Portrait photographer Menno Kok earned his educational stripes at the Pratt Intitute in New York (1996) and at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam (1997). Since then he has influenced the editorial front line of Amsterdam and made his mark in New York, Tokyo, Berlin, London and Copenhagen.
Menno’s devotion knows no limits, be it as an art lover, teacher, curator, father, husband or photographer. The latter manifests itself in a behavior that is reminiscent of a mad collector. In a self-therapeutic attempt to conquer his cynicism towards his surroundings, Menno tenderly collects tokens of nostalgia. By exhibiting this evidence that “we were here” he contextualize the popular culture that we have taken for granted and opens our eyes to the mechanics behind it. Be it the wallpaper in an en-route hotel room, abandoned vehicles, or an endless collection of discarded matrasses that catches his eye. By drawing attention to the arbitrary he opens our eyes to the divine. In effect, Menno reveals to us who we are, without necessarily portraying us physically in the image. When portraying people, Menno strives to make an image as opposed to take an image. Paradoxically though, those who have stood before his lens have never before seemed so anonymous, yet omnipresent. So fragile, yet empowered. Then again, as Menno would put it; the camera always, never lies.