PhotoLexicon, Volume 28, nr. 43 ( February 2011) (en)

Taco Anema

Saskia Assser


Taco Anema specialises in group portraits. As a documentary photographer, he is chiefly interested in people and the way in which they associate with one another. He portrays artists, squatters, socialists, and family members as part of a group and shows the various ways in which these people hold a place in society. In Anema’s portraits, an individual’s personality is subordinated to the role this person fulfils in a specific social context. Anema approaches his work as an artistic director, occasionally turning to examples of classical painting as an inspiration for his compositions.




Taco Anema is born on 11 May 1950 in Bloemendaal.


Anema attends Montessori nursery and primary schools in Bloemendaal, followed by the HBS-b (Hogere Burgerschool, an upper-level secondary school) in Haarlem. At the VU (Vrije Universiteit, ‘Free University’) in Amsterdam, Anema studies sociology. He graduates in 1975 with a research project concerning the SCP (Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau, ‘Social Cultural Planning Agency’).

Anema buys Ed van der Elsken’s book Sweet Life (1966) for himself as a reward for having completed his university studies, along with his first camera, a Nikon Nikkormat with a 50 mm lens.


Because Anema’s interest lies in education, he decides to teach at the university. After a half-year, he realises this was a mistake. He stops with this work and takes on a variety of temporary jobs. Anema translates popular academic literature from English into Dutch. He also works as a handyman and bartender.


Anema takes a photography class taught by Hans van den Boogaard at the CREA cultural student centre in Amsterdam. He subsequently considers taking a more serious approach to photography.


Anema becomes involved in the squatter movement in Amsterdam. This leads to his first published photo reportage, published in the weekly magazine Nieuwe Revu (‘New Review’): on the topic of the squatters’ riots on the Vondelstraat in Amsterdam. The photos are also featured in Even geduld, deze straat is gekraakt (‘Just a Moment, This Street is Squatted’), released by Uitgeverij Lont, a publishing company affiliated with the squatter’s movement. Anema establishes himself definitively as a documentary photographer and becomes friends with Hans Aarsman, Theo Baart, Han Singels, Lex van der Slot, and Hannes Wallrafen


Anema travels several times to Poland, where he produces photo reportages on the strikes and protests of the Polish trade union Solidarność (‘Solidarity’). He is also present at the riots preceding the ‘state of siege’ decreed by General Jaruzelski in December 1981. These photos are published in the newspapers De Volkskrant and Trouw, and the weekly magazine De Groene Amsterdammer (‘The Green Amsterdammer’), marking Anema’s breakthrough as a documentary photographer.


Anema works as a freelance photographer for newspapers and magazines such as the Nieuwe Revu, De Groene Amsterdammer, de Volkskrant, Trouw, and NRC Handelsblad. He starts out making primarily socially tinted reportages but gains notoriety through his portraits.


Anema is one of a number of photographers who collaborate on Plaatwerk (‘Plate Work’), a magazine for social photography, founded by Hans Aarsman, Harry Meijer, and Kees de Graaff. The Stichting Plaatwerk (‘Plaatwerk Foundation’) is a cooperative of photographers, journalists, and designers who wish to promote socially engaged photography. In 1982, Anema contributes to Mijn moeder vindt het ook. De bewapening, het antimilitarisme en de vredesbeweging in beeld (‘My Mother Thinks So Too. The Armament, the Anti-Militarism and the Peace Movement in Pictures’), a Plaatwerk publication focusing on the mass anti-nuclear weapons movement.


Anema produces a photo reportage on assignment for the AFK (Stichting Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, ‘Amsterdam Fund for the Arts’), entitled De wereld van de Haute Couture (‘The World of Haute Couture’), which gives a behind-the-scenes view of the world of haute couture in Amsterdam. To photograph quickly and unobtrusively, Anema uses a Leica camera he purchased in 1979. The photos are exhibited at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and elsewhere. The series is added to the photo collection of the Amsterdam City Archives.


Taco Anema is a member of the GKf (Gebonden Kunsten Federatie, vakgroep fotografie, ‘United Arts Federation, Department of Photography’), the trade association of professional photographers. He sits on the association’s board from 1994 to 1997.


Anema signs up with Hollandse Hoogte, a press photo agency established in 1985 in order to create a broader clientele for the large number of photos ineligible for placement in the Dutch mainstream press.


With the series Enkhuizer groepsportretten (‘Group Portraits of Enkhuizen’), shot for the ‘t Weeshuis Gallery in Enkhuizen, Anema heads down a new path in his photographic career. Based on his own initiative and financed by the ‘Raad voor de Kunst’ (‘Arts Council’), Anema produces sixteen staged photos of various groups of people living in the city of Enkhuizen: babies, wedding couples, church pastors, fishermen’s widows, gravediggers, etc. Because the photos are meant to be exhibited, he takes these shots with a Hasselblad 6×6 camera (and a 50 mm lens) on a tripod. The series marks the start of Anema’s specialisation as a group portrait photographer, subsequently leading to a portrait assignment on behalf of the city of Leiden, entitled De Verbeelding van Leiden (‘The Picturing of Leiden’).


In the late 1980s/early ’90s, Anema produces several special series of portraits and still lifes on assignment, including participants at the Holland Festival (1987), artists’ studios at ‘Loods 6’ (1989), and amateur artists (1991). Anema’s thirty-six remarkable group portraits for the Holland Festival are shot with his Sinar 4×5″ technical camera. In 1988, the same photos are published in book format by Uitgeverij Focus, bringing Anema substantial notoriety.


In 1988, the Province of Utrecht commissions Anema to produce artists’ portraits. During these years, Anema is a guest lecturer at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Among his students are Inez van Lamsweerde and Dana Lixenberg.


Anema produces black-and-white artists’ portraits for the Uitmarkt festival in Amsterdam, the annual kick-off of the city’s cultural season. He combines these photos with still lifes in colour, which characterise those portrayed. During the festival itself, these photos are displayed on large banners hanging from the exterior of the Amsterdam Muziektheater (‘Musical Theatre’). One characteristic of Anema’s work is that his choice of photographic form depends upon the subject. In this same year, Anema uses his 8×10″ polaroid camera, which he acquired in 1986, to produce subtle still lifes photographed in the artists’ studios at Loods 6 on the KNSM Island in Amsterdam.


The notoriety Anema receives from the publication of his portraits in newspapers and magazines leads to commercial commissions from the corporate world. Allowed a relatively high degree of freedom, Anema shoots photos for annual reports and other publications on assignment for companies such as CSM, Essent, Heineken, Philips, NedCar, Randstad, and Wolters Kluwer. These assignments give him the financial freedom to continue working on his own photography projects.


Anema and Bert Verhoeff are chosen for the documentary photo assignment commissioned by the Rijksmuseum’s Department of Dutch History, a yearly project designed to document social trends in the Netherlands. The designated topic in 1994 is the 100th anniversary of social democracy. Verhoeff produces a black-and-white behind-the-scenes photo reportage on the Dutch labour party, the PvdA. Anema, by contrast, produces portraits of twenty-five high-profile members of the SDAP (Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders Partij, ‘Social Democratic Workers Party’) and the PvdA in colour. The photos are featured in the book De Rode Loper. De partij van de arbeid honderd jaar later (‘The Red Carpet. The Labour Party One Hundred Years Later’), published in 1994. In 1995, the photos are exhibited at the NFI (Nederlands Foto Instituut, ‘Netherlands Photo Institute’) in Rotterdam and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.


After De wereld van de Haute Couture (‘The World of Haute Couture’) in 1984, Anema is again chosen for the AFK’s yearly photo assignment, with the subject this time being Amsterdam als Financieel Centrum (‘Amsterdam as Financial Centre’)—one of the last projects Anema photographs in black-and-white. This series is also added to the photo collection of the Amsterdam City Archives.


Anema takes a two-year trip around the world to photograph the relationship between people and energy, together with the photographer Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski. The two men photograph the production and consumption of energy based on the lives of twenty families on five different continents, with one member of each family working in the field of energy production. The photos are published in the elaborate photobook World of Energy and exhibited at the Museon in The Hague.


In 2002, Anema begins working on one of his largest photo projects up to this time: the portraying of one hundred Dutch families in various different living situations, dispersed across the country. He photographs these families in their own homes, typically in the living room or kitchen and using available light on 4×5″ negatives. In early 2009, the photos are published in the book Honderd Hollandse huishoudens 2002-2009 (‘One Hundred Dutch Households 2002-2009′), awarded as one of the thirty best produced books of 2009. In the same year, a selection is made from this work and exhibited at the Huis Marseille photography museum in Amsterdam. The exhibition, and a group portrait that Anema takes of the printing company family Enschedé of Haarlem for the occasion, result in a major commission for a portrait of the solicitors’ family De Savornin Lohman.


