Since 2000 photographer Cuny Janssen has traveled all over the world. She has made portraits of children within their everyday environments, combining these with richly detailed photographs of the natural landscape they are surrounded by. Kunsthal Rotterdam presents two series of photographs Janssen made between 2005 and 2007 on her journeys to Japan and South Africa. At the exhibition Janssen shows how the surrounding water influences the way of life of the Japanese Amami, which contrasts sharply with the series of photographs that she made in an extremely dry area of South Africa.
Two children sitting on a bench in Prins Albert facing a magnificent landscape in which kilometers of desert stretch out, a Japanese girl sitting at a kitchen table next to the fresh and juicy green of trees and plants. By alternating portraits and photographs of landscapes, Cuny Janssen tells us the story of the influences of the natural elements on a specific area of the world and on its inhabitants. The inhabitants of Amami Oshima have freshly caught fish for breakfast or gather the ingredients necessary for a salad or tempura with the greatest of ease; on the contrary, the inhabitants of Prins Albert have to live from what little that springs from the scarcely fertile African soil. Through still landscapes and impressive portraits White Thorns & Tomorrow Leaf shows both the extreme aridity of the South African desert landscape as well as the colorful and blooming subtropical nature of Japan.