here*now, is a photography portrait series about the Inner Beauty of Indonesians. In a time where many talk about diversity and difference, I was keen to examine what binds us together. Inside my simple studio in Jakarta, I photographed over 50 Indonesians – women, men, warias (cross-dressers, transsexuals and transgenders) aged between 20 and 80 years old, which are passionate chefs and baristas, young entrepreneurs, accomplished athletes, mothers, fathers, loved social influencers, dancers, beautiful yogis, makeup artists, sex workers, famous musicians, popular artists and talented fashion designers. Each person was photographed twice for an hour; once in their favourite clothes and once almost bare in a white cloth which was made especially for this project, by Chitra Subyakto, the creative soul of Indonesian fashion and textile house Sejauh Mata Memandang. These sessions, and the photographs, that resulted provide a glimpse into the lives of the people we are surrounded by.
vanessa van houten
“What we are looking at in these pictures are possibly the recordings of a number of individual performances. And by allowing them this time of freedom and silence, Vanessa van Houten images offer a universal grammar of the language spoken silently by the human body and how it can express not only its beauty but its inner emotions.
In this new series here*now which is the continuation of a method she honed in her previous project, Vanessa has been able to peel away not only the fabric and layers of clothes, but also the anecdote to grasp some essential truth about us beyond cultures, continents and centuries.”
Alexandre Colliex, Curator