Anema applies the same worldwide approach found in his photobook World of Energy to the project Tales of water. A Child’s View, in which he documents the ways children from sixteen different countries on five continents interact with water in their daily life. The book of the same title, initiated by Anema himself in collaboration with the filmmaker Mario van Zijst, is presented at the World Water Forum IV in Mexico in 2006.


On the occasion of the 75ste Boekenweek (’75th Book Week’), Anema makes a group portrait of seventy-five Dutch writers at the ‘Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ’ (‘Music Building on the IJ’) in Amsterdam, on assignment for the CPNB (‘Stichting Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek, ‘Foundation for the Collective Propaganda of the Dutch Book’).

On the website Photoq, Anema announces he is looking for Dutch ‘besturen’ (‘boards’) to produce new group portraits.


In 1997, Taco Anema organised an exhibition of his own work for the ACF (Amsterdamse Centrum voor Fotografie, ‘Amsterdam Center of Photography’) bearing the title Monumentale achteloosheid (‘Monumental Nonchalance’)—a title that sums up his approach to perception and photography concisely. With a sharp eye for the nonchalant gesture and the passing moment, Anema photographs people in their mutual relationships with others as well as in their day-to-day situations. His choice of subject matter and style convey a mild, non-judgemental perspective on humanity and its place in society. Anema seeks to find harmony in an image, not just in the people portrayed in relation to each other, but also in the composition, with every element assigned an equal role. Taco Anema is a reasonable, optimistic, and phlegmatic person, who usually bypasses confrontation and drama in his photos, yet consistently photographs with compassion.

Anema is an autodidact and has made a profession of his hobby. In the mid-1970s, he graduated as a sociologist with plans to help build a new and better society as a teacher. Quite early on, however, he came to the conclusion that he had no talent as a teacher and that he would have to find another way to convey his social criticism. Anema took a class in photography at CREA, the cultural student centre of the University of Amsterdam. The class was taught by Hans van den Boogaard, who by this time was already a well-known photojournalist working for the weekly magazine Vrij Nederland and other publications. Through CREA and his close association with left-wing activist circles, Anema befriended other idealistic photographers such as Hans Aarsman, Theo Baart, Harry Meijer, Arjen Ribbens, Han Singels, Lex van der Slot, and Hannes Wallrafen. Many of them shared the same backgrounds as Anema, being former university students or amateur photographers.

For this group at this time, a good photographer was a left-wing photographer. He or she represented a clear political standpoint and photographed in order to support that message. The photographer was to stand in solidarity with those vulnerable in society and use his camera to raise issue with governmental authority and the existing social structures. The term applied to describe this photographic approach was ‘social photography’: documentary photography as a means of protest, intended first and foremost to persuade and secondly to inform. Social photographers in the Netherlands worked with 35 mm and fast black-and-white film. This gave them the ability to work flexibly and respond with great speed, with coarse-grained images and a darkroom-induced contrast being their typical stylistic traits. Specific problems addressed by Anema and his fellow photographers were topics such as equal employment opportunities for women, existing concerns about nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, and the dissatisfaction with the lack of adequate public housing.

Anema’s first chance to present himself as a photographer arose during the squatters’ riots on the Vondelstraat in Amsterdam, where, in early March 1980, a major scuffle took place involving the squatters and the police. Anema’s own status as a squatter enabled him to photograph what was happening from the inside. He had their trust and was therefore allowed entry to locations were press photographers were normally denied access. His photos appeared in magazines such as Nieuwe Revu as well as a booklet entitled Even geduld, deze straat is gekraakt (‘Just a Moment, This Street is Squatted’), released in 1980 by Uitgeverij Lont, the publishing house of the squatter movement. Anema belonged to a group of socially impassioned photographers that included figures such as Paul Babeliowsky, Joop Blom, Maurice Boyer, Leo Divendal, Peter Elenbaas, and Han Singels. Their photos were spontaneous, raw, technically imperfect, and aesthetically inept. Anema provided insight into the group’s behaviour during an interview conducted several years later in De Volkskrant, stating: ‘(…) it [was] more about the fact that you were there, than that you took a great photo (…) I was given access to the Nieuwe Revu because I had contacts, not because of my ability to photograph well. I was a squatter myself and always the first to be there when things were happening. Indeed well-integrated but not a good photographer.’

At the time of the squatters’ riots, Anema also produced a series of photos that alluded to themes in his later work. In this particular reportage, he showed how squatters spent their daily lives, how they worked, studied, and lived in a barricaded building, while having to deal with continuous uncertainty and the possibility of an ensuing eviction. It was during this same period that Anema made several trips to Poland of his own volition, where the free trade union Solidarność (‘Solidarity’) had just been founded. Here too Anema photographed the strikes and protests, as well as the consequences of these developments for the everyday life of the Polish people, both at home and on the street. Anema was the only Dutch photographer in Poland during the riots that preceded the state of siege decreed by General Jaruzelski in December 1981. His photos appeared in De Volkskrant, De Groene Amsterdammer, and Trouw, signalling his breakthrough as a documentary photographer. Anema learned that the story was chiefly conveyed through the telling details in his photographs, such as people’s postures, gestures, and the directions of their glances.

During these years, there were very few options for young photojournalists like Anema to get their photos published. Newspaper and magazine editorial departments worked with their own photographers, including Willem Diepraam, Eddy de Jongh, Bert Nienhuis (exclusively for Vrij Nederland), Dolf Toussaint, Eddy Posthuma de Boer (Het Parool, De V olkskrant), Daniël Koning, Wim Ruigrok (both for De Volkskrant), and Vincent Mentzel (NRC Handelsblad)—people who started their careers just a little bit earlier. Greater opportunities for freelancers emerged at De Volkskrant in the mid-1980s, when Rolf Bos and Harry van Gelder took over the running of the photo editorial department. In 1984, Anema was one of the first outsiders to get an assignment from this newspaper, with a portrait of André Batenburg, leaving chairman of the managing board at the Dutch bank ABN AMRO. The photo was printed on a half-page, an extraordinarily large format for this time in the Netherlands. Anema’s name was also cited with the photo, contrary to the then accepted practice. Several years later, De Volkskrant placed his signature prominently—in facsimile form—alongside his portrait photos for the Holland Festival, which were published each week in the summer of 1987. In the early 1990s, Anema produced series on a regular basis for De Volkskrant in collaboration with the journalist Nicoline Baartman. In these series, text and image were treated equally, with titles such as Blikveld (‘Visual Field’), about watching television, and Kastsucces (‘Closet Success’), in which celebrities showed off their favourite piece of clothing attire.

During the 1980s, Anema moved in a circle of photojournalists and documentary photographers developing their own initiatives and conducting discussions on the content of the medium and the direction it was headed. Anema was among the first members of the press photo agency Hollandse Hoogte, founded by Louis Zaal, Dick Breebaart, Roel Sandvoort, and Simon B. Kool in 1985. During these early years, Hollandse Hoogte was run by and for photographers, with the illustrious Magnum serving as its model. Newspapers, magazines, and Hollandse Hoogte were to ensure both notoriety and an income.

In the magazine Plaatwerk, Anema took part in discussions concerning ethics and aesthetics in contemporary photographer. ‘Stichting Plaatwerk’ was an association established in 1981 by Hans Aarsman, Harry Meijer, and Kees de Graaff, in which photographers, journalists, and designers collaborated to promote and disseminate socially engaged photography. The magazine questioned the moralistic straightjacket constraining engaged photographers at the time. Anema felt more at home with a freer, less political approach to photography, which was starting to gain a more solid footing in the activist photojournalism of the early 1980s.

In 1983, Anema wrote a blazing article published in the film magazine Skrien and directed at social photographers. In his view, they needed to start working more independently and to stop preaching simply to their own choir, in other words, to left-wing magazines printed in small editions: ‘When you allow yourself to be used by conflicting parties, you end up waiting just as long for them to change the world instead of doing it yourself,’ wrote Anema. He suggested that social photography had become a product of a society formulated solely in terms of contradistinctions. Socially engaged photographers surfaced only in conflict situations involving the trade unions, the fight for women’s emancipation, and the anti-nuclear weapons movement: ‘(…) but then the struggle has developed in such specific terms that a great number of people won’t be able to identify with it any longer and brush the material aside with a weary gesture.’ Anema pleaded for a broader view of society and that photographers capture the processes occurring throughout society, recognisable for each and every individual. ‘It’s about alienation, hierarchisation, privatisation, the neglecting and exclusion of individuals, and so on and so forth. These are subjects that most photographers are unwilling to photograph as they would be boring. If this is the basis on which they ultimately decide in favour of other subjects, then their ultimate choice is to be described as rather dubious.’

