frieke janssens


speaker @ fotomusuem, Antwerp

Today I talked about my work, full house makes me happy :-)


UNROLLING video installation

UNROLLING is a multiple video installation of seven hours. It was made for Fashion Talks, the biggest fashion event in Belgium organised by the Flanders Fashion Institute. The installation is all about the passing of time. During seven hours the viewer sees how a hand-knit woollen dress unrolls from a slowly spinning model until she's naked. 



The Art of Giving (TAG) foundation support after school education for unprivileged children. Next to me they asked artists Rik De Boe, Gert Rebind, Piet Stockmans and Bué The Warrior to create and donate a work. I made Chalk boys, more info about the project, edition, prices, … you find all on 

I'm happy to announce that their first event was a success, many unprivileged children will benefit from the 3082 hours after school education.



DiANAS opening at my base gallery is coming closer en closer, I become more and more excited. Find all specific info on photo. 

If you would like to come to the opening in Antwerp on October 8 please sign in:



My latest series DiANAS @ Hull International Photography Festival until October 30th. Pleased to work with this team for my UK debut. As cherry on the cake they asked me to be part of the organization when the city of Hull be the cultural capital of Europe. 



Today I will take part in the opening of museum M's newest exhibition 'de wereld van herinnering' ('the world of remembrance') about Alzheimer. A sensitive subject and still often a taboo.

Important for me was to show emotion, but above all pride and dignity.

The photo for this exhibition was made together with the ever smiling Klaartje Galle.


speaker PechaKucha, Bruges

Tonight I’ll be PechaKucha’ing through my work. PechaKucha is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. This evening it's in a church in Bruges, and that’s maybe a good place to be with temperatures out there above 33°C Welcome!


speaker at Cannes Lions

An image from my speech @ Cannes Lions about my work and to get the best out of go-creating. If you understand french here you find a review @ Media Marketing



I proud to present DIANAS, a series about single women. Welcome in Knokke until june 7th.



I was pleased to shoot for Channel 4 newest epic drama series: INDIAN SUMMERS. Thank you so much Pablo, Tabby, Laura and so many more! You are truly a great team! Happy to see the posters at Waterloo station and many more places all over London.



Verbeke foundation is a private, unsubsidized art site where you can take some nice walks in between the contemporary art. All the exhibited work is touchable and it covers everything except for what you can expect from a classic museum experience. This culture, nature and ecology pearl is founded by Geert and Carla Verbeke-Lens. They say: Our exhibition space does not aim to be an oasis. Our presentation is unfinished, in motion, unpolished, contradictory, untidy, complex, inharmonious, living and unmonumental, like the world outside of the museum walls. 


Back to School on a horse

Ilja, the stylist from Knack, asked me to shoot the 'Back to School’ fashion editorial. I was inspired by old school photos. I took them out of their usual environment by putting the kids on horses in front of a studio background. And I added some typical school elements such as an apple, satchel or a book, ...

I had so much fun shooting this, I really want to continue doing it.


i'm back!

I posted less last year. Because I’m not the biggest newsfacebooktweetinstagrammer, but above all because I give birth to my little girl Jackie. I wanted to share her picture with you. 



I'm so sad that the NY expo is over, but I'm very happy to announce that the expo now moves to The Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago. March 8 - May 4, 2013. Welcome at the opening reception on Friday, March 8, 5:00 - 7:00 PM, unfortunately I can't be there myself :-/


My NY EXPO ...

starts at 11th of January till 8th of February at VII Gallery, would be lovely to meet some of you over there. Thank you for sharing!


My first book ...

is not really a book, but a detachable collection of all the smoking kids as luxury postcards.
This is not intended to be a book to file away on your bookshelves. Tear them out, send them to your beloved friends, or hang them on your wall. This publication contains a text of curator Jan Van Woensel and 15 detachable, circular cards (19 cm. diameter). Each card shows a picture from my serie Smoking Kids.
If you would like to order a one.


