By Imke Ruigrok

Photographer Paul Kooiker (born 1964, Rotterdam), photographs his subjects exactly mid-frame and with a minimum of fuss. Contrary to what the nostalgia of the sepia prints and timeless, classical subjects might suggest, these are all recent photographs, every single one taken with his iPhone. He gives himself semi-scientific frameworks within which to work, and there he finds ample opportunity for conceptuality, humour and beauty.

When he was invited to hold a major retrospective of his work, he set himself the challenge of rephotographing and reclassifying his existing themes. Moreover, and not without irony, he added a new series to the existing ‘naakten’ (nudes) and ‘dieren’ (animals) series: ‘sigaren’ (cigars).

A smouldering cigar in his studio – he still smoked at the time – represented the passage of time. At the same time, it carried with it a dark association with transience and death. Having completed the series, and many cigars later, he decided to stop.