Berber Theunissen (b. 1989) graduated cum laude from Fotoacademie, Amsterdam, in 2013. Working exclusively in medium format, Berber’s work revolves around issues of femininity and early motherhood. Whether that has been documenting the incredibly strong bonds between her and her partner as they look to navigate the intense heartbreak of a miscarriage, or capturing beautifully intimate investigations into the imperfections of the human form, Berbers work offers an incredibly honest account of what it means to be a young mother.
“I focus my camera on things that affect me personally. Things that I love, but also things that make me feel vulnerable. I capture the moments, emotions and memories in which these intense situations were revolving around me. Photography offers me a foothold, enabling me to observe my life in a more objective way. I reflect upon my own struggles by looking at how my friends and others around me cope with similar situations and feelings.” – Berber Theunissen
Kiss of Death series
“We were just trying to hold on, we still are. It’s extremely hard work. To stay connected, to not lose each other in the anger and sadness. To not let the uncertainty and worries get the better of us. Sometimes I am grieving. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with guilt. Looking at our baby girl, feeling like I have missed so much of her first year. I was there and yet I really wasn’t. Our amazing son, only 4 years old, always happy, no idea of the darkness of the dark cloud above us, the weight on our shoulders. Most of the time I am afraid. Afraid of losing him, us. Afraid of seeing the tears on our children’s faces. Afraid of the devastating heartbreak.
The kids kept us sane. We couldn’t drown in sadness and grief; we couldn’t hide under a blanket. We had to stay strong for them. I had to be strong for all of them. I had to get up, every day. Carrying the worries of our family.” – Berber Theunissen, 2023
Cancer doesn’t care who you are or how you have lived your life. It picks its prey devoid of emotion and without discrimination. Lurking in the shadows and around corners. Devouring lives mindlessly and destructively they drag a constellation of individuals, families and friends… doctors, nurses and candlestick makers into their volatile vortex. The path through the storms they conjure up are different for everyone due to their diabolical nature. Rarely are they any less tumultuous and reductive however. Life for each patient is reduced at least for a brief moment down to some essentials, family and time. That’s all that matters.
Berber Theunissen has had her fair share of pain and suffering. Something which she has always managed to channel cathartically into her art. Capturing the effect these situations have had on her and her loved ones. Sharing her pain allows others to know they are not alone. She does this whilst always treating her subjects with such dignity. Beautifully capturing the highs and lows of what it is to be human.
I don’t think this talent has ever been more apparent than in this new series, Kiss of Death… Read more
20% of all print sales profits from this series will be donated to Cancer Research
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