Portrait: Minimalist Photographer Hans Hiltermann

This is a repost of an article I wrote for Minimalissimo.

The Dutch Hans Hiltermann (1960) is a former advertising photographer. After many years of creating artificial scenes packed with interestingness, Hiltermann embarked on a new quest: to find out what is the minimum needed to tell a story.

In 2001, after seven years of experimenting, he finally found his form: hyperreal portraits of people looking right into the camera. He simply called it YOU.

Over nine years that have passed since, Hiltermann realized over 400 portraits – all exactly the same.

Stripped to the very essence

No makeup, no jewelry, no hairdo, no visible clothing, no preference. No smile, no seduction. No reaction.

What’s left is a person without a facade. Someone who has completely left his guard down. There is nothing between you.

This is amplified by the amazingly detailed, hyper realistic photography. Every little detail is exposed – no hiding.

Top that with a 3D effect, and you almost immediately lose the sense of looking at a photo. And actually, you’ve probably never looked more directly into someone’s soul.

That’s the paradox of minimalism: by removing everything, you see everything.

That look

Hiltermann has a rather unique way of working. Through a meditation exercise and visualization he helps his mo