SEFTON PARK, LIVERPOOL, JUNE 10, 2006, copyright Reneke Dijkstra
With the rain continuing to pour in San Francisco, it was a good excuse to spend the afternoon in the San Francisco MOMA. It was time very well spent. They are currently showing a retrospective of photographic and video works by Reneke Dijkstra, a Dutch artist.
Dijkstra’s focus has for a long time been adolescents at times of change and development. Her photographs in parks and on beaches capture adolescence beautifully with its juxtaposition of confident self-assuredness and deep insecurity. She has photographed these themes in a number of countries including the US, UK (the photograph above was taken in a park in Liverpool), Germany, Poland and of course the Netherlands. The photographs also serve to remind us that whatever cultural differences there may be, people’s personal experiences of the angst of growing up are very common. To understand my point, look at the two photographs below, one take at ritzy Hilton Head in the US, the other on a beach in Poland.
Her photographs are mostly taken with a large format camera which allows them to be printed and displayed at a monumental size, and the subjects rise to it. This is an exhibition which I would urge anyone with a serious interest in photography to try and visit. If you can’t, a comprehensive catalogue is available.