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The Art of Portrait Photography

June Newton partner of photographer Helmut Newton dies at 97. RIP 10-04-2021

June Newton-photographer

Under the pseudonym Alice Springs, June Newton earned her spurs in the seventies and eighties as a portrait photographer of the greats of the earth. Artists, politicians, royalty, she got everyone in front of her lens. “And the funny thing is, I’ve never been to Alice Springs,” she says. “In 1970 I started to publish my photos and asked Helmut under what name I wanted to work. We took an atlas and opened it on my native Australia. I closed my eyes and poked somewhere on the map with a needle. He stuck in the middle of the continent, on the town of Alice Springs. “That is your name,” said Helmut. “

John Irving bestseller author
John Winslow Irving is an American-Canadian novelist and screenwriter. Irving achieved critical and popular acclaim after the international success of The World According to Garp in 1978.

For this portrait of John Irving, we met at an Amsterdam five-star hotel located on the canals. I brought with me a portable light studio and a white backdrop. John proved to be a very cooperative and talented model. From the images, I shot all pictures were very good and this image was used for the HP/de Tijd magazine. Sometime after the first publication, six portraits of John were used for six paperback dutch cover picture versions of his popular books.



Jan Cremer is a legendary artist from Holland. He wrote a bestseller book in 1964 that was self titled, I JAN CREMER. During his long career he published a string of books and his art painting is widely collected around the world. For this image we recreated his famous 1964 book cover with a brand new Harley Davidson this time. This image is an out take from that session for a car magazine, in color. I like this version because of the depth perspective, the moodiness and his relaxed manner of posing.

Marion Bloem

Peter Post

portret peter post michael klinkhamer
Peter Post was a Dutch professional cyclist whose career lasted from 1956 to 1972. Post competed in road and track racing. As a rider he is best remembered for Six-day racing, having competed in 155 races and won 65. Because of this success he was known as “De Keizer van de Zesdaagse” or “The Emperor of the Six Days”.

Of Course I knew about Peter Post and was invited to his villa on the outskirts of Amsterdam for Esquire magazine. I also knew he was like me the son of an Amsterdam butcher. In the old days I was told, cyclists had to put a tender piece of meat inside their cycle shorts to protect their behinds. So, I brought him a good juicy and bloody steak and did some pictures with that. Blood running from his hands. For those people who know a thing or two about the hard life of a professional cyclist understand the connection was clear. But even without the bloody steak, you can see the scars and stitches in Peter Post’s worn but still good-looking face.

Jan Montyn

Jan-Montyn-Dutch-artist-writer was a Dutch artist, specialized in etching.  He was best known for his paintings of wars to which he had been a soldier and survivor.

I met Jan Montyn for the first time prior to a magazine photoshoot 20 years ago. I was not so much aware of his incredible life story then. This time we had a much more personal connection but Jan was facing health issues and did not live much longer. I personally like the introspective character of this portrait of a man who witnessed hardship and wars and came out of that incredible life of war and conflict to be a great etching and writing artist.

Thom Hoffman

During the late 1980s early 1996 I was full time working for many glossy magazines. This portrait of Thom Hoffman was made for RAILS, an inflight magazine for the Dutch railways.

I used the romantic travel aspects into this image. Thom Hoffman dressed in a nice trench coat, reminding us of Humphrey Bogart. His reflection in the window worked perfectly with his casted film roles. Playing a handsome but somewhat conflicted character in his latest movie, The Fourth Man, a psycho thriller.


Bernardo Bertolucci

Bernardo Bertolucci was an Italian director and screenwriter, whose films include The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, 1900, The Last Emperor, The Sheltering Sky, Little Buddha, Stealing Beauty and The Dreamers.

At the time of my meeting with Bernardo, he was working on the Sheltering Sky movie. One of all time favorite movies and book by Paul Bowles. This somewhat introspective portrait was shot in a very small production office in London, using a film spotlight and my trusty Hasselblad camera.

Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski is a Polish-French film director, producer, writer, and actor. Roman is considered one of the few truly international filmmakers. Roman Polanski was born in Paris in 1933.

