Prof. Dr. Johan Swinnen wrote: "His camera lens criss-crosses time, presenting us with a personal view of a changing scene. The picture invites us to feel a synchronized oneness with the photographer. We don’t worry too much about what is to the right or left of his camera’s frame. When the path between understanding and interest has been opened, that will happen at the moment we become aware of what is made visible. For example, when we are suddenly hit by a detail that we had overlooked or by a structural resemblance. Our gaze wanders over the photo…we don’t ask, “Which world is recorded here?” but “what is the difference between me and the man in the photo?” Often when reconsidered, another interpretation reflects our own. The two processes grow together. Photos interest us, primarily, because they stare back!


In the work of Theo Derksen, time after time, those portrayed find themselves at a decisive moment. On one side, having no hope of portraying their own individual qualities or peculiarities, on the other side, accepting the greater obligation of representing their background, social role and standing and their class.

They fix their eyes, somewhere out there, much further than the photographer, on something bigger and more important than he is interested in. Looking over Derksen’s shoulder we get a macabre feeling that we are the subject! It seems as if the models are trying to say something to us and posterity. Something about the daily struggle of the ‘little me’! Indeed, we are, forever, the subject.