Moonshine – Bertien van Manen


Bertien van Manen


£35 / 112pp

April 2014

ISBN 978-19-07946-62-2

After Bertien van Manen’s last book, the inscrutably beautiful, and touching Easter and Oak Trees, it was with great curiosity that I delved into her latest offering. Van Manen first visited the Appalachian areas of the US in 1985, where she began photographing the life of the mining families with whom she was staying at the time. She has since returned several times to photograph the families, with a compilation of these images now making up Moonshine. The intimacy and immediacy of the situations is still prevalent within van Manen’s images, but I feel as though the sentimentality and charm that lured me in with Easter and Oak Trees is missing from this latest work. The subjects of these images are undoubtedly intriguing, however there is not the same connection that drew me to the last body of work. Instead of letting me develop an interest in the lives of these people, the edit only allows me to catch fleeting glimpses of what are probably very interesting lives. 

Reviewed by James Brown
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