METROPOLIS NRC Handelsblad, January 19, 2016

"One is almost surprised that the photographs in the series Metropolis have no sound or smell, so intense is the experience they convey of what ‘global urbanisation’ actually means to those who are living it […] Every image is multi-layered: the longer you look, and the larger the print, the more you see."

Der Spiegel, March 2016

Der Flow der Megastädte
"Leben in Megastädten: Einer, der glänzend darüber erzählt in seinen Fotografien, ist der niederländische Fotokünstler Martin Roemers."

The Independent on Sunday, January 10, 2016
"A study of the human condition" 

France 2, Telematin, French public TV
February 5, 2016

November 2015
Metropolis won the first prize in the LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2015. LensCulture editor Jim Casper spoke to Roemers about this series. Here is an edited transcript of their conversation

GEO, August 2014
Video interview (5 minutes, English/German) 

The New York Times
, July 28, 2013
The Bustle and the Blur.
" All it takes is two seconds to see the city.
With a little luck and one click, Martin Roemers has his story. Amid the chaos of Times Square, full of tourists and city buses and the blaring billboards, Mr. Roemers, 50, glimpsed a still, stunning moment one April afternoon. People in bright orange prison jumpsuits were gathered on the steps by the TKTS booth for a protest of Guantánamo Bay. They wore black hoods.
Mr. Roemers, who is from the Netherlands, won a World Press Photo Award in 2011 for his series “Metropolis,” chronicling daily life in the world’s megacities, or urban areas with populations greater than 10 million. He was not expecting a protest. Two minutes later, the police cleared the scene. By then, he knew he had caught an indelible image of New York and what drives it: art, economy, politics.
“I’m waiting for the right moment,” Mr. Roemers said. “Everything has to fall in the right place. I know where the image starts, I follow interesting people, watch the movement of the traffic, of the people, and when it all comes together, you press the button.”
Mr. Roemers and a local assistant spend a week scouting and shooting locations. Although he went to the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, the other image he selected of New York was also from Manhattan: peering down from the Roosevelt Island tram station on Second Avenue toward traffic on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. “I was a little hesitant to go to Times Square because it has been photographed so much,” Mr. Roemers said. “On the other hand, it was so Metropolis, I just couldn't leave it." LIZ ROBBINS

The New York Times, May 6, 2012
Living in the New Metropolis


The New Yorker, September 18, 2012
Martin Roemers’s Swirling Megacities
"Roemers created pictures that convey not only the mass and energy of megacities but also the humanity of the individuals living in them."

The New Yorker, April 2, 2012
Goings On About Town
"A crush of citizens who appear as ghostly bits of fabric swirling around sidewalk venders’ displays like unharnessed energy."

Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2011

The Beauty and Brutality of Images That Reach Far Beyond the Headlines
"Martin Roemers's colorful shots of street life in Mumbai bring to life the theme of humanity's increasing urbanization."

The New York Photo Review ,April 18, 2012
Urban Speed
"Abstract streams of vehicles and/or bodies flow sinuously around pockets of stasis, allowing the viewer to interpolate stories about these city dwellers–– that man standing so close to the train speeding past, all those vehicles stopped in the road surrounded by blurred bodies."
Jury Statement Daylight/CDS Photo Awards 2010
"Roemers is in the process of visually addressing the relationships of humanity to and within inherently complex megacities, in which there is ever-changing organic development evolving in both astonishing and horrendous ways. I think Roemers begins to create tableaux of stage settings, each in its own way a passion play in which life unfolds in myriad ways. There is a harmony in the chaos of these settings. The inanimate becomes animate. The large scope of the images still allows detail to congeal as part of a pulsating whole. The pictures tell us that the world is in the round, perceptible and felt in 360 degrees. These photographs begin to take us to places outside the frame where lives continue and the metropolis slowly rises and recedes, rises and recedes." JAMIE WELLFORD
Newsweek,  November 7, 2011
Hello, Seven Billion
“For all their chaos, big cities still have a sense of humanity. That’s what I want to reveal with these photographs – both the dynamic character of the city and the individual humans, the urban travelers, who call the metropolis home.”