In a certain sense, Anema’s article can also be read as an artist’s statement. With his words, he was taking responsibility for the direction that he had personally chosen—a course he would continue to follow rather consistently in the end, with Honderd Hollandse Huishoudens (‘One Hundred Dutch Households’) being a preliminary highlight more than twenty-five years later.

During the winter of 1984/85, Anema produced a photo series that clearly illustrates what he meant. In De wereld van de Haute Couture (‘The World of Haute Couture’), one finds no oppressed or underprivileged people. Instead, he provides a nuanced image of a fairly closed professional group. In 1984, Anema came with a proposal to photograph the world of Dutch haute couture for the annual documentary photo assignment initiated by the AFK (Stichting Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, ‘Amsterdam Fund for the Arts’) and the Amsterdam City Archives. While making a reportage for the event Amsterdam modestad (‘Amsterdam Fashion City’) in the same year, Anema came to the realisation that fashion was not simply a matter of taste, but rather a target-oriented billion dollar industry. Haute couture was the most obvious choice for the assignment, not only because of its photogenic character, but also because the project could be achieved more or less in its totality based on only five Dutch couturiers: Frank Govers, Max Heymans, Rob Kröner, Frans Molenaar, and Edgar Vos. Furthermore, Anema believed the fashion world was doomed to die out as a result of its isolated position and static character.

Despite the reserve of some of the couturiers, Anema succeeded in producing a complete reportage. The series depicts various people involved in the haute couture process while doing their work: couturiers, models, make-up artists, stylists, journalists, and clientele. In order to move about the studios, salons, fitting rooms, and hotels as unobtrusively as possible, Anema shot his photos with a Leica and available light, resulting in a shadowy combination of artificial lighting and daylight. The final product comprised coarse-grained photos in black-and-white that stand in stark contrast to the glitzy fashion photography of this era, likewise putting the image of perfection and beauty into perspective. At no point is Anema critical or ironic, though he does show interest in the chaos from which perfection and beauty arise. He flawlessly exposes a world closed to outsiders—as it turns out, a world which itself is made up of ordinary people, either focused in their work or eagerly trying on pieces of clothing.

Anema’s Enkhuizer groepsportretten (‘Enkhuizen Group Portraits’) from 1986 differed from his first reportage work like day and night, with sixteen portraits staged using a Hasselblad camera on a tripod, in a studio-like setting and colour. In a 1990 interview published in Fotografen aan het werk voor Randstad (‘Photographers at Work for Randstad’), Anema stated that newspapers and magazines frequently published his photos in another context than what had envisioned at the time he made them. This got him to start thinking about photography’s function, in the end doubting his notion that the medium was a way to change the world. ‘For me, the process is heading in the direction of no more using photography to make compelling statements. It’s something people look at. They don’t get any sense of a photographer being involved,’ he said during the interview. Acting like a director, he was finally able to influence the image for once. It was a role more suited to him, as opposed to that of a photojournalist, always rushing to get the latest news. Technically as well, Anema felt was never quite able to get the speed of 35 mm adequately under control. From his perspective, the blur that sometimes occurs in an image was more of a distraction than a visual plus. Anema still viewed staging a photo as being a bit like ‘honouring your own fantasy,’ as he told the De Volkskrant in 1988. ‘My fantasy isn’t out on the street. I’m no Kertész. I can’t photograph topics that are ostensibly unrelated and then portray them in a way that they still form a unified whole. I believe this is the only form of documentary photography, but unfortunately, I can’t arrange things in a certain order. And whenever I tried it, I still always turned to Walker Evans. You lay [one of his works] down next to [your own], and think: “Stop, go do something else”.’ Anema’s observation was by no means an obstacle: it actually gave him the freedom to experiment with photographic form.

Remarkably, Anema chose to portray groups representing a cross-section of Enkhuizen’s society, as opposed to the traditional group ties found in clubs and associations. With babies, wedding couples, church pastors, fishermen’s wives, gravediggers, butchers, and motorcycle riders—all photographed in a location that was carefully selected—the series remains surprising and impelling. In his images, Anema made emphatic references to visual motifs derived from film and painting. The portrait of motorcycle riders, entitled De Tweetaktridders (‘The Two-Stroke Knights’), is directly borrowed from Rebel Without A Cause, starring James Dean. The photo of church pastors is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, with the starting point being idea of the table with a free chair and people sitting around it. The scene itself, however, was conceived more or less by chance, as Anema had no idea how many pastors would show up. While the photo was being made, a lively discussion ensued, with the only artistic direction involved being the two raised hands on the left. Anema later explained how the lighting for the image had been set up to students at the Fotovakschool (‘Vocational School of Photography’) in Apeldoorn. A spotlight had been placed under the table to light up the empty chair, and a grid lamp aimed at the painting: ‘This grid is a lamp with a kind of honeycomb that focuses the light a lot more, so that a gleam shows up on the painting. That gleam was put there expressly. When you’re walking around a museum and looking at those old paintings, you continually see these kinds of reflections. I found that it fit well with the atmosphere of the entire scene.’

For his photo assignment on behalf of the Holland Festival, the international theatre and music festival held annually in Amsterdam, Anema likewise turned to classical painting as a source of inspiration. This work established Anema’s reputation as a preeminent group portrait photographer once and for all. The festival’s organisers had initially envisioned a more documentary approach, similar to his treatment of haute couture. Anema nevertheless managed to convince them to consider his own idea: a series of ‘tableaux de la troupe’—made up of musicians, dancers, actors, directors, composers, theatrical directors, stage personnel, and cleaning personnel—shot in a theatrical setting, preferably off-stage. For his compositions, he closely examined paintings by Italian artists of the early Renaissance, e.g. Giotto, Fra Angelico, Piero della Francesca, Mantegna, and Massacio: ‘They painted representations in spaces in which the story escaped me, and the distribution of surfaces, compositions, and light and colour schemes intrigued me immeasurably. Everything is straight, while perspective-wise it’s actually impossible. Each surface, in which there’s something to see or something happening, is equal to another surface. This is what I’ve done in the Holland Festival group portraits: unified the architecture and the groups with each other in a form that is always acceptable,’ as Anema told Leo Divendal in 1988 during an interview for the newspaper Haarlems Dagblad. These portraits are therefore more formal in character than the Enkhuizen series. Anema still had to improvise a great deal, as the performers were only accessible for a limited amount of time, but also because his ideas were not always understood. While the locations and stages were all precisely planned in advance, the lighting, composition, and colours were left for Anema to determine in accordance with his own fantasies and personal memories. Anema had not photographed the theatre, but ultimately made theatre of his photography.

Anema has regularly indicated that his portraits are indebted to the style of Paul Huf. Huf staged elegant and lively group portraits, with a natural flair and a feel for timing and surprise elements. Like Huf, Anema recreates reality in such a way that it retains credibility. But there are also differences. With Anema, glamour is virtually absent. Furthermore, Huf maintained a distance between himself and his models, while Anema’s dialogue with those he portrays, by contrast, has become much more essential to the creative process. In this respect, the sociologist in the photographer rises to the surface. Especially in his later portrait series—the series on prominent Dutch socialist figures and his series on Dutch families—he has intensified his approach, and that without forfeiting his artistic direction.

In the mid-1980s, Anema was not the only photographer with an activist and journalistic background to be inspired by Paul Huf. This is evident in projects such as the book De Verbeelding van Leiden (‘The Picturing of Leiden’, 1988), which includes staged group portraits by Anema, Bertien van Manen, and Hannes Wallrafen that have a narratory, slightly surrealistic undertone. Journalists and critics detected a new trend in Dutch photography: the portrait photo was undergoing a revaluation, with social documentary photographers taking increasing liberties. Because they had begun to doubt the social effectiveness of their photos as described by Anema in Skrien, these photographers were looking not only for new concepts, but were also turning to new forms of presentation. Technical and stylistic experiments resulted in a more unfettered way of looking, allowing greater space for their own power of imagination. They also investigated the characteristic traits of the medium itself. Just as Anema himself had experienced, this approach freed these documentary photographers from a visual and substantive framework, further stimulating them to develop their own strong points. It was a development marked the enrichment of socially engaged documentary photography in the Netherlands.

