work distinctly and refreshing her own.
Copyright: Sam Coleman – Photo: Wendelien Daan