Sanne De Wilde
Sanne De Wilde (1987, Belgium) in her photography explores the role genetics play in people’s lives and how this shapes and affects communities. Picturing people suffering from a condition making them vulnerable in the eye of society.
She graduated with a Master in Fine Arts at KASK in Ghent (BE) with great honours in 2012. Her photo series The Dwarf Empire was rewarded with the “Photo Academy Award” 2012 as well as the “International Photography Award Emergentes DST” in 2013. Her serie Snow White has been awarded to the “16e Prix National Photographie Ouverte” and the “NuWork Award for Photographic Excellence”. She has been awarded to the “Nikon Press Award” in 2014 and 2016 for most promising young photographer. The British Journal of Photography selected De Wilde as one of “the best emerging talents from around the world” in 2014 and recently received the “Firecracker Grant” in 2016, “PHmuseum Women’s Grant” and de “Zilveren Camera Award” for The Island of the Colorblind.
She has been internationally published (Guardian, New Yorker, Le Monde, CNN, Vogue) and exhibited at Voies OFF, Tribeca Film Festival, Circulations, Lagos Photo, Lodz Fotofestiwal, IDFA, STAM and EYE. Since 2013, De Wilde has been worked with the Dutch newspaper and magazine De Volkskrant, in Amsterdam the Netherlands and joined the photoagency NOOR as a nominee in 2017.
I am inspired by the role genetics play in the lives of people and how this shapes and affects communities. The Island of the Colorblind tells the story of Pingelap and Pohnpei, islands with an extraordinary high percentage of achromatopsia (complete colorblindness) in Micronesia and Samoa Kekea is about a Polynesian community with a high percentage of albinism in Samoa. I conduct visual research to explore these topics. The projects, as the subject, take different photographic forms (depending on the concept); varying from portraits to landscapes, abstract to documentary images, images shot by the subject, cooperative imagery, text and video, interactive installations… I use different mediums to translate the content of the work.
My work explores physical stereotyping in Snow White, a portrait series of people with albinism, where I seek to highlight the fragility and beauty of the condition and in The Dwarf Empire, a project set in China. The Dwarf Empire or The Kingdom of the Little People, is a highly questionable fantasy theme park in Yunnan province and “home” to 77 people with dwarfism. It is the perfect embodiment of a modern “zoo humain” and capitalist culture, the park being founded by a “tall” business man. The park combines entertainment with a level of “social care”. Twice a day, the residents sing for their supper to an audience of tourists. Simultaneously The Dwarf Empire could be seen as a moral tale of subjectivity – by the Western standards the park is rejected and unethical, but by some of the residents described as a “paradise”.
I try to explore issues as voyeurism and the concept of otherness – the way we look at people and what that ultimately says about us.
©Sanne De Wilde / NOOR