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18 September 2021 – Happy scene seen at Unseen

Unseen 2021 was back this last weekend, after a dry period due to COVID and some financial difficulties. The new edition was still located at the iconic Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam, on a somewhat smaller scale but with a wealth of interesting galleries and a tremendous riches of artists. Above and beyond the usual selection of straight-in-your-face crude sexual content, bright highly saturated colourful living room pictures and empty architectural structures, the selection offered several young, mainly female, talented artists with a different vision. I was particularly touched by the works by Ilona Langbroek, Mouna Saboni, Sara Imloul, Lisa Sartorio and Chieko Shiraishi. Across borders, cultures and generations, those women show, in my humble opinion, a true talent and a unique approach to photography and story telling. Lisa Sartorio uses existing photographs and brings them to life – a life of destruction – with her work with paper, textures and structures, leading to a stunning effect of buildings silently exploding. Chieko Shiraishi brings to life the sophistication of Japan through her landscapes involving deers in winter in her Shikawatari series: pure and clean lines, subtle greys and blacks, tending towards abstraction and a Japanese perfection. Mouna Saboni and Ilona Langbroek, both seek their own identity, one through poetry and photography, using traditional middle-Eastern portraits and revisiting them with her own poetry, while the other shows intimate and nostalgic views of a past forever lost in the turmoil of a colonial past. Sara Imloul revisits the old technique of calotype to bring to life a deep black and white contrasted intimate universe. The men are also present in my own selection. For instance I noted the “Borderline” work of Paul D’Haese, created while hiking along the northern French coast, emphasising the edge between inhabited human-made landscape and nature. Talking about emptiness, I could not forget the “Past and Present” series shown by the Galerie Julian Sander. Julian’s great grand father, August Sander, was a tremendous German portraitist in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s. He left an incredible and remarkable body of work depicting his contemporaries in their every day life and environment, whether it is at home, at work, in formal settings, indoors or outdoors. Beyond that, and I could have stopped right there and be happy with this discovery, an American photographer, Michael Somoroff, took August Sander’s photographs and removed the people from the pictures, to show empty settings and landscapes, workplaces and living rooms. The series “Past and Present” in its entirety comprises 40 photographs of August Sander and their “empty” counterparts by Somoroff, to make an amazing ensemble where the past echoes the present and vice versa. A stunning presentation that will resonate long within me.

Le Touquet, 2020, From the Borderline series (2016 – 2020) ©Paul D’Haese Hangar, Brussels, Belgium
Longing for Insulinde #3, 2021 ©Ilona Langbroek Bildhalle, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Ceux que nos yeux cherchent #14, 2020 ©Mouna Saboni Galerie 127 Marrakech – Morocco
Autoportrait II ( L’oeil), 2014 ©Sara Imloul Galerie 127 Marrakech – Morocco
untitled #34 (Eritrean war), Ici ou ailleurs series ©Lisa Sartorio Galerie Binome
Paris – France
Small-town Women (I/6/10,’), 1913, 1990 ©August Sander Galerie Julian Sander
Köln – Germany
Small-Town Women, 2007 ©Michael Somoroff Galerie Julian Sander
Köln – Germany
Hashirikotan, Betsukai-cho, Hokkaido, 2017 ©Chieko Shiraishi Galerie Écho 119
Paris – France

9 September 2021 – Tokyo top in Paris

Two giants of the Japanese photography meet in Paris, across times. Daido Moriyama ans Shomei Tomatsu conceived a joint (large) exhibit before Tomatsu’s death, to show their love of Tokyo, the city-world / world-city, as two faces of the same coin. The approach of both photographers is quite different, as can be experienced on two separate levels of the beautifully designed MEP building. The location is the same, like Shinjuku, but the visions of the two artists are quite different. In a nutshell, soft vs hard. Tomatsu’s photogaphs are soft in their approach, their rendition. It shows close up of people embracing, landscapes or people engulfed in artistic vagueness. Moriyama is in your face, with strong – highly contrasted grainy blacks, movements, furor, sex. Which Tokyo do you prefer?

©Shomei Tomatsu
©Shomei Tomatsu
©Daido Moriyama
©Daido Moriyama

8 September 2021 – Paris revisited

Revoir Paris with Henri Cartier Bresson is always an enchantment. The musée Carnavalet, a prestigious location in the heart of Paris, gives him the space and surroundings to shine. HCB’s images are generally well known and often admired for what they are: chefs d’oeuvre of composition, decisive moments depicting a situation, an encounter, instants of humanity. This time, the grand exhibit describes the encounter of HCB with Paris or Paris with HCB, from his origins as photographer in the 1930’s to his latest works as a drawer. Paris in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s. A Paris that was and is no longer. Despite the photographs seen so many times before in previous exhibits and in books, the curator was able to also present a tremendous body of works less known and seen before. I was touched by those photographs as well (below) and remarks, such as this comment by HCB himself when meeting Irène and Frédéric Jolliot-Curie “I rang the bell, the door opened, I saw this [the picture he took of them], I shot the image and said hello afterwards; it was not very polite”, or this dedication by Jean Cocteau on one of HCB’s books “you know very well that your book is a masterpiece, but I am happy to tell you so”… precious.

