Student - January 26, 2012

How students live

Moving into student accommodation may well be the most defining experience in student life. Everyone does it. Everywhere. This emerges from Henny Boogert's photo exhibition portraying student rooms all around the world.

Five people crammed into a hut, a prehistoric laptop, and barely enough money to cover the rent. For his photo series, photographer Henny Boogert travelled to countries where higher education is not such a matter of course, nor as widely affordable as it is in the Netherlands. What came out is a beautiful series of photos clearly showing how differently students live in different parts of the world.
Boogert got hold of the students on the street, on campus or via friends. 'Once I showed them photos from my book they usually wanted to help. And there I was then, a rich westerner with a bagful of flashes, tripods and electronic equipment, spending hours making portraits of a student who has to share a room four square metres in size with four others.' Boogert admits he sometimes found the situation difficult. 'But I felt I should do something to make them less anonymous. I wanted to draw attention to them.'
Wageningen flat
Boogert started his search in the Netherlands, and took photographs in one of Wageningen's student residences, among other locations. Then he travelled to Kenya, Moldavia, the Philippines, Bolivia, Cuba, India and Russia. 'What struck me most was the way all the students I met and talked to are determined to make something of their lives. Not just for themselves, but also for their families, who have often had to scrape the money together to enable their child to study', says the Amsterdam-based photo­grapher, who will be taking his exhibition around a number of university town in the coming months.
Boogert hopes that his exhibition can serve as an eye-opener for students and organizations. 'I would like to see Dutch students becoming aware of their fellow students on the other side of the world.'   

Between 26 January and 26 February, Op Kamers (In Digs) can be seen at the Melkweg gallery in Amsterdam. The exhibition will then move on to other venues including Utrecht and Groningen.

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