Moonshine | Bertien van Manen

Bertien van Manen

112 pages | 78 colour plates
23.5 cm x 22.5 cm
Hardcover with silkscreen
MACK, 2014


Spanning almost three decades, Moonshine is a portrait of the American Appalachian folk, a mythologised region populated by ‘moonshiners’. Van Manen’s images are defined by a fierce intimacy with her subject, as the viewer teeters on the edge of the frame, perpetually trespassing on private moments: rollicking children practicing handstands on the couch; a kneeling daughter combing the hair of her grandmother.

Van Manen first visited the region in 1985, to the Appalachian areas of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia, returning periodically up until 2013 to visit mining families with whom she lived: the Boggs family with their ten red-haired sons; miners Mavis and Junior. The intergenerational images subtly trace the insidious changes undergone by Appalachia – the slow and steady demise of the mining industry, and the migration of inhabitants from ramshackle wooden cabins to the city, or urban trailer parks. Van Manen intermixes black-and-white images with later colour work – another register of time passing and the inevitability of change.

Easter and Oak Trees    Bertien van Manen

Easter and Oak Trees
Bertien van Manen
112 pages | 25 tritone plates | 89 black & white plates
16.6 cm x 20 cm
MACK, 2013

Let’s sit down before we go | Bertien van Manen

Let’s sit down before we go
Bertien van Manen

104 pages | 96 colour plates
23.8 cm x 20 cm
Colour printed linen hardcover
MACK, 2012


“I have to like the people I photograph. I need to feel an attraction, a fascination.”
Bertien van Manen

Buried deep in Bertien van Manen’s images is an intimacy between photographer and subject. The viewer trespasses on the private moments in the frame, catching a glare over breakfast, unheard words between friends, both party to the action and intruding on it.

Between 1991 and 2009 van Manen travelled across Asia and Eastern Europe with a small, analogue camera, learning the local language and engaging with the people who would become the subject of this collection. Let’s sit down before we go is a portrait of the places van Manen visited and the people she met, stayed with and became friends with during her travels across Russia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Siberia, Tatarstan and Uzbekistan. Across nearly two decades, with the exception of big cities, little about the scenery in van Manen’s photographs has changed. The relative sameness of Russia’s appearance binds the images together, leaving us no indication of the time lapse from one photograph to another.