Boulevard de la Villette, 1955 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos
Under the underground metro, Boulevard de la Chapelle, 1951 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos
Boulevard Pasteur, 1955 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos
Window Fitter, 1951 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos
Place Pigalle, 1932 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos

7 September 2021 – Salgado’s adagio for Amazonia

Diving into the Amazônia of Sebastião Salgado and Jean-Michel Jarre at the Philarmonie de Paris today. As always with Salgado, it is with an overwhelming wealth (200) of huge incredible, almost unreal, black and white photographs that Salgado welcomes us into “his” Amazônia. This time, he has teamed up with Jean-Michel Jarre who delivers music on par with the majestic landscapes. Breathtaking images taken from impossible positions, heavenly skies, massive clouds, infinite meanders of waters crisscrossing the horizon, flying rivers at a continental scale. It is gorgeous, it is fantastic, it is incredible. But, what makes this exhibit uniquely touching is not the trees, the mountains, the river or even the impeccable, almost too perfect, technique (with no doubts, unique means) but rather the people, the inhabitants of the forest, yet another endangered species. We meet Adriele da Silva André Macuxi, Typaramatxia Awá, Bela Yawanawá, Sína, the family of Gabriel and many others, and with Salgado,while they stare back at us, we all wonder what the future will bring to these people. 

Mariud Archipelago, Middle Negro River, State of Amazonas, 2019 ©Sebastião Salgado
Gabriel and other members of the Suruwahá, Suruwahá Indigenous Territory, State of Amazonas, 2017 ©Sebastião Salgado
Sína, Village of Maronal, Valley of Javari, Marubo Indigenous Territory, State of Amazonas, 2018 ©Sebastião Salgado
Bela Yawanawá, Rio Gregório Indigenous Territory, State of Acre, 2016 ©Sebastião Salgado
Adriele da Silva André Macuxi, Raposa-Serra do Sol Macuxi Indigenous Territory, State of Roraima, 1998 ©Sebastião Salgado
Typaramatxia Awá and Kiripy-tan, Awá-Guajá Indigenous Territory, State of Maranhão, 2013 ©Sebastião Salgado

6 September 2021 – Marc Riboud – Possible Stories

We were fortunate enough to catch the very last day of a tremendous exhibition of the work of Marc Riboud in the no less fantastic musée Guimet. Riboud gave his oeuvre to the museum and as an homage, the museum organised a grand retrospective of his work. And grand it is! With an impossible title “Histoires Possibles”, we go back to the early 50’s in Lyon where Marc was born, to Paris and his painter of the Eiffel tower, before starting with him his grand tour of Asia, through Afghanistan, India, China and Japan. A delight for the eyes. a marvellous display of his prints with an impeccable lighting. Marc Riboud’s most well known photographs are on display of course but i chose but a few of some that are possibly less known but significant of his eye: humour with a profound respect for the people he met and a humanistic view of his contemporaries.

Kabul Airport, Afghanistan, 1955 ©Marc Riboud
The Dhotti, on the shores of the Ganges in Benares, India, 1956 ©Marc Riboud
Darjeeling, India, 1956 ©Marc Riboud
Shanghai Ballet Dancer, 1971 ©Marc Riboud

1 September 2021 – Isabel Muñoz, 1001 Spanish in Japan in France

Staying in Provence was a good occasion to discover the newly opened Centre of Photography of Mougins. A marvellous building in a remarkable town on the heights of Cannes. The first exhibition displayed here on the two levels of the building is “1001” by Isabel Muñoz. Isabel travelled many times to Japan and brought back haunted photographs. Portraits of nude Yakuza, Butoh dancers and scenes of shibari. A very disturbing and unsettling but pleasant trip through the Japan you will never experience.

Series: Beyond the Goal, 2019 ©Isabel Muñoz
Series: Beyond the Goal, 2019 ©Isabel Muñoz
Series: Man is an Island, 2017 ©Isabel Muñoz

26 August 2021 – Those who repair…

Valérie Couteron spent time at the Protéor plant in Seurre, near Dijon, France to take portraits of the employees. Ordinary men and women engaged in an extraordinary work: designing protheses for handicapped people. Couteron seized their profound humanity, mainly focusing on the eyes of her subjects. The result of her work is exposed in a XIIth Century romanesque church in the heart of Dijon, the Saint-Philibert church.

©Valérie Couteron
©Valérie Couteron
©Valérie Couteron
©Valérie Couteron

24 August 2021 – La reine Leroy

Another coup de ❤️ for the poignant photographs of Catherine Leroy and respect for the woman. She was a war photo reporter with an incredible story, forgotten for too long and far less recognised for her tremendous value than her male counterparts. Henri Huet, Larry Burrows, Don McCullin, Tim Page, Horst Faas or Gilles Caron have been long recognised internationally. Catherine has been somehow forgotten. Le Monde just wrote a long paper on her. A dotation Catherine Leroy is rehabilitating her work and life. The next step would be a book presenting and praising her work. “Une sacrée bonne femme”, as we say respectfully in French. She deserves the title of queen of photo journalism.

US navy Corpsman Vernon Wike by the side of a mortally injured Marine, Hill 881, April-May 1967 ©Dotation Catherine Leroy
Vietnam 1966-1968 ©Dotation Catherine Leroy
Under fire near the DMZ, a Marine holds a wounded comrade, Operation Prairie, 1967 ©Dotation Catherine Leroy

22 August 2021 – When two masters meet

Photography is all about how you look at things. One subject, two different pairs of eyes and you end up with very different pictures. Both Henri Cartier-Bresson and Fred Stein strolled around cities, whether it was Paris or New York, with their eyes wide open and a camera, the same for that matter… a Leica. Henri Cartier-Bresson invented the notion of “moment décisif”. Fred Stein did not, but eventually had a similar approach. Across times and space, those two masters met without possibly knowing of each other. I tried to illustrate my “theory” with some examples among a rich iconography for both artists.