I was able to have a private portrait sitting with Polanski in the Pulitzer hotel Amsterdam. The bronze statue of the young female in the background refers to his personal life regarding relationships with women.

Peter Klashorst

Peter Klashorst is after 60 years of making art a 100% certified “art barbarian” and one of the last art Mohicans. He was at a very young age confident enough to sell his first paintings and never stopped. We met before in the late 90s for a magazine picture in Amsterdam and we had immediately a good interaction and fun. We met again in Cambodia late 2010 for to cover his art latest show about the killed Khmer Rouge victims that he photographed at the Tuol Sleng torture museum in Phnom Penh and then he recreated their images on life-size intense painted canvases. I wrote the six-page feature article and images for this article published in HP/de Tijd magazine. After that, we did many more articles and newspaper stories.

Pim Fortuyn

Portrait photography of the controversial politician Pim Fortuyn with bare torso - Michael Klinkhamer
Portrait photography of the controversial politician Pim Fortuyn with bare torso – Michael Klinkhamer

Beautiful & powerful portraits from Cambodia

From 2013 until the recent 2020 Covid crisis I conducted daily photo tours in Cambodia. During those many photo walks, I was able to meet locals from all walks of life. This presented a privileged circumstance to photograph these portraits in and around Phnom Penh on a daily basis. Some images are taken from the local Cham minority living on the banks of the Mekong river. Some are from the city markets and inner streets or alleys. Often we visited hidden locations such as temples or monastery and the slums of Phnom Penh.

Here are some of the successful images published from our Cambodia Photo tours. You can find many more great pictures from our photo tours here


Cambodian man smokes local tobacco wrapped within a leaf for good taste. He was sitting on the floor with his mate in the cool local buddhist pagoda hall drinking tea. They offered me some smoke, which was fine, strong and flavorful.

I was also offered to drink some light china tea and try some small sweet bananas. We just smiled and sat there for a moment. Exchanged eye contact and mutual understanding without a word really spoken. Just being and feeling content.

Still, I am always thinking about a potential image and pointed my camera for some casual portraits….”Remember never, ever walk away from somewhere like this without taking the shot”.

Rin Bory

During my Phnom Penh phototours we often visited this hidden pagoda temple complex named Areyksat temple. This place was particularly nice for its abundant vegetation, and silence away from noisy Phnom Penh city.

Rin Bory, Buddhist Monk and Pagoda master in Phnom Penh

Also the spiritual context and buddhist monks and young novice monks living there would bring a great setting to do pictures. I discovered this location during one of my bicycle rides and in order to bring other photographers during my tours I asked the head monk for permission to enter the temple grounds. The head monk is a very friendly and handsome young man called Rin Bory. We got along real fine and he speaks english. He was and is very determined to rebuild the old temple into a new education and library for the community. Many afternoons in the heat he would greet us with his friendly smile and provide us with some cold water. There are always around 30-50 young buddhist novice monks staying there. Rin Bory also provided me with insight knowledge regarding Buddhism and the Cambodian state of affairs regarding religion. Thank you Rin Bory! I hope we will meet soon again my friend. Saum Arkoun! (thank you in khmer language)

Cambodian young man with floppy hat in the Phnom Penh slums along the Mekong.

This young and quite handsome man strolls along the huts and lives along the Mekong river slums settlement. From there you will seen the Phnom Penh skyline. The contrast can not be more dramatic to see the makeshift huts from cheap driftwood and metal roofing on the one side and the golden towers and lights shining from the biggest Casino in Cambodia. We only exchanged some smiles and I made this picture in the blink of an eye.

I often went to see the Cham people in Phnom Penh. They are living a semi-nomadic life along the major rivers and lakes of Cambodia. This man is a proud fishing man and just came back from the makeshift mosque they have built. He has a very nice face, as we did not particularly connect but he allowed me to take his picture.

cham muslim man in cambodia mekong
Cham muslim man in Cambodia Mekong River
Old Khmer man in Cambodia
Old authentic Khmer man in Cambodia

This man hasn’t lost his pride and spirit despite his sometimes hard circumstances. Especially during the Khmer Rouge war in mind from 1974-1979. Those years of horror and war played a big part in Cambodian history until today.

