Close this search box.

Jeroen Toirkens: Solitude

Jeroen Toirkens (Netherlands, b. 1971) studied Photographic Design at the Royal Academy for the Visual Arts in The Hague and is working as an independent photographer and filmmaker since 1995. He focuses on social documentary photography and slow-journalism and has published extensively in national and international newspapers and magazines.

Netherlands –

In April 2013 Jeroen Toirkens and Petra Sjouwerman travelled by car, boat, bus and snowmobile across the Barents region, the last remaining wilderness in Europe. They partly followed the so-called Barents-road, which just like the region, is named after the 16th century Dutch polar explorer Willem Barentsz.

They started this extraordinary journey of nearly 3.000 kilometres in Bodø (Norway) and ended in Murmansk (Russia). Sometimes they felt overwhelmed by the infinite emptiness and silence, and elated by the feeling of being alone in the world. Other times they were troubled by the rough, cold and desolate landscape. But again and again the people they encountered on the way surprised them with their openness and hospitality. The journey brought them into contact with Finnish tango fans, brave elderly women in a forgotten Russian village and ‘the king of Lapland’.




As part of the Netherlands-Russia Year 2013 they produced the book and photo-exhibition SOLITUDE in the wake of Willem Barentsz. In which they relate their personal experiences to excerpts from the historic diary of one of the crew members of Willem Barentsz. Themes from this 400-year old diary, like loneliness, hardship, courage and friendship, still play an essential role in this remote area today. 



Related Posts

Lieko Shiga: Rasen Kaigan

 Japan – In 2008, Lieko Shiga announced herself on the Japanese photography scene. That year, she published two books (“CANARY,” …

Ines Dumig Apart Together

Ines Dumig: “Apart Together” – Regaining the lost Identity

Germany –  According to the International Organisation of Migration, there are over 200 million migrants worldwide and the geographic region …

Yaakov Israel: “The Quest for the Man on The White Donkey” – Powerful Photos of Israel/Palestine

Israel – As per the Orthodox Jewish tradition, the Messiah (the Prophet) will arrive riding on a white donkey. A …

Donna Ferrato: I Am Unbeatable

USA –   With Donna Ferrato’s ground-breaking documentary project, Living with the Enemy serving as a context for framing her …

Shahria Sharmin: Call me Heena

Bangladesh –  “I feel like a mermaid. My body tells me that I am a man but my soul tells …

Emeric Lhuisset: Hundred Portraits of Demonstrators from Maydan Square in Ukraine

Ukraine –  On Maydan Square in Kiev, French photographer Émeric Lhuisset (b. 1983) created a compelling series of portraits of …

Zhe Chen: The Bearable & Bees

China – The Bearable (2007-2010) is Chen’s confessional photo-documentation of her self-harm history spanning half a decade. Bees (2010-2012) features a collection …

Nathan Pearce: Midwest Dirt

USA – ‘When I was 18 years old I packed my bags and left rural Illinois. It had been my …

David Hornillos Mediodia

David Hornillos: “Mediodia” – Spanish Midday Love For Orange Brick Wall

Spain –  Madrid’s Atocha station was formerly known as Mediodía (Midday), as it was the city’s Southbound railway hub. This …