learned the most important and basic ingredients of concerned-photography
from her mentor, Magnum-photographer Burt Glinn in New York. She worked
as his assistant for over a year (1993), while studying at the International
Center of Photography. At the same time she started her first long-term
project in Harlem
with inner-city kids and the Community Affairs Police. Soon afterwards,
she got her first assignments in New York and from magazines in Holland.
with Shirley’s Jewish background the focus of her journalistic-eye
was already turned to the troubled area of Israel
from the start of her career. In 1996 she set up base in Amsterdam,
but spent most of her time in Israel working on her self-assigned
project ‘Children of Hope’, that resulted three years
later in her first photo-book,
published in Holland under the title ‘Kinderen van de Hoop’.
The Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam presented a selection of this
Another important focus of Shirley’s work is aimed at children in difficult circumstances, believing hope for change still lies in a child’s smile. It is this smile she searches for in self-assigned projects like Harlem and assignments for Unicef, Foster Parents, SamSam and Warchild.
Since 2002, Shirley is also a documentary film-maker and director of television and radio broadcasts.