Flokje van Lith's portraits of a subdued mood depict universal emotive states such as sorrow, solitude and melancholy and act as counterweight to our turbulent times. Inspired by personal childhood memories and temporary muses whom she encounters by chance, her images allude to the kind of parallel worlds young women can inhabit. In one telling reminiscence of childhood, Van Lith is playing a secret self-invented game in which she buries her dolls and fantasizes that being under ground opens the doors to parallel universes. These imagined parallel worlds are part of what she recreates in her contemporary portraiture. She is always striving to capture true emotions revealed by adolescent girls through their gaze, posture and gesture – against backgrounds resonating with their expression.

Aside from childhood memories, Van Lith finds inspiration in the formal qualities and emotional substance of the portraits done by Flemish Primitives and Italian Renaissance masters. Photographing her muses and backgrounds in interior settings allows Van Lith to take full advantage of the incidence of light and of chiaroscuro. She uses a medium-format camera for its ability to record in great detail. During post-production she continues to labor over images for weeks and often months on end, until she arrives at the perfect marriage of models and the carefully chosen environments of decay. In short, her work can be characterized as painting with photography.