Bruxelles, 1932 ©Henri Cartier-Bresson
Hole in a fence, Paris, 1936 ©Fred Stein
Rue Mouffetard, Paris, 1954 ©Henri Cartier-Bresson
Man with Bottles, Paris, 1938 ©Fred Stein
André Malraux, Paris, 1968 ©Henri Cartier-Bresson
André Malraux, 1934 ©Fred Stein

14 August 2021 Fred Stein: No stone left unturned

Another late and wonderful discovery for me at the Joods historisch museum of Amsterdam: the photos of Fred Stein. From Dresden to Paris and then New York, Fred Stein enchants us with his account of his time, mainly through the 1930’s and 1940’s. Wandering through the city, capturing moments and people in their daily lives. He then focused on making portraits of his contemporaries. A wonderful gallery of known and less known figures, mainly in the US and in Germany. The magnificent exhibit in Amsterdam is with freshly reprinted photogrpahs and it gives us a vibrant and broad overview of his work, forgotten for too long a time. I am not sure Fred Stein ever met Henri Cartier-Bresson but many of his pictures echoe those of the master. Definitely worth a visit!

Three Chairs, Paris, 1936 ©Fred Stein
Le Gaz, Paris, 1935 ©Fred Stein
Newspaper Hat, New York, 1946 ©Fred Stein
Chinatown, New York, 1944 ©Fred Stein
Hannah Arendt, 1944 ©Fred Stein
David Ben-Gurion, 1959 ©Fred Stein

25 July 2021 – Posthuma posthumous

The giant of Dutch photography Eddy Posthuma de Boer passed away today, at age 90. He was a photographer with love for the people he was portraying. We were enchanted by his work when we first discovered it last year. I had the chance to see a large exhibit at Fotomuseum The Hague and reported it here. His pictures, full of a humanism since then long gone in the streets from our cities, will survive him for ever.

©Eddy Posthuma de Boer
©Eddy Posthuma de Boer
©Eddy Posthuma de Boer

17 July 2021 – a low key FFN2021

The yearly visit to the FotoFestival Naarden edition 2021 was a disappointment. At least, the offering in the vesting Naarden was just so-so. I don’t know what it was… a lower scale display, some local photographers, the topics, the artists… A few jewels were displayed in the gardens of the Comenius museum, like the works by Frank Rentink and Wim Banning. After a couple of hours of strolling through the beautiful location, I thought this was it for this time… But away from the vesting, there was a real exhibit in a former garden center, transformed for the occasion, before complete demolition, into a gallery. I was particularly attracted to the series “Fica Suave” from Sabine van Wechem. Sabine followed a young girl, Thay, in her daily life in the favela Vila Cruzeiro in Rio de Janeiro.I also enjoyed the haunting portraits of Maan Limburg, especially in the dimmed light of the location. Jorge Mañes Rubio, Cynthia van Elk and Milene van Arendonk also gave some remarkable pieces of work, in different styles and locations. These young artists made my day.

©Frans Rentink
©Wim Bannink
Fica Suave ©Sabine van Wechem
Fica Suave ©Sabine van Wechem
Like Stone ©Maan Limburg
Like Stone ©Maan Limburg
El Tajin ©Jorge Mañes Rubio
Demolition Derby ©Cynthia van Elk
Demolition Derby ©Cynthia van Elk
Profound Silence ©Milene van Arendonk

4 July 2021 – WorldPress Photo 2021

Sir Winston Churchill had nothing to offer to the British people but “blood, toil, tears and sweat” in a famous speech in 1940. Thats’s about what you get at each new edition of the WorldPress Photo festival in Amsterdam. It seems mankind is destined to suffer, to bleed, to cry and to sweat, over and over again. This suffering is also what gives the best pictures. The 2021 edition is no different, spanning from the absurd short war for Nagorno-Karabakh, to the massive ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut, to the demonstrations for freedom in Peru, to nature playing its own part in The Philippines. And if people live in peace, they just accumulate absurd numbers of firearms for an hypothetical protection against bad guys. There will be enough suffering to renew this yearly event for many years to come. We cannot complain as the best photojournalists will be there to give us touching, moving pictures of the human suffering.

Soldat resting in a trench, Nerkin Khndzoresk, Armenia ©Vaghinak Ghazaryan
©Valery Melnikov
©Valery Melnikov
Men direct a helicopter to drop water on the site of the explosion, 4th August ©Lorenzo Tugnoli
©Lorenzo Tugnoli
An injured man stands near the site of the explosion ©Lorenzo Tugnoli
Police forms a blockade to prevent the protesters from reaching the Peruvian Congress building in Lima, 12 November ©Ernesto Benavides
Trees stand covered in volcanic ash, near Tall Volcano, 14 January ©Ezra Acayan
Torrell Jasper (35) in the backyard of his house in Schriever, La ©Gabriele Galimberti
Parker Fawbush and family, in the backyard of the church where he works as a pastor, in Poseyville, In ©Gabriele Galimberti
Robert Baldwin Jr stands in his secret gunroom, behind a one-way mirror in his home ©Gabriele Galimberti

