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Caroline Kist, Het was niet mijn oorlog

Photobook, communication design, exhibition design

Minimalist design that connects old generations to the new.
A book about loss, hope, and the quiet course of life.

A visual research about the intergenerational effects of three young years of captivity in the Japanese camp Halmaheira on Java in the former Dutch East Indies. I was asked to design the photobook and the exhibition Het was niet mijn oorlog by photographer Caroline Kist.


 Het was niet mijn oorlog photobook design


Het was niet mijn oorlog is a tribute to Caroline's father who was forced to stay as a child in the Japanese camp Halmaheira on Java in the former Dutch- East Indies during the Second World war. It talks about the effect that this detention has on him but also on the other generations of the family.


Exhibition design


"Asja immediately grasped the essence of my story. And in what way she could interpret that essence of the book with her convincing and subtle design. Asja made it happen. The rest of the process with Asja also went very smoothly - from choosing paper to printer - Asja took me into this for me new world. The nicest thing was that we appreciated every detail. We made all the choices with care and consideration."

Caroline Kist, photographer


The book focuses on how can you tell a story about the intergenerational effects of war in the here and now if it is no longer physically here? Do you go back to the place where it all happened? 

Finally, we decided that the visual journey must be told through the voices of the three generations of the family. The father, his daughter, and his then six-year-old grandchild.
All three, in their own ways, narrate the effects of the past trauma;
the fathers' vulnerability and strength are portrayed in and like nature, trees specifically. His daughters' voice is turned into poems, recognizing and questioning her fathers' past. The six-year-old grandchild symbolizes, not only his grandfather (at the age he was captured) but also a new generation, who grows up without war but still, in some way, feels the effect of it. 


 Het was niet mijn oorlog photobook design



Caroline Kist




Communication design
Exhibition design


Photographer Caroline Kist, editor Nicole Segers, graphic design studio Asja Keeman, paperadvice De Monsterkamer, printing house Zwaanlenoir, Book binder Boekbinderij Patist, documentation The Book Photographer, photolab Kiekie, exhibition Kochxbos Gallery

Exhibition venue

2021, Kochxbos Gallery, the Netherlands



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