Hans Neleman is an artist, photographer, creative director and educator. He received international recognition for his photographic work, and more recently has transitioned into assemblage, collage and painting. His work addresses themes like morbid beauty and taboos, and includes found objects and elements that are transfigured into the aesthetic realm. With a keen eye for sculpture Neleman melds painting, found imagery and objects trouvés, into symbolically charged creations.

Neleman’s photography is highly regarded in the commercial and advertising arena, and his personal work has been exhibited worldwide. Early in his career, he was known as one of New York City’s leading still life photographers, which led to three published monographs of his work. Accolades include the Hasselblad Master title, American Photographer Magazine Photographer of the Year, Kodak Photographer of the Year, and the World Image Award for Still Life Photography.

As the founder and creative director of stock photo boutique WIN-Initiative, Neleman represents over two hundred photographers around the globe. His photo collection is available for licensing and as exclusive high quality prints for creatives and collectors alike. In tandem with his artistic interests Hans Neleman has directed music videos and commercials. He is an adjunct professor of Art and Art Education at New York University and faculty at the International Center of Photography.

Neleman’s highly individual assemblages focus on the harmony of opposites. He juxtaposes the vital and the mortal, as well as the myth and the modern tale. While referring at times to dark motifs, his work is also affectingly intriguing, as it is endowed with erotic symbolism and infused with emotional qualities that we recognize immediately as inherent to the human condition. Deeply interested in semiotics and its related disciplines, and a master assembler and conjuror of images, associations and feelings, Neleman reclaims, scrutinizes, and skillfully melds styles, cultures, eras, and emotive states of being into extraordinary works of art.


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Most of Hans Neleman’s collages are a complex and engaging visual duel. They address the perception of the actual material, the objects, and the concept of the image created. This series is a raw merging of layered, jagged and expressive patterning, mounted and adhered to canvas, wood, aluminum and rare vintage photo easels. Neleman further marks these collages with oil paint and crayons, creating and articulating a sensitivity of line and shape that is often charged with erotic intrigue and an appreciation of the male and female form. The surfaces have the capability to transcend materiality, yet are tactile and textural, treated and stained to create patinas that go through various stages and metamorphoses before reaching completion.

Hans Neleman’s work is based on a powerful sense of light and form that recalls the great painters of his native the Netherlands. Born in the 1960s, Neleman was schooled at time when the arts were considered a fundamental part of education rather than merely an adjunct to it. He developed an early talent for painting, collage and sculpture, which led to his acceptance as a student at Goldsmiths’ College of Art in London. After receiving a thorough grounding in the plastic arts and studying photography and film at London’s Westminster University, Neleman came to the United States in 1983. After graduating with a master’s degree from New York University, he continued to build a wide-ranging and prestigious clientele attracted by his iconoclastic, highly refined, symbolically charged photographs.

Elana Gutman - Graphis Magazine

In Hans Neleman’s still lifes, a new world is created. He engages in an abstract dialogue with both his subject matter and the viewer as he presents objects and materials collected on his travels or found at flea markets and in the gutters of city streets. The elements that constitute his imagery are all ‘loaded’; each and every object represents a set of concrete and possible meanings and relations. Each item he selects is carefully juxtaposed with another to create an even deeper meaning as a consequence of their merging. Hans Neleman operates and approaches the task of recording moments in time with the painstaking meticulousness of an archaeologist. He sets up “tableaux” of reality that bear witness to the hand of the master, marked by a photographic style and a cachet of great and unique distinction.

Johan Swinnen - Silence

Neleman has published three books. Moko: Maori Tattoo (1999) was featured at the Biennale de Lyon, France, in 2000 and 2015. ‘Body Politics, Maori Tattoo Today’ was exhibited in 2009 at The Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. Silence (2000) his still life work was shown at the Visual Arts Museum, New York City. Night Chicas (2003) an exposé about prostitution in Guatemala, was launched with a solo show at Ricco Maresca Gallery, New York City. Ken Johnson of The New York Times reviewed his work as “stunning, powerfully theatrical and visually lush.”


While still a student in London, Hans Neleman established a name for himself as a commercial photographer, shooting music album covers and editorial assignments. Wishing to expand his personal career horizons beyond Europe, he came to the United States.  After graduating with a master’s degree from New York University, Neleman opened his first studio in New York’s meatpacking district. At a time when most photographers were specializing, he used his large format cameras for both still life and portraiture. Neleman produced ad campaigns and directed commercials for clients including: AT&T, American Express, Coca-Cola, IBM, Nike, Adidas, Sony, Hershey’s, Lexus and many more.


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