Voeten, Teun 1961-
VOETEN, Teun 1961-
Born 1961, in the Netherlands; Education: Studied photography at the School of Visual Arts, c. 1989; Leiden University, M.A., 1991.
Photojournalist and anthropologist. Provides photographs to relief organizations; appears regularly on talk shows in the Netherlands and Belgium. Exhibitions: Photographic exhibitions include "Former Yugoslavia," Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, 1994; "Three Times Latin America: Images from Ecuador, Haiti, and Nicaragua," Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands, 1994; "Tunnel People" and "The Forgotten Wars," Emerging Collector Gallery, New York, NY, 1996-97; "Tunnel People, Homeless in New York," Dr. Guislain Museum for Psychiatry, Gent, Belgium, 1998; "Afghanistan: End or Renewal?" Center for Contemporary Art, 1999; "A Ticket To," Leiden, Netherlands, 1999; "Sierre Leone: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," Soros Foundation/Open Society Institute, New York, NY, 2001; "Human Crises in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Rwanda," Columbia University School for International and Public Affairs, 2001; "Afghanistan: End or Renewal," Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA, 2001; "Our Grief is Not a Cry for War," Firepatrol Nr. 5, New York, NY, 2001; "Afghanistan 2001," Halfking Gallery, New York, NY, 2001; and "Afghanistan 2001 and Sudan 1997," Museum Ethnography, Leiden, 2002.
Zelveren Camera/ Foreign News Photo Journalistic Competition (Netherlands), winner, 1995, 1998, 1999; Sais Novartis Award, 2001, for "The Terror of Sierra Leone"; Laureate Natali Award for journalism and human rights, 2001.
Tunnelmensen (title means "Tunnel People"), Atlas (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1996.
A Ticket To, Veenman Publishers (Leiden, Netherlands), 1999.
How de body?: Hoop en Horror in Sierra Leone, Meulenhoff (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2000, translation by Roz Vatter-Buck published as How de Body?: One Man's Terrifying Journey through an African War, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor of photographs to Vanity Fair, Granta, National Geographic, New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, World & I, High Times, Details, Village Voice, Vrij Nederland, NRC, De Standaard, and Frankfürter Algemeine.
Teun Voeten was born in the Netherlands and has studied and worked around the world as a photojournalist and cultural anthropologist. The subject of his photographs has most often been human-rights violations amidst military conflict, which has taken him to places such as Haiti, Rwanda, Colombia, Afghanistan, and Sierra Leone. His photographic work has been exhibited in Europe and the United States, and he has published books in Dutch and English. Voeten has also published in many prominent magazines and supplies photographs to relief organizations. He has done anthropological studies among gold diggers in Ecuador and with the homeless in Manhattan. His most widely reviewed book is How de Body? One Man's Terrifying Journey through an African War.
Voeten's first book was Tunnelmensen, a Dutch-language book based on his experiences living with homeless people in a railroad tunnel in Manhattan. For five months, he lived with these "tunnel people," observing and photographing their efforts to maintain their dignity. Voeten's A Ticket To is comprised of an English/Dutch text that accompanies photographs taken during conflicts in Bosnia, Sudan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan.
One of Voeten's most harrowing war-time experiences took place in Sierra Leone, where he was documenting the use of child soldiers in an eight-year-long civil war. Amidst a failed cease-fire agreement, he became the target of rebel forces and was in hiding for two weeks before being rescued. He later returned to the country and developed a book relating his experiences and observations. How de Body? One Man's Terrifying Journey through an Africa War contains background on the mineral wealth that motivated the fighting and details the horrific means—including amputations—that rebels used to force children into service. In contrast to this violence, he also describes the courage and caring shown by those who helped save his life.
Reviewers commented on the relationship between Voeten's experiences and his account of the war in Sierra Leone. In Publishers Weekly, a writer who did not have access to the book's photographs said it was "dramatic but incomplete," given that the author "doesn't delve beneath the surface of his interest in Sierre Leone." Library Journal's Edward G. McCormack called the book "a very interesting but depressing narrative" in which Voeten "exposes his own biases by using words such as natives, thick lips, bastards, fat, and the like." Conversely, Vernon Ford commented in Booklist that this is "an exciting adventure that educates the West to one of the many wars about which we cannot afford to be indifferent." And a Kirkus Reviews writer admired Voeten's "fresh punchy prose" and recommended the book as an "exhilarating" story about journalism and "a heroic portrayal of an overlooked, blood-soaked corner of the world."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2002, Vernon Ford, review of How De Body?: One Man's Terrifying Journey through an African War, p. 1674.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2002, review of How De Body?, p. 634.
Library Journal, October 1, 2002, Edward G. McCormack, review of How De Body?, p. 117.
Publishers Weekly, May 6, 2002, review of How De Body?, p. 43.
Teun Voeten Home Page,http://www.teunvoeten.com (July 28, 2003).