Rob Vermeer

Born on the 3rd of August 1945 in Haarlemmermeer, Zwanenburg, The Netherlands only son of Elizabeth Alberta Van Waveren-Vermeer and Johannes Pieter Vermeer. When his father got offered a job at the department of statistics of The Netherlands Antillen, Rob Vermeer and his mother migrated to Curaçao at the young age of two. His mother got offered a job as the manager of “Pasanggrahan Royal Guest House” in Aruba, which hosted different government officials and became the guest house for governmental employees from The Netherlands Antilles.
After finishing high school, Rob decided to pursue a career in photography by attending the then titled “Middelbare school voor Fotografie en Foto techniek” in The Hague, which is now part of the Royal Academy in The Hague. After finishing his education, he returned to Aruba, where at the young age of twenty-five, he started his colored photo laboratory on the 3rd of August 1975 with his then business partner Marjorie Luidens which later became his wife. Checkpoint Color became the first colored photo laboratory with heavily equipped photographic facilities and the biggest studio on the island. In less than five years, they branched in more than just one central location. So, becoming the largest enterprise of colored photography on the island. The biggest client of Kodak in the Caribbean.

They became the main photographic center for all influential affairs on the island. Among covering all the main events on the island, they also captured photographic images for the Aruba Tourism Industry, now known as ATA (Aruba Tourism Authority). From Royal visitations to religious affairs to the biggest festivity on the island, namely Carnival. Checkpoint Color used their facilities to their utmost potential to create very minimalistic studio photography that involved the experimentation with light and its result in black and white photography using mainly Hasselblad technology. Specialized in: industry, architecture, fashion, aerial photography, and reports.

The Aruban community has a very nostalgic and sentimental connection with Checkpoint Color. It became a house of memories, where an entire lifetime got documented and stored. In Aruba, it became the studio for capturing the baptism ceremonies, first communions, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, and even funerals. All the main stages of life -rites of passages- were documented by Checkpoint Color.
Thus Checkpoint Color pierced through all the sectors of the island: the social, political, economical, and cultural affairs. Anthropologically speaking, it holds a substantial overview of the development of Aruba through modern times, based on the epoch they covered. This gives us a fountain of memory to work with, showcasing the shifting of the island’s identity and progress throughout the last five decades.

Rob Vermeer Photo Collection is an initiative by the curator Nelson Gonzalez. It allows us to provide a platform for the legacy generated by one of the Aruban pioneers in the photo industry. Hopefully, this will become the pillar for a hopefully full-running creative industry in the making. They gained the trust of a large part of the population from the island by perpetuating time and space and capturing the essence of half a century.