13 June 2021 – Coup de ❤️ for Lola Álvarez Bravo

I discovered a few photographs made by Lola Álvarez Bravo, during the exhibit around Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. A lifelong friend of Frida Kahlo, she was taught photography by her husband Manuel Álvarez Bravo, continued as his assistant, but soon enough became recognized as a photojournalist and independent artist. Her photo archive is located at the Center of Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, USA. I particularly enjoyed her “burial in Yalalag” that echoed for me the “Srnigar, Kashmir” picture of Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Burial in Yalalag, 1946 Lola Álvarez Bravo
Srinagar, Kashmir, 1948 ©Henri Cartier-Bresson

12 June 2021 – Love is in the air

After several months of closure and a delayed start, the Cobra museum in Amstelveen has finally opened its doors to a large exhibit around Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. “A love revolution” covers a wealth of Mexican masterpieces from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman collection. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are totally unforgettable but another couple is also represented: Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo, photographers of the Mexican identity. So with the Gelman, the Rivera/Kahlo and the Álvarez Bravo, a family affair. Frida was admired and photographed during her tumultuous relatively short life. Some of these were displayed to bring some context to the paintings exhibited. Photos by Gisèle Freud, Lucienne Bloch, Manuel and Lola among others.

Frida and Diego during a Mexican labor anti-fascist demonstration in Mexico City, 1936 ©Anonymous
Frida and Dr. Farill, 1951 ©Gisèle Freud
Frida at the Society of Modern Art, Picasso exhibit Mexico, ca. 1944 ©Manuel Álvarez Bravo
Frida at the Barbizon Plaza Hotel, 1933 ©Lucienne Bloch
Frida Kahlo, 1944 ©Lola Álvarez Bravo

12 June 2021 – Ellen Thorbecke’s China

The Nederlands Fotomuseum reopened with the great promise of the honour gallery of the Dutch photography with its “99 iconic photos”, gratified by the presence of the king, himself, opening it. But at the same time, almost unnoticed in the basement, another exhibit also started on June 9th: that of Ellen Thorbecke’s China. And that is a real delight for the eyes and the true discovery of the day, combined with a coup de ❤️. Ellen Thorbecke, a German by birth, was a true 20th century woman. With a classical education in languages and piano, she further studied economy and worked as a freelance journalist. After meeting her second husband Willem J.R. Thorbecke in 1930 while working at the Dutch embassy in Berlin, she started photography with a Rolleiflex. She followed her husband to Beijing in 1931, not just as an expat wife, but with a journalist contract to report in writing and images on life in China. And what a photographer and a story teller! Ellen Thorbecke is far less known and recognized than Henri Cartier-Bresson but her work on China is, certainly for me, of the same quality, with a rare talent and as additional twist, a closer, more feminine approach of her subjects, as shown for instance in her portraits of Chinese figures. The large exhibit displayed in Rotterdam mixes original prints, extracts from her delightful books and beautiful new prints, as the museum is also the curator of her large fund of 6×6 negatives. Mainly focusing on China, Ellen also spent some time in Hong Kong – see her hilarious picture of the diverse Hong Kong police – and traveled back via Paris where she spent some time as well in 1936. A book was issued at the occasion of this marvelous exhibit, which found in the meantime its way to my private library…

The envoy, 1931 ©Ellen Thorbecke
The streets of China, 1931 ©Ellen Thorbecke
The streets of China, 1931 ©Ellen Thorbecke
The Manchu Duke , 1935 ©Ellen Thorbecke
The industrialist, 1935 ©Ellen Thorbecke
The theater-manager, 1935 ©Ellen Thorbecke
The monk, 1935 ©Ellen Thorbecke
Police, Hong Kong, 1939 ©Ellen Thorbecke

11 June 2021 – At last!

After seven long months without museums and exhibitions, the curse has finally ended and all museums have reopened, with some drastic measures to prevent the bugs from jumping from one visitor to another. To break this cultural scarcity, an early  visit to the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam was a must, especially since the king opened a new setup and exhibit a short while ago, the same week. The fotomuseum is expanding, which is a good thing, doubling his surface within the same premise. The permanent space boasts a “gallery of honour of the Dutch photography”, showing 99 photographs spanning over the end of the 19th to the early 21st centuries. The 99 photographs were carefully selected by a panel of “experts” for their “social and artistic impact, and are meaningful for photography in The Netherlands”. What to think about it? First of all, such a selection is by definition completely subjective. Some of the early photographs are clearly presented first and foremost because of their historical meaning, like a tiny dark portrait of Charlotte Asser, taken in 1842, or this couple from Paramaribo, Suriname in 1846, a then Dutch colony in the new world. Some are there for their scientific significance, like a photography of the moon dated 1862 or a microscopic shot of a plant stem dated 1873. Some for their social resonance, like these photographs of the Dolle Minas demonstrating for birth control and abortion rights in 1970, or the South Moluccans, photographed in colours in Tiel in 1970 by no less than Ed van der Elsken. Some are there because of the renown of the photographer (what makes Erwin Olaf “one of the greatest photographers of the century”?, who decided that? His bankable value on the market?), some because they are simply a reflection of the period, like Snoop Dogg from 2014. But for sure, a lot of them are there NOT for their artistic content. I could make my own gallery of honour of Dutch photography. It would be certainly centered around Ed van der Elsken (two photos here), Cas Oorthuys (two photos) and Koen Wessing (one photograph) and a few others. Beyond the somewhat pompous title of this gallery, this visit made however for a pleasant promenade throughout the century, with some unexpected jewels discovered, lots of rejections and a few coups de coeur. I deliver herewith some of the photos that touched me more than the others. Why those? The portrait of the hungry lady is haunting, her eyes empty, focusing on feeding herself with a meager piece of bread. The suffering is present. Pinochet, for his irresistible mugshot, the mother with children, yet again a moment of dispair captured so elegantly by the photographer. The hewer in a coal mine and Kennedy in a ball, for their similar expressions of satisfaction, and yet, such world-apart from each other and the construction of the dam, for its echoing of the painter of the Eiffel Tower by Marc Riboud… my own gallery of honour.