There was immediately a feeling of respect and fun between us, right away. Unfortunately, I was not able to have a Khmer conversation with him. I wish I could have had. Who is he, and what happened in his life and how are things for him today? He must have seen things in his life so far.

Then again, it’s also fine to keep it to friendly eye contact and use my camera between us, and just enjoy the moment of human interaction. I like the visual story of mutual intrigued fascination, as well as the light in his eyes. His fragile worn and strong body and his sparkling eyes and smile and well-groomed hair.

Monk getting ready to go to university captured in a photo typtrich.

It’s those moments I truly love my work as a (portrait) photographer as it gives me insights into people and their circumstances I otherwise never would have realized.

Join me next time for a photography adventure, when we are able to travel again and we are able meet up for a photo tour in Amsterdam or Cambodia!



Flowers in the Dirt

Flowers in Dirt is a series of portraits about underprivileged children that I photographed in Cambodia. My aim is to show the potential of these children and look reality in the eyes.

#1 Boy playing in the dirt in Phnom Penh-Cambodia

I passed by, he looked at me surprised. I got this picture before he knew it. Dirty smudges on his face, dirt, and garbage around him everywhere.

boy playing in the dirt in Phnom Penh in Cambodia
#1 Boy playing in the dirt in Phnom Penh-Cambodia. ©Michael Klinkhamer

It’s just a kid playing but what a face! What is the story here? Who is the boy? Is this neglect or just playing? Poverty yes, most definitely but that is also the harsh reality of Cambodia.

Those eyes, and mouth such perfection! A sublime flower in the dirt. I look at what’s around me and notice the beauty and ugliness sometimes in a strong distilled way, like here. Many facets are here to be seen, beauty and dirt, hard and warm. I believe those opposite elements make often a good photograph.

I can see here also the famous ‘gypsy boy’ painting. This is my photographic homage to that famous kitsch painting.

On a deeper level, I believe the potential of each individual child is amazing. Who decides which ones may blossom and get a real change in life…or stay down and suffer? Shouldn’t every child in 2020 have an equal opportunity?

Child labor in 2020 is still happening in most parts of the world in Africa, India, and Asia.

#2 Just another brick in the wall, child labour and no education.

This brave boy is working for a stone brick factory in Cambodia. Complete family’s work there under hardship conditions. Often deeply in debt by loans to their employer. Locked into an endless circle of modern slavery.

#2 Just another brick in the wall, child labour and no education.
#2 Just another brick in the wall, child labour and no education. ©Michael Klinkhamer

This boy is fighting to survive and doing a grown man’s job, while his small body is undernourished and not fully developed. A little smile, his muscles overworked, one eye closed because of the weight of the bricks.

#3 Alms offering to Cambodian Buddhist monks as young as 6 years old.

young boys buddhist alms collection cambodia
#3 Alms offering to Cambodian Buddhist monks as young as 6 years old.

Children in Cambodia are admitted into the Buddhist novice monkhood from an early age. Here we see a young boy barefoot with his older monk boys collecting offerings, money, and rice in Kratie.


Michael Klinkhamer is a Dutch photographer and journalist working mostly in Asia for the last 10 years. Michael lived permanently in Cambodia since 2013 and is now during Covid- available back for assignments in Amsterdam-Netherlands.

Contact me: Michael Klinkhamer Productions.
mobile: +31 6 86304151

Portrait Photography Aboriginals – ‘Time travellers along the highway’

Photographic essay and portfolio on Aboriginal life from Outback Australia in 1988 by Michael Klinkhamer.

All images and text©michael klinkhamer 2020.

The term Outback came about in the 19th Century. It was used to refer to places that were ‘out the back of X (insert a place name). A similar term is ‘back of beyond’. 

Basically, it’s somewhere inland in Australia, a long way from the sea.

