Domestic Landscapes by Bert Teunissen

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Bert Teunissen is born in Ruurlo, the Netherlands, in 1959.

For the last sixteen years I have been working on a photography project called Domestic Landscapes.
This project is about the light and atmosphere from my early youth. The light and atmosphere that I have been looking for resemble the ones from my birthplace. I lost this house when I was eight years of age due to modernization. The moment when my family and I entered the new place, I realized that everything that was familiar and so well known to me, in fact my whole existence, was gone forever and that I would never see it back again.
This loss had such an impact on me as a little boy that the blueprint of the old place engraved itself in my memory. Even today, when I close my eyes I can still see each and every room, space, step, corner and window and I can still recall the atmosphere and even the smell of each different part and remember how the stairs and floors sounded when walked upon.
Years later, when I had already become a photographer, I started recognizing this particular atmosphere in other peoples homes.
It was in 1996 when I started photographing these places and I have been doing this ever since.
One could say that I have been reconstructing my past by collecting images from places that remind me of the ones from my birthplace.

In 2012 after having finished the project (26 countries, over 800 images) I started a new series: Domestic Landscapes 2.0
I started to work together with housing companies, governments, architects and cultural institutions in order to build up a new archive of photographs.
This time however instead of being led by personal sentiment I photograph contemporary reality.
In time, these images will bear the same historic value to people of this generation as the other ones are to me.
I consider this work as contemporary historiography.

Thanks to the financial help of The Mondriaan Foundation, The Dutch BKVB Fund and Hazazah Film & Photography, the project was given a boost and became ready for publication in 2007.
In 2007 Aperture, New York published Domestic Landscapes – A Portrait of Europeans at Home, designed by Erik Kessels.
In the same year a German edition was published in collaboration with Museum Haus Esters in Krefeld, Germany and Kerber Verlag in Bielefeld.
The book received two prizes in 2008: PDN’s Annual Photography Award and the Prix de la Photographie Paris.

Exhibitions in Huis Marseille in Amsterdam, The Photographers’ Gallery in London, Aperture Gallery in New York, Museum Haus Esters in Krefeld and the Contact Photo Festival in Toronto accompanied the publication. These museums and major coverage in the press (articles in The Independent, The New York Times, The Guardian and The International Herald Tribune) helped to make the first part of the project, (Western Europe), a big success.
Thanks to the financial support of the European Cultural Foundation, I was able to continue with the project in Eastern and Central Europe.
Currently Aperture and I are working on the realization of a new publication that will contain the entire project.