Florian van Roekel (1980) works and lives in the Netherlands. Before he graduated in 2010 from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague with a special distinction, he studied social work. In 2011, Martin Parr voted van Roekels’ book of photography How Terry likes his Coffee one of the best books of the decade. In addition, van Roekel was nominated for the International Center of Photography Infinity Award. Le Collège was named as one of the best photo books of 2016 by Markus Schaden.
Le Collège is a documentary about the experience of high schools from the perspective of students. Adolescence is a period of hormonal bursts and intense inner changes, often resulting in inner conflicts leading to outer conflicts and insecurity. The school system on the other hand is an environment keeping those bursts and conflicts under control. This leads to friction and misunderstanding resulting in students seeking relief in friendships and different forms of escapism.
This feeling of longing to be somewhere or sometime else, is a recurrent theme in my work. By using certain visual references I steer the interpretation of the viewer to certain time periods or types of media. Documentary work is coloured by the photographer, and this is something that I see as a valuable aspect. What I felt roaming the school halls, sitting in the back of the class room again, having lunch in the cafetaria, will be recognised and felt by many others who experienced the same.
To see more of Florian’s work, please visit his website.