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December 23, 2014

Talk to: photographer Astrid Verhoef


For 24hrs straight, photographer Astrid Verhoef has been sneaking around Volkshotel. By combining everyday goods (think: suitcase, giant dead fish or rubber duck) and everyday situations in an unexpected way, she was able to create surreal situations. Time to ask Astrid about her 24hrs in Volkshotel: “After 24hrs, I could hardly stand on my feet but I left the building with an even better mood than I started with.”

Can you tell us a little bit more about your work?
Even as a child I always had a rich imagination and felt the need to do something with it. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been creating more possibilities in my mind than the visual reality seemed to offer. Photography allows me to embody these imaginations, which usually hold something mysterious and alienated. This creative way of thinking is very important to me. It helps me to find a wider range of possible solutions to difficult situations and to deal with them emotionally. I like to invite the viewer to do the same: use your imagination, make up your own story and live in a world with endless possibilities.

What do you think of the 24hrs Volkshotel project?
The 24hrs theme shows that Volkshotel is an experience in itself. It’s more than a temporary accommodation away from home. The interior design is creative and inviting. I immediately felt at home, whilst discovering so many different details. Apart from being a hotel, this is also a place locals enjoy. A place where you can meet creative minds, foodies, and party animals. It’s bubbling with energy.


Why do you think Volkshotel invited you to be part of the project?
I think Volkshotel offers “a different experience”, a place that surprises and exceeds expectations. Volkshotel and I both want to take people to another world. I can imagine that’s why they asked me.

The building inspired me. When you go to a hotel, you have a certain expectation. I wanted to mix this expectation with the extra creative value Volkshotel has added to the place. By creating absurd and almost surreal images I wanted to raise it above the traditional image of a hotel. It’s an experience: complete with nightlife, surprising encounters, art, food and even workspaces. All just slightly different than what you would expect.

How did you experience your 24hrs in Volkshotel?
Above all: What a ride! I found myself standing with two suitcases full of styling and props, combined with a good mood and tight planning. 24hrs of running from one shoot to the next. Posing and smelling like fish in my white fairy-tale dress, up close & personal with a giant plastic deer, a duck taped to my bottom and lying in a suitcase in a hallway. Exhausting! but the inspiration kept on flowing. Together with the great energy of the Volkshotel crew, this flow of ideas was what kept me going. After 24hrs, I could hardly stand on my feet but I left the building with an even better mood than I started with.


About Astrid
Astrid Verhoef (1973) studied photography at Art School HKU (Utrecht, The Netherlands). She’s driven by an urge to manipulate the visual world. She places reality out of context and provides it with a different, new meaning. By using the absurd and surreal, she offers resistance to the (over) regulated society. Balancing on the thin line between reality and surreality, she invites the viewer to new interpretations.

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