‘The Identity of Holland’ captures Dutch clothing from 100 years ago

Ezra Böhm, a student photographer, earned the title Student Photographer of the Year 2022 at the Sony World Photography Awards for his photo series, “The Identity of Holland.”

The competition, now in its 15th year, awarded several titles to impressive photographs of artists like Adam Ferguson, who snatched the Photographer of the Year. Other awards were also given in the Student, Youth, and Professional categories.

Böhm decided to explore the culture after he saw people still wearing the costumes today, which were culturally worn 100 years ago. “After a while, I came into contact with some people who are still wearing the costumes today. Once I had (established) contact with them, things went quickly. There are only a few people who wear traditional clothing and they often know each other,” said Böhm in an email.

In his photographs, his subjects are unsmiling and donning traditional outfits from the Netherlands. According to the subjects, while the costumes were from years ago, they still use them to preserve their cultural history. They said they often attend church and the choir wearing the clothes.

“The goal was to celebrate and cherish the old culture of the Netherlands,” Böhm said. “But apart from all the beauty, these communities have something valuable in common that we often miss in modern society: togetherness, security and pride.”

“Many people today have lost their cultural roots and can feel alienated in a society full of global citizens. By showing these communities to the world, I hope that people start to look at their own cultural roots again.”

Böhm spent over a year researching, visiting, and photographing subjects.

Böhm is a student at the Nederlandse Academie voor Beeldcreatie in Eindhoven. He will receive 30,000 euros or $33,000 worth of Sony equipment for the school.