Friday Fry Up: Marieke Van Der Velden — Das Paradies


In the summertime, when the temperatures in the Gulf State scan easily reach 50 degrees Celcius, it’s inhabitants travel to one of their favorite ‘cooling’ destinations: the Austrian village Zell am See. It receives more than 70.000 Arabic tourists per year.

The sweet Heidi-like landscapes lies serenely in the springtime sun. Goats graze on the green quilted blanket. The pointy, white tops of the Alps stick out sharply against the bright blue sky. In the ripple-less lake of Zell am See the painting-like mirrored image is visible. “This is paradise as the Quran intended.”

By Saskia Adriaens.

Photography started for me 29 years ago, at the age of fifteen. At my mothers anniversary, my uncle Cor gave me his old darkroom equipment. I got immediately addicted to the atmosphere and excitement of printing your own photo’s. At the age of nineteen, I began my professional career as an autodidact on-the-run photojournalist. For more than three years I covered local events for newspapers in the south of the Netherlands.

In 2000 I moved to Amsterdam where I studied at the Photo Academy (1997-2000), besides working as an assistant on large commercial photo shoots, and doing reportages and portraits for many different magazines. In 2006 I had the honor of becoming one of the twelve participants in World Press Photo’s annual Joop Swart Masterclass. Since 2005 NGO’s and companies have sent me abroad around 50 times to photograph their projects and campaigns, mostly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Every year I work on a self-initiated project. Examples are ‘Baghdad Today’, ‘A Monday in Kabul’, ‘Outside Syria’, ‘Letters to Joep’ ‘Nederland O Nederland’ en my film ‘The Island of All Together’. All of these projects were published worldwide.

To see more of Marieke Van Der Velden’s work visit —