Fine art photographer Anne Barlinckhoff captures women in their most sensual, intimate forms through her vivid, powerful imagery. It’s clear that her subjects put their utmost trust in the Dutch artist. In an article for Vogue Italia this past December, the artist stated: “I am inspired by love, life and loss and all those moments in between. I work on intuition and I’m passionate about women and the relationships I create with them.” Her upcoming solo exhibition, ‘Strength Africa,’ at the Quin Hotel in New York City, features images from her most recent travels to West Africa. Regarding the images, Vogue Italia notes, “This series of work expresses openness and intimacy as much as physical beauty,” noting that the series offers “images of high visual and narrative contrast, as well as a newfound vulnerability.” We spoke with Barlinckhoff about the exhibit, her travels and her passions.
Strength Africa focuses on your travels in West Africa. Tell us about the strengths you found there and why this is such a fitting name for this exhibition.
I’m intrigued by the different continents in Africa and the people there. Traveling through West Africa and connecting with the local people — as my preference is to be as close as I can to the people and their culture — resulted in building close relationships with them. I feel like my own experiences from the past are somehow tied to theirs, inspired by love and loss. It’s a tough world, people are really poor but the survival of the people and their positivity is a big inspiration for me and, and I hope this series will inspire all of us. Money doesn’t make you a rich person and the people of Africa show that they are hardworking, creative and loving: making something out of nothing. Africa is in my heart.
Your work focuses a great deal on portraits of women. What draws you to them as subjects? What do you find so empowering and inspiring about women as subjects?
Their confidence and vulnerability. Being a woman myself, there’s an emotional understanding there. Without the trust that I create with them, my images would cease to exist.
What is the one thing you hope will resonate with viewers when they first view your work?
That they feel something, anything.
I read how nature inspires you. How did nature play a role in Strength Africa?
I feel as close to myself as I can when I am in nature. Nature is honest; this honesty results into intimacy and tenderness in the series. Even after our rapacious and diseased interference, the last thing left in nature is the beauty of women. It’s a beautiful combination that creates a new bonding for me, where I am free to drift into a colorful paradise.
Is there an upcoming project on your horizon?
Doing what I love, traveling back to Africa soon. For me there has to be some kind of exchange, so I always bring something back. My dream is to start an Orphanage in West Africa.
For more information about the exhibit, go to http://www.thequinhotel.com/quin-arts/current-exhibit for details.