Reinier Gerritsen is an Amsterdam-based photographer in his fifties. He studied at the Vrije Academie and the Fotoschool in the Hague. In 1992 he was awarded the prestigious Rijksmuseum-NRC assignment, together with his colleague Luuk Kramer, to document the company culture in the Netherlands, a project which resulted in a book and a solo exhibition in the Rijksmuseum. In 2002 his project Matti, about the new generation of students in the outskirts of Amsterdam, generated much discussion and the resulting book, designed by René Put, won the best-book award the following year. In 2005 Gerritsen began his long-term project The Europeans, travelling in 25 European countries, observing and photographing the anonymous masses on the streets. He found that wearing a fluorescent safety jacket changes him from appearing to be merely a curious photographer into someone who looks like a land surveyor – Gerritsen paradoxically melted into the crowd and was able to work unnoticed. Back in his studio he uses Photoshop to merge two shots of the same situation into one picture and to enhance the sharpness and create a panorama effect. He isolates the individuals, and creates a fascinating spectacle of human choreography and personal expression. Even though each city has a clear identity, Gerritsen’s photos, seen as cultural and sociological documents, form a typology of the multicultural society within the European unification process.
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