Rabobank Photographic Portrait Prize 2021

Martijn van de Griendt wins with his portrait of ‘Luka’. The talent prize goes to Bram Engelaar with his series ‘Matar a Saudade’.

Watch the video in which the prize winners are surprised:

Martijn van de Griendt_Luka2021

The winner of the eleventh Rabo Photographic Portrait Prize is Martijn van de Griendt (1970). His portrait of 19-year-old Luka was chosen from nearly 500 entries. In this analogue photographed portrait of a young man, Van de Griendt tried to find the same intimacy and vulnerability he seeks when photographing a female muse. The photographer receives a cash prize of € 10,000 and his portrait will be included in the Rabobank Art Collection.

Jury: We see at a boy who is in-between adolescence and adulthood. Doubt and poise seem to alternate rapidly. His disposition, however, is self-aware and authentic. The setting, colour scheme and particularly the photographer’s informal approach, gives the photo its intimate quality.

New Component

Bram Engelaar (1994) is Rabo Photographic Portrait Talent 2021 with his series 'Matar a Saudade'. This expression, which presumably dates back to the time of the Portuguese explorers, represents the feeling of missing home and loved ones. By ‘killing’ this feeling, strength and joy can be derived from nostalgia, and the missing becomes a beautiful memory. This project reflects what 'saudade' means to Engelaar. He receives a cash prize of € 2,500.

Jury: It's admirable how the photographer made a series about something abstract like a 'feeling' and how he managed to have his models express a certain level of melancholy, without this coming across as an acted emotion. Concentration and time are undeniably two elements which allowed the sitters and the photographer to achieve this.

Announcement & exhibition

This year's winners will be announced online on Wednesday 15 September at 3 pm. For two weeks the winning portraits can be seen in an A0 poster campaign in Amsterdam. The portrait of Van de Griendt and the series by Engelaar can also be seen at the Portrait Gallery Studio on the Marineterrein in Amsterdam. Opening hours: September 18, 19, 25 and 26, 1-4 pm. See also www.dutchnationalportrait.gallery.

About Rabo Photographic Portrait Prize 2021

The Rabo Photographic Portrait Prize is awarded every year to the maker of the best photographic portrait. The prize was first awarded in 2010 to draw more attention to the broad tradition of Dutch portraiture in photography. The prize is awarded by the Dutch National Portrait Gallery in collaboration with Rabobank. Previous winners are Koos Breukel, Stephan Vanfleteren, Gerard Wessel, Annaleen Louwes, Sander Troelstra, Jitske Schols, Sarah Mei Herman, Sanne Donders and Robin de Puy.

Criteria for participation

All portraits were taken between June 1, 2020 and May 16, 2021 by a Dutch photographer or an international photographer who has been working in the Netherlands for a longer period of time. All nominated photographers demonstrate a striking and constant body of work within portrait photography. An important criterion is that in the portrait the short-lived relationship between the photographer and the person portrayed is recognizable in an outstanding way. In addition, craftsmanship, technique and composition play a role in the judging process.

About Rabo Photographic Portrait Talent 2021

The Talent prize has been awarded since 2018 and was previously won by Peggy Kuiper, Annabel van Royen and Colette Lukassen. Entrants may be self-taught, students or active as a professional photographer for less than five years. For the Talent prize, they submit a series of a minimum of three and a maximum of five portraits. This year, 100 young photographers submitted their series. The jury placed ten series on the longlist and three on the shortlist.

Jury 2021

  • Verily Klaassen (Head of Art Affairs Rabobank) – Chair
  • Sanne Donders (Winner Rabo Photographic Portrait Prize 2020)
  • Iris Kensmil (visual artist)
  • Sybren Kuiper (Graphic designer)
  • Philippien Noordam (Senior Advisor Art Affairs/curator, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Erik Vroons (Chief editor GUP Magazine and freelance curator & writer)

Dutch National Portrait Gallery

For the past few years, Dutch National Portrait Gallery has made online productions and exhibitions in museums and at other locations, with work from private, corporate and museum collections. From September 2021, a modest exhibition space called the Portrait Gallery Studio can be visited on the Marineterrein in Amsterdam. There too, research is being done on how portraiture can contribute to the recognition and appreciation of people – without exception and without judgement. The aim is to contribute to a society in which people understand and appreciate each other's differences.

Rabo Art Collection

The image of man and the human condition have had an important place in the Rabo Art Collection for a long time, and for good reason. In looking at the other - with all our daily worries, chasing love, exploring our identities, showing vulnerabilities and being mortal - we are actually looking at ourselves. We recognize ourselves in the other. Rabobank is therefore pleased to award the Rabo Photographic Portrait Prize and the Rabo Photographic Talent.


Rabo Art Collection

Postal Address UC 075
P.O. Box 17100
3500 HG Utrecht
The Netherlands