Jacquie Maria Wessels was born in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands, and presently lives and works in Amsterdam. Wessels started her photographic career in 1981 in Brussels where she worked for two years as an assistant at a renowned photo studio. After Brussels, Wessels moved to Amsterdam where she studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam between 1985 and 1990 in the photography and drawing department. During her studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Wessels did an exchange program at the Quicksilver Place Academy of Arts in London, focussed on painting/drawing. Eventually photography proved to be the best medium for Wessels to express her ideas, nevertheless her photographs have often a painterly beauty.
Wessels has developed into an autonomous/documentary photographer who prefers to delve deeply into a subject over a long period. Her subjects often serve as a framework for investigating the diverse social situations in which people find themselves. During Wessels studies Social Psychology (2004-2007) at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam and the following years she travelled all over the world to discover new social surroundings.
Currently Wessels is working on the ongoing project 'Garage Stills'. For this series she visits auto repair garages around the world discovering different shapes, objects and textures in this environment, dominated by men, that is so utterly new to her. In the unique interiors of the old garages, she arranges her newly discovered materials in such a way as to create images reminiscent of a collage.
An earlier Wessels project is 'Cityscapes + Birdmen' for which she immersed herself in the fascinating world of tough Surinamese birdmen and made cityscapes in which typical Surinamese murals dominate. Recently, this series was on show in the Photo Route Bijlmer, an outdoor exhibition with 50 large format photographs in Amsterdam Zuid-Oost and last year in a solo exhibition in the Surinamese Museum in Paramaribo. These series appeared in 2010 in the photo book 'Cityscapes + Birdmen', published by Voetnoot publishers in Antwerp Belgium. The book won two final awards in the international book awards (USA).
Wessels is always looking for new forms to tell her story. In her investigations she makes use of portraits, city scenes, landscapes and also - for example in the project ‘Living Spaces’- of montages. Other Wessels projects are amongst others 'Memory Master', 'Street Portraits' and 'Eating in Public Spaces'
Among the venues in which her work has appeared are the Amsterdam Bijlmer (NL): outdoor exhibition Photo Route Bijlmer, Photo Basel (CH), the Photography and Visual Arts Festival Encontros da Imagem in Braga (PT), Surinaams Museum in Paramaribo (SR), Museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen (NL), Museum IJsselstein (NL), Museum of Photography Thessaloniki (GR), YiPArt Photography auction at Christie’s Amsterdam (NL), PhotoBiennale Greece (GR), Noorderlicht Photo Festival in Groningen (NL), New York Photo Festival (US), Gallery Carte Blanche San Francisco (US), Naarden Photo Festival (NL), Corcoran Gallery Washington (US), Gallery Cultural Speech Amsterdam (NL), Galerie Baudelaire Antwerp (BE), Municipal Museum Arnhem (NL), Amsterdam Municipal Archive (NL), the Historical Museum in Amsterdam (NL) and diverse (inter)national Art Fairs.
Wessels works are in the following collections: Huis Marseille - Museum for Photography Amsterdam, Surinaams Museum in Paramaribo (Suriname), Province of Noord-Holland Department of Art and Culture, District Westerpark Amsterdam, Municipal Archives of Utrecht, Municipal Archives of Amsterdam, Humanitas Foundation, RCA Amsterdam, Galerie Baudelaire Collection, Amsterdam SBK and various private collections.
Her work was granted by the Amsterdam Fund for Art & Municipal Archives of Amsterdam: Eating in public Places; the Province of North Holland: Living Spaces; the Photography Foundation in Utrecht(SFU): Gardens in Utecht, and others.