World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 381 - Rianne Noordegraaf

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 381 - Rianne Noordegraaf

I speak with photographer Rianne Noordegraaf on the outdoor terrace of Brasserie Oostereiland. The brasserie is one of the new parts of a former prison on a square island. It is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Behind it are the harbors and marinas of Hoorn.

I had seen her photos in the Sandvoort Gallery in The Hague. I saw special photos in black and white, mostly botanical in nature. Her site showed that she had been working on more topics. What could be seen in The Hague was apparently the most recent development in her oeuvre.


That indeed turns out to be the case. Rianne: “I made portraits. In Schouwburg Het Park you can see a number of heads of West Frisians made by me, in large format. Now I mainly capture objects. In doing so, I go back to the purity, the authenticity of everything. The perfect imperfection. The imperfection of something or someone makes it 'own', special.”

She says that ‘the time of distancing’ has worked in her favor. “As a result, I started to focus on what had been bubbling in me for a while. That was getting to the core of something and capturing it, not the outside. I don't like fakery, glitter and glamour."

In addition, her work moves towards art. The images in the 'Desire' series look like sculptures. She shows it in a little book. “These photos have hung at the Arsenaal in Naarden.”

Does Rianne have a key work, a work that set her on a new track? She has. She shows the picture. A large white beach pole with a rug over it. It seems like someone is hiding in a coat. “It is my first work in edition, made on the beach of Callantsoog.”

Social topics

Earlier, when portrait photography was still central, she made a connection with social topics, such as the mental problems of young people. She shows a booklet about it, entitled 'I want to tell you something', which is even ready for the second printing.

They are portraits of young people who have experienced violent things. “I show them in their vulnerability and strength.” She made the portraits based on interviews that had been made before, so that she could get a picture of the young person in advance. She went with the young people to places that were important to them. “For some it was emotionally intense, they had sometimes not been to that place. I thought it was brave that they dared.” The project lasted three years. She did it in collaboration with a group of young people who stand up for young people in need, not only in Hoorn but also the entire North Holland region.

That camera will never go away

Rianne Noordegraaf has been professionally involved with photography for fourteen years. She started as a pharmacy assistant. When she had her daughter 21 years ago, she went to the Drawing Academy in the evenings. At some point she switched to photography. “That camera will never go away,” she concluded. She took a photography course and it got more and more serious. She did a workshop in a portrait studio in Amsterdam. After looking at the current state of photography in Hoorn, she thought “I'm going for the best. Then I know for sure that I learn it from someone who really understands it.” That was Govert de Roos, photographer in Amsterdam.

“I was a bit naive, because all I wanted was to 'learn everything about photography', but I didn't realize that during his shoots the studio would be full of mainly famous Dutch people. The first time I came to assist, there were a lot of people: people choosing the clothes, the make-up, the hair, the background. The shoot was with Hans Klok, the magician. I took care of the wind machine. I learned a lot just by watching. I built up a lot of confidence. He had his studio at the Hemhavens at the time.”


She shows some framed photos. She likes soft, gradual light, she says. “I rarely have hard shadows.” That can be seen. She is mainly involved with nature. In that context, she uses second-hand objects. For example, her business cards come from the top sheet of cardboard boxes.

She spends a long time working on the editing, sees it as a painting and works that way. I see a photo of a faded flower, it turns out to be an anemone. “I often use nature that has perished. My dear father passed away during the corona time. My mom and I converted the garage into a studio for me. All the new botanical work was created there. If I prune the garden these days, it can take hours longer. That's how I found shriveled leaves. I took a picture of that, and it was immediately good.” She shows another photo, of a flower that she had stepped on. “I was busy photographing several of these flowers, I didn't get the wow feeling yet. When I walked away I saw one lying on the floor and immediately knew 'This is it', very intuitively. Precisely because of the imperfection.” It can now be seen on handmade Japanese paper.

In another photo I see a kind of palm tree, but with hairy threads. There's something arachnid about it. She is pleased with the ambiguity of this photo.

Finally, what is her philosophy?

“I am becoming more and more environmentally aware. I take pictures of objects from nature, preferably second-hand stuff or waste. Close to home you can find all the most beautiful things, you just have to see it. I bring it to life, and it's about the essence and not the outside. It also turns out to be sensual for those who watch it. People want to feel and touch it.”


1 - 4) Wonderful 1 - 4, 5) West Frisian Meinard and his bulbs, 6) West Frisian Piet, fireman, 7) Rianne Noordegraaf, self-portrait, 8) Desire 4, made together with Judith Osborn, 9) Book Trinco, 10) Book Merel



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