Portraits by Koos Breukel

52:30 minuten

Following a serious car accident, portrait photographer Koos Breukel chooses to create work of a more personal nature.

Following his studies at the School for Photography and Photonics in The Hague, Koos Breukel began working as a freelance photographer in Amsterdam, specializing in portrait photography. Many of his pictures are published in magazines, including Quote, Oor and Elsevier.
His life takes a radical turn after he survives a serious car crash in 1992. This prompts him to decide that everything must change. He starts to focus on photography projects that feel more personal. He portrays traumatized victims of the Faro plane disaster and creates a series with subjects who are wholly or partially blind. He chooses topics that move him on a personal level.

In the Zoon project, about his own son Casper growing up, we see how he often chooses subjects tha are close to home. Koos portrayed his son from birth until he turned eighteen.

Together with artist Roy Villevoye Koos travelled to the Asmat in New Guinea. There he portrayed his subjects in the style of Irving Penn, the renowned photographer whom he greatly admires and who is one of his chief inspirations.

He also made a series about his friend, theatre artist Michael Matthews, who died of AIDS at the age of 37. A series of harrowing pictures reveals Matthews’ emaciated body as he approaches death. Koos considers this series to be his best work.

Koos frequently withdraws on his private island at Vinkeveen, where he shoots portraits in a simple daylight studio. In his dark room, also at Vinkeveen, Koos develops his films and prints his pictures on baryta paper.
Koos feels great affinity with his Flemish colleague Stephan Vanfleteren, even though both artists clearly have their own style. Stephan recognizes a lost brother in Koos and feels connected to him. During a photography exhibition in Naarden, the two photographers shoot pictures of each other. Later on, they tell about the portraits they have shot.
Koos’ prize possession is a simple Canon camera that his mother gave to him when he was seventeen. Her being an avid amateur photographer was a major influence on his ambition to become a photographer.

script, direction, camera and editing: Lex Reitsma
sound: Michel Claus, Hugo Naber, Lex Reitsma
composer: Rutger Zuydervelt; contrabas Conçalo Almeida
foley: Andel Rongen, Danny Rosendahl
sound design and re-recording mix: Andel Rongen
grading: Michiel Rummens
postproduction image: Jan Jaap Kuiper
production manager: Hugo Naber
production AVROTROS: José Schraauwers
editorial office AVROTROS: Syrine Krabman
commissioning editor AVROTROS: Jessica Raspe

producer: Digna Sinke

photographs: Koos Breukel, Roy Villevoye, Stephan Vanfleteren
archive material: Instituut voor beeld en geluid, Ron van Roon, familie Breukel

this film has been produced by SNG Film in coproduction with AVROTROS

supported by:
CoBO Fonds, Fonds 21, Pictorightfonds