Ruud van Empel’s strange creations

Dutch photographer Ruud van Empel’s work initially stands out out because of his models, the majority of whom are black children. Since the artist grew up in a small and rather homogeneously white southern Dutch town, it seems unlikely that this simply occurred by chance. But it wasn’t just the race factor in his World series that got us interested in asking Van Empel some questions about his models. There was something odd about the entire style, demeanor and surroundings.

Almost all of the children are exquisitely groomed in what looks like Dutch middle-class attire from the 60s and surrounded by an almost perfect scene of tropical nature; quite a wondrous contrast in itself. On top of that, all these different forests seem to breathe a peculiar sort of ambiance. Perfectly ordered yet sinister, the lakes, trees and leafs are inviting and foreboding at the same time. The children

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