Paul Koeleman

Paul Koeleman

Amsterdam, Netherlands

About Paul Koeleman

Paul Koeleman is a portrait photographer. He photographs people - and the occasional animal - and records and manipulates his subjects as if he were a movie director experimenting with poses, postures and expressions, composition and scenography, clothing, accessories and props, but also through the experiment with the photographic material itself.

To Paul Koeleman a portrait is never just a portrait because in his portraits he searches for the nearly unattainable: to capture that world we all carry within ourselves and to show how we project that inner life to the world at large. This seems an impossible task because does the representation of the physical and inner reality of a subject not always depend on the perception and the reality of the photographer? And what is in actual fact the reality of a picture? In his beautiful short story The Adventure of a Photographer, part of the collection Difficult Loves (1970), the Italian writer Italo Calvino tells us about Antonino Paraggi and his quest to try and grasp the reality of photography. In the course of the story the young Antonio changes from being a sceptical spectator, a ‘non’ photographer, into a photographer who is looking with increasing obsession for that one perfect picture. In the process, he develops a theory that critiques the snapshot because, as Calvino has Antonino say: “Photographed reality immediately gets something nostalgic, the character assumes a lost joy, a memorial, as though it is a picture of the day before yesterday. And the lives you lead in order to photograph it, is basically already a memorial of its self. The idea that a snapshot is more real than a portrait that one has posed for, is a prejudice ... “ In his story Calvino examines the purpose, significance and popularity of the photographic image and he argues that photography is always about framing a particular moment in a particular way. Therefore the motivation for a photograph does not lie within reality, but in the creation of its own ideal, its own ideal image. And therefore it is also about love.




2018- Arti & Amicitiae, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Groupexhibition, December Salon

2017- Arti & Amicitiae, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Groupexhibition, Update

2015-Hirado Dutch Trading Post, Nagasaki, Japan
Groupexhibition, Pride Photo Award

2013-Palazzo Roverizio, Ceriana, Italië
Groupexhibition, Ceriana Art 2013

2011-Gallerie Het Sieraad, Amsterdam
Groupexhibition, Pride Photo Award

2009-Pulchri Studio, Den Haag
Groupexhibition, Anders

2008-Gallerie Metis, Amsterdam
Duoexhibition, Running into people’s concioussness

2007-Wijkcentrum d’Oude Stadt, Amsterdam
Soloexhibition, Anonieme Amsterdammers

2006-Gallerie Maria Chailloux, Loods 6 Amsterdam
Groupexhibition, Convoi Exceptionelle

2003-Centro Culturale Imperia, Italië
Groupexhibition, Gli abitanti di Fanghetto

2000-Konsthall, Norrtälje, Stockholm, Zweden
Groupexhibition, Stasera sono qui

1996-Gallerie Maria Chailloux, Amsterdam
Groupexhibition, Multiples

1995-Kremlin, Moskou, Rusland
Soloexhibition, Dutch Ballet Poster Art