Biography | Harmen Meinsma

Harmen Meinsma took to the camera as a teenager. Growing up in a small village in the province of Friesland where he lived with his grandmother, photography allowed him to celebrate unconventional beauty and with that carve out a place in the world for himself and his friends.

Harmen remains inspired by those who do not fit a conventional mould. He photographs people whose identity expression is not just a preference, but there is something at stake in being their true selves. This celebration of the wayward, the unique and the flamboyant continue to characterise his visual language. “In my work, I direct the spotlight to misfits and the birds of paradise in this world and I turn them into icons.”

Harmen Meinsma received his BA (Hons) degree from the Willem de Kooning academy in 2017, specializing in fine art photography. His images have been exhibited in New York during Photoville and the Kunsthal Rotterdam. Besides that, his images have been featured in FD Persoonlijk, NRC, Vogue Italia and Volkskrant Magazine. Harmen is currently based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Contact | Harmen Meinsma


2013-2017 BA Photography (hons) – Willem de Kooning academy – Rotterdam
2012-2013 BA Photography – Royal Academy of Art – The Hague

Awards and nominations
PhotoVogue Fashion 100 
Selected by Vogue Italia as one of 100 gifted artists from their Global Open Call: “The Next Great Fashion Image Makers”. 
2020 LensCulture Street Photography Awards
Nomination with the image of Nelly Soetens from the series The Last Season II.
2020 SO Award
Nomination with a selection of ten various images made in 2019.

Selected exhibitions
2022 Pose! & Arawak Teatro – Solo exhibition at the Verkade factory – Den Bosch
2021  Pose! – Solo exhibition at Slash Gallery – Rotterdam
2021  Clash! – Group exhibition during Noorderzon Festival – Groningen
2021 Youthquake – Group exibition in the Kunsthal alongside Juno Calypso, Bas Kosters and Ari Seth Cohen – Rotterdam
2020 Starring You – Group exibition in the Melkweg Expo – Amsterdam
2019 Photoville – Outdoor group exibition – Brooklyn, New York
2017 Bazaar Beauties – Outdoor solo exhibition – City center of Rotterdam
2017 Pentaprism – Graduation show – Willem de Kooning academy Rotterdam
2013 (On)begrensd – Group exhibition – De Affiche Galerij Den Haag

Advisor/expert role
Workshops inspired by the exhibition Tim Walker ‘Wonderful Things’ – Kunsthal – Rotterdam
2021-2022 Masterclasses inspired by the exhibition ‘Clandestine’ – Cobra Museum – Amstelveen
2020 Guest Lecturer – School of the Art Institute – Chicago
2018 Editor – Character Building – Showroom MAMA – Rotterdam

2018 The Last Season I – Hogeschool Rotterdam

Selected Commissions
Photo series to accompany an essay by writer Maurits de Bruijn about men wearing feminine clothing – Volkskrant Magazine (in-print)
2022 The Amsterdam Rainbow Dress Foundation
2021-2022 Alphabet Soup, portraits of LGBTQIA+ persons (twenty episodes) – Volkskrant (in-print)
2021 Coverstory starring Minister Hugo de Jonge – Volkskrant Magazine (in-print)
2019 Celebrity Impersonators – &C magazine (in-print)
2019 Laatbloeiers – &C magazine (in-print)
2018 Een vervlogen jeugd – ADCN Magazine (in-print)
2018 Portrait of Elza Jo – Vogue NL (in-print)
2017 The class of 2017 – Adformatie (in-print)

Selected Press
PhotoVogue è la community che sta cambiando la fotografia di moda – Vogue Italia (in-print)
Foto’s van flamboyante jonge performers op Curaçao – VICE Nederland
2021 Fotografii cu lumea extravagantă a clubberilor queer din Rotterdam – VICE Rômania
2021 Foto’s die bewijzen dat de club veel meer is dan een besmettingshaard – VICE Nederland
2021 Nachtvlinders in al hun extravagantie – NRC (in-print)
2021 Je bent nog altijd jong en je wilt wat – De Standaard (in-print)
2021 Geobsedeerd door eeuwige jeugd – FD Persoonlijk (in-print)
2020 POSE! Harmen Meinsma Capturing a new generation of Rotterdam icons – Worm Rotterdam (in-print)
2020 Glamour op de camping in Hoek van Holland: ‘Hier is geluk nog heel gewoon’ – RTV Rijnmond
2020 Harmen Meinsma, la vita è un gioco SuperPop. Con un’aria da commedia americana – Italian Factory Magazine
2019 Tommy Walton – Coeval Magazine
2019 Dit rotterdamse draghouse is van plan de wereld te bestormen – i-D
2018 Talent in beeld – CJP magazine (in-print)
2017 Hollandse Beelden (in-print)
2017 Upcoming talent – Kiekie krant (in-print)
2017 Glamour op de camping van Hoek van Holland – AD
2017 Je bent nooit te oud om in een designerjurk een boom te beklimmen – i-D
2016 Myn leave Ljouwert – Trouw (in-print)
2016 Bazaar beauty’s: de paradijsvogels van rotterdam – i-D

2021 POSE! – RTV Rijnmond
2021 Nooit Meer Slapen – VPRO
2021 Vriendschap tussen fotograaf (29) en muze (80): ‘We halen samen allerlei gekke capriolen uit’ – AD
2019 Professionele dramaqueen harmen meinsma wil iedereen beroemd maken – i-D
2019 Harmen & Hannah – NPO Extra
2017 Zoeken naar paradijsvogels op de Afrikaandermarkt – OPEN Rotterdam