Ria van Dijk – The Woman Who Shoots Herself Shooting

It’s not unusual to have photographs of yourself taken every year. But in the case of Ria van Dijk it is, because she’s in the exact same pose in each of the pictures – shooting a target. The 92-year-old from Tilburg, Holland has been going to funfair shooting galleries every year since 1936, and has won the prize every single time – a photograph of herself shooting.

Shooting galleries at fairs are set up in such a way that when the target is hit, it triggers the shutter of a camera. The result is a photograph in which the viewer is in the position of the target. The picture is the prize that participants win for their efforts. Even before she participated in the shooting gallery, Ria had plenty of practice at home, as a child. Along with her brother, she used to shoot at a target with air guns in the garden of her home. She says they would do this just for fun. So when she went to the fair at age 16, her friends encouraged her to give the shooting game a try. She won the picture on the first shot, and went on to win another one. Ria went back to the fair a year later to win another picture and that was when it all began.


The very first shot of the summer of 1936 shows Ria in short hair and a long overcoat, surrounded by her friends. Her collection now consists of 69 photographs. The only years she missed were those of the war, when all fairs were cancelled. Throughout the pictures, only one thing remains consistent – Ria’s pose when she’s aiming for the target. Otherwise, the people around her, hairstyles and clothing, and her own ageing, are a testament to the changing times.


Ria’s unique photographs have now been compiled into a book called the Almost Every Picture series; it is the 7th book in the series. Published by advertising agency KesselsKramer, the books depict one subject through a body of photographs. Several of the photographs in the book have already been published in Dutch newspapers, and Ria is a local celebrity of sorts. Interestingly, she says she doesn’t really spend too much money on her hobby. “I shoot until I get a photo. But I don’t spend more than about 10 Euros.” If she’s not able to make the shot, she will return the next day to try again.


Ria is completely undeterred by her age, and does not plan to stop her picture series anytime soon. “I can’t wait for this year now,” are her precise words.









The In Almost Every Picture series can be purchased online at KesselKramer Publishing