Jan Banning

Utrecht, Netherlands


Dutch, 1954

Jan Banning was born in The Netherlands in 1954, from Dutch-East-Indies immigrant parents. He studied social and economic history at the University of Nijmegen and has been working as a photographer since 1981.

Rooted in both art and journalism, Banning's work has been exhibited in museums and galleries and published widely in books, magazines and newspapers. The central theme in his work is state power (and its abuse). Banning has produced series on the long-term consequences of war and the world of government bureaucracy. Other work includes a portrait series of World War II comfort women in Indonesia, a study of the criminal justice systems in four countries in South America, Europe, Africa and North America, a portrait series of homeless people in the American South and a look at the Green Line separating North and South Cyprus.

His most recent project - Red Utopia - looks at the remnants of the communist parties in Italy, Nepal, Portugal and Russia.

Aside from Dutch, Banning is fluent in English, German and Spanish. He also speaks French reasonably well, and some Portuguese and Indonesian.

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Click here for a brief overview of Jan Banning's work.

The Sweating Subject is a series of group portraits of tribal chiefs and their courts.

The ‘Green Line’ has divided Cyprus into two parts since the early 1960s.

The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.

Law and Order is a photo project that compares the criminal justice systems in four countries on four continents: Colombia (South America), France (Europe), Uganda (Africa) and the United States (North America).

Over a period of 10 years, photographer Jan Banning and journalist Dick Wittenberg documented the life of a small village in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world.

Jan Banning photographed some 100 homeless men and women in South Carolina, Georgia and the Mississippi delta in makeshift studios, against neutral backgrounds.

Portraits of Dutch and Indonesian men who were forced to work on the construction of the Japanese military railroads in Burma and Sumatra during World War II.

Raping women seems to be a normal byproduct of wars.

Jan Banning gets some face-to-face time with the world’s pen-pushers.

Jan Banning and journalist Dick Wittenberg selected Dickson as a microcosm of sub-Saharan Africa.

Between 1961 and 1971, US troops sprayed 72m litres of herbicides over 10% of the surface of South Vietnam, of which 51m litres was Agent Orange.