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Anno van der Heide

“I make photos because reality is often stranger than anything I can paint.”

Documentary and travel photography

Photographer Anno van der Heide is multi-talented: she also is a visual artist, film-maker and journalist. During the past few years her emphasis has been on documentary photography. People are the central theme in her photos: in developing countries, during demonstrations, music festivals, on the film set or just passers-by in the street.

Besides autonomous documentary images, which appear regularly at exhibitions, she is frequently commissioned to make travel photos, portrait photos and journalistic photo reports. For magazines and newspapers she provides both the photos and the text if required.

Painting with the camera

Her images are unadulterated and personal; with her art background she has her own form of aesthetics. As a street photographer she makes intimate portraits of the most varied passers-by. Out of respect for them, she never uses a telelens, but photographs them close up. The result is that people often pose very spontaneously: at least for a couple of seconds. The photo should hit the mark right away, otherwise the moment is lost. Anno does not interfere in any way. She also photographs as much as possible with natural light, a quick method that creates a picturesque rawness.

In a recent photo series from Seville – including from the Feria de Abril – the colourfulness of her abstract paintings strongly returns. Other images seem to be directed film scenes, such as the photo of the little boy in the zoo kneeling in front of a hippo from behind a misted-up window. Nevertheless, Anno does not stage anything. She looks with a painter’s eye and sees touching or funny moments everywhere. Her portraits exude warmth and concern. At the same time, Anno remains an outsider who expresses her amazement.


Anno van der Heide gained her reputation as a photographer with a series of African photo retrospectives. The exhibition Water, source of life (2001) was held in the tunnel of the Oosterschelde dam in Zealand. At this special location, where seawater sloshes against the walls, she exhibited, over a period of six months, more than one hundred travel photos from Africa, with water – or the lack of it- playing a central role.


“At demonstrations, processions or rock and roll parties, I get totally involved . In Spain I was walking in the middle of the dust clouds caused by the horses. Afterwards, the repairers have to remove the dust from my camera.”

“This quick way of working forces me to be extremely concentrated.”