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1993, The Netherlands



I am a media maker and self-taught photographer from Amsterdam, who graduated in Journalism and Gender Studies. In my work I investigate (queer) identity and intimacy. Generally speaking, people drawn to working with me have been multilayered, artistic individuals who move on and around unexpected intersections: queer people of faith, gender non-conforming theatre makers, kinky classical composers, and so on. I believe there is so much beauty and authenticity to be found on those intersections, beyond the borders of what is considered normal. “Beauty is about looking like yourself,” is what the renowned poet Alok Vaid-Menon said, and I subscribe to that and wish to celebrate it in my work.

Using my camera, I aim to get as close to my subjects as I can and as I’m allowed. The camera is both an instrument that has permitted me to enter personal spaces and witness moments of intimacy (whether it’s a pregnant friend stripping naked in front of me or a kinkster getting on his knees in the dirt in a hidden corner of a park), as well as a reminder of my undeniable presence in those spaces. I do not pretend to work from a neutral gaze. A sense of my own self is always projected onto my subjects and therefore present in my work.

This portfolio website bundles my photographywritten pieces about social and personal matters and information on notable projects I have been involved in. If you want to get in touch with me, you can do so here.

Self portrait

2019, editor and co-host at 3doc 'Ik ben er geen, ik ken er geen' 

[I'm not one, I know none]. What is it like for LGBTQ people to grow up in a church where the majority silently assumes that "none of us are like that"? In 2019, documentary maker Marnix Haak invited me to join him on his new project: addressing ignorance and heteronormativity in Dutch protestant churches. It was interesting, yet not completely surprising, that the ignorance that I grew up with wasn't an exception, as Marnix had similar experiences growing up elsewhere (be it from a cis hetero perspective). We started investigating these dynamics, and the way they harm LGBTQ youth, and stumbled upon the term strategic ignorance (knowing just enough about something to decide not to delve any deeper into it). In addition, we raised questions around the role of cis hetero Christians in addressing these oppressive norms. What can cis hetero people like Marnix contribute to the process of growing awareness, as well as making churches safe(r) spaces for LGBTQ people?

I worked behind the scenes as an editor, where I brought my expertise, knowledges and experiences to the table, as well as in front of the camera, where I shared bits of my story. Being involved in this project has been a healing experience. Marnix is a wonderful partner in crime, who doesn't shy away from confronting his cis hetero privilege and investigating his discomfort. The documentary now serves as a useful resource for churches and Christian youth groups. You can watch it here.

'Ik ben er geen, ik ken er geen' in the media:

Interview with Dutch radio show Met het Oog op Morgen

Interview with OneWorld magazine

Review Dutch newspaper Trouw: "De EO is de homo-kampioen van Hilversum"

Copyright_ Ernst Coppejans Photography

Photo: Ernst Coppejans

2018 - present, performer at Boys Won't Be Boys

Boys Won't Be Boys is a theatre collective created by my dear friend Rikkert van Huisstede. It seeks to eradicate stereotypes of gender in general and masculinity in particular, through performance arts of various kinds. Vulnerability is at the core of both the show and our message: we perform (/don't perform) as ourselves, as we blur the lines between professionally trained theatre makers and "real people". Some of us are men in dresses (or are we?), some of us prefer a comfortable tracksuit. Gender is the script that we throw in the bin. My contribution usually consists of a monologue, in which I reflect on my Christian youth and my identity as the (only) son of a preacher man. I look for queerness in the Bible, for the relevance of these ancient stories that I and so many others grew up with. I discuss big names like Moses, David and Joseph, who might not have been the "real men" that a lot of Christians wish them to be. More importantly, I look for ways to marry these two identities of Christian and queer, that are so often considered mutually exclusive.

Boys Won't Be Boys is currently on tour. For more information on the project and tour dates, check out the website.



Emancipator logo

2018 - present, various roles at Emancipator

Emancipator is an NGO that works on the emancipation of boys and men. This translates into preventing violent masculinity, stimulating caring masculinity, and freeing men from traditional views on what it means to be a man. Emancipator offers workshops and training to professionals, organisations, companies, schools and individuals. It wishes to emphasize on the importance of involving boys and men in working towards gender equality. I first got in touch with Emancipator in 2018, when I did my Gender Studies internship there. I've been part of the "Emancipator family" ever since. In 2022 I worked at Emancipator as a project worker, taking responsibility for planning and community organizing behind the scenes, as well as leading workshops with a diverse range of audiences. In 2023 I am involved in organizing the yearly training weekend that takes place in October. 

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