Taco Hidde Bakker

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Photo: Ringel Goslinga, 2013Taco Hidde Bakker is a freelance writer in the field of the visual arts. He converses with photographers, filmmakers and other visual artists about their work and world views. Since 2007, Bakker’s writings have been published internationally in magazines, catalogs, artist’s books, as well as on blogs and websites. Additionally, he works as teacher, translator (English<->Dutch<-German), (editorial) advisor for artists and curators, curator, guest lecturer, and (portfolio) reviewer. Bakker teaches Theory at the Utrecht University of the Arts (HKU Media) and Introduction to Media Writing at Webster University’s Leiden campus (NL). In 2018, Fw:Books published his collection of essays and other writings on photography and art, The Photograph That Took the Place of a Mountain

Contact by e-mail

C.V. (basically a listing of most publications and public performances since 2005)

In 2020 I wrote an experimental text on photography, art and the climate crisis for the Photobook Festival Oslo. Here you can read 19 Discussions for Photographers and Artists in the Age of Climate Crisis. Another tentative piece of writing related to images and the climate I wrote can be read at TRIGGER, the online platform of Photomuseum Antwerp, here.

The exhibition The Photograph That Took the Place of a Mountain (including recent and older works by Stephan Keppel, Mariken Wessels, Witho Worms, Marie-José Jongerius, Rein Jelle Terpstra, Paul Kooiker, and Jan Hoek) was on view at the Vriend van Bavink Gallery in Amsterdam from 24 May through 7 September 2019.

In July 2018, Fw:Books published The Photograph That Took the Place of a Mountain, a volume containing 20 of Bakker’s miscellaneous writings, which were originally published in art and photography magazines and on two blogs between 2007 and 2016. The author revised and expanded most of the existing texts and wrote four new ones especially for this book, whose topics range from the tension between artist and model to the landscapes of the American West, the surfaces of a second-hand New York City, and the predicament of transcultural photography.

The Photograph That Took the Place of a Mountain contains writings on the work of theorists and artists such as Vilém Flusser, Ariella Azoulay, Witho Worms, Onorato & Krebs, Renato D’Agostin, Stephan Keppel, Marie-José Jongerius, Paul Kooiker, Tom Callemin, Dirk Braeckman, Francesca Woodman, and Mariken Wessels.

The work on the compilation, translations and revisions has been supported by the Mondriaan Fund.

In addition to some examples of texts to be found on this website, a small selection of other previously published texts can be read and downloaded from Academia.

For Paradox, a producer of (large-scale) multi-platform photo projects, Bakker worked as researcher, writer and text and image editor on the extensive documentary project The Last Days of Shishmaref (2007-2010), involving a photobook, a web documentary, and a traveling exhibition.

Between 2009 and 2011, under the alias of Perec, he engaged in an online photo-conversation with his friend and colleague Creep. What resulted was a photo-dialogue showing the eclectic ephemeral on two sides of the Atlantic (USA vs. Europe & Africa), moving from digital to analogue and vice versa…

Short educational biography

During the second half of the 1990s, Bakker studied painting, printing and drawing at the art academies in the Dutch towns of Kampen and Maastricht. In 2007 he obtained his Master’s degree in Photographic Studies at Leiden University. His 2007 thesis (written in Dutch and supervised by Helen Westgeest) is called: Ancestors return in silver grains: photo theory and visual repatriation.

Inspiration for the subject of his thesis followed from an internship in 2006 with arctic anthropologist Cunera Buijs, at the photo collections of the Dutch National Museum of Ethnology, where he learned about the importance of photographs in ethnographic archives for so-called “source communities” (descendants of indigenous peoples once subject(ed) to scientific and photographic surveys by explorers and scientists who ventured from the powerful urban centers of the West). Photographs of their ancestors have been taken back to them by anthropologists and museum curators & started performing new and often pivotal roles within their lives and works. In return, by this practice museums are enabled to gain specific knowledge and insights from sharing and opening up their audio-visual (and other) archives.