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Over the past 25 years, Frieke Janssens has acquired a reputation as a photographer of surreal staged tableaux and group portraits, often originating in a specific concept, and almost always stemming from an inexhaustible interest in human diversity.

Her series often stand out because of their confrontational nature. Notable series include, among others, Smoking Kids, Your last shot, Diana’s, Animalcoholics, and recently Lightness. In the same way that an oil painter builds up a work layer by layer, she too meticulously creates each image, down to the smallest detail. In every picture we can recognise the same artistic touch, the same technical perfection, combined with a playful duality between reality and fiction. At first glance, her images attract the viewer because of their pared-down beauty. Yet once one really starts to look in earnest, one realises that there are always multiple layers of meaning. It seems as if the people portrayed are trying to tell us something. However, they are silent, and consequently have to rely on the viewers to create the story for themselves. Frieke does not adopt any particular position, but aims to convey the feeling that one is not only looking at a photograph, but at a mirror as well. As such, she leaves the viewers free in their interpretation, yet never leaves them indifferent.

She sometimes lends her pared-down style to clients with whom she has a good connection, like a cultural centre, or a campaign, or a newspaper or magazine. In recent years, Frieke Janssens has exhibited in New York, Chicago, London, Hull, Bilbao and obviously also in her own country, including in Antwerp and Knokke-Heist. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, Knack, De Morgen, De Tijd and NRC, among others. Her book The Sweetest Taboo won gold at the 2019 Henry Van De Velde awards. In 2022, her third book Lightness was published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition in Foto Knokke-Heist.

Master in Visual Arts, Photography (graduated with distinction) St Lukas Brussels (BE, 2002)

2022 Lightness ENG/NL – Hannibal ISBN 978 94 6436 646 4
2017 The Sweetest Taboo – Lannoo Marked ISBN 978 94 0144 647 1
GOLD at the Henry van de Velde awards 2019
2012 Smoking Kids ENG – Luster ISBN 978 94 6058 111 3

2022 Lightness – International Photography Festival Knokke-Heist (BE) solo
2021 Passie & Obsessie – Zwijgershoek (BE)
2020 Icono Belge – Antwerp International Photo Festival (BE)
2019 Changing Perception – Brugge Foto Festival (BE)
2019 The Henry van de Velde awards – Bozar (BE)
2018 The Sweetest Taboo – Absolute Art Gallery (BE)
2018 Young Forever – CCHA (BE)
2018 The Sweetest Taboo – The Brick Lane Gallery London (UK) solo
2017 Dianas – Stassart11/ De Borght (BE) solo
2017 This is Marked – Fosbury and Sons (BE)
2017 The Sweetest Taboo – Fosbury and Sons (BE) solo
2017 Foto Art Festival (PL)
2017 The Beauty of the beast – Kasteel D’Ursel (BE)
2017 20 years of photography – Ingrid Deuss Gallery (BE) solo
2016 Trademarks / Stadstriennale Festival (BE)
2016 Divine Decadence – Kasteel Van Gaasbeek (BE)
2015 The Art of Giving foundation (BE)
2015 International Photography Festival Knokke-Heist (BE)
2015 International Photography Festival Hull (UK)
2015 Dianas – Ingrid Deuss Gallery (BE) solo
2013 Paris photo – Los Angeles (USA)
2013 Smoking Kids – Catherine Edelman Gallery Chicago (USA) solo
2013 Smoking Kids – VII Gallery Brooklyn (USA) solo
2012 Gallery GPL Vienna (AT)
2012 Lineart Ghent (BE)
2012 Art Miami (USA)
2012 Getxophoto – International Photography Festival (ES)
2011 Smoking Kids – Modo Brussels (BE) solo
2011 Biennale of Visual Arts Vladivostok (RU)
2011 Smoking Kids – Ingrid Deuss Gallery (BE) solo
2009 Photo Finish – Sint Lukas Gallery (BE)
2004 Jong & Beeldend – OC de Cerf (BE)
2002 Out of control – University of Brussels (BE)
2002 /Detail, voorkant (BE)

The West Collection (USA), Atsushi Fukada (JP) Judi Guber Brusky (USA) Among Kusama, Nara, Bansky, Pettibone, …), 
Veerle Craeymeersh & Dirk Blommaert (BE), Sophie Rietveld (NL), …

Guest lectures, artist talks and juries (selection)
Oct 2019, Guest lecturer + workshop Foto Brugge (BE)
March 2018, Guest lecturer, CVOSG (BE)
May 2018, Guest lecturer, CVO Kisp (BE)
April 2018, Talk & book signing, Caravansérail (UK)
June 2018 Guest lecturer + workshop – Het Objectief (BE)
Feb 2017, Guest lecturer CVO Volt (BE)
Sep 2017, Guest Lecturer NIKON 100 years (BE)
Oct 2017, Guest Lecturer Foto Art Festival (PL)
Nov 2017, Talk with Rik Van Puymbroeck, Book Fair Antwerp (BE)
Feb 2016, Guest lecturer from idea to finalisation, Colruyt studios (BE)
May 2016, Creative session Cointreau (BE)
Feb 2015, Guest lecturer Centrum voor Beeldexpressie, Fotomuseum Antwerp (BE)
June 2015, Guest lecturer at Cannes Lions Festival (FR)
Nov 2014, Guest lecturer at Narafi (BE)
Nov 2012, Interviewed by Nationale beroepsfotografen vereniging (BE)
Jury member St Lukas Brussels dpt. Photography, Brussels (BE)

Tomorrowland, Stromae, Channel 4, Canvas, Toneelhuis, Eddy Merckx Cycles, City of Warsaw, Volkswagen, Nestea, …

Agencies (small selection)
Wieden+Kennedy London, Public Conseil Paris, Duncan & Channon San Francisco, Duval Guillaume,  Ogilvy Amsterdam,

Press and publication (small selection)
The Guardian, The Atlantic, Huffington post, De Morgen, De Standaard, Cobra, Humo, Tages Woche, NRC, Knack, …