Solo Exhibition
19 May - 18 June 2017
Redbase Foundation Indonesia


Vannesa Van Houten – RAW

RAW, is a series of 71 portraits photographed as people revisit a moment of loss from their past, which is presented alongside their written thoughts on the personal loss. Growing up, I thought I could live anywhere with ease and felt at home in many countries. But when I moved from Munich to Melbourne, I was shocked by how hard it was to settle, to feel at home. I strongly felt a loss of networks – family, friends and work friends. To everybody that I got to know, I was a blank sheet of paper, across all the spectrums of life. And then to my surprise I was struggling with the loss of cultural identity. I always thought of myself as international, but in my first year I felt more German than ever and very different from everyone else.

I started shooting portraits by asking anybody to remember for me in front of my camera
about what they have lost in their lives.

One of my first portraits was of a young man from Ethiopia, who wrote: “I am wishing to
have my family around me. Sometimes I think seeing them in other people’s faces, but when I

get close they are gone.” Although we have come from very different countries and the reason of resettling in a new country was totally different, I felt the same. And his words gave me comfort that I am not alone. The more stories I heard the more I became connected to my new home.

Now I am living in Jakarta, Indonesia and continued the series by photographing the diverse people of Jakarta, which are featured in the series RAW.

Each person I photographed has become the person they are, or still is becoming the person they will be, through what they have lost and been through in their lives. Meeting and hearing their stories, feeling and seeing their vulnerability touches my heart. It is the moment when people are lost in their thoughts and by themselves, when I fall in love, when I see beauty.