Skid Row by Désirée van Hoek: Among Best Dutch and Belgian Book Designs of 2015

Désirée van Hoek’s Skid Row photo book was voted one of the best Dutch and Belgian book designs of 2015.

The esteemed Dutch photographer unveiled her book, Skid Row LA, at the WUHO Gallery in Hollywood in October 2015 where a selection of her photographs were exhibited presenting a stunning visual record of life on L.A.’s Skid Row. With an introduction by Los Angeles Times reporter Gale Holland, who has covered Skid Row extensively, the book is a testament to the humanity behind the neighborhood’s seemingly soulless existence.

Woodbury School of Architecture congratulates Désirée van Hoek and the Amsterdam based graphic design studio Mevis and Van Deursen, which designed her book, on this achievement.

Organizer of the yearly competition is the Foundation De Best Verzorgde Boeken, in which professional organizations of the book trade, the designers and the graphic industry cooperate. This year, there was a joined competition for the Netherlands and Flanders, because the two countries are Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2016. 33 Dutch and 17 Flemish Books were selected, among which 6 photo books.

Publishers, commissioners, designers, printers and binders submitted 410 books in total. They were judged by a Dutch-Flemish panel consisting of Carolien Glazenburg (curator at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam), Wouter Roelants (bookseller and publisher), Luc Derycke (designer, Ghent), Koen Brams (former director Jan van Eyck Academie & former chief editor De Witte Raaf) and Freek Kuin (creative director at printer robstolk®).

Dating back to 1926, the annual judging of the Dutch Best Verzorgde Boeken is the oldest of its kind in Europe. Due to several interruptions, the selection of books published in 2014 is the 56th one.

The books are being exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and at several other places in the Netherlands and abroad. Recently the number of exhibitions tends to increase. During the last years the Best Dutch Book Designs have been on show in Stockholm, Ljubljana, Hongkong and Tokyo.

Former fashion photographer, Désirée van Hoek, worked six years on Skid Row in Los Angeles – one of the biggest homeless communities in America. In her book, she tries to capture the humanity of the neighborhood by zooming in on people’s dwellings and possessions, and the structures that shape their environment.

Désirée van Hoek (Roosendaal, 1966) was educated at HKU in Utrecht and the Royal Academy in The Hague. She started her career as a fashion photographer, working for Dutch and European designers. Her work has appeared in numerous international publications.

Désirée van Hoek: Skid Row, 104 p. and eight individual portraits, paperback, $50.00, ISBN 978-90-824149-0-5

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