Noorderlicht Video Interview, 2011
Interview about Metropolis (Dutch)

The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2013
For two decades, the children of the Boston-area periodontist Anthony Terrana have stumbled in their PJs past photos by giants like Man Ray, Herb Ritts, Walker Evans , Diane Arbus and Irving Penn. Now the kids are growing up, and Dr. Terrana, 57, is paring down. The auction house Phillips is offering 165 lots culled from his collection; the sale is expected to fetch $3.7 million to $5.4 million on Tuesday and Wednesday in New York. Among the priciest: "Georgia O'Keeffe," a 1919 nude taken by Alfred Stieglitz at the start of his romance with the painter, expected to sell for at least $300,000.
Dr. Terrana decided to collect photography in 1990, after seeing an Ansel Adams at his accountant's office. He recently spoke about his collection;
"There is a theme of children in the collection. One photograph in the show is by Angela Strassheim, 'Untitled (Father & Son)' [$10,000-$15,000 estimate]. You can make it very foreboding, or it can be very loving—that's what always drew me to photographs of children. My first reaction was that it was almost like the son was frightened of the father. It's actually the opposite; they have an incredible relationship. She photographed it in a mirror—to keep herself out of the shot was really difficult.
One of my favorites is the Helen Levitt. It's the children on the stoop ['N.Y.C.,' $30,000-$50,000 estimate]. I loved that photograph for years. I called up a dealer I was working with, Robert Klein in Boston. He contacted Helen—she played poker once a week in New York City, in Washington Square, and he was trying to get involved in the poker game to see if he could go over there and talk to her about selling it. She didn't want to sell it. I hadn't even mentioned it. A year went by. He said to me, 'Helen thinks she wants to sell this print. Do you still want it?' I said, 'Absolutely.' I kept it on a little easel on my bedroom dresser so I could see it every day.
A lot of pieces in this auction were in my bedroom—the Imogen Cunningham of the lily, the Richard Avedon 'Dovima With Elephants,' different Sally Mann photos over the years, the Edward Weston 'Shells.'
My office is filled with photos. I do surgery. I want to have something I can have a dialogue with the patient about, to get their mind off what I'm doing or about to do. I have a Martin Roemers photograph of Mumbai—99% of the patients who walk through the door always have a comment about this photograph........."

Video interview (English/German, 12 min.) by the German Historical Museum

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
, March 12, 2016
"Hallucinating images of a bygone era."

Deutsche Welle, March 2016
"A Disneyland of the Cold War': How Martin Roemers photographed the war that never happened"

Photo District News, New York
Notable Photo Books of 2010, Nov. 2010 
"His images make areas of both East and West Germany look like manufacturing towns that have been abandoned as the industry supporting them fell apart or relocated."

Foto 8
"Relics become eloquent monuments."

Conscientious, Joerg Colberg
"Relics of the Cold War feels like an archeological study."

Der Spiegel
"Roemers found places where the Cold War is still alive."

Neue Zuercher Zeitung
"The renowned photographer reveals where fears affect both sides and engender very similar forms of defence."

NRC Handelsblad
"A dilapidated military underworld full of potential film sets."

"Iconology of the Cold War."


PHOTO International
"A new, subjective documentary style."


De Telegraaf
"Roemers is able to comment on the human condition and human behavior without words."


Der Tagesanzeiger
"An eerie gallery of 1960s mould, reek and rust."

Kasseler Fotoforum
"A subtle monument in book form. The strikingly designed photos grab the eye and don’t let go."

Conscientious, Joerg Colberg
"The ultimate price of war always is human suffering, and to make us less eager to support a war - or maybe more eager to speak out against one - we need to hear about that suffering. Martin Roemers has given us an opportunity to do just that."

Conscientious, Joerg Colberg
Meditations on Photographs: Frederick Lennart Bentley by Martin Roemers
"The power of many photographs lies exactly in that gap, that delay, that hesitation that might result from not being able to know how to process after having had the first, initial reaction. The broader that gap, the less certain we are about a photograph, the more enticing it becomes. Frederick Lennart Bentley, the photograph, operates in that gap, through that gap. You think you know, and then you don’t. You find out why you don’t know and what you need to know instead. But once you look at the photograph again, you’re being thrown back to an earlier stage, almost to the moment when you first saw this portrait. The moment you try to clarify things, the moment you really try to nail the damn thing to the wall, a wall, anything that might give it stability, certainty… everything deflates."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, October 6, 2014


Porträtfotos von Martin Roemers zeigen in Berlin unsichtbare Welten

Edith van der Meulen war dreizehn Jahre alt, als sie in Nijmegen von einer deutschen Splitterbombe getroffen wurde. „Auf der Straße bekam ich plötzlich einen Schlag ins Gesicht und sah nichts mehr.“ Sie hörte, wie ihre Schwester neben ihr auf den Boden fiel. „Später war sie tot, und ich war blind.“ Das Ende einer Kindheit im Krieg.

