ruben timman photography


Ruben Timman: 'Now and then I have priceless gems in my camera, deep down glimpses of who people are inside.'

'Recently I realized that I was born a photographer. Even without a camera I make photos in my mind. I see pictures everywhere and in everything. And I feel compelled, driven, to do something with those images, to take them captive.'

Ruben Timman is 44, father of three sons. After the film 'The killing fields' he knew he had to go to Cambodia. He experienced how images can move people. At that time Ruben and his wife, Vera, were doing medical work in a United Nations camp on the border of Cambodia.

Upon his return Ruben had to tell the world the story of what he had seen. He decided to study photography and enrolled at the Academy of Art, his great desire being to use his photos to move people, to wake them up, to open their eyes to another world. As final project for his study Ruben travelled to Moldova, where he produced work that earned him a cum laude.

In a home for handicapped he made photos under the title 'The hill of the forgotten'. By spending time with these people, I got very close to the essence of who they were. This made the photo series one of the most powerful I have ever made.'

Ruben shows a pile of photos from this series and we pause to study one of a boy in a dark jacket with a number eight branded on it. The sky is dark and full of tension. 'Just as I finished the photo a thunderstorm burst over us. The rain would not stop. It was as if God wept.

'When the lights go out I stop taking pictures. Then come the faces recorded that day. I have to digest what I have seen: beautiful moments, but also injustice, suffering and the question 'Why?' But I can live with not always getting an answer, and leave it at that. That's how I am.'
Interview October '07: Aline van Veen

Vision and working style
My aim is to reveal other worlds, mirrors of what I see when the lens is focused and the shutter released. To capture moments, emotions, beauty and dignity. For me, locations are little more than stage props for the drama of life. My spotlight is on the people, as they are, their dignity intact. In vision I am an idealist. I want my photos to speak for those who have no other way to reach us with their stories. When my images express critique they are meant to have a positive effect, moving people to action and stirring their imagination to see beyond their own world.

My approach is not detachment but personal involvement. Hoping that viewers will see people whose eyes and faces relate to their world. I don't want to be limited to the exterior, but hope to give a penetrating glimpse into the human soul. I want to show people's beauty and dignity.
Client list: Government and non-profit: European Commission | EU Agency for Fundamental Rights | Council of Europe | Ministry of Justice | Ministry of Home Affairs | ChristenUnie | Oranje Fonds | Salvation Army | Amnesty | Human Consultancy
CommercialEO | Eneco | MatersHermsen | Impact | Opzet | Creatief Offensief | UnitOne
Magazines and newspapers: Rails | Safe | Visie | Eva | Justitie Magazine | CV-Koers | Kans | Tertio | Press | Nederlands Dagblad | Trouw | NRC | de Volkskrant and more..
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1963: Born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1989: Decision to become a photographer during work in a Cambodian refugee camp for the United Nations 'After the confrontation with survivors of the 'Killing Fields' I've got to show the world the reality of life.'
1994: Graduated cum laude from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague
1995: Masters degree in human interest photography, Royal Academy of Art
1994-1999: Worked as a photographer for Dorcas Aid, a relief and development organization. Projects: reports in various developing countries and crisis areas
1999-present: Freelance photographer for several clients and projects. Has made travelling reports on a regular basis
Gives workshops and lessons in photography
Works on Personal photography projects
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