Censor: The Public Eye

Censor project

Censor:The Public Eye is an ongoing photography project, engaging with questions of surveillance, censorship and privacy in imagery. What does the pervasiveness of the (digital) photo mean for self-awareness? What does it mean to censor “someone”; is it simply the physical body? How much of the body needs to be censored for someone to be anonymous? Just faces, all of the skin, or even clothing? How does one censor a person’s presence in a photograph? What is the photographer’s position and responsibility in documenting strangers? What does it mean for social space to be considered “public”?

I want to explore how censorship may go beyond usual associations of restriction, as this exact approach may be a restrictive understanding of the censored image itself. Ultimately, I do not attempt to find definite answers to these questions, but aim to explore the aesthetic potential of the censored image within this debate.


  • Amstelveen, the Netherlands (2014/2015).
  • Antwerp, Belgium (2013).
  • Beijing, China (2015).
  • Breda, the Netherlands (2014).
  • Cape Point, South Africa (2014).
  • Cape Town, South Africa (2014).
  • Gold Beach, France (2013).
  • Huntington Beach, United States (2015).
  • Noordwijk, the Netherlands (2014).
  • Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2013).
  • Versailles, France (2013).
  • Zadar, Croatia (2015).

6 thoughts on “Censor: The Public Eye

  1. Very interesting. I know privacy is very important for most of us nowadays that society and the state controls almost everything in our lifes. That’s why I try not to include persons in my photos with a recognizable attitude. Or if I do, first I ask for their permission.

  2. I’ve asked myself those questions. And ultimately I respond is what I do benign?

    Will my story or images bring harm? That ultimately is my moral compass.

    1. Thanks for your reply, Bob! I’ve had similar thoughts.

      Often the people are only one of many elements of the spaces I try to capture. I never deliberately aim my camera to expose one specific person in these types of situations, but I sometimes notice people becoming overly self-aware or even uncomfortable. That’s when I ask myself these questions.

      1. I use my phone for most crowd pictures, I have a high quality Sony Xperia with an awesome cam. So I avoid most of that crowd knowledge by staying covert. If I’m doing architecture shots I bring out the big cam, but even that is a mirrorless cam so it looks like a snap and go.

        I deflect attention to avoid aggravation.

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