Ellen Kok

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Linschoten, the Netherlands and Drewsville, New Hampshire, USA

These are photos from my story The Laundromat.

When I came to live in the United States, I rented an apartment that didn’t have a washing machine. I did what most people without that luxury at home do: I went to the laundromat. But I visited a different one every week, because this offered the perfect opportunity to work on a photo series about a part of American culture that has always appealed to me.

During my earlier American travels I would sometimes visit a laundromat for my travel clothes. But now I could sit down time after time, and observe for as long the washer soaked, rinsed and spun, and the dryer tumbled, getting acquainted with the other customers who used the waiting time to relax, chat, nap, read, and watch television until they could finally fold their clothing. When they noticed I was one of them, they stopped minding my camera, which to them seemed just another tool that someone without a washer was passing the time with.


As a photographer and writer I combine photo essays with written stories. I build long-lasting relationships with my subjects, often following them for years. My photography is based on trust and intimacy.

I studied at the School for Journalism in Utrecht, the Netherlands, as a photographer I am self-taught. After working as a photography critic for Dutch newspapers and photography magazines, and as a freelance photographer, I now focus mainly on long-form projects. Recurring themes are a sense of place, the connection to the land, nature and animals, community, and the lives of young people.

I am based in Linschoten, the Netherlands and Drewsville, New Hampshire, USA, where I completed my books Cadets, You’ll Hear Us Roar, and The Other Farm, and am working on another one, American Moments. I self-publish under the imprint Netherlight/Nederlicht.

My work has been published, exhibited and recognized internationally. I had solo exhibitions in the Netherlands and at Photoville, NY, USA. My first book, School, was chosen as one of the best photography books in the 2004 PDN Photo Annual. The Other Farm won a Silver Award in the P×3 Prix de la Photographie Paris 2016, in the category Professional Documentary Book.

I am represented by photo agency De Beeldunie in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Next to GKf/DuPho, I am also a member of NVJ, the Dutch Association of Journalists and Photographers; of the international photographers group terrafoto; Visura ; and Women Photograph.

I am available for assignments in Europe and the USA.


Documentary, Journalism, Landscape