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An Elementary School Class Photo in the Style of ‘The Nightwatch’ by Rembrandt



School portraits aren’t usually the result of creative photo concepts, but photographer Krijn Westerburgen was recently able to flex his creative muscles for an elementary school class photo in the Netherlands. He photographed the students in the style of a Rembrandt painting.

Westerburgen is the official school photographer for the OBS Bibit school in Tilburg, where both his kids attend. Arts teacher Fred van Essen wanted to make art interesting for his students, so he asked Westerburgen to help make a portrait in the style of the painting “The Nightwatch”:


Essen chose 2 of his classes of 11-year-old students to participate in the effort, and the teacher himself painted the background by hand to mimic the look of the famous painting:


In “The Nightwatch,” “a guide is displayed where all people represent a certain task,” Westerburgen tells PetaPixel. To reflect this, the photographer divided the children into groups to reflect recognizable themes: sports, knowledge, art, music, and crafts.

The kids chose their own props to make these themes visually clear.

Here are the two class portraits that resulted from the project:



“The vast amount of black and dark shades in the final photograph/Nightwatch is very intense,” says Westerburgen. “So the trick is to emphasize the light on the faces and have a large contrast to ensure authenticity.”

You can find larger versions of these photos in this blog post.

Image credits: Photographs by Krijn Westerburgen and used with permission