Hunger Winter, Wittenburg, Amsterdam, 1944 ©Cas Oorthuys
Portrait of General Pinochet with officers, before the holy mass in honour of Chile’s Independence Day, Santiago, Chile, 1973 ©Chas Gerretsen
Mother with children during the Watersnoodramp, Stavenisse 1953 ©Ed van Wijk
Hewer at the coalface, Oranje-Nassau mines, Herleen, 1953 ©Nico Jesse
John F. Kennedy, at his sister Eunice’s birthday party, London, 1939 ©Peter Hunter
Construction of the Haringvliet Dam, Zeeland, 1961 ©Aart Klein

14 April 2021 – Jenny de Vasson

14 April 2021 – Jenny de Vasson

A friend of mine, Hugues, made me aware of a passed exhibit I missed because of COVID. It is now a virtual exhibit on the site of the  bibliothèque numérique patrimoniale de la Ville de Versailles, La Sirène. Jenny de Vasson was a rich young woman living in the XIXth century, near Versailles. She was one of the first street photographers, a far predecessor of Robert Doisneau. She did that for fun mostly and left behind a wealth of photographs of her times, the people she met ad the places she visited. This is a wonderful walk through a distance time and space and a new window opened into the past.

Dans la rue, Catane, Sicile, Italie, 1906 © G. Wolkowitsch
Les jumelles, Varennes, Fougerolles, Indre, 1914 © G. Wolkowitsch
Le Carroir Doré – Romorantin-Lanthenay, Loir et Cher, 1904 © G. Wolkowitsch
Dans la rue Montluçon, Allier, 1905 © G. Wolkowitsch

9 January 2021 – Lockdown by night

What to do when you are bored and in lockdown? When you don’t have any new perspectives of discovering new horizons, new people and exotic landscapes and situations? Well… you put your coat on and get out to photography the beauty of your immediate surroundings day after day, preferably during the blue hour, at dusk, when no one is around. Carla Matthee, born in South Africa but living in Leiden since 2004, has created a beautiful series of intimate portraits of Leiden that can be visited on her website.

Breestraat ©Carla Matthee
©Carla Matthee
©Carla Matthee

13 December 2020 – Ulay was here and so were we…

I took the opportunity of (still) open musea to visit the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam before it shuts down again for 5 weeks… Among a wealth of modern and contemporary art of the highest quality, a few photographs of their large collection are exhibited, among which four pictures by Cor Jaring, Who was very present in the Amsterdam of the 60’s. His photographs of John and Onno remained very famous to this day. At the same occasion, I browsed through a special exhibit of the recently passed Ulay. I cannot say I was impressed. Ulay was certainly an artist of his own but he existed for me though his relationship with Marina Abramović, present throughout as well.

Association of Visual Artists protesting the construction of the van Gogh museum, 1969 ©Cor Jaring
Phil Bloom, the first nude girl on Dutch TV, in VPRO’s program “Whoops” ©Cor Jaring
Bed Peace, Hilton Hotel Amsterdam, 1969 ©Cor Jaring

9 December 2020 – Coup de ❤️ for Didier Bizet

I discovered the photos of Didier Bizet by chance, while browsing the emails I get from “L’oeil de la photographie”. I particularly fell in love with his “the big Lie” series of photographs of North Korea. As he puts it, it is “a trip to another world”. But Didier Bizet went further than the typical lines of obedient workers and students, the empty squares and the monumental statues of the Kim dynasty. A small, almost imperceptible, twist if you don’t pay attention and his vision of North Korea reveals the deadly absurdity of this regime. I let you discover it in the few extracts below and strongly invite you to explore his work further. Enjoy the massive pingpong player, the perfect student with a bubble gum, the AC/DC piano lesson and these two employees “steeling” the hammer…

©Didier Bizet
©Didier Bizet
©Didier Bizet
©Didier Bizet

5 December 2020 – A Crazy World for Sure

Ed van der Elsken is back, at the Rijksmuseum this time. I always wondered how he “treated” Japan during his stays there in 1959-1960 and then in the second half of the 1980’s before his death in 1990. I was curious to see his “blessed eyes” fall upon this culture, so strange for us, so difficult to apprehend and to understand. His book about Japan “de ontdekking van Japan” remains almost impossible to get, so getting an insight on his vision of Japan, for a passionate lover of Japan like me, was crucial. Van der Elsken took the time, in Japan, to photograph not only the streets, the youth but also the a-typical Japanese: the yakuza, the sumos and the geishas. The result is stunning and triggers this deep desire to go back there very soon. The Rijksmuseum put together a large exhibition of his work, titled “a crazy world”, not only to show his Japanese pictures but mainly to get a deeper insight into the way he worked: multiple reframing of the same picture, to get the perfect balance for a publication or an exhibition. But what remains remarkable of Van der Elsken’s work, and for that matter for all the artists of that time, is to be seen on the several contact sheets exhibited: not many shots of the same subject, one, two, maybe three. We are far from the hundreds of shots one can take with a digital camera. One, two, three shots and the magic happens. Ed van der Elsken hd undoubtedly “blessed eyes” to get the decisive moment.

