The Hague, Nederland
Jeroen Toirkens (Netherlands, 1971) studied Photographic Design at the Royal Academy for the Visual Arts in The Hague and is working as an independent photographer and filmmaker since 1995. He focuses on social documentary photography and slow-journalism and has published extensively in national and international newspapers and magazines.
In 1999 Toirkens initiated a project called Nomadslife. He became fascinated by the nomad families high in Turkey's Bolkar Mountains and encountered the way of life of the Yörük, who were struggling with the pressures of a modernising Turkey. Many of the young people were departing for life in the cities. In the following years he visited other originally nomadic peoples who were encountering comparable problems. In 2005 and 2006 he spent time with the Sámi and the Nenets in Russia. And in 2010 he visited Barrow in Alaska, the centre for traditional whaling. There the nomadic life has already made way for a settled lifestyle.
In 2011 his first book NOMAD (Lannoo, 2011) was published. With this book Toirkens creates a diverse and often poignant picture of nomadism in the 21st century. Jelle Brandt Corstius journalist and presenter, who accompanied Toirkens on a number of trips, wrote an extended essay for the book.
In 2012 he was awarded with the prestigious CANON prize (best innovative photostory) for this project. According to the jury: “A project that, in these hectic times, stresses that a long focus on one issue leads to new insights, knowledge and images that transcend clichés in a superior way.”
In 2013 his second book, SOLITUDE In the wake of Willem Barentsz (Lannoo, 2013) was published. For this book Toirkens worked together with writer Petra Sjouwerman. Together they sketch an intimate portrait of people living in solitude in the Arctic North of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, an area called the Barents Region. Europe’s last true wilderness.