Recently I revisited my photo work in Australia from 33 years ago. This body of work was photographed in 1988 and published and exhibited previously in 1990. This time I scanned all the negatives and selected 37 images available for online blog portfolio, future exhibitions and book publication.The Hasselblad 6×6 camera and lenses and produced a timeless classic image quality. *Note all images are uncropped full frame 6×6 negatives, available as 50×50 cm prints.*All images are available for fine art printing and exhibition or collecting purposes.

Photography with a Hasselblad

Using the latest digital editing capabilities in 2020. Timeless black and white photography is the result. (* All photos are printed from the full negative.)

What I’ve made then and now see again is an almost an unreal experience of rediscovery, beauty, raw humanity and harsh reality from Australia from 1988.

Old photos brought back to life

For all the photos I took I got permission from the local tribe elder to be allowed to take these images. It was an honor and a self-confrontation given their culture. But more about that during my ‘Time travelers along the highway’ project.

*Warning:Some people in these pictures may have passed away.

Hasselblad photo 1988 aboriginal father with son portret outback australia stuart highway
Hasselblad photo 1988 Aboriginal father and son portrait near the town of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory. – Michael Klinkhamer
Aboriginal young boy portrait Outback Australia 1988 © Michael Klinkhamer
aboriginal woman go alice springs outback australia 1988
Aboriginal woman in Darwin~ “Go Alice Springs” Outback Australia 1988
Australia Outback aboriginal old tribal man
Australia Outback aboriginal tribal man

The genius vanity spout Pim Fortuyn exposes in front of the camera

We all remember him in the Netherlands. The genius vanity and politician Pim Fortuyn. Undisguised gay, very well-read, and often seen with his 2 poodles on his lap. He was sometimes rebellious like an artist.

But everything was based on the fact that he was a professor, a businessman, the author of many popular books and very eloquent.

He was not a fool! He was a genius and open-minded. But a bit different. You want to capture that in images. Whatever you think of him, he brought you a sense of security or discomfort.

He drove a big Jaguar XJ. That gave him status or pleasure. Above all, however, it was extraordinary that he had made a marble bust of himself in Italy.

I was commissioned to photograph Pim Fortuyn for opinion magazine HP/de Tijd. Precisely because I want to highlight what some people find ridiculous. Real is real and that was Pim Fortuyn (r.i.p.).

Portrait photography of the controversial politician Pim Fortuyn with bare torso - Michael Klinkhamer
Portrait photography of the controversial politician Pim Fortuyn with bare torso – Michael Klinkhamer

Narouz Moltzer the happiest Amsterdam artist during Covid

“Usually I wear jeans and raggedy work clothes, but for this exhibition, it’s fun to go on chic black” laughs Narouz Moltzer (Amsterdam, 1963) at me from his black BMW car. He is happy and cheerful!

We are in his car on our way to the prestigious Cobra museum in Amstelveen where he participates in a group show with his sculpture chosen by guest curator Aziz Bekkaoui. We first talk about his passion for automobiles, something which I share with him.

Narouz Moltzer happy artist boy with hoop cobra museum Amstelveen photo Michael Klinkhamer
Het verhaal achter de gelukkigste Amsterdamse kunstenaar tijdens Covid.

BEN COBRA is an exhibition in the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen and can be visited until 5 April 2021. We are looking forward to it. I am just back from Cambodia due to Covid after 10 year and almost depressed from that. Narouz the happiest and a very successful artist in Amsterdam at the moment.

Luckily we both know the old Dutch saying saying “everything for the arts” and from thereof, the most beautiful things are often born. Money comes secondary. The mood is immediately right between us.

The man behind the happiness and the art

Together with his fourteen year old daughter Indi they strolls relaxed through the large hall of the exhibition and look at each work of art with full attention and concentration.

The sculptures are linked to a well-known cultural person who was photographed in relation to that Cobra statue. I see his love for creation. Especially for his own creation, his young daughter.

COBRA (or CoBrA) was a European avant-garde movement that was active from 1948 to 1951. Its name was formed in 1948 by combining the initials of its members’ home cities: Copenhagen, (Co), Brussels, (Br), Amsterdam (A).

Dutch artists such as Karel Appel, Constant, Corneille, are well-known founders of the group. Cobra was officially founded on 8 November 1948 in Café Notre-Dame, Paris.

