An artist who concentrates on solo portraits of groups like adolescents, soldiers and clubbers – Rineke Dijkstra was born in 1959, Sittard, Limburg. She is a Dutch photographer living and working in Amsterdam. She went to Rietveld Academie from 1981 to 1986. After that Dijkstra worked commercially taking images for the annual reports of companies and corporate photographs.
Dijkstra’s subjects usually stand staring the camera against a minimal backdrop. Such style is more prominent in the portraits she shot on the beach. Amongst her notable works are: the Beach Portraits (1992), Almerisa (1994 to 2005), Tiergarten Series (1998 to 2000), Olivier (2000 to 2003), Israeli soldiers (1999 to 2000), Park Portraits (2005 to 2006), and Shany (2001 to 2003).
The approach to take portraits became a part of Dijkstra’s work when she took her own solo shot in 1991 in which she appeared from a swimming pool. Consequently, a Dutch newspaper commissioned her to photograph pubescent bathers. The Beach Portraits was a result of this, in which she photographed young children and teenagers at the oceans in Poland, United States, Ukraine, Croatia and Britain. The work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in 1997 and from that day, Rineke Dijkstra received much fame.
During a residency at DAAD in Berlin (1998-1999), Tiergarten was a work that showed adolescent boys and girls in the Tiergarten park. She also did a project based on Anne Frank which was commissioned by Anne Frank Foundation in Amsterdam.
Dijkstra did another project in which she documented Almerisa, a six year old child. The work traced her transition through repositioning from East to West Europe and adolescence. Then she did a series on an Iraeli woman, Shany. In this work she showed the woman’s journey from entering the army to exiting it. In the same way, Dijkstra documented Olivier Silva but with a different story. This series displays the voyage of this man’s physical and psychological development into being a soldier.
Apart from this, concentrating on the techniques and tools that Rineke Dijkstra uses is a 4 by 5 field camera, made in Japan. It has a standard lens placed on a tripod and separate flash tripod. In this way, subject are required to stand still posing for a few minutes. Her main source of light is daylight. She started to print her work in 1998, in Germany at the Grieder Photo Lab.
Apart from many successful experimentations that she did in photography and cinematography, Dijkstra also did exhibitions to display her work to the audience. Her first solo exhibition was in 1984 in Amsterdam at de Moor. Her images have been featured in copious international retrospectives. This includes the Bienal de Sao Paulo (1998), International Center for Photography (2003) and the Venice Biennale (1997 and 2001). She did Rineke Dijkstra: Portraits in 2005 to 2006 at Jeu de Paume in Paris. The exhibition was traveled to Rudolfinum in Prague; La Caixa, Fotomuseum Winterthur in Barcelona; at Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem; MACBA in Barcelona, 1999; and Hersliya Museum of Art in Israel, 2001.
She did a solo show in America at LaSalle Bank in Chicago (2004); Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (2001) and Art Institute of Chicago (2001).
Rineke Dijkstra has received many awards, such as the Citibank Private Bank Photography Prixe in 1998; Werner Mantz Award in 1994; the Art Encouragement Award Amstelveen in 1993; and the Kodak Award Nederland in 1987. In 2011, the Royal College of Art presented her with an honorary Doctorate in London. In 2012, she was given the Honorary Fellowship of Royal Photography Society.