Machiel Botman was born in 1955 in Vogelenzang,The Netherlands, and he is today considered as one of the most representative Dutch photographers. He started taking pictures at the age of 12, and his photography could be defined as some sort of personal and intimate visual diary.

Botman photography is difficult to restrict to a specific style or genre. From portraits of friends and relatives to landscapes, his work was often defined as an oneiric experience (Vince Aletti on The New Yorker). He once said about his photography: “I’m definitely a dreamer, but I can assure you I’m not interested in the surface, what you see in front. Rather, I’m interested in layers that are not visible but that exist within the image, those that need to be read carefully to be understood”.

Machiel Botman does not work on commercial assignments. Even if he does not work with a specific project in mind, most of his photography usually converge in books, that is his favourite way to present it to the public.

His first collection of photographs is a book called Heartbeat, including shots from 1988 to 1990. He started this work right after the unexpected passing away of his mother, as an attempt to create a visual relationship between places and people of his family. The author later described this work as “a visual poem in which happiness and sadness went hand in hand”.

In One tree (2012), images are superimposed one to each other. They stay together despite the time gap and the apparent, sometimes incongruous, subjects portrayed: the face of a dear person, the landscape outside the window, a tree in the middle of the countryside, the movement of a bird. About this work, the author said: “Images superimposed form a series of layers that testify the life experience, creating the thickness necessary for it to be told. That is, in other words, equivalent to the flow of life.”


All the pictures in this page are by Machiel Botman. All rights reserved to the author.

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