Anema’s work is similar to that of Hans Aarsman and Hannes Wallrafen. At the time, these three men were seen as the most important innovators of photojournalism in the Netherlands. Their individual differences are illustrative of the diverse pallet encountered in documentary photography from this period. They also share much in common when it comes to an intelligent analysis of the medium itself and the manner in which their observations are further realised in the image. In 1989, the three men were interviewed in the magazine Foto regarding their decisions to start working in colour. Although documentary photographers in the United States had already discovered colour photography by the 1970s, such a step was seen as rather remarkable at this time in the Netherlands. It was in that year that Aarsman had published his book Hollandse Taferelen (‘Dutch Scenes’), while Wallrafen was in Colombia working on photos inspired by Gabriel Gárcia Márquez. Of the three, Aarsman was most pronounced in his conversion to colour photography, which satisfied his growing desire to photograph as inexplicitly as possible. In the aforementioned interview, Aarsman stated: ‘In a good colour photo there are no dominating colour surfaces. Afterwards, you should have forgotten that you were looking at a colour photo.’ Aarsman’s statement actually also applies to the work of Taco Anema. During this same period, Anema began to stylise his portraits less and less, applying colour to his photos in a nuanced and matter-of-fact way. Anema and Wallrafen shared the ability to combine fantasy and reality in a manner that was meaningful and appealing. Both often subordinated the individual to the representation of a concept that concerned the group as a whole. The choice of colour versus black-and-white was intuitive, depending on the subject.

In 1992, Anema was asked by the Dutch History Department of the Rijksmuseum to apply for the documentary photo assignment of 1994, concerning the 100th anniversary since the founding of the social democratic movement in the Netherlands. The museum had a two-part project in mind. One part would entail a traditional reportage, following several individuals actively involved in promoting a social democratic political agenda at various levels. The second part was to concern portraits of various prominent socialists photographed in their own surroundings. Bert Verhoeff was approached for the first part, Anema for the second. In a letter to Wim Vroom, the head of the Rijksmuseum’s history department and the driving force behind the commission, Anema presented his conception of portrait photography distinctly. He also formulated the assignment’s substantive implications: ‘Because portrait photography is always about more than just a person’s picture and because the photographer’s perspective always resonates in his manner of portrayal, you are in fact asking me what my view is of people who represent social democracy. This is something I really don’t know quite as yet. Is social democracy made by people who sit at home with their feet in front of the fire drinking a cup of hot chocolate or is it fought out on the street and decided with royal dramas at party conferences? Should you photograph the person behind the social democrat or should the social democrat be eternalised as an actor in a historical drama?’ Anema argued for a maximum of freedom in the execution of his vision, as he would only then be able to let a small group of individuals representing social democracy function as a symbol of the whole.

The portraits were made in close cooperation with the politicians chosen for the project. In lengthy discussions, Anema tried to determine where ‘the red feeling’ originated. Each person was able to determine for himself where, how, and with whom they wished to be portrayed. In doing so, Anema involved them in the creative process itself, in an effort to fulfil his own desire that the photos would reflect the personal motivations of those in question. It was also his aim that all of the images would differ from each other as much as possible, and that the photos did not become staged depictions of the talks conducted initially. The photos were meant to be the result of the confrontation between the person portrayed and the photographer—not so much a story, but rather the depiction of an emotion. One example is a stunning, intimate portrait of Henk Vredeling, a former minister of defence. Vredeling wished to be photographed in a situation that conveyed a moment that was decisive for him during his days in hiding in World War II. Somewhat to Anema’s surprise, many members of the Dutch labour party, the PvdA, wished to be photographed with their relatives or immediate family. It was a preference he expected to come from the Christian democrats, who propagated family as the cornerstone of society, and not necessarily the socialists.

Family is the topic of Anema’s largest photo project up to the present day. Between 2002 and 2009, he produced portraits of one hundred Dutch families, subsequently presenting his photos in a book and exhibition entitled Honderd Hollandse Huishoudens (‘One Hundred Dutch Households’). For the exhibition, Anema had a small selection of the photos printed in a monumental format in order to show the visual quality of the images at their very best. The visual realisation of the theme of family coincides beautifully with a long tradition in the visual arts. Because the photos are combined with relevant statistics originating from the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (‘Central Agency of Statistics’), Anema’s book (containing all one hundred portraits) is somewhat scholarly in nature. In families, Anema recognises an enduring form of cohabitation, but one undergoing gradual change. While appearing to be a conservative institution, his photos clearly illustrate how the dramatically altered make-up of Dutch society has manifested itself specifically in the living room. To create a more varied picture, Anema traveled to numerous parts of the country. From a practical standpoint, however, it was impossible to get a representative cross-section of the Dutch population to sit for his camera.

The families are portrayed in the one space where everyone comes together, in most cases the kitchen, living or dining room. The interior provides insight into the family’s level of prosperity, lifestyle, and social status. Every member of the family (with the exception of babies and family pets) knows they are posing for the image. They also know they are being looked at by the photographer, and at a later point, by people unknown to them. Anema takes this knowledge and uses it to heighten the tension. He relies heavily on the situation he encounters but at the same time manipulates the scene according to his own wishes. While setting up his camera and talking to the family members, Anema observes their interrelationships and the position assumed by each person in the room. In doing so, he arrives at a natural composition, albeit one in which he directs every subject. To guarantee harmony in the image, all elements—people, interior, colour, and form—are equal. Anema is the visual director, but he still sees the taking of the photo as a joint process, with its success being dependent on his own fantasy as well as that of the family members. As there is almost always someone looking directly into the camera, he is indirectly present in every image. In doing so, he allows the observer to step into the living room, as it were. In his portraits for Honderd Hollands Huishoudens, Anema has succeeded in removing the ‘glass wall’ that often exists between the photographer and the person(s) portrayed in formal portraits. In finding suitable subjects, Anema had relied heavily on his own personal contacts. As a result, most of the people he initially photographed were well-educated, Caucasian families from Amsterdam. In the end, however, he managed to broaden his scope to other parts of the country and to include minority families willing to pose for his camera.

To this day, Taco Anema still considers himself to be a ‘documentary’ photographer: ‘I like photographing people the most. I want to tell something about the people I photograph to those observing. I’m always trying to vary the form in which I do this.’ Over the years, Anema’s approach has become freer. His stylised portraits from the 1980s have been replaced by a natural, informal, and reserved style. He allows the decor, the lighting, and the attributes to be determined more by chance than was the case in his earlier portrait series. He still stages and directs his photos, but in a visually less emphatic way, taking advantage of the available (day-) light, unforeseen circumstances, and the unconscious body language of his models. Anema’s portraits are not so much depictions of an individual’s personality, as they are images that illustrate a person’s role in a certain group, as part of a social context. He strives for compositions that communicate the significance and identity of the group concerned in its relation to society. In his photos, Anema presents an image of the general atmosphere, with the accent lying on his collaboration with the individuals involved. As he stated in the Dutch newspaper Het Parool in 2009: ‘The most important motivation is: manoeuvring myself into a situation in which I feel good. It’s great fun to make a beautiful photo in three hours together with total strangers, with their contribution being at least as important as mine.’


Primary bibliography

(eigen publicaties: tekst, eventueel met foto’s, maar ook fotoboeken e.d.)


Taco Anema e.a. (samenstelling), Mijn moeder vindt het ook. De bewapening, het antimilitarisme en de vredesbeweging in beeld, Amsterdam (SUA) 1982 (met foto’s).

Taco Anema, De dubbelzinnigheid, in Skrien (mei/juni 1983) 127, p. 17-19.

Taco Anema (foto’s), De dames van de retirade, in Plaatwerk 1 (november/december 1983) 4, p. 3-6.

Joke en Mieke vn der Wey (tekst) en Taco Anema (foto’s), Meisjes boven de 30, in Plaatwerk 2 (juli 1985) 11, p. 25-31.

Taco Anema, Haute-Couture, in Plaatwerk 3 (december 1986) 17, omslag, p. 4-13.

Taco Anema, Holland Festival, Amsterdam/Den Haag (Focus/SDU) 1988.

Nicole Baartman (tekst) en Taco Anema (foto’s), Kastsucces, in de Volkskrant 3 november 1990 t/m 29 juni 1991.

Nicole Baartman (tekst) en Taco Anema (foto’s), Blikveld, in de Volkskrant 14 maart t/m 30 mei 1992.

Paulien Terreehorst (tekst) en Taco Anema (foto’s), Het seizoen. Een modeboek, Amsterdam (Nijgh & Van Ditmar) 1993.

Taco Anema en Bert Verhoeff (foto’s) en Max van Weezel (tekst), De rode loper. De Partij van de Arbeid honderd jaar later, Eindhoven/Amsterdam (Lecturis/De Verbeelding) 1994.

Felix van der Laar (tekst) en Taco Anema (foto’s), Amsterdam woont hier… . Volkshuisvesting en stadsvernieuwing tussen 1972 en 1994, Amsterdam (Stedelijke Woningdienst Amsterdam) 1994.

Taco Anema e.a. (red.), GKf 50. Fotografie 1945-1995, Amsterdam (De Verbeelding) 1995.