“first picture taken in Japan, November 1959, Kobe” ©Ed van der Elsken
Girl from the refugee district with a barrel of water, Hong Kong 1959-1960 ©Ed van der Elsken
Portrait of a woman, 1984 ©Ed van der Elsken
Yakuza, Osaka, Japan, 1960 ©Ed van der Elsken
Students, Osaka, Japan, 1960 ©Ed van der Elsken
Protest against racial discrimination outside of a Woolworth store, New York, 1960 ©Ed van der Elsken
May Day demonstration, Paris, ca. 1949-1951 ©Ed van der Elsken
one of the contact sheets exhibited ©Ed van der Elsken

5 December 2020 – Wim Diepraam

I went to the Rijskmuseum in Amsterdam for yet another van der Elsken exhibit. And I got to discover Wim Diepraam as well. Diepraam left a significant legacy of documentary pictures of The Netherlands in the 50’s and later. A country that does not exist anymore. 50 years of nostalgia, 50 years of photography, exploring the deepest layers of society. The glamorous and the ordinary. An excellent photographer of his time with a lot of empathy for his subjects. A discovery.

Schilderwijk, Den Haag 1972 ©Wim Diepraam
Nickerie, Suriname 1973 ©Wim Diepraam
Maria Soledade Lima Peru 1989 ©Wim Diepraam
©Wim Diepraam

22 November 2020 – Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry continues to enchant me with his pictures. He has remained “in search of elsewhere” the title of his most recent book.

Papua New Guinea, 2017 ©Steve McCurry
Italy, 2011 ©Steve McCurry
India, 1999 ©Steve McCurry

1 November 2020 – Circle of Life

I never knew about the quaint museum of Hilversum, located in the beautiful building that used to be the townhall of the city. A large exhibition of photos by Belgian artist Lieve Blancquaert titled ‘Circle of Life’ makes use of the circular space on three stories to walk us around the circle of life, from birth to death and again. Date of birth, date of marriage, date of death summarise in few dry numbers our lives. Lives of hope, of suffering, of love, of pain, of tears and laughters. Lives of fun and sorrow, births of children and deaths of loved ones. Lieve went throughout the world, from her native Belgium to China, the USA, Ghana, Mexico, India and other places to show us that despite our differences, we all are human and we all go through the same phases of life, living them differently but none the less experiencing life in a universal way across borders, religions, social status. We are welcomed by a beautiful Japanese lady who invites us with a wink in her eye to enter the circle of life…

Nepal, District Rautahat – 2015, Chandar ©Lieve Blancquaert
Top: USA, Las Vegas – 2015 Terri & Larry, The Gun Store – Bottom: Nederland, Urk – 2014 Nelleke ©Lieve Blancquaert
USA, Las Vegas – 2015 ©Lieve Blancquaert
Indonesia, Sulawesi, Toraja – 2017 Ma’nene ©Lieve Blancquaert
Mexico, Oaxaca – 2016 (fragment) ©Lieve Blancquaert

25 October 2020 – I like to be in America…

In a large exhibit, the museum of Amersfoort shows us what America is today. “This is America Art USA today” gives us a wide vision of the America of immigrants from the South, former slaves, far away from what’s shown everyday on Fox News. From the civil right movement champions now older, to the millennial wrapped in the American flag, from the reenactment of a slave rebellion to fresh immigrants hugging each other, the USA is showing its richness, its openness, its values. Let’s hope that THIS dream will become a reality again, very very soon.

#1960Who ©Sheila Pree Bright
#1960Now ©Sheila Pree Bright
Slave Rebellion Reenactment, performance still 6, 2019 ©Dread Scott
Queer Crisis Flash Collective, 2014 ©Avram Finkelstein
Hugs not walls, 2018, Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, TX ©Monica Lozano
The camps 2019-2020, Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, TX ©Monica Lozano
The war 2008 -2016 ©Alejandro Aragón
The war 2008 -2016 ©Alejandro Aragón
Young Americans ©Sheila Pree Bright

27 October 2020 – 6 Mois… émoi…

It is never too late, one is never too old to discover a real jewel… 6 Mois “le XXI˚ siècle en images”, the 21st century in pictures. A beautiful format, a thick delivery literally full of pictures, a dream for those, like me, nostalgic of the photo reporters of the past, in these times of quickly browsing on the social networks and forgetting in the next second. This magazine is a real and rare pleasure. Browsing and dreaming through the pages in B&W and colours a moment to cherish. Thanks to Hugues for giving me this wonderful tip!

16 October 2020 – The Street Art named Desire

Visit to the newly created street art museum “straatmuseum” in Amsterdam-North in the impressive 7,000 m2 building of the former Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (NDSM) shipbuilding company. A perfect location for such a collection of art. The high ceilings make the large paintings look small. with inspiration in comics and photography, but also in history, travels, personal experience, the various collection from all over the world is deployed in a street-like fashion. the visitor walks from street to street among the panels. I was particularly impressed by “Super Nurse” by Fake (Netherlands) and by “My death dream” by Cix (Mexico) inspired by the Mayan culture. ”La deriva” by Morcky (Italy) depicts the end of a love story that occurred in Amsterdam and Helen Proctor (USA) shows us a mountain landscape of Les Alpilles. A very nice experience in this new place, relatively remote and very quiet because of the current restrictions in place.

