The Big Issue : Edition 451
THEBIGISSUE7--20FEB2014 25 MARIEKE VAN DER VELDEN got her start in photography as a teenager, when an uncle gave her his old darkroom equipment. Soon she was hooked by the magic of developing her own pictures. A camera, she discovered, was the perfect adjunct for her curiosity "regarding other people and the desire to see how they live and think". Now the Amsterdam-based photojournalist does a lot of work for aid agencies, for whom she has travelled extensively in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. But once a year she takes a "photographic vacation". She defines this as "a personal endeavour I look forward to the whole year". She picks her own subjects and locations, and grants herself "total freedom to show the audience what I want. It usually takes a lot of preparation and funding, but in the end it's all worth it." In the simplest terms, these projects are about showing ordinary people in extraordinary places, places often in the news because of confict. In September 2011 she took one of her ‘holidays’ in Iraq, before the war there ofcially ended. Last April, she made a similar trip to Kabul, Afghanistan.