Miriam Bestebreurtje (tekst), Foto’s Taco Anema [uitgave t.g.v. de tentoonstelling Monumentale Achteloosheid], Amsterdam 1997.

Jan Heijn (tekst), Taco Anema en Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski (foto’s), World of energy, Amsterdam (De Verbeelding) 2000.

Taco Anema en Louis Zaal, Ik heb geen behoefte om ‘het kwaad’ uit te drukken, in Taco Anema e.a. (tekst), Vojta Dukát. A slice of time, Den Haag (Stroom haags centrum voor beeldende kunst) 2001, p. 113-114.

Gijs Potters e.a. (red.) en Taco Anema (foto’s), Neil Wilkin. Seeds of change, Leerdam (Uitgeverij Glaswerk) 2001.

Anneke van Steijn (eindred.), Taco Anema, Hans van der Meer en Bert Verhoeff (foto’s), Communicatie, Amstelveen (Koninklijk Verbond van Grafische Ondernemingen) 2001 (serie : Grafisch Nederland, Kerstnummer 2001).

Taco Anema, Tales of water. A child’s view, New York (Umbrage editions) 2006.

Taco Anema en Anne Stienstra, A journey to Cuba, Amsterdam (Anema-Stienstra) 2007.

Taco Anema (foto’s) en Fred Feddes (essay), Honderd Hollandse huishoudens 2002-2009 = A hundred Dutch households, 2002-2009, Amsterdam (De Verbeelding) 2009.

Taco Anema, dSL, Amsterdam (Familievereniging de Savorin Lohman) 2010.


(foto’s in boeken, tijdschriften en ander drukwerk)

Paul Babeliowsky e.a. (foto’s), Even geduld deze straat is gekraakt, Amsterdam (Uitgeverij Lont) 1980.

Paul Babeliowsky e.a., Het feest dat Wiegel wilde, Wageningen (De Uytbuyt) 1980, omslag achterzijde, p. 6, 13.

Joop Blom e.a, De Vondelstraat. Verslagen van Radio Stad, 29 februari-3 maart 1980, Amsterdam (Van Gennep) 1980, p. 125, 152.

Jan Willem Dingemanse e.a. (red.), Jongerenstrijdboek Amsterdam-Noord, Amsterdam (Vereniging tienerwerkersoverleg Amsterdam-Noord) 1980.

Taco Anema e.a. (foto’s), Daarom geen kernenergie. Vragen en antwoorden, Nijmegen (Stoomgroep Nijmegen) 1981, geh. herz. uitg.

Vrij Nederland 4 april 1981.

Vrij Nederland 11 juli 1981.

De Groene Amsterdammer 30 december 1981.

Stedelijk jaarverslag Amsterdam 1981, p. 99.

Lisette Bros e.a. (red.), … of geweld zal worden gebruikt. Repressie in Nederland, Nijmegen (De Haktol) z.j. [1983], p. 37, 85.

Flip ten Cate e.a. (red.), Kruisraketten ongewenst. Voor en na 29 oktober 1983, Amersfoort/Amsterdam (Horstink/Mets) 1983.

Stedelijk jaarverslag Amsterdam 1983, p. 72, 81, 83, 86, 96.

Plaatwerk 3 (maart 1987) 18, p. 8.

Hans Aarsman, Denken is moeilijk, niet denken in moeilijker. Elf serieuze fotografen en de aanloopstrook, z.p. (Riba-pers) 1988.

Titus Yocarini (tekst), Total Design 25 jaar, Amsterdam (Total Design) 1988.

Catalogus tent. Geliefde personen, Plaatwerk 4 (maart 1988) 22/23, p. 58-59.

Het Parool 30 maart 1988.

Jaarverslag Randstad Holding bv. 1988.

Toneel Teatraal 109 (oktober 1988) 8, p. 102-103 (= Nederlands Theaterboek 37 (1987-1988)).

Ton Heijdra, De Pijp. Monument van een wijk, Amsterdam (René de Millano) 1989, afb. 109.

Rudy Kousbroek (tekst), 66 Zelfportretten van Nederlandse fotografen, Amsterdam (Nicolaas Henneman Stichting) 1989, afb. 57.

Taco Anema (foto’s), Amsterdam Centraal, in Het Parool 25 maart 1989, p. 43.

NRC Handelsblad 12 april 1989.

Holland Herald 24 (oktober 1989) 10, p. 40.

Elsevier 46 (16 juni 1990) 24, p. 51.

Modus. Over mensen, mode en het leven (december 1990) 0, p. 94-95.

NRC Handelsblad 22 augustus 1991.

Anoniem, Elegantie in Elektronica. Philips corparate brochure, Eindhoven (Philips Electronics b.v.) 1992.

NRC Handelsblad 2 december 1992.

Het Parool 24 juni 1993.

Brabants Dagblad 8 maart 1994.

Catalogus tent. GKf. Vijftig jaren van toekomst, Groningen (Stichting Aurora Borealis) 1995, ongepag.

Heleen van Galen (eindred.), Collecties, Amsterdam (Vossiuspers AUB) 1995, p. 18, 24, 30, 36, 40, 50, 60, 68, 72, 78, 82, 90, 94, 102, 108 (serie: Jaarboek 1995 van de Universiteit van Amsterdam).

Frank Govers, Mijn leven in mode, Amsterdam (Forum) 1995, p. 58.

Mirjam Hoijtink (tekst) en Taco Anema (foto’s), In het teken van Satyridae/The sign of Satyridae, Amsterdam (De Brink) 1995.

Keetje E. Sluyterman, Driekwart eeuw CSM. Cash flow, strategie en mensen, Diemen (CSM) 1995.

Het Parool 14 oktober 1995.

Jaarverslag 1995 F. van Lanschot Bankiers.

Leo Adriaenssen, Een dwarse buurt : het herscheppingsverhaal van de Staatsliedenbuurt en Frederik Hendrikbuurt in 1971-1996, Amsterdam (Wijkcentrum Staatslieden-Hugo de Grootbuurt) 1996, p. 95.

Co Vleeshouwer (samenstelling), Oog op A-drieënzeventig. Verslag van een audiovisueel project, Utrecht (Stichting Beeldende Amateurkunst) 1996, achterflap.

Antoinette van Schendelen, Natuur en ruimtelijke ordening in Nederland. Een symbiotische relatie, Rotterdam (NAi Uitgevers) 1997, p. 285-286.

Igor Stravinsky, The Rake’s Progress, Rotterdam (Onafhankelijk Toneel) 1997.

Het Parool 27 februari 1998.

Brabants Dagblad 12 mei 1998.

Edgar Vos en Mischa de Vreede, Maak me mooi. Het leven van Edgar Vos zoals verteld aan Mischa de Vreede, Breda (De Geus) 1999, p. 171.

Het Parool 15 juni 1999.

Het Financieele Dagblad 13 november 1999.

Het Financieele Dagblad 15 december 1999.

Martha Bakker e.a. (red.), Amsterdam in de tweede Gouden Eeuw, Bussum/Amsterdam (THOTH/Genootschap Amstelodanum) 2000, p. 93.

Onno Blom, Zolang de voorraad strekt. De literaire boekenweekgeschenken, gevolgd door een overzicht van alle boekenweekgeschenken sinds 1932, Amsterdam (Stichting CPNB) 2000, p. 8.

Brabants Dagblad 24 mei 2000.

Brabants Dagblad 6 juni 2000.

Ludo Permentier en Ewoud Sanders, Beeld van een taal, Den Haag/Antwerpen (Nederlandse Taalunie/Sdu Uitgevers/Standaard Uitgeverij) 2000, p. 84, 87.

Nederlands Theaterjaarboek 51 (2001-2002), p. 355.

Peter-Paul de Baar e.a., De Amstel, Amsterdam (Lubberhuizen) 2002, p. 66-67, 119.

NRC Handelsblad 4 januari 2002.

VPRO-gids 10 augustus 2002.

Gert Staal (tekst), Beppe Kessler. De omkering, Amsterdam (Kessler) 2003.

Het Parool 15 februari 2003.

De Telegraaf 23 november 2004.

Jaarverslag 2005. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, p. 30.

Martin Bossenbroek e.a (red.), Het geheugen van Nederland. De twintigste eeuw in 101 markante beelden, Amsterdam/Den Haag (Bakker/Koninklijke Bibliotheek/Het Geheugen van Nederland) 2006, p. 205.

Jaarverslag 2006. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, p. 17.

Jaarverslag 2007. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, p. 31.

HP/De Tijd (12 maart 2010) 10, p. 41.


in Trouw:

17 april 1984.

24 oktober 1984.

13 februari 1985.

27 maart 1985.

17 april 1985.

8 mei 1985.

