While working on his project Go No Go, about migration in Europe, Van Denderen experienced the idiosyncratic effect social-economic developments have had in the Mediterranean landscape. On the south coast of Spain he photographed a group of a hundred illegal immigrants landing on the beach with rubber boats. Soaked to the skin, they ran off in the early morning light. Three hours later tourists appeared on the same beach, spreading out their towels to enjoy another sunny day on the beach. This event was Van Denderen’s starting point from where he meticulously started working his way around the Mediterranean Sea.

What we, the spectators, get to see of these problems is silent proof. Through his, at times surprising images, Van Denderen shows us the presence and movement of groups of people that we never or rarely see in the media. Images of, for example, Russian tourists in Turkey and Egyptian or Korean guest workers in Libya. To be able to catch these images, Ad van Denderen had to make a shift in the approach to his subject. Having previously worked on his extensive documentary projects in black and white with a small format camera and close up to the people he portrayed, Van Denderen chose to photograph in color with a medium format camera. So Blue So Blue thus provides a broader and more detached vision. In a literal and formal sense, Van Denderen focuses on the environment as a whole. Human beings are revealed as actors, without volition, ‘drowning’ in their self-created landscape.

Van Denderen conducted his research into the current situation from the perspective of a genuinely curious, non-interfering (relative) outsider. The portrayal is contemplative, never stigmatising and acts as a buffer against the simplifying portrayal that – in correlation with a hardening political standpoint – dominates the media.

Authors

Ad van Denderen (1943, The Netherlands) has worked as a photographer for Vrij NederlandStern, NRC Handelsblad, GEO and The Independent magazine, among others. He has received a number of prestigious prizes for his work, including the Visa d’Or at the international photo festival Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan in 2001 and The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts’ (Fonds BKVB) oeuvre prize in 2007/2008. Go No Go, his book on migration in Europe, based on 13 years of work, was published by Actes Sud, Mets & Schilt, Lunwerg Editores, Edition Braus and Paradox in 2003. For the 2008 SteidlMack/Paradox publication So Blue So Blue, Van Denderen photographed the 17 countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Earlier publications include Peace in The Holy Land, a book about Palestine (1997) andWelkom in Suid-Afrika, about apartheid (1991). Ad van Denderen is a member of VU agency, Paris.

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© Ad van Denderen
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So Blue So Blue at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008
So Blue So Blue at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008
So Blue So Blue at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008
So Blue So Blue at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008
So Blue So Blue at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008
So Blue So Blue at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008
So Blue So Blue at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008
So Blue So Blue at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008
So Blue So Blue at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008
So Blue So Blue at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008
So Blue So Blue at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008
So Blue So Blue at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008
So Blue So Blue at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, 2009
So Blue So Blue at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, 2009
So Blue So Blue at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, 2009
So Blue So Blue at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, 2009
So Blue So Blue at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, 2009
So Blue So Blue at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, 2009
So Blue So Blue at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, 2009
So Blue So Blue at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, 2009

Exhibition

The So Blue So Blue exhibition is a rich, multifaceted presentation of Van Denderen’s year-long project, which has successfully travelled past a variety of national as well as international venues.

Photography: Ad van Denderen
Concept: Ad van Denderen, Bas Vroege
Editors: Bas Vroege, Frits Gierstberg, Ad van Denderen
3D Design: Jeroen de Vries, PhotographyWorks, Amsterdam, NL
Production: Johan Nieuwenhuize
Translation: Cecily Layzell

  • 07.06.201331.08.2013Theatre Liberte, Toulon, France

    08.05.201326.05.2013CRAC, Sète, France

    28.02.200917.05.2009Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland

    21.06.200808.09.2009Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

  • Photographs
    60 framed prints (100×128 cm)
    Live broadcasts
    Satellite broadcasts from 12 countries to be displayed on tv’s
    12 TV’s (14”) with satellite decoders
    1 Satellite dish
    Documentation
    Tables with iMacs and books
    2 – 3 tables, 4 – 6 iMacs, 4 – 6 books
    Space required
    150 – 250 m2


Book

Photography: Ad van Denderen
Text: Arnold van Bruggen en Eefje Blankevoort (Prospektor)
Picture editor: Hans Aarsman
Design: Kummer & Herrman, Utrecht
Publisher: Paradox & Episode Publishers, Rotterdam
Editor: Bas Vroege
Print: Slinger, Alkmaar

  • So Blue So Blue – Edges of the Mediterranean
    Ad van Denderen,
    Publisher: steidlMACK
    Publication year: 2008
    Pages: 272 pages
    Booksize: 22.5 x 29cm
    Cover: Softcover
    ISBN 978-3-86521-734-9
    SOLD OUT from the YdocStore

Website

A special So Blue So Blue website was produced, containing lots of footage and information. Please have a look to see what it has to offer via http://www.sobluesoblue.nl/

Photography: Ad van Denderen
Text: Arnold van Bruggen en Eefje Blankevoort (Prospektor)
Design: Antenna-men, Rotterdam
Production: Antoinette van Meurs, Iris Sikking
Translation: Cecily Layzell

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