Outset Netherlands supports photographer Henk Wildschut’s book Food, which accompanies his exhibition Document Netherlands: Our Daily Bread at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. On behalf of the Rijksmuseum and NRC Handelsblad, Henk Wildschut photographed for one year the production of fruit, vegetables, meat, milk, fish and eggs in the Netherlands. For this purpose, he visited large-scale and organic pig and chicken farmers, a fish farm, a dairy certifying agency, greenhouse farms, various laboratories, a seed improvement company and a chips producer. The Works paint a highly diverse and even surprising picture of how our food is produced. Photographer Henk Wildschut set off with a great deal of scepticism, but in the end he found that Dutch food production also has its benefits.
It shows that how our food is produced is a far cry from the romantic notion of ‘life in the countryside’, even when it comes to organic food that is so popular nowadays. With consumers demanding good and safe food and less use of antibiotics, the production process becomes ever more technical and clinical. But this also means that non-organic food is increasingly becoming just as ‘organic’ as organic food.
Wildschut says: ‘Our food production process is all about economy, efficiency and profit. This ultimately widens the gap between humans and animals. I found out that I didn’t actually know where my food comes from. I started this assignment with a notion that many people probably have: that our food production system has all kinds of failings. I’ve changed my mind about that. Large-scale production also means innovation, energy savings, better food quality control and even better animal welfare.’
Henk Wildschut (Harderwijk, NL, 1967) studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. In addition to many self-initiated, long-term projects Wildschut has photographed for many Dutch magazines and for numerous design and communication agencies. He made series on dock labourers, illegal immigrants, running people, but he also portrayed many well-known Dutch politicians like Geert Wilders and Peter Balkenende. Characteristic of Wildschut’s work is a contemplative and often distant view on the people and situations he photographs which lends a balance and monumental quality to his photographs that incite the viewer to further reflect on the subject. In 2011 his book Shelter was awarded with the Kees Scherer prize for the best Dutch photo book of the years 2009/2010. And he won with Shelterthe prestigious Dutch Doc 2011 Award for best documentary project.
Henk Wildschut’s Food photographs are on view at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam from 21 September 2013 until 7 January 2014.