15 mei 1985.

21 mei 1985.

22 mei 1985.

12 juni 1985.

31 juli 1992.

8 april 1993.

15 april 1995.

3 november 1995.

6 februari 1998.

15 januari 1999.

5 oktober 2000.

25 oktober 2003.

20 november 2004.


in de Volkskrant:

6 april 1985, Het vervolg, p. 7.

10 oktober 1985.

25 oktober 1985.

1 november 1985.

8 november 1985.

15 november 1985.

16 januari 1987.

30 januari 1987.

28 maart 1987.

5 juni 1987, Kunstbijlage, p. 23.

12 juni 1987, Kunstbijlage.

19 juni 1987, Kunstbijlage.

26 juni 1987, Kunstbijlage.

14 april 1995.

24 juni 1995.

21 februari 1996.

7 juni 1996.

4 oktober 1996.

7 maart 1997.

14 november 1997.

24 februari 1998.

19 juni 1998.

12 februari 1999.

18 juni 1999.

18 september 1999.

11 augustus 2000.

28 september 2001.

24 december 2002.

4 november 2004.


1984 Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst (De wereld van de Haute Couture).

1986 Gemeente Leiden (opdracht samen met andere fotografen: De Verbeelding van Leiden).

1987 Holland Festival (Portretten deelnemende groepen aan Holland Festival).

1988 Provincie Utrecht (Kunstenaarsportretten).

1988 Randstad Uitzendbureau bv (opdracht samen met andere fotografen: “Werk”).

1989 Vereniging van Beeldend Kunstenaars Loods 6, Amsterdam (opdracht samen met Eduard Berman: Atelierportretten voormalig KNSM complex).

1991 Amsterdam Uit Buro (30 persoonlijkheden uit de Nederlandse kunstwereld).

1991 Stichting Beeldende Kunst Utrecht (opdracht samen met Han Singels: Visies op beeldende kunstbeoefening amateurs).

1994 Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, afdeling Nederlandse Geschiedenis (opdracht samen met Bert Verhoeff: De Rode Droom. Honderd jaar Sociaal-Democratie).

1998 Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst (Amsterdam als Financieel Centrum).

2009 Familie De Savornin Lohman (Portretteren van de juristenfamilie De Savornin Lohman).

2010 CPNB (groepsportret van 75 Nederlandse schrijvers ter gelegenheid van de 75 ste Boekenweek).

Secondary bibliography

Catalogus tent. Geen commentaar. Fotografen als ooggetuigen van agressie en geweld, Amsterdam Nederlandse Kunststichting) 1982, ongepag.

Miryam en Herman, Taco Anema en het portret, in Herman, Zwart op wit. Nieuwsfotografie in de media, Amsterdam (Lont en Raket) z.j. [1984], p. 95-99 (met foto’s).

Ad Petersen e.a. (tekst), Wat Amsterdam betreft …/As far as Amsterdam goes …, Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum) z.j. [1985], p. 114-115.

Anneke van Veen, Foto’s voor de stad. Amsterdamse documentaire foto-opdrachten 1983-1985, Fodor. Tweemaandelijks tijdschrift voor beeldende kunst in Amsterdam 5 (mei/juni 1986) 3, p. 3-4.

Mariëtte Haveman, Reportagefotografie: het belang van de stad (1985), in Fodor. Tweemaandelijks tijdschrift voor beeldende kunst in Amsterdam 5 (mei/juni 1986) 3, p. 5-10, 14-15 (met foto’s).

Anoniem, Biografieën, in Fodor 5 (mei/juni 1986) 3, p. 42.

Willem Ellenbroek, Amsterdam in vijftien beeldverhalen. Gemeentearchief laat foto-opdrachten zien, in de Volkskrant 1 mei 1986.

(Vouwblad) Ietse Meij, Foto’s: Taco Anema. De wereld van de Nederlandse Haute Couture, Den Haag (Haags Gemeentemuseum) 1987.

Herman Hoeneveld, Maken van een groepsportret is zeker geen kinderwerk, in Het Parool 10 februari 1987.

Hripsimé Visser, Documentaire en monumentale foto-opdrachten in Nederland na 1945, in Perspektief (juni 1987) 28/29, p. 116.

Anoniem, Haute Couture foto’s in Kostuummuseum, in Haagsche Courant 26 juni 1987.

Pauline Terreehorst, Eline Vere in de paskamer, in de Volkskrant 27 juni 1987.

Anoniem, Modefoto’s in Gemeentemuseum, in Het Binnenhof 29 juni 1987.

Bas Roodnat, De wereld van Taco Anema, in NRC Handelsblad 21 juli 1987.

Heidi Sonneborn, De wereld van de Nederlandse Haute Couture. Expositie van Taco Anema, in Nieuwe Revu (7 augustus 1987) 33, p. 70-71 (met foto’s).

Afra Botman, ‘beeldschoon, echt bééldig’, in Trouw 8 augustus 1987.

Rini Scheffers, Stichting Konfrontatie organiseert. Het portret (een discussie), in Reflexions (september/oktober 1987) 34, p. 4.

Folder tent. Het andere gebouw, Amsterdam (De Moor) 3 t/m 24 september 1987.

Mirjam van Dun, De fantastische vertellingen van Taco Anema, in Focus 74 (december 1987) 12, p. 36-43.

Frits Bruins en Linda Rodenburg (red.), De verbeelding van Leiden, Leiden (Spruyt, Van Mantgem & De Does Informatief) 1988, p. 7-8, 74-79 (met foto’s).

M.W.M. Haker e.a. (samenstelling), Op deze plek heeft een gedicht gestaan, Utrecht/Antwerpen (Veen Reflex/Provincie Utrecht) 1988, p. 52-67 (met foto’s).

Rini Scheffers, Het portret en de mythe. Inleiding tot de discussie, in Foto 43 (januari/februari 1988) 1/2, p. 44-52.

Rolf Bos, Liefje, lach eens tegen het vogeltje, in de Volkskrant 12 maart 1988, Vervolgens, p. 3.

Anoniem, ‘De verbeelding van Leiden’, in Leidsch Dagblad 21 mei 1988.

Rolf Bos, Een gaatje voor de fotograaf, in de Volkskrant 27 mei 1988.

Leo Divendal, Taco Anema organiseerde groepsportretten. Boek en tentoonstelling over Holland Festival fotografie, in Haarlems Dagblad 16 juni 1988.

Willem Ellenbroek, Anema maakt groepen in festival tot figuranten in eigen fantasie, in de Volkskrant 18 juni 1988.

Joke Tromp, Het Holland Festival van Taco Anema, in Nieuwe Revu (23 juni 1988) 26, p. 38-41 (met foto’s).

H.H., Wat zei de art-director ook weer, in Het Parool 5 juli 1988.

Herman Selier, Scherpe beelden uit ruw materiaal, in NRC Handelsblad 8 juli 1988.

Wim Jansen, Hoe moeilijk is niet nadenken?, in Trouw 9 juli 1988.

Ellen Kok, Sociaal-fotografen geobsedeerd door groepsportretten. Nieuwe trend leidt niet overal tot even mooie resultaten, in Utrechts Nieuwsblad/NZC 15 juli 1988.

TH [= Ton Hendriks], Holland Festival/Taco Anema, in Perspektief (december 1988) 34, p. 57-58.

Anoniem, Trofee voor overgeslagen fotografen, in de Volkskrant 9 december 1988.

Catalogus Amsterdam koopt kunst. Gemeentelijke kunstaankopen= Amsterdam buys art. Municipal Art Aquisitions 1988, Amsterdam (Museum Fodor i.s.m. afdeling kunstzaken van de Gemeente Amsterdam) 1989, p. 5.

Rijksaankopen 1988. Werk van hedendaagse beeldende kunstenaars, Den Haag (Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst/SDU) 1989, p. 44.

Catalogus Foto Biennale Enschede 1989. Engelse en Nederlandse fotografie = English and Dutch photography, Enschede (Stichting Foto Biennale Enschede) 1989, p. 42-43, 60-61.

Alphons B. ter Brake, Expositie Gerard Kuster schildert emotionele schoonheid van ‘Rilke’. De bus reist nu van Amsterdam naar Enschede, in Twentse Courant 18 januari 1989.

Huub Jansen, Taco Anema: Telkens nieuwe gebieden verkennen, in Fotoprof 6 (februari 1989), p. 10-13 (met foto’s).

Jan Heringa, Origineel in kleur? Drie Nederlandse fotografen in de USVA, in NS 9 oktober 1989.

Flip Bool en Herman Hoeneveld (tekst), Fotografen aan het werk voor Randstad, Diemen (Randstad Uitzendbureau) 1990, ongepag. (met foto’s).