Take a look behind the scenes of 'Your Last Shot'

Take a look behind the scenes of a 'Your Last Shot' photo, at Ingrid Deuss' Antwerp gallery. 
A VRT (television channel) camera crew joined us to shoot an item about Your Last 

Shot for 'Iedereen Beroemd' Your very last picture is an important one, the one you want to be remembered by. The stylist Sophie Pillen carefully picks a wardrobe set that suits the model, after which hair and make up artist An Graré takes care of perfect grooming. When the final shot is chosen, retouching finalizes the picture into my style. The model receives their Last Shot on porcelain, to be used hopefully in many years from now. Meanwhile have a great life.


'in praise of childhood' Catalog

Some of my pictures were part of Getxophoto 2012 @ Bilbao, Spain. Here you find the filmed catalog.


The Busts

written by Karen Chin @ BRANSCH
BRANSCH artist Frieke Janssens photographed the Toneelhuis theater group in an ongoing series of portraits of actors and directors for posters and website. The overall look is a style harking back to Hollywood portraiture of the Golden Age. Frieke wanted to move away from typical theatre photography – straight reportage moment of a performance, or the standard black and white theater headshot. She wanted to use glamour of the golden age as a foil for the financial crisis of the modern age – people still need to dream in these times.
Special emphasis was placed on faces, hence the decision to put the subjects on a pedestal, creating individual busts devoted to each troupe member. The stylized busts were placed in a setting inspired by the attic space of the Bourla theater, a marvelously restored 19th-century building in Antwerp, Belgium – leaving people to wonder why these sculptures were stored away in the attic, perhaps waiting to be discovered by a contemporary audience.
She was inspired by the sensuous light and striking gaze typical of portraits of legendary actors like Marlon Brando, Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn - perhaps you see an older version of Marilyn Monroe in the portrait of Gilde De Bal. When getting the contemporary actors in the old glamour positions, she noticed that these natural-looking poses actually require detailed directions to achieve!



Canvas television asked me to capture all the Canvas faces in one group portrait. We've put them in a living room watching a program instead of making one. I asked them to perform those typical things you do while watching TV and they did a great job. Because of their busy schedules I couldn't shoot them all at once, this is why I made this movie on how the picture is constructed.


The sensitive side of Jean-Claude Van Damme

JCVD is known for his muscles, but less for his love for animals. Did you know that he has several disabled dogs? There’s even one in a wheelchair. In this Gaia campaign against fur he holds a skinned mink like a baby.
Of course no animals were harmed during the shoot but he was holding a piece of fabric the size of a real mink. Afterwards a picture of a dead mink was added. This picture was taken by Gaia during an action in which they emptied trash cans of fur factories and found dead animals.
The JCVD photo was shot in 15 minutes at the Sofitel Hotel in Brussels, a personal record :-) It was also a nice opportunity to portray Jean Claude’s lovely wife Gladys Portuges and Michel Vandenbosch, one of the founders of Gaia.


Smoking Kids

A YouTube video of a chainsmoking Indonesian toddler inspired me to create this series, "Smoking Kids". The video highlighted the cultural differences between the east and west, and questioned notions of smoking being a mainly adult activity.
Adult smokers are the societal norm, so I wanted to point the viewer's focus on the issue of smoking itself. I felt that seeing children smoke would have a surreal impact on the viewer and compel them to truly see the acts of smoking rather than making assumptions about the person doing it. Coincidentally around the time of the gallery opening of "Smoking Kids", a law was passed that banned smoking from Belgian bars. There was an outcry from the public about government intervention, feelings that freedom was being oppressed, and that adults were being treated like children?
With health reasons driving many cities to ban smoking, the culture around smoking has a retro feel. It’s like a throw back to the ’Mad Men’ era when smoking on a plane or in a restaurant was not unusual. The aesthetics of smoke and the particular way smokers gesticulate with their hands and their posture cannot be denied, but among the different tribes of "Smoking Kids," - Glamour, Jazz, and The Marginal - there is a nod to less attractive aspects, balancing the line between the beauty and ugliness of smoking.
To assure you of the safety of the children, there were no real cigarettes on set. Instead, chalk and sticks of cheese were used as props, while candles and incense provided the wisps of smoke.


