From an early age, Daantje Bons had the urge to explore her thoughts and feelings about her identity through photography. It all began when during her teen-age year, she stole her father’s analog camera to photograph her best friend and herself. At the age of sixteen, Daantje left home to start a technical photography study at the SISA art academy in Antwerp, Belgium, from which she graduated in 2008.
After her study she wanted to explore her conceptual side as a photographer with an education at the AKV-St Joost art academy in Breda, the Netherlands, where themes such as femininity, feminism and identity became my main focus. During this course, Daantje learned to embrace her impulse to go against the grain, which often resulted in rebellious student behaviour, unsatisfied teachers and an extended graduation period. Yet it all led her to the path I’m on today.
Artwork Themes & Subject Matter
Daantje often starts with a feeling or observation. Usually something that makes her want to challenge it and wants to show you something. This is her biggest motivation to photograph.
Learned behaviours both physically and mentally serve as my inspiration. She wants to explore how identity is formed and to what extent social constructs are part of it. The expressions of gender identity particularly interest her. On the basis of her personal experiences, questions and opinions, she searches what it means to be a woman and how femininity, masculinity and sexuality play a role in this.
Self-portraits are a way to organize her thoughts and a way to react to existing ideas. In addition, she likes to elaborate certain ideas through still life photography works in which certain objects, shapes, judgments or rituals are linked to the idea of femininity or masculinity. In these still lives she also like to make sculptures.
Both in her (self-)portraits and still life works she likes to play with contradictions and provocation, because she thinks it’s important that a work makes one think. It has to provoke and trigger the viewer to think about the subject on another level.
In many of her photographs she uses soft pastel colors in which aesthetics is used as an eye-catcher mostly followed by a raw contradiction in explicitly or ideas. This combination often lets humour arise within her work. Daantje likes to embrace to make her subjects more accessible.
Daantje Bons’ work has been published in notable magazines and online sources including The Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, Vogue-Portugal, IGANT, I-D Magazine, Refinery29, De Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad, LINDA, Musuem Catherijneconvent, TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Editie NL.