Mitchel van Essen is a documentary photographer and CCA research affiliate from the Netherlands. As a strong believer of fostering creativity through personal pursuits, van Essen always tends to focus on the unknown and has used his camera to do so while traveling the world, working as both a camera-journalist and photographer. He has worked alongside award-winning journalist and filmmaker Johann Abrahams, who is also the one that introduced him to the small village Genadendal (South Africa) for the first time back in 2013.

After graduating with a bachelor of Journalism degree at the University of Amsterdam, van Essen completed the documentary project 'The Valley of Grace'. Mitchel first visited Genadendal during a six-month internship in South Africa in 2013, upon his return to the country he returned to Genadendal to further his research on the history of the missionary town and shot the series, 'Valley of Grace'.

The project has been exhibited at multiple venues in Amsterdam and is now on display at the University of Pretoria (South-Africa) as a research project in collaboration with the Centre for Curating the Archives and Dr. Siona O'Connell (Towards Freedom II).

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