Van Otteren is a professional photographer who travels the world creating unique images that are housed in the collections of leading museums on three continents. Her first passions were riding her horses and dance. As an adult she lived for a number of years in the Himalayas and the Middle East where she studied various disciplines in philosophy and first explored portrait photography. In the 1980s Van worked as a photographer in Manhattan, but since she was seeking a more peaceful environment to pursue her artwork, she chose to move to the English countryside in 1989. Almost as soon as she arrived, her work was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London; and within that same year, she created precedent law by becoming the first photographer ever to be granted United Kingdom artist's working visa. For the next 10 years she created her art in France and in England, finally returning to live in the United States in the late 1990s.
Van has been included in Who’s Who in American Women and Who’s Who in America since 2005. In 2004, Barnes & Noble published her first photography book titled “Heart of the Horse.” She’s currently working on another book of Great Thinkers and Writers. Her chosen medium of expression is light. In her black-and-white work she uses the camera to capture the contrasts and variations of darkness and lightness emanating from her compositions. She then moves to the darkroom where she paints with her hands. Her hands work in balance between her intellectual, logical mind her and emotional intuitive self.