Interview with Ilse Oosterkamp

I can still be touched by the images myself; hopefully other people have that experience too.

An artist’s book gives you total freedom: you can do it the way you see it. The book ‘IV’ is about my son who was 4 years old at the time. He is not able to stand by himself because of his handicap, and needs therefore help from his environment. In the book you see him surrounded by his father and his sister who support him with great care in this.

I photograph the beauty of the unusual. My work is about perfection versus imperfection, age-old ideals, unconscious prejudices and our beauty culture. To me, photography is a study of what to show and whatnot. Making use of the context of a photo is a new element in my work. Other perspectives arise by varying the context of a subject. The resulting images show the essence, the images are sometimes moving the viewer, sometimes confusing the viewer.

What do you expect the viewer to experience when they look at your book?

I can still be touched by the images myself; hopefully, other people have that experience too.

Do you want to share with us a story about the making off of your book?

In September 2018 I participated in a 5-day masterclass in Fotomuseum Antwerpen by Paul Kooiker. With him I started working on my own archive and was challenged to look at my own work with a broad perspective and to make other choices. Where I always left out as much as possible in my photos, I learned that sometimes the context tells so much more.

The images that emerged are a series with 27 images. Making a book seems a logical consequence. Together with Paul Kooiker we decided it had to be an artist’s book (with a small edition of 25 copies). It became a simple book with a cardboard front. For the front, I made a design for a stamp that Sarah Eechaut (she also took part in the masterclass) made for me. I have printed the content in a small copy shop in Antwerp. All in all, a real self-made book.

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