OD Photo Prize 2022 | Shortlisted Artist
Sem Langendijk is a contemporary photographer with an interest in communities and their habitats. His research involves examining the identity of a place and the relation people have with their environment. Choosing to shoot on large and medium format cameras lends a certain tranquility and poeticism to his work, in which he blends his visual storytelling with personal documentation.
“To whom does the city belong? Haven tells the coming of age story of a boy in a rapidly changing environment, based on memories of surroundings that no longer exist. I witnessed the unrooting effects of gentrification during my upbringing in the periphery of a large city. After the neighborhood transformed into a waterfront, I realized I no longer identified with this area. I lost my connection to the place I lived in for nearly thirty years. This body of work is the result of a long-term research project into shifting demographics, waterfront development and the dynamics of gentrification. Due to social inequality and urbanization, people are continuously driven to relocate, particularly within the regenerated areas in post-industrial cities. Haven brings together the environments of different port cities in a documentary fiction, highlighting the transformation of disused docklands and the communities that reside there. The work questions who has a right to the city, and how cities deal with social and economical issues surrounding minorities.” – Sem Langendijk, 2022
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