For its 2021 edition, Rotterdam Photo sheds light on the theme "Planet Human". That is partly inspired by the Covid-19 crisis, which brought our daily lives to a complete standstill in record time: nothing is the same anymore and our mortality suddenly no longer seems to be a 'far-from-my-bed show'. Besides a lot of panic and unrest, we are also forced to think about our way of life.
Who are we, as human beings, besides the fact that we exist? What do we leave behind? How do we express ourselves? What are our dreams? How do we experience love, pain, happiness? How do we grow? What is the role of our imperfections, the dark parts of our collective existence? Do they make us human? After all that, we can ask a pressing question: how do we capture these emotions?
Photography is the ideal tool for this, because it captures our existence in all its beauty and repugnance.
What happens to artmaking when nature takes over? Is it worth it, or is it pure vanity to want to preserve our creations for eternity, and preferably for the entire universe? Are we just snapshots ourselves? Are artworks part of the natural process, where everything returns to dust? Stonehenge, the mythical statues of Easter Island, the city of Petra in the mountains of Jordan and the Egyptian Pyramids prove the opposite: centuries later, they play a powerful proof of civilizations that are no longer there. We who enjoy these strong works of art have the duty to preserve everything that is beautiful and good, so that others - even those outside this earth - can enjoy and learn from our views later on.