Jeroen Hofman


My new project is called Playground. The Netherlands have several training facilities where members of the Fire Brigade, the Police Force and the Ministry of Defense are trained and prepared for a wide range of possible scenarios. Within the boundaries of these grounds it’s all just practice or ‘play’. Outside of them however, things are a lot more serious. My aim was to capture these facilities and the people who are trained there.




Jeroen Hofman graduated in 2002 at he Royal Academie of Arts in The Hague, the Netherlands. Since then he works as a free lance photographer on editorial assignments and non-commissioned projects.


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Jeroen Hofman

21 thoughts on “Jeroen Hofman – Playground”

  1. My first thought exactly: like playing toy soldiers. My next thought: the angle of view and distance remind me very much of certain video games I used to play. More than once I wondered if I’d been tricked with a tilt shift lens into thinking miniatures were the real thing. On a positive note, the consistency is remarkable, and it’s a glimpse into a strange world I’ve never seen. It’s educational that way and visually rewarding. On a negative, or questioning note, I don’t get the feeling that I’ve learned anything that important. I don’t know what the photographer hopes to convey, beyond an aesthetic appreciation.

  2. Absolutely love it. Saying post/pre apocalyptic wouldn’t be a far off analysis. Wonderful images.

  3. Excellent story, congratulations Jeroen.

    I find it a touch surreal and the title is so fitting. I wish I hadn’t read the statement (simple and solid as it is) before the slideshow, would have had a bit of a trip maybe. And just having returned from an exhibit of Burtinsky’s “Oil” made it even more apocalyptic still.

    Well done.

  4. This one put me right in it by taking me far from it and sending me back to childhood and the hobby store, too. Surreal. I am curious as to how you managed to get that certain high angle in so many shots. Good fortune to have just the right structure at each place? Cherry picker? Training helicopter.

    Excellent and very different than anything else I can recall seeing.

  5. I didn’t even read the title but by the end felt that I was looking at a giant sandbox.

    There’s something quite interesting about the nonchalance and child like appearance of the actors in these large dramatic sets. It’ll take me a while to put my finger on it exactly. It is clearest in the 13th image but pervasive in the rest of the series. On one level it is charming; on the other hand, they’re practicing cracking skulls, suppressing discontent, etc.

    Literal vs figurative firefighting.

  6. Micaël Martel

    Your style remind me of Burtinsky.

    I like your essay, very well done, nice composition and very nice to see this part of the formation of soldiers and intervention teams.

  7. Have bucket-lift, will travel. Love this work, Jeroen. How did you gain access? Techtalk: format?

    thank you for sharing


  8. Sidney Atkins

    Am I the only one who, even though I liked it and feel that it is well done, thinks that this essay is too long and repetitive?

  9. Sidney, to me this is one of those stories that could be told with just one of the images above… yet, I would be quite happy to look at another 100 and more, and would not find it too long and repetitive, but would enjoy every frame.

  10. dq “Have bucket-lift, will travel” Yes, the 50 meters in the air viewpoint in most of these photos is mostly what is responsible for the “toy” illusion. Very effective. Fun stuff.

  11. This is a curious essay–very far and detached as mentioned. I like it in so far as it makes me think about how this much context and distance shows something different. My personal tastes go towards much closer work.

  12. “if your photo is not good … you’re not close enough”
    someone broke this rule right here….awesome!
    still a rule but every good rule has a great exception.. just like in this essay!
    loves it!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. I quite liked the receptiveness of this piece. In a good way, it sort of lulled me to sleep/dreaminess even though the subject matter is quite the oppositie of sleepiness!
    Also reminds me of Donovan Wylie’s British Watchtowers in regards to the elevation.

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