Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Robert van der Hilst | Chinese Interiors

Photo © Robert van der Hilst | All Rights Reserved

While in Shanghai some weeks ago, I had the good fortune of meeting Mr Chen Haiwen (whose work will be featured here in a forthcoming post) for the very first time at his impressive offices in the Xuhui District.

I was happy receiving Robert van der Hilst's 'Chinese Interiors' coffee-table photo book as a gift from Mr. Chen, who told me he and others had helped  the author/photographer during his travels which resulted in this very handsome tome.

Robert van der Hilst is certainly a world traveler. He studied photography in Amsterdam and started traveling in his late teens. These travels took him to France, North and South America, and China. During the past 20 odd years, he focused much of his efforts on China, and he produced many personal work as well as taking on assignments for well-known international magazines.


In 2004 until 2008, he started his seminal personal work titled Chinese Interiors. He tells us that he was always enjoyed photographing people inside their homes, because he was greatly influenced and inspired by Dutch mid-17th century genre painting. In 2010, the Shanghai Culture Publishing House published the book, followed by the French publishing house Gallimard. This same year, he exhibited his photographs in Amsterdam, Paris, Beijing, Shanghai, Berlin, Munich, Barcelona, and Brescia.

Robert van der Hilst is certainly an inspiring photographer, and his website's galleries which feature his work from Mexico, Fukuoka (Japan), Shanghai and particularly Cuban Interiors are worth setting aside time to savor. I wasn't too keen on his Qatar work...perhaps that country didn't 'speak' to him as the others did.