During his studies of Cultural Anthropology and Philosophy in the Netherlands, Teun Voeten already showed a taste for adventure. For his final thesis, he spend three months in a gold digger community at the foot of the Ecuadorean Andes. After his studies, he went to document the brutal civil war in the former Yugoslavia and became a full time war correspondent, both as a photographer and a writer. He covered the ongoing crisis in Rwanda, Haiti, Israel and Chechnya.
In 1994, Voeten took a break from war reporting and went back to his anthropological roots by living for 5 months in a homeless community that had settled in an Amtrak tunnel under Manhattan’s posh Upper West Side. This resulted in his first book Tunnelmensen that was originally published in Amsterdam, 1996. The translated and updated version, Tunnel People, wass published in 2010 by PM Press.
Between 1996 and 1998, Voeten developed a taste for the so called ‘forgotten wars’ and went out to document the ongoing crises in, Afghanistan, Sudan and Sierra Leone. Work from these trips was published in his photo book A Ticket To…, published in 1999 by Veenman Publishers, Netherlands. The book features the essay ‘Neo-Vulturism in Contemporary Documentary Photography’, a discourse about the less glamorous realities of war photography.
In 1998 Voeten was nearly killed during the civil war in Sierra Leone and had to hide for two weeks in the bush from the rebels hunting him. These events resulted in How de Body? Hope and Horror in Sierra Leone (Meulenhoff, Amsterdam, 2000 and St Martin’s Press, New York 2002), The book is part diary of his harrowing adventures, part a detailed history of a country that has been plagued for a decade by a civil war fueled by blood diamonds.
Over the years, Voeten has covered the conflicts in Angola, Liberia, Colombia, Gaza, Lebanon, Honduras, Iraq and Iran. He has won numerous awards for his work published in Vanity Fair, Newsweek, The New Yorker and National Geographic, among others. Voeten is also a contributing photographer for organizations such as the International Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations.
Author/Photographer: Teun Voeten
Publisher: PM Press
Page count: 336
Size: 6 x 9
Subjects: Journalism, Social Issues
“Teun Voeten has found yet another frontier in the great American experiment – the one underground, in the tunnels of Manhattan – and delivered it to us in an utterly charming and fascinating account. Part anthropologist and part journalist, Voeten dwells in a unknown world that most of us simply pass by in a hurry. To fully know America, one most follow Voeten into her depths. There is much there to admire and, yes, to learn from.”
—Sebastian Junger, War Reporter and author of The Perfect Storm.
“This book is so brilliant because it’s written from the perspective of an insider, from someone who actually lived in the tunnel they are writing about, someone who actually spent time in the darkness, scavenged for food out of the garbage and literally slipped between the cracks in the pavement and into a place of true invisibility. Veoten is not someone who just poked his head in and squeaked, “hello?” into the darkness.”
—Marc Singer, maker of the award winning documentary Dark Days.
“Finally, after countless portrayals of one of the most highly publicized existences, Voeten is to be commended for his honest and explicit view of New York’s underworld. I salute his efforts and sacrifices to the highest. “
–Bernard Monte Isaac aka Lord of the Tunnel, former tunnel resident.
“Voeten is no doubt one of the most adventurous reporters in the Netherlands.”
—Vrij Nederland Magazine
“Voeten resists the temptation to sensationalize and romanticize the underground tunnel people. Nor is his book sentimental…[it is a ] sober and well-written report about the mean misery underground: That makes this book so powerful.”
“Tunnel People is a supreme example of participatory observation. The insider’s point of view comes here to full light in a brilliant way. It is not an objective case-study, but a subjective, journalistic reportage, right to the point of an incredible dynamic, human underworld that is nowhere being sensationalized nor romanticized by Voeten…”