Whether it be through her famous beach series in which she photographed adolescents in their bathing suits in various places throughout the world, providing a glimpse into differences in comfort levels and body perception in various cultures, or through her series of bullfighters having just walked out of the ring, Dijkstra’s goal has always been to capture a “moment of truth” in her work.
In the 90s, she focused on imagery of people who had experienced traumas such as the bullfighters and women who had just given birth. In one of her most famous series, she takes pictures of Almerisa, a 6 year-old from Bosnia, whom she photographed every 1-2 years. We see the transformation from girl to woman and the cycle of life as the last image is of Almerisa and her own child.
Her works always have simple backdrops so we can focus on the moods and emotions of her subjects. The fact that most of her sitters are less than 20 years of age, an age when there is a perceived freedom and lack of fear, a false sense of immortality gives her works a power and truth that makes me actually long for my youth. Don’t get me wrong, their angst and vulnerability are palpable, but that is what makes us connect–we have all been there.
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