About the Photographer

In 1990, two years after graduating from the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam Annette Den Ouden was granted a Stipend from the Foundation of Visual Arts, Design and Architecture in Amsterdam. She packed a backpack and set out on a photographic solo-trip around the world that would last twenty months. By participating in the daily lives of the local people she met with a great variety of cultures. In the most diverse places Den Ouden discovered – often in the margins of the 'global village'- how people, despite of Western arrogance, of political suppression and lack of economic progress, maintain their dignity in the struggle to preserve their culture and their land.

The photographic work of Den Ouden springs from a long tradition of humanistic documentary photography
– from Eugene Smith to Sebastiao Salgado – in which from a strong social engagement account is given of social injustice and human suffering, by means of photo-reportage or photo-essays in which at the same time the universal human dignity is emphasized.
The strong black and white contrasts, the making of photographs against the light and the theatrical compositions of Den Ouden are representative for the development within this documentary tradition with a stronger emphasis on the esthetic aspects of the work and the autonomous character of the single photograph.

Frits Gierstberg Curator NFI, Rotterdam


Annette Den Ouden graduated at the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam in 1988 and lives in Amsterdam. About 6 months of the year she's 'en route' making photographs. Among many exhibitions at home and abroad are solo's at
  • the Rijksmuseum in Leiden: 'HIS LAND AND HIS PEOPLE', (photos made in Tibet, Ladakh, China and India).
  • the National Photo Institute (NFI) in Rotterdam: 'A GLOBAL TOUCH', (photos made in South America, Russia, U.S.A., Tibet, a.o.).
  • Exhibition 'BEST PHOTO OF THE YEAR 1996' Association of Photographers London.
  • Photogallery de Melkweg in Amsterdam: 'SILVER HORSES', (photos made in Mongolia, Tibet, Kazakhzstan, Khyrgizia, Uzbekizstan.
  • Photofestival Noorderlicht: 'DIA SALVA', (photos made in Guatemala, Northern Mexico and Chiapas).
  • Photofestival Naarden: 'BEAUTIFUL FREAK', (photos made in San Francisco).
  • The Hangar, Ummam, Beirut 'INARA' (photos made in the Middle East),
  • Main publications are the photobooks:
    'a Global Touch' (ISBN 90 74719 147) published by Express-zó 1996 in the Netherlands
    'Inara' (ISBN 978-9953-0-1358-9) published by Alarm Editions 2009 in Beirut, Lebanon.
    Many national and international art,- and photomagazines as well as daily newspapers published articles about her work. All photoworks are made with grants and stipends from Dutch art foundations mainly the 'Foundation of Visual Arts Design and Architecture in Amsterdam' (FBKVB).

    The project 'INARA' is a body of photos about the Middle-East. In a changed world after 'Nine-Eleven' the photographer, in her quest for justice and truth, often travels in conflict and near,- or post-conflict zones.
    In particular in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Palestine she searches to emphasise on the unjustified manner in which Western politics imposes it's will on the people of these countries and the strong, often religious character, of the local response. Work in Progress is 'FearLess', a continuation of the work in the ME including work from Marocco, Tunesia and Libya.