Zo zijn wij getrouwd

For this series I asked couples to put their original wedding dresses and suits back on. Not that easy. A lot of people I asked didn’t have them anymore. Or really couldn’t fit in them anymore. It could have resulted in funny pictures, but that wasn’t were I was looking for. First it’s about the changing fashion, but also about intimacy and love.
I wanted the portraits to look official, something you do no’t see very often anymore. My inspiration is August Sander, my first big photography love. But also the hidden gem Norbert Ghuisoland.
It was no’t so easy for the couples to find a picture in which they are posing static. It seems that official portraits of big events are something from the past. One of the couples only had 1 wedding picture. With their son in between them. The guy that should have taken the pictures, forgot to bring his camera to their wedding. That’s why I brought the son back in. He received his own wedding ring at that moment, but he lost it immediately.
August Sander was a pioneer with his huge project ‘Menschen der 20 Jahrhundert’. He divided his subjects regarding their jobs and social background. Ghuisoland portayed people in studios at important moments in their lives.


20th anniversary of the free elections in Poland

This is one of the jobs that made me grateful for being a photographer. I was honoured that Marcin Mroszczak, creative director of DDB Warsaw, and the city of Warsaw gave me this big (literally, huge) opportunity.
They asked me to make a 33m by 36,4m interpretation of a protest poster from 20 years ago. In the poster you can detect a look-alike of Gary Cooper in High Noon and a ode to the Polish hero Lech Walesa who signaled the end of the communist rule.
The film poster was mounted onto the major cultural building in Warsaw.


FC Bergman table

written by Karen Chin @ BRANSCH

BRANSCH photographer Frieke Janssens took a portrait of FC Bergman Group, a daring, experimental theatre troupe from Antwerp, Belgium.  This multi-layered portrait will be featured in a book by "d e t h e a t e r m a k e r," an organization that helps young theatre artists to realize their projects. All together, the panoramic portrait depicts a variety of performances from their start until now with the actors capturing their personages in each tableau.
Frieke: 'When you look very carefully, you can see that the same actors are playing different parts in the scene. Just like in their real work. An actor is never ‘one person’. Each of them exists out of many different characters. I had to keep my mind to it, because all the different elements had to fit perfectly'
This portrait was taken in nine installments in the studio, while the beautiful French Alps in the background was photographed separately.
According to Frieke, things got a little risque when it came time to shoot the fireblower in the center of this image. Let's just say that his help for getting into the moment shocked our photographer, and even the seasoned actors in the room who thought they had seen it all.


We're all cannibals

An ad campaign for Eddy Merckx bicycles by advertising agency ‘Stronger’.
Top athletes don’t have a lot of time for shoots. We shot this on the roof of a building in Kortrijk and we were worried about them catching colds, so time really extra tight.
So Fay, my assistant, was the dummy. When Boonen and Chavanel arrived, we were ready to shoot. It was great to discover how both of them immediately found the expression that I was looking for.
The idea behind the campaign was that, from the moment you ride on a Merckx bike, you become a cannibal. That’s what they called Eddy Merckx back in the day when he won everything out there: a cannibal.


The Intoxicated

My aim was to make portraits with honest emotions - without the self-control and self-consciousness people usually exhibit when posing in front of a camera. In these photos, this was accomplished through alcohol. People are more honest when they are under the influence. Not only in what they say, but also in how they pose. With actual alcohol running through the subject's veins, the contrast between the artificially lighted pictures and the honesty of the poses is the essence of this series.
This series changed my view on portraying people.
I'm not a very spontaneous photographer, I like static photography. I always prepare my shoots very carefully. Before every shot I know exactly how I want to portray someone, which angle, which light and which feeling I'm looking for. Knowing that I never can find the truth in a portrait. This changed when they were drunk.
It was new for me to lose control of my subjects. When I asked them to look to the left just a little, their heads would turn 90 degrees. And they were talking about everything to me. So it was difficult to concentrate, because there were lots of absurd situations.
Now I'm more conscious about how to photograph people, something I never gave much attention to before this series. I want to go deeper into this theme about the consciousness and unconsciousness in relation to photography.


Save your ears for the Klara Festival

It was my first campaign, but it is still close to my heart. It is still representative of the style and atmosphere that you find in my work today. The client and the creative team (Tom and Iwein) gave me a lot of freedom about how I wanted to photograph this series. Using wallpaper as a background was quite original in those days ;-) In this campaign animals were ‘forced’ to shut up, so the owner’s ears could peacefully prepare for the Klara Festival. No actual animals were harmed. 

made by ALBINO