Der holländische Fotograf Martin Roemers hat Menschen porträtiert, die durch den Krieg oder seine Hinterlassenschaften ihr Augenlicht verloren haben, und sich ihre Geschichten angehört. Vierzig dieser Fotos und die dazugehörigen Geschichten zeigt das Deutsche Historische Museum in Berlin jetzt in einer kleinen Ausstellung, die nur einen Bruchteil der Fläche belegt, welche die Ausstellung zum Ersten Weltkrieg im Tiefgeschoss und die „Targets“-Schau von Herlinde Koelbl im ersten und zweiten Stock einnehmen, aber eine notwendige Ergänzung zu deren Bildern von Tod und Zerstörung, Schießscheiben und Zielschießen darstellt. Denn es sind Gesichter im Frieden, die man hier sieht, und zugleich keine friedlichen Gesichter. Der Schock, der sie versehrt hat, ist in ihre Züge eingegraben, als tiefe Narbe, als leere Augenhöhle, als verschleierter, nirgends Halt findender Blick. Und als Ausdruckskraft.

Denn Blinde zeigen sich nicht. Sie erscheinen. Sie spielen kein Spiel mit der Kamera, sondern ziehen den Apparat in ihre innere Wahrheit hinein. Das Bild zeigt keinen Augenblick, sondern erzählt „die Geschichte einer unsichtbaren Welt“, wie sie der Schriftsteller Cees Nooteboom auf den Fotos von Roemers erkannt hat. Die Schicksale, die auf den Texttafeln daneben verzeichnet sind, fangen je verschieden an, aber sie kommen immer wieder an den gleichen Punkt. Ein deutscher Jagdflieger hat fünfundzwanzig alliierte Bomber abgeschossen, bevor er im April 1945 von drei Spitfires verfolgt wird. Ein russischer Junge spielt mit seinem Freund, der ihm einen Eisenzylinder zeigt. Ein englischer Soldat geht auf Patrouille in der Nähe von Caen. Ein paar Hitlerjungen setzen sich vor einen Blindgänger. Das jüngste der Kriegsopfer ist 1970 geboren, eine Frau, die als Zwölfjährige die Explosion einer Panzermine in einer Scheune überlebt hat. Ihre drei Spielkameraden sind tot.

Nur die Toten hätten das Ende des Krieges gesehen, lautet ein Bonmot des spanischen Philosophen George Santayana. Wenn das stimmt, dann geht in den Augen dieser Blinden der Krieg weiter. Der Rest ihres Gesichts aber erzählt eine andere Geschichte. Er habe ein gutes Leben als Maschinenschlosser mit vier Kindern gehabt, sagt Frederick Bentley, der Roemers auf die Idee zu seinem Fotoprojekt gebracht hat. „Ich hatte ein schlechtes Leben“, gibt dagegen ein russischer Greis zu Protokoll, der beim Kampf um Berlin verletzt wurde und später jahrzehntelang Einkaufsnetze flicken musste. Es gibt eben doch kein Kollektivschicksal. Es gibt nur den Weg, den jeder Einzelne geht.      ANDREAS KILB 

The Huffington Post
"The striking images depict the physical residue of war and time."


"Eine Galerie der tiefen Einblicke."

PHOTO International
“Was Roemers stiftet, sind Gesichtslandschaften voll schockierender Wucht. Mit Sicherheit zählt sein Zyklus zum Besten, was in jüngerer Zeit als Buch gedruckt wurde.”

Financial Times Magazine

"Haunting images of people blinded in the second world war."


International Herald Tribune
"This is our collective history."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"Look them in the eye and one senses what they have seen."


"Old soldiers never die, they just fade away’. Roemers’ book makes this process graphically clear."


De Volkskrant
"Every tiny stain, hair, wrinkle and irregularity can be seen, but it’s mainly the eyes that stay with you."


"The confrontation is unforgiving. The collection of portraits evokes the sensation of being cast into a room full of people we have inadvertently met in the dark and now someone has thrown on the lights."



NRC Handelsblad
"Roemers saw it. He has captured a strange, inhospitable country, its inhabitants full of suspicion toward the peacekeepers. There is no longer any sign of elation at the arrival of armed Western troops. This is an explosive atmosphere."


De Volkskrant
"The Kabul Portraits take your breath away."


The Wall Street Journal
"A bitter sweet exhibition There is a surreal sadness in these photos, as the resolutely old-fashioned Trabant, in various stages of production, slides along in scene after scene."


"A brilliant example of the power social-documentary photography still can have today." 


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