Yuansu (2017) ©Fin DAC
It is what it is (2018) ©Ben Slow
Cubana contemporánea (2020) ©Tymon de Laat
La contemplación (2018) ©Entes
La deriva (2017) ©Morcky
Les Alpilles – mountain landscape (2020) ©Helen Proctor
Super Nurse (2020) ©Fake
My death dream (2017) ©Cix

4 October 2020 – Rotterdam at work

A large exhibit about Rotterdam at work at the Nederlands Fotomuseum. Not that the topic is exciting, but some jewels can be found in the large body of pictures presented, covering the whole 20th century. It shows a world that does not exist anymore. The modern Rotterdam harbour is high tech, the containers are moved around with computers, a society of services, of “working from home”. Difficult to imagine that only 60 – 70 years ago, a large population of workers, like this man staring at us with a cigarette pinched between his lips, lived in this busy city.

Hendrikstraat and Frederikspad, 1946 ©Rotterdam Phototechnical Department
Hendrikstraat and Frederikspad, 1946 ©Rotterdam Phototechnical Department
Hendrikstraat and Frederikspad, 1946 ©Rotterdam Phototechnical Department
Positioning of the quay-walls IJsselhaven, 1913 ©Wouter Cool jr
Preparation for wooden pavement, between 1919-1920 ©unknown
Military Supply Service St. Job, 1914-1919 ©François H. van Dijk
Steamer Germaine in dock 6, 1929 ©François H. van Dijk
Waste Food Collector, Frederikstraat, Crooswijk, 1960 ©Henk Jonker
Wood Collector, Frederikstraat, Crooswijk, 1960 ©Henk Jonker
Port Worker ca. 1952 ©Ad Windig

4 October 2020 – Somfy, Somfy not

A disappointing series of photographs at the Somfy Photography award 2020 exhibit, with a theme of “Gimme Shelter”. More on this award here. Difficult to extract appealing pictures in this group of 9 nominations of young photographers from various places in Europe. More than the pictures themselves, it is the project that is judged. I was only sensitive to some of the shots by Jordi Ruiz Cirera (Spain) and Antoinette Nausikaä (NL). “La Espera”, Cirera’s project, explores the waiting, where as in “A river runs through me”, Nausikaä explores the confrontation of nature and civilisation along the river Seine.

La Espera ©Jordi Ruiz Cirera
A river runs through me ©Antoinette Nausikaä
A river runs through me ©Antoinette Nausikaä

26 September 2020 – 5 years in 100 photos

WWII ended 75 years ago. A commemoration of 5 years of occupation of The Netherlands in Europe and Asia led to the Dutch public selecting 100 photos to represent this painful part of history. The result is a stunning exhibit in black and white and colour at the small Amsterdam Verzetsmuseum (resistance museum). It tells about ordinary people caught in extraordinary situations, violence, destruction, misery, hunger, sorrows and, retrospectively, about the absurdity of it all when, 75 years on, we are all one and we don’t spend hours and days without crossing the path of peaceful German tourists enjoying the fresh air of the North Sea beaches.

Rotterdam bombed, South Holland, Rotterdam, 1940 ©W. van der Randen
Youth for National Socialism, Groningen, 26 July 1941 ©Noord-Nederlands Persfotobureau Folkers
Military character, Friesland near Wokum, May 1942 ©unknown Photographer
Walking, Utrecht, Nachtegaalstraat, 1942 ©Nico Jesse
Colourful liberation, North-Holland, Purmerend, 5 may 1945 ©Dirk Bakker

20 September 2020 – Karl Imperator

While visiting the ‘China imagined’ exhibit in Breda, I stumbled upon (and bought in a heartbeat) what looked like a great book by a photographer I didn’t know… Carl de Keyzer. Carl visited the USSR of Gorbachev in 1989 and brought back stunning black and white pictures. The cover of his book and the topic immediately resonated in me… and I drew the parallel with the amazing photos of Henri Cartier-Bresson assembled in his 1973 ‘A propos de l’URSS’ (About Russia) but HCB reported on the URSS of Brezhnev, at the peak of the soviet power. Looking a bit further, I realised that Carl, a Belgian, was a member of Magnum… this explains that… Great photographer. I am looking forward exploring his other projects in Cuba and North Korea.

Peter and Paul Fortress, St Petersburg, Russia 1989 ©Carl de Keyzer
Peter and Paul Fortress, St Petersburg, Russia 1989 ©Carl de Keyzer
Peter and Paul Fortress, St Petersburg, Russia 1973 ©Henri Cartier-Bresson

19 September 2020 – the number is still in service at the old KPN building

The old KPN building in the centre of Breda is the perfect location for a broad exhibit of contemporary photography from around the world. Large empty rooms, high ceilings, wide windows letting a beautiful summer light bathe the ample displays. I decided to focus on two of the many photographers displayed at the occasion of this 2020 edition: “Three colours I know in this world” by the young Romanian photographer Kingsõ Bede. Kingsõ did not grow up in Ceausescu’s Romania but was marked by the traumas her parents lived through. Her pictures are haunting us long after we leave the building. Luis Cobelo comes from another part of the world, also marked by continuous traumas: Venezuela. His series Zurumbático shows bizarre situations depicted by the word itself, a mixture of dazed, bemused, stupid, melancholic, gloomy, dull, puzzling and drunk… the feeling we leave with.

