'From Kitchens in Amsterdam, to Hatfield and back again…’

February 2, 2016

Hello, my name is Erik Klein Wolterink and I joined the research team as an “Artist Consultant’. Last week I visited the University of Hertfordshire and met all the wonderful people on the research team and talked about the project. In this blog I would like to introduce myself a little, write shortly about my recent three day visit to Hatfield and show you of course some photographs.


I am a Documentary Photographer / Artist, based in Amsterdam and specialise in making Photomontages. I typically work alone on my own projects. So this project is very special to me, not only because it is outside Holland, but also because we work as a team with different specialisms. My job in the team is to provide advice on  setting up the exhibition to present findings from the study.

About my work


I explored kitchens of various ethnic groups within the city of Amsterdam. For this project I photographed these kitchens in a systematic, almost maniacal way. Every cupboard, drawer, shelf, fridge, oven etc is photographed separately in the way that the original user had left it. Afterwards I mounted all the photographs of each kitchen together again to complete kitchens. The result is a remarkable detailed documentary about cultural habits. 



These photomontages were shown in several exhibitions on scale 1:1 looking like the real size kitchens. Also I made the book Kitchen Portraits. A Specialist in Foodculture, Linda Roodenburg, wrote an essay on this topic, that is included in the book.




About my work in the team


For the design of the exhibition we get assistance by Dr Silvio Carta and his second year “Interior design and Architecture" students at the University of Hertfordshire. And on Tuesday January 26th we did a presentation for around 55 students about the results of the study so far. After that I had the honour to do a short presentation about my work for an very interested audience.



A major part of my job in the few days I spent at the University of Hertfordshire was to analyse the 1,270 photographs and nearly 30 hours of filming generated as part of the research on my laptop.



My first impression after scanning all the photos was that “Food is everywhere”.This is because it reminded an artist's book titled  “Photography is”, by Mishka Henner. In this book, Mishka  searched the internet via Google for the phrase “Photography is”. The result was 9,39 million hits which he partly printed in the book. On reflection, when reading this book it seemed to me that Food; just like Photography, is everywhere….



About my food


The first evening I went with some members of the research team to a local restaurant for dinner. There I was advised to choose a very special and typical dish with the interesting name Toad in the hole. I didn’t know what to expect so I Googled it right away. The result was a real surprise, the Dutch translation said something like “Frog in a cave” or “Rat in a trap". I ordered it, enjoyed it, which was not too bad but I think this deserves a better name  ;-)



In the morning at the restaurant of the hotel I stayed in,  I had of course the typical Full English breakfast. Also I learned that this kind of breakfast is not the common habit for everyone everyday in England. But many people like it on special occasions. This I think I can understand because after having this for two days, I gained a little weight. ;-)



I would like to compare this to my breakfast home in Amsterdam... with French 'Fromage Frais 0,2%' with little Honey and Muesli... and 2x Dutch 'wholemeal sandwiches with cheese and apple-syrup'… and a cup of coffee... and Tulips of course.




After these inspiring days at the University of Hertfordshire,  my head is full of Food photographs and ideas for the Exhibitions. But for now I am very much looking forward to the designs which the students will come up with. I am sure we work with a fantastic team, so the exhibition will be likewise! To be continued…..



More info: http://www.erikkleinwolterink.nl/kitchen-portraits/




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This project is Funded by 


The project is a collaborative project by  the University of Hertfordshire between the Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care and Hertfordshire Business school.