Easter and Oak Trees – Bertien Van Manen

Long summer days spent climbing trees, kicking footballs and swimming in pristine lakes – these nostalgic memories belong to Bertien Van Manen and her family, captured between 1970 and 1980 in the Netherlands. Honest and tender, these photographs were actually forgotten by Van Manen and we have her son to thank for reminding her of their existence. The children grow up before our eyes and occasionally imitate their adult role models – sheepishly lighting cigarettes and drinking bottles of beer. There is a Blakean dynamic at play between the domains of innocence and experience – perhaps these family retreats were a chance to break from the norm, to forgo a few inhibitions and to bend a few rules. The book is presented in three sections – opening and closing on rough contact sheet crops, (complete with pen scrawls and stickers). The middle section contains larger, full-bleed images, and it is the interesting combination of the two that completes this very personal black and white family album.

 £25 / 112pp / Mar 2013 / MACK

ISBN 9781907946462

Reviewed by James D. Clark
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