Narouz his portrait at the show is photographed with his bare upper body fully tattooed. I feel his pride and modesty at the same time. We are silent for a moment.

Narouz Moltzer ben cobra exhibition photo 2020
Narouz Moltzer Ben Cobra exhibition 2020 photo by 2020 Raymond van Zessen.

“I won’t let myself be photographed with my tattoos anymore, people already know it.” He dryly breaks the silence.

portrait photography Narouz Moltzer black fashion suit cobra museum Amstelveen photo Michael Klinkhamer
Narouz Moltzer the proud artist – photo Michael Klinkhamer

In short, as a photographer, I have to come up with a very valid argument to get the artist posing for my photo like that. I have often succeeded in doing so during my portrait photography sessions, but whether it will be possible or even necessary this time remains to be seen for now.

The hardest time I had to photograph someone with an exposed upper bodywas with the murdered vanity and politician Pim Fortuyn for HP/de Tijd magazine.

The second time I came into Pim’s house for another photo, he already knew what time it was and said, “Oh, you again!

Pim Fortuyn was a life’s artist.

Inspiration for photography is sometimes quickly found

The sculpture of Narouz at the exhibition originated in 2008 and is actually part of a larger work. In that sense, the little sculpture ‘Boy with Hoop’ now stands a bit naked also.

happy artist narouz moltzer sculptor cobra museum amstelveen photo Michael Klinkhamer
Narouz Moltzer sculpture “Boy with hoop” – photo Michael Klinkhamer

“I detached the statue from a whole family sculpture actually” explains Narouz with a smile.

Suddenly Narouz is inspired by how he would like to be portrayed today. In Cobra-like movements dance in front of the camera in a black suit. For me that’s easy. Let the camera roll!

Apart from the background, it just shows him in an almost childish and playful manner, and expresses the way who he is basically.

portrait photography sculpture artist narouz moltzer cobra museum amstelveen photo klinkhamer
Portrait photography of the playful Narouz Moltzer – photo Michael Klinkhamer

What does the Cobra movement mean to a modern artist today?

After the photo sitting, we talk about what the Cobra movement stood for and still stands for today.

According to Narouz, the Cobra movement stands for the pure, the childish, the naive, the not serious. Probably exactly that what makes an artist or anybody happy.

portrait photography happy artist narouz moltzer amsterdam tattoo photo michael klinkhamer
Portrait photography happy Narouz Moltzer – Photo Michael Klinkhamer

There is no message in his sculptures or paintings, it is the expression of just keep playing like a child and stay creative. Create whatever you want and follow your basic intuition. Don’t think too much!

How does the happy artist Narouz create?

Clearly happy to explain, Narouz tells me how he loves to work in his studio.

“I am an artist and I create what I like. Not necessarily Cobra or any another already invented style, I’m never busy with that”.

Narouz does not belong inside the box. He paints beautiful canvases with figurative images and patterns and creates impressive bronze sculptures.

artist Narouz Moltzer tattoo hands photo Michael Klinkhamer
Narouz Moltzer “The hands of the artist make the work” – photo Michael Klinkhamer

Sometimes he finds amusing and useful things on the street and then makes a sculpture of sort out of them. That is his way of working. Let it come and let it go. Covid or no Covid, he has been doing his own thing for years.

The sculptures exhibited here are made by the oldskool Cobra artists and are linked to other art lovers by Aziz Bekkaoui. “In fact, I am the only performing sculpture artist at this exhibition with my own piece.”

How does an artist get appreciation for his work?

The Cobra Museum is a very prestigious museum. It is great to be linked to this museum. That is good for my art “ranking.” You are valued more, I think, by curators and art critiques who eventually determine your status. Collecting points on your CV is always kinda fun.”

Narouz laughs and says:

“I am the water, not the glass”!

He makes it up on the spot.

While he is laughing, I can see that he does not care much about those term of operandus. His true happiness comes from within. He really doesn’t seem to be concerned about it. But by now he understands how it works in the art world and is happy to play the game.

He continues: “When I’m at work in my studio I let that go completely of thought like that. In a real museum you realise that your work resonates with other artists and curators of museums”.

