I met Maria in late 2007 on the streets in my native city of Eindhoven. For my photo book ‘Smokin’ Boys Smokin’ Girls’ I was looking for teenagers who smoke. She was sitting on a bench on the City Hall Square in Eindhoven. She was beautiful, raw and there was a hint of melancholy about her. I asked whether I could take a photo of her. She said with a Brabant accent: ‘It’s not a cigarette, man; it’s a joint!’
There was something in her eyes I couldn’t place. She fascinated me. A day later I took a few Polaroids. Maria wore a wig and looked like Béyoncé. On the Polaroids I saw a woman, a vamp, a seductress. Sexy and photogenic. At the same time I saw a little girl, a child.
A vulnerable woman of the streets.
A tough little bird.
I knew: Maria is a project. Maria is a book.
Polaroids suit Maria. They are unique, one-off images. No back-ups, no negatives, no digital versions. The photo works or fails.
She exposed herself to the camera. And she became a documentary project lasting years. Dozens of times I traveled to my native city to immerse myself in her life. I photographed her hundreds of times. A life in Polaroids. After a year, I also started using a video camera.
The photobook appears at the same time with the eponymous documentary, Maria I Need Your Lovin’, produced by Pieter van Huystee Film in collaboration with IKONdocs.
The text at the centre of the book is the complete translation of the film’s dialogue.
All the Polaroids were made during 2007-2016.
People often think my photos are snapshots. Which I take as a compliment. My photographs are very much influenced by my feelings. What's important to me is capturing the moment the subjects reveal their true selves. I look for subjects close to home, close to what I feel drawn towards or what fascinates me. I started taking photos when I was 14. One of the first I took was of my younger brother Joris. I took photos of him for years. And it was trough those photos that my fascination for making personal documentaries evolved. All the series you see on my site are my own ideas, usually taken over a longer period. My images always have something to do with people. Personal stories, glimpses of the lives, for example, of Hassan & Hoessein - the boys who used to be my neighbours - and of Maria - a girl from my home town of Eindhoven. And I'm particularly fascinated by today's youth. Because they are engaged in a process of searching. Searching for their own identity and for the best way of getting on with each other.
Martijn van de Griendt
After graduating in journalism at the School of Journalism in Utrecht, Martijn van de Griendt (Eindhoven, 1970) studied photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Haque (KABK).
Since graduating in 1997, he has worked for many magazines and newspapers in the Netherlands. He completed long-term photo projects and portraits for Nieuwe Revu, Vrij Nederland, NRC handelsblad, NRC Next, but also magazines such as AvantGarde and Elle. His photos of pop and rock musicians can regularly be admired in Oor.
Van de Griendt is specialized in portraits, both of pop musicians and others, as wel as documentary series. He prefers to work on his own subjects, such as his longterm series about today's youth. At the same time, he does a lot of work for advertising agencies.
To date, six solo books of his have been published: Hassan & Hoessein (about a set of moroccan-Dutch twins, 2005), Allemaal! (behind the scenes of the Dutch genre of sentimental songs, 2006), Smokin' Boys Smokin' Girls (smoking teenagers all across the world, 2008). Lana This Is Not An Internship (2009), For You XXX Stella (2013), about the Dutch erotic fair Kamasutra. And in 2014 he published his latest book Forever Young, a selection of his photographs of teenagers, taken over the past twenty years.
Additionally, he was the initiator of the photography book Brood (2001) - a visual homage to the deceased Dutch rock legend Herman Brood - with contributions from 59 photographers.
in 2008, in collaboration with colleague Jasper Groen, he made Finding Emo, a photography book about alternative youth in the Netherlands.
In recent years, van de Griendt has won several prizes in different categories of the Silver Camera awards. And exhibited his work at, amongst others, the Naarden photography festival and the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. He is a member of the Hollandse Hoogte photo agency.
Martijn van de Griendt Fotografie, Zeeburgerdijk 726, 1095 LG AMSTERDAM, Btw: NL142116282B01, KvK: 34376193, Algemene voorwaarden