One of the reasons I like Rineke Dijkstra’s photographic portraits so much is because of how she manages to convey the vulnerable side of her subjects, caught at a decisive moment of transition in their lives, usually from adolescence to incipient adulthood. Dijkstra was trained at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, and since the mid-1990s she has gained international acclaim for her penetrating pictures of teenagers and young adults. Using a 4×5-inch field camera with a standard lens and a tripod, she creates exacting portraits—frontal views, centered in the frame, posed against a minimal background—that offer remarkable observation and emotional force. Her subjects gaze directly at the camera, combining brooding psychological intensity with the formal classicism of seventeenth-century Dutch portraits by painters such as Johannes Vermeer.
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