Dutch photographer and visual artist Ted Oonk was born in 1987. She studied photography and fine art in the Netherlands and visual art in Belgium. Her work is presented both domestically and internationally. She has already exhibited in the Netherlands, Belgium, the United States and South Korea. Oonka’s work focuses on how we conceal and expose vulnerabilities, standards and norms in visual culture. It also invites the viewer to watch or listen more closely with his photographs, videos and installations.
He currently lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU
The story that photographer Ted Oonk tells us is a combination of three aspects, three impressions and three persons. It is an emotional story of her sister Pim with Down Syndrome, which she began photographing in 2005. With photographs, she invites us into an intimate space that reveals many masks to us visitors. Not only does Oonk want to photograph her sister, she wants to introduce herself to us, and she also shows us through the photographic lens how she sees the world. Mom also gives her perspective, as the photos from family albums are also presented. So Ted Oonk does not bother with the authorship of the works, though we will probably ask ourselves who is the author of the particular photograph. Her desire is to understand that all aspects are important, as she reflects in the moment the world as seen by the photographer. This begins to combine personal and social history in such a way that imagery from everyday life becomes mediators of social relationships and invites us into an intimate world, to a nostalgic call to memory, or merely as a simple gesture of social inclusion. Narrowly, these are photos of living with a person with Down Syndrome, but more broadly, it raises questions about our stereotypes, vulnerabilities, and doubts that arise in our own differentness. Our view of people leaving the society in any way is tainted by prejudice, so Oonk puts us in the role of perceiving all works as equal, regardless of authorship, even if the portrait was created under Mom’s, Pimino’s or her hands, or is merely a selfie , which reflects how Pim is seen at the moment, or a simple photo from a family album that takes us with his image on a nostalgic journey.
“This is not about you” breaks stereotypical beliefs and allows us to see Pim as seen by the photographer herself, that is, like a normal, lovely girl.