Lisette Pelsers, Zó werkt professioneel fotograaf als Taco Anema, in Twentse Courant 16 mei 1990.

Peggie Breitbarth, Stille getuigenissen van een werkplek in de KNSM-loods, Dagblad Tubantia 22 mei 1990.

Ingeborg Leijerzapf e.a. (tekst), Het beslissende beeld. Hoogtepunten uit de Nederlandse fotografie van de 20e eeuw, Amsterdam (BIS) 1991, p. 73, 178.

Anoniem, De opening van het culturele seizoen: Uitmarkt, in NRC Handelsblad 22 augustus 1991.

Maartje van den Heuvel en Anneke van Veen (samenstelling), Foto’s voor de stad. Amsterdamse documentaire foto-opdrachten 1972-1991 / Leontine Coelewij, Haro Plantenga en Anneke van Veen (samenstelling), Foto’s voor de stad. Amsterdamse documentaire foto-opdrachten 1989-1991, Amsterdam (Gemeentearchief Amsterdam) 1992, ongepag.

Linda Roodenburg, Fotowerk. Fotografie in opdracht 1986-1992, Rotterdam (Uitgeverij 010) 1992, p. 149-150, 152, 154, 160-161.

Anoniem, Een andere vorm van creativiteit, in Feestelijk Zakendoen (1992) 1, p. 155.

Anoniem, Kijkdozen op de Dam, in Trouw 16 september 1992.

Monique Lancée (tekst), Momentum, Taco Anema, Kim Zwarts, John Baggen/Marc Schols, Korrie Besems, Born (NedCar) 1992.

Paul Arnoldussen, Honderd jaar SDAP in Beurs van Berlage, in Het Parool 31 maart 1993.

Peter Charpentier en Herman Hoeneveld, Industriefotografie: meer dan het fotograferen van machines, in P/F Professionele Fotografie (1993) 9, p. 17-18.

Anoniem, Taco Anema verbeeldt amateurkunst, in Focus 81 (januari 1994) 1, p. 36-43 (met foto’s).

Yvonne van Eekelen, Een grammatica voor de taal van de mode, in Trouw 8 januari 1994.

Anoniem, Gasfabriek decor van verstilde foto’s, in Het Parool 9 juni 1994.

Arend Evenhuis, Licht en tijd zijn gestold in Westergasfabriek, in Trouw 16 juni 1994.

Anoniem, Schuim en As, in Gooi- en Eemlander 20 juli 1994.

Anoniem, Rijksmuseum: voorlopig geen foto-opdracht, in NRC Handelsblad 7 oktober 1994.

Anoniem, Taco Anema bij Fotoforum, in Amersfoortse Courant 27 oktober 1994.

Roel Sandvoort, De fotografen van de sociaal-democratie, in PRO december 1994.

Willem de Hair, ‘Vertel papa maar dat ik heel boos op hem ben’, in Trouw 8 december 1994.

Anoniem, De rode loper – de PvdA 100 jaar later, in De Journalist 16 december 1994, p. 30.

Jan Tromp, ‘Wij zoeken de zweetkamertjes’, in deVolkskrant 19 december 1994 (met foto’s).

Anoniem, De ‘verbluffende informaliteit’ van 100 jaar sociaal-democratie, in Trouw 20 december 1994.

Eddie Marsman, Boeken, in NRC Handelsblad 24 december 1994.

M. Thijsen, Metaforen van het begrip bedrijfsfotoboek, in Het Financieele Dagblad 10 juni 1995.

M. Thijsen, The image of politics de verbeelding van de politiek in fotografie, in Het Financieele Dagblad 29 september 1995.

Anita Lowenhardt, De rode droom van de 101 jaar oude sociaal-democratie, in Trouw 12 oktober 1995.

Charles Lennartz, Vriendenclubje van weleer nu verzamelplaats van topfotografen, gebonden kunstenfederatie bestaat halve eeuw, in De Limburger 14 oktober 1995.

Anoniem, Billboard, in Dagblad van Noord-Limburg 30 oktober 1995.

Jan Koekebakker (eindred.), Werk. De Randstad fotocollectie 1988-1995/Work. The Randstad Collection of Photographs 1988-1995, Amsterdam (Randstad Holding) 1996, p. 16-17, 87, 114.

M. Thijsen, Collectie Randstad van schaftlokaal tot bedrijfscultuur, in Het Financieele Dagblad 20 januari 1996.

R.M. Smits, Jaarverslagen bekroond om vorm en communicatiekracht, in Het Financieele Dagblad 3 oktober 1996.

Y. Brentjens, De passie van ‘angry old men’in Galerie Ra, in Het Financieele Dagblad 26 oktober 1996.

Anoniem, Capilux Alblas prijs naar Dukat, in Het Parool 23 januari 1997.

Guusje Bendeler, Leontine van den Boom en Mart Hulspas (samenstelling), Nat en Droog, Nederland met andere ogen bekeken, Amsterdam (Architecture & Natura) 1998.

Hans Rooseboom, Expositie fotograaf Michel Szulc-Krzyzanowski, in Eindhovens Dagblad 26 februari 1998.

Eddie Marsman, Het ‘Kunstwerk Nederland’, in NRC Handelsblad 20 mei 1998.

Rob Berends, Luctor et Emergo. Weersgesteldheid als motor van Rijkswaterstaat, in Het Financieele Dagblad 4 juli 1998.

The Straw that Breaks The Camel’s Back, Den Haag (Ministerie van VROM) 2000.

Mirelle Thijsen, Humanistische fotografie en het geluk van de alledaagsheid. Het Nederlandse bedrijfsfotoboek 1945-1965 [proefschrift], Amsterdam (Universiteit Utrecht) 2000, p. 178.

Els Brenninkmeijer, Beelden van energie, in Haagsche Courant 16 juni 2000.

Edie Peters, Energie zonder gedachten, in de Volkskrant 17 juni 2000.

Els Brenninkmeijer, Beelden van energie in Haagse Museon, in Dagblad van Almere 24 juni 2000.

Wout Berger e.a. (foto’s) en Toon Tellegen e.a. (gedichten), Beeld versus woord, Zwolle (Waanders) 2001, p. 3, 28-35.

Jaap Lieverse, Geworstel met de moderniteit. Kerstnummer Grafisch Nederland dit jaar gewijd aan ‘communicatie’, in Het Financieele Dagblad 15 december 2001.

Hub. Hubben, Wassen, boenen en borstelen, in de Volkskrant 28 december 2001.

Mirelle Thijsen, Het bedrijfsfotoboek 1945-1965. Professionalisering van fotografen in Nederland, Rotterdam (Uitgeverij 010) 2002, p. 204.

Herman Hoeneveld, Communicatie. Kerstnummer Grafisch Nederland 2001, in P/F Professionele Fotografie (2002) 1, p. 72-74.

Henny de Lange, Als fotograaf ben ik nu passé, in Trouw 18 maart 2004.

Merel Bem, Liefdevolle objectiviteit, in de Volkskrant 22 september 2004.

Merel Bem, Maandaggesloten, in de Volkskrant 13 oktober 2004.

Jet Baruch e.a., Document Nederland. Nederland gefotografeerd 1975-2005. Een keuze uit 30 jaar documentaire foto-opdrachten van het Rijksmuseum, Zwolle (Uitgeverij Waanders bv.) 2005, p. 311-317 (met foto’s).

Catalogus tent. Made in Holland, Naarden (Stichting FotoFestival Naarden) 2005, p. 23, 56-57, 101 (met foto’s).

Pieter van Leeuwen, Taco Anema. Portfolio, in Foto+ (juni 2005) 6, omslag, p. 19-22 (met foto’s).

Robin Bruinsma, ‘Leusdens’ boek naar Mexico, in AD/Amersfoortse Courant 15 maart 2006.

Anne Berk, Paradijs in de polder, in Het Financieele Dagblad 27 mei 2006.

Anoniem, De avonden, in NRC Handelsblad 24 januari 2007.

Paul Römer, Wereld van energie, in Focus 87 (juni 2006) 6, p. 20-24.

Fabian Takx, De identiteitsfotograaf. Portfolio Taco Anema, in Credits (2009) 1, p. 38-49 (met foto’s.

Pim Milo, Thuis, in P/F Professionele Fotografie (2009) 2, p. 14-19 (met foto’s).

Jos Bloemkolk, ‘Het beslissende moment bestaat niet’, in Het Parool 25 februari 2009.

Sasja Kooistra, Elk gebaar regisseren, in de Volkskrant 5 maart 2009.

Rianne van Dijck, Poseren of niet, in FD Persoonlijk 14 maart 2009

Esther Boersma, Kleurrijke staalkaart gezin, in Amsterdams Stadsblad 15 maart 2009 (idem, in Aalsmeerder Courant 18 maart 2009).

