Maarten van Schaik

Maarten van Schaik graduated in 1997 at the Rietveld academy in Amsterdam and developed his own unique style of photography. Van Schaik works mainly as an artist-photographer with a passion for experiment and autonomous, artistic street photography. Besides, he works on commission. In the last twenty years, works by Van Schaik were exhibited at several places in the Netherlands and abroad. Most of his works were made during long walks in the city and its outskirts. He visited various places as Las Vegas, Sevilla, Bangkok, Londen, New York, Amsterdam and Brussels.

Anonymous Contacts

In his series Anonymous Contacts, Maarten van Schaik combines new photographic works with images from his archives. In this way, he explores the interfaces within his oeuvre. He noticed that he’s always been fascinated by a certain anonymity and desolation. The objects, places and people he captured remain veiled. They are part of a world in which the distinction between dream and reality is not stable anymore; time has become diffuse. With a selection of mysterious and picturesque images, Van Schaik takes us to his distant and intangible dreamworld.

“I am moving through the world, hoping for anonymity, hoping I am able to humble myself enough to see and record what the rest of us, preoccupied with our hectic everyday lives won’t see. As is the case in almost all of my work, I am not interested in pure registration or a factual approach of the things I am photographing.”

The works in Anonymous Contacts are no pure registrations of objects but rather enigmatic or blurred imaginations that transfer a certain state of mind or realm to the viewer. Inspired by music and pictorial art, Van Schaik makes light, materials, lines and objects play together in front of his camera. Hidden behind their dark shadows or almost unrecognizable by fading, the subjects get a strange character. The feeling of stillness and desolation is enhanced by the magical colors that have an unrealistic and intangible effect on the works.

In the end Maarten van Schaik tries to stay as close as possible to his original way of thinking, which maybe defies itself best as: seeing one thing in everything and seeing everything in one thing, or: seeing the importance of the seemingly unimportant.


‘I am willfully removing myself from the slipstream of life; I am making myself into a constant witness, someone who lives to see the lives of others, not to be seen myself’. 

(Quoted freely after Hanya Yanagihara, “loneliness belongs to the photographer”, the New Yorker. July 10, 2016)


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