Els Zweerink

Els Zweerink (1971) is a documentary and portrait photographer. She graduated cum laude from the Fotoacademie Amsterdam in 2011 with her project Finding Guillermo, a personal story about the search for her Foster Parents Plan brother from El Salvador. Zweerink exhibits regularly, publishes her work in a.o. De Volkskrant, and has various photography awards and nominations to her name. 

This is the portrait of the photographer’s son Sammie (19). She has been following him and his friends closely since 2018. His 18th birthday marks the day he can legally buy cannabis for the first time. He is currently being treated for his cannabis use. When he is permanently expelled from school a week after his 18th birthday for skipping school and smoking cannabis, Zweerink is afraid of losing him. She maintains the connection with her son by photographing him. Here he is on the balcony at 4:30 a.m. It’s cold and he is enjoying the afterglow of a night out.

We not only see the boy’s struggle with the temptations of his generation, but also his mother’s gaze – an image captured with care and love.

©Els Zweerink, Sammie - dwars door de lens, 2019