Kok is a Dutch photographer and journalist who combines photo essays
with written stories. She firmly believes storytelling is an
important art that can open the eyes and connect people. Her
photography is based on trust and intimacy.
She studied at the School for Journalism in Utrecht, the Netherlands, before working as a photography critic for several Dutch newspapers and photography magazines and as a freelance photographer. In recent years she has been mainly working on long-term documentary projects, which all revolve around the lives of young people.
She currently lives in Drewsville, New Hampshire, in the USA, where she is completing three photo book projects:
Cadets (since 2010) explores the importance of the military in American society through the lives of teenagers in a poor region of the USA. Ellen documents the daily life of the cadets of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) of Fall Mountain Regional High School in Langdon, New Hampshire.
Cadets accolades: Critical Mass 2011 and 2012 Finalist; Review Santa Fe, CENTER, 2012.
American Moments (since 1996). An impression of American culture through the lives of its young people. By photographing young Americans, Ellen is looking for an answer to the question: what does it mean to be an American?
The Other Farm (since 2004) tells the story of two third-generation organic farms on either side of an ocean: Lilac Ridge Farm in Brattleboro, Vermont, and De Beekhoeve in Kamerik, the Netherlands. It deals with the importance of family and tradition, and the vital connection between farmers, nature, food, animals, and us.
Published books: SCHOOL is an in-depth portrayal of a large school in a small city, as well as a snapshot of the daily life of young Dutch people. It contains picture stories and interviews (De Verbeelding/Netherlight, 2003).
SCHOOL accolades: Photo District News, PDN Photo Annual 2004, best photography books.
On the Land, Farmers and Nature, with text by Ineke Noordhoff (Atlas, Amsterdam, 2006).
On a Weekday, five Dutch photographers picture daily life in the buildings of EGM architects (De Verbeelding, Amsterdam, 2005).
Ellen has received grants from numerous sources, including the Fund for Special Journalism Projects, the Sem Presser Archive, Prince Bernhard Culture Foundation, the Dutch Province of Utrecht, VSB Foundation and the Foundation for City Photography Utrecht.
Her photos have been published in newspapers and magazines like NRC Handelsblad, Trouw, de Volkskrant, Het Parool, the Economist, Amerika Magazine, and Vrij Nederland.
Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She has had several solo exhibitions in the Netherlands: the World Forum Convention Center in the Hague; the Noorderlicht Photogallery, Groningen; the Rotterdam Historic Museum and the National Education Museum in Rotterdam.
Ellen Kok is represented by the photo agency Hollandse Hoogte in Amsterdam. She is available for assignments.