It’s not always easy as an Amsterdam artist

During our conversation it also becomes clear that life has not always been a walk through the park for Narouz. All the more appreciation for his cheerfulness and positive attitude. I want to know more about how he became like this.

His father died when Narouz was only 3 years old. Of course, that had an impact on his youth. Just like his Portuguese, Moluccan and Indonesian roots.

As a young boy he lived for years in a boarding school when his mother was remarried to a brutal stepfather at home. His time at the boarding school was fun, he adds. no drama there.

For years he was the artist’s companion, assistant, and friend of Aat Veldhoen. The famous Amsterdam painter, folk graphic artist and freethinker from the 1960s. He started independent art at the age of 27.

Thanks to Aat Veldhoen’s mentorship he quickly understood that making art is a definitive choice of life. Fortune or misfortune does not count there. Go on, keep on goin! That was the motto of Veldhoen’s life. A life lesson also engraved into Narouz.

Your life’s creations are what it is all about. Covid or no Covid is a similar thing. He will continue in the interests of creation and expression. That is the only thing that makes him really happy.

About Ben Cobra

For the exhibition Ben Cobra, renowned designer, artist, and guest curator Aziz Bekkaoui has invited a diverse group of more than 25 special, colorful, pioneering, outspokenly creative or otherwise striking individuals: from the children’s mayor of Amsterdam Ilias Admi to the choreographer Uri Eugenio, from the chairman of the supervisory board of the University of Amsterdam Marise Voskens to the writer Arnon Grunberg.

By linking these contemporary non-conformists to the museum collection, he shows that Cobra’s search for hope, the urge for absolute freedom, spontaneous expression and social and artistic renewal are as important today as they were then.

Show is on until Sep 11 2020 – Apr 05 2021.

Portrait photography in the UMC hospital in Amsterdam

Portraits at the largest academic hospital in the Netherlands. Doctors, researchers, and patients came before my lens.

artistic portrait photography of staff member hr Amsterdam UMC hospital
portrait photography of UMC hospital staff member. ©Michael Klinkhamer

The UMC Amsterdam stands for large-scale with a human touch. By photographing employees within the institution, we get to know the people behind the organization more intimately. Corporate photography with a focus on people and business activities with a human touch.

lab assistant hospital UMC amsterdam portrait photography black and white
portrait photography of laboratory staff at the UMC hospital. ©Michael Klinkhamer
portrait photography of patient with vr glasses in hospital bed AMC-VU Amsterdam hospital
portrait photography of patient UMC hospital. ©Michael Klinkhamer

Portrait photography from the 90s

In the 90s, the Dutch series Flodder, directed by Dick Maas, was a tremendous success. Below is this talented man who would later claim many more successes with his hand on the chest of former playmate model Tatjana Simec.

Portrait of Dick Maas and Tatjana Simec during Flodder by Michael Klinkhamer
Dick Maas & Tatjana Simec

Dick Maas is one of Holland’s most successful directors. His most famous Dutch films are Flodder, Amsterdamned and De Lift. The young filmmaker Jeffrey De Vore uses unique and never-before-seen images to show the story behind his success in a new documentary.

This documentary called “De Dick Maas Methode” promises to be funny and revealing and will appear in cinemas from 1 October 2020.

Other well-known icons from the 1990s that appeared in front of Michael Klinkhamer’s lens include Willem van Hanegem, Charles Groenhuijsen, Sylvia Millecam (r.i.p.), Maarten van Rossum and Peter Post.

Portrait of Willem van Hanegem in the 90's by Michael Klinkhamer
Portrait Willem van Hanegem
Portrait of a young Charles Groenhuijsen by Michael Klinkhamer in the nineties
PortraCharles Groenhuijsen
Portrait of Sylvia Millecam (rip) by Michael Klinkhamer in the nineties
Sylvia Millecam r.i.p.
Black and white portrait of Maarten van Rossum by Michael Klinkhamer in the nineties
Maarten van Rossum
Black and white portrait of Peter Post by Michael Klinkhamer in the nineties
Peter Post