Bertjan ter Braak, Moderne familie op de kiek gezet, in De Telegraaf 24 maart 2009.

Karin Duking, Familieportretten, in Museumtijdschrift (april/mei 2009) 3, p. 26-28.

Marijke Hilhorst, Hollandse huishoudens, in Elsevier 65 (11 april 2009) 15, p. 69.

Anoniem, Familie Wiersma boeit fotografen, in De Bunschoter 17 april 2009.


GKf 1984-2000 (bestuur GKf 1994-1997).

Bestuur Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst 1990-1993.

Bestuur Maria Austria Stichting, 1994-heden.

Commissie Individuele Subsidies, Fonds voor Beeldende Kunst, Vormgeving en Bouwkunst 1995-1998.

Commissie Documentaire Foto-opdrachten Noord Holland 1997.

Jury Capi-Lux Alblas Prijs 1997.

Commissie Fotografie, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst 2001-2003.

Commissie Aankopen Fotografie, Stedelijk Museum 2003.

Jury Fotoprijs 2005 Verbond van Verzekeraars.


2010 Best verzorgde boeken 2009, uitgaven Special Interest (voor Honderd Hollandse huishoudens 2002-2009).


1982 (g) Amsterdam, Nederlandse Kunststichting, ‘Geen Kommentaar’. Fotografen als ooggetuigen van agressie en geweld (reizende tentoonstelling).

1984 (e) Amsterdam, De Moor, Taco Anema.

1984 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Wat Amsterdam betreft

1985 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, Amsterdam koopt kunst. Gemeenteaankopen 1984.

1986 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, Foto’s voor de stad (Foto ’86).

1986 (g) Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum, 100 Meter in het Stedelijk (GKf).

1986 (e) Deventer, Kunstuitkijk, Taco Anema foto’s. Haut Couture. Amsterdam modestad 1984.

1986 (e) Enkhuizen, Galerie ’t Weeshuis.

1987 (g) Amsterdam, Canon Photo Gallery, Het Portret.

1987 (e) Amsterdam, Galerie Hollandse Hoogte, Groepsportretten. Taco Anema in kleur.

1987 (g) Amsterdam, RAI, Camara/Profotobeurs.

1987 (e) Den Haag, Haags Gemeentemuseum (ruimte Nederlands Kostuummuseum), Taco Anema – Foto’s. De wereld van de Nederlandse Haute Couture.

1988 (e) Amsterdam, Galerie Hollandse Hoogte, Groepsportretten van het Holland Festival 1987.

1988 (e) Amsterdam, Muziektheater, Holland Festival.

1988 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Geliefde Personen. Foto’s van de GKf. Beroepsvereniging van fotografen.

1988 (g) Leiden, De Waag, De verbeelding van Leiden.

1988 (g) Rotterdam, Perspektief, centrum voor fotografie, Portretten voor de media.

1989 (g) Amsterdam, De Moor, Het andere gebouw [een fotografisch totaalprojekt in De Moor].

1989 (g) Amsterdam, De Verbeelding, [kleine tentoonstelling van zelfportretten van Nederlandse fotografen].

1989 (g) Enschede, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Foto Biennale Enschede.

1989 (g) Groningen, USVA, Origineel in kleur.

1989 (g) Utrecht, Centraal Museum, Op deze plek heeft een gedicht gestaan.

1990 (g) Amsterdam, De Moor, Mijn belangrijkste foto van 1989.

1990 (g) Amsterdam, De Moor, 20 Jaar De Moor. Jubileumexpositie.

1990 (e) Enschede, Fotogalerie Objektief, Taco Anema.

1991 (g) Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk, Het beslissende beeld. Hoogtepunten uit de Nederlandse fotografie van de 20e eeuw (Collectie Stichting Dutch Photography).

1991 (e) Amsterdam, Muziektheater/Stadhuis [buitenzijde], [zwart-wit portretten van artiesten].

1991 (g) Zwolle, Librije hedendaagse kunst, De beeldende foto.

1992 (g) Amsterdam, Beurs van Berlage, Foto in Opdracht.

1992 (g) Amsterdam, De Moor, Kijkdozen op de dam, 8 foto-installaties in miniatuur.

1992 (e) Eindhoven, Galerie Pennings, Taco Anema.

1992/1993 (g) Maastricht, Gouvernementsgebouw, Momentum.

1993/1994 (g) Vlaardingen, Visserijmuseum, Vis-à-vis.

1994 (e) Amersfoort, Het Klokhuis, De Werkelijkheid van Taco Anema.

1994 (e) Amsterdam, Westergasfabriek, Visie op de Westergasfabriek – 10 fotografen in 100 foto’s.

1994 (g) Rotterdam, Nederlands Foto Instituut, Hallo Rotterdam.

1994 (g) Rotterdam, Witte Withstraat, Binnenstebuiten.

1995 (g) Amersfoort Elleboogkerk, Hollandse Lichten. Wonen, werken en recreëren in het Nederland van de jaren ’90.

1995 (g) Amsterdam, Amsterdams Centrum voor Fotografie, Maak een foto waar de compositie overheerst.

1995 (g) Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk, De Rode Droom.

1995 (g) Groningen, Der Aa-Kerk, GKf. Vijftig jaren van toekomst (Fotomanifestatie Noorderlicht).

1995 (g) Rotterdam, Nederlands Foto Instituut, Lichtjaren 50 jaar GKf-fotografie.

1995 (e) Rotterdam, Nederlands Foto Instituut, Rode Lopers, gezichtsbepalende leden van de SDAP en de PvdA. Portretten door Taco Anema

1996 (g) Groningen, Galery Art Show 96.

1996 (g) Heerlen, Oog op A73.

1996 (g) Stuttgart, Kunsthaus, Festival der Niederlande.

1997 (e) Amsterdam, Amsterdams Centrum voor Fotografie, Monumentale achteloosheid.

1999 (e) Amsterdam, Galerie Jos Art, 63 Samenraapsels.

2000 (g) Den Haag, Museon, Wereld van Energie.

2000 (g) Hannover, Weltausstellung [Nederlands Paviljoen].

2003 (g) Amsterdam, Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Zwart-wit kleur, 1000 foto’s van Amsterdam 1945-nu.

2003/2004 Amsterdam, Melkweg Galerie, AnimalFarm.

2004 (g) Amsterdam, Amsterdams Centrum voor Fotografie, Roots. Wij blijven hier.

2004 (g) Amsterdam, Witterdanwit, Het Open Boek.

2004 (g) Málaga, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, The Rhetorics of Work – Randstad Photocollection.

2005 (g) Amsterdam, Nikki Broos Portret Galerie, 17 Fotografen, 17 Zelfportretten.

2005 (e) Naarden, Commeniusmuseum, Honderd Hollandse Huishoudens (Made in Holland, Epson Fotofestival Naarden)

2006 (g) De Rijp, Kunst op kamers.

2009 (g) Amsterdam, AFC Amsterdams Centrum voor Fotografie, Work in Progress: De keuze.

2009 (e) Amsterdam, Huis Marseille Museum voor Fotografie, Hollandse Huishoudens.

2009 (e) Leiden, Fotogalerie De Kleine Klub, Honderd Hollandse Huishoudens.

2010 (g) Leiden, Galerie LUMC, Familiezaken.

2010 (g) Amsterdam, Huis Marseille Museum voor Fotografie, [digitaal?] analoog!.

Radio programs

1995 (6 juli) Schuim en as, met o.a. een portret van de fotograaf Taco Anema (NCRV).

1995 (4 november) Ophef en ventier, met als gasten o.a. Taco Anema (VARA).

2007 (24 januari) De avonden, waarin Taco Anema vertelt over zijn laatste boek Tales of Wate. A Childs view (VPRO).

2007 (29 januari) Kunststof, waarin Taco Anema vertelt over zijn laatste boek Tales of Wate. A Childs view (NPS).

2009 (12 maart) Desmet Live, waarin Jurgen Maas praat met Taco Anema over Honderd Hollandse huishoudens (IKON).

2009 (19 maart) De avonden, waarin Floortje Smit praat met Taco Anema over zijn foto’s van Nederlandse huishoudens, te zien in Huis Marseille in Amsterdam (VPRO).


Amsterdam, Taco Anema.

Den Haag, Rijksdienst voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (afd. Persdocumentatie).

Leiden, Prentenkabinet Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, bibliotheek en documentatiebestand.

Leusden, Jan Wingender (collectie nederlands fotoboek).


Amsterdam, Huis Marseille Museum voor Fotografie.

Amsterdam, Instituut Collectie Nederland.

Amsterdam, Randstad.

Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.

Amsterdam, Stadsarchief.

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum.