Jan Hoek is one of the artists participating in the exhibition From Newsroom to Art Palace at The Times. His initial idea was to photograph homeless people in his own home. He met Kim in the supermarket and took photographs which resulted in the serie Kim in my House.
Kim in my House & Supermodel Kim
He told her about super model Kim Feenstra, who used to be homeless too. When she left, Jan Hoek felt guilty he might have given her hope that this would be the start of her super model career as well. A year later he went out to look for her in an attempt to make her dream come true with a fashion shoot. She ended up at the frontpage of the PS, the supplement of the Amsterdam newspaper, Het Parool.
Jan Hoek about his work
“In essence my work is always based on an enormous fascination for people. The camera became a way for me to step into the homes of people that in normal life would never have me there. My quest for interesting models took me all over the world, from scary neighborhoods in Almere, to a facility for mentally disturbed people in Ghana. But the more pictures I took, the more I realized that each picture made me feel guilty afterwards. Often this resulted in the better the picture, the bigger the guilt.
At first, I thought that picturing people basically came down to watching closely and registration, that as a photographer you are an outsider. But I learned that taking a picture of someone is always some kind of small drama. I don’t mean drama in the way that it becomes a tearjerker, but the coming together of the photo being a mini-movie in itself. Photographer and model always start out with a shoot with totally different expectations. Pretty or ugly things can happen unanticipated, or beautiful pictures require nasty things, while a shoot can be lovely, but its result just terrible.
I believe that making pictures always asks for a certain level of ethics and that it is hardly possible to make pictures and, consciously or not, not to step over boundaries or things happening you never wished for. I have the feeling that this particular aspect of photographing is usually covered up, while I prefer to show it.
Regardless of the fact I often lie awake at night because of the things that happen between me and my models and that I feel utterly guilty a lot, I nonetheless think it’s important I make this kind of work. Because it’s about the boundaries in photography that I look for and question, but never try to cross. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it turns out funny and sometimes it doesn’t.”