Three colours I know in this world ©Kingsõ Bede
Three colours I know in this world ©Kingsõ Bede
Three colours I know in this world ©Kingsõ Bede
Zurumbático ©Luis Cobelo
Zurumbático ©Luis Cobelo

19 September 2020 – China imagined in the Church of Our Lady in Breda

An astonishing contrast at the Church of our Lady built from 1410 onwards. First and foremost the series “Watering my Horse by a Spring at the foot of the Long Wall” by Xu, Xiaoxiao who travelled 25,000 kilometers along the Long Wall to document the lives of the people she met. Xiaoxiao shows them in their daily lives and rites. Many more photos can be seen on her web site right here. In any case, she definitely is my Coup de ❤️ of this festival. Feng Li invites us to his weird White Night. After Nanjin in 2016 and Paris in 2017, he is now exhibiting in Breda. Guo Yingguang depicts the Bliss of Conformity in a poignant installation from the matchmaking corner in the People’s Park of Shanghai where desperate parents trying to find a spouse for their daughter. The church of Our Lady was caught in the statue storm (Beeldenstorm) of 1566 and became Protestant after that. Some damage is still visible today but the main statue of Virgin Mary is still intact, offering an amazing echo to the young Chinese gymnasts. We finally leave China to go back to the vibrant brabantian southern city of Breda after a farewell from two young Chinese ladies from Shanghai.

Watering my Horse by a Spring at the foot of the Long Wall ©Xu Xiaoxiao
Watering my Horse by a Spring at the foot of the Long Wall ©Xu Xiaoxiao
Watering my Horse by a Spring at the foot of the Long Wall ©Xu Xiaoxiao
Watering my Horse by a Spring at the foot of the Long Wall ©Xu Xiaoxiao
White Night ©Feng Li
White Night ©Feng Li
White Night ©Feng Li
The Bliss of Conformity ©Guo Yingguang

19 September 2020 – Weird Breda

At the occasion of Breda Photo 2020, a trip through a weird gallery of portraits by young photographers from various horizons, genders and breed. Baqteria, also known as “the Ghost rider” is from Kibera, the largest slum of Nairobi. Hatti Rees is British. Not sure if Britain is still on Earth at this point in time, after its divorce with the EU. She/he is showing disruptive auto-portraits from another galaxy. Finally Bruin Parry, a Dutch artist with Down syndrome, puts on a performance as a free-styling dancer on the Johnny Jordaanplein in Amsterdam.

The Ghost rider series ©Baqteria
The Ghost rider series ©Baqteria
The Ghost rider series ©Baqteria
©Hatti Rees
©Hatti Rees
©Hatti Rees
©Bruin Parry

21 June 2020 – Coup de coeur for…

Coup de ❤️ for the photos of Romain Laurendeau and his series on “Kho, the genesis of a revolt” depicting the demonstrations against the sclerotic military-backed regime of Algeria: a country where the “80 plus” generation leads the “30 minus” population – How can that work? Romain Laurendeau is among the people when he takes his pictures. One of his shots stuck in my memory: the portrait of this woman in the crowd looking at the young boy on the shoulders of a demonstrator. Photojournalism at its best, chapeau!

April 2019 ©Romain Laurendeau
April 2019 ©Romain Laurendeau
April 2019 ©Romain Laurendeau
April 2019 ©Romain Laurendeau
April 2019 ©Romain Laurendeau
April 2019 ©Romain Laurendeau

20 June 2020 – WorldPress Photo in Amsterdam

The world press photo edition 2020 is again in the beautiful Nieuwe Kerk on the Dam in Amsterdam. A regular rendez-vous with photography. Many subjects cover the world events, my favourite. This year, an excellent series by Romain Laurendeau on the Kho movement in Algeria. More to come on that.

Kho, the genesis of a revolt ©Romain Laurendeau
©Nicolas Asfouri
©Farouk Batiche
©Alessio Mamo
©Dai Kurokawa
©Lorenzo Tugnoli
©Mark Peterson

13 June 2020 – Colourful Vivian Maier

After several months of coronhibernation, it seems that the world has decided to continue turning. FOAM in Amsterdam has reopened its doors and offers a small travel through the 1970’s of Vivian Maier in full colours. Vivian Maier was well known post mortem (she died poor and anonymous in 2009) for her discrete black and white street photography but we can see here a series of color photographies showing an America yet familiar (clothes, attitudes, expressions, black children with fear in their eyes, black men selling cheap items on the street, huge cars passing by) but at the same time an America that is no longer: Those white women with excentric wild glasses, curlers and fancy dresses, tailleurs and white gloves are no longer strolling the streets of Chicago, New York or elsewhere. At that time, Nixon was president and America was undisputed. Its people were living their American dream, mostly unconscious, if not ignorant, of the surroundings. As the newspaper reports: “Bombs saved lives” said Nixon… and they believed it. 50 years later, the black children still have fear in their eyes, black men are still having lesser jobs but those white ignorant people that believe that America is stil the way it was are no longer nonchalant and insouciant – and that’s the way it should be.

Untitled, 1956 ©Vivian Maier
Chicago, 1973 ©Vivian Maier
Chicago, 1972 ©Vivian Maier
Untitled, 1973 ©Vivian Maier
Chicago, July 1977 ©Vivian Maier
Chicago, April 1977 ©Vivian Maier
Untitled, 1972 ©Vivian Maier
Untitled, 1973 ©Vivian Maier
Milwaukee, 1967 ©Vivian Maier
Chicago, 1962 ©Vivian Maier

27 March 2020 – Coup de coeur for…

Coup de ❤️ for the photos of Jule Forth. Jule is a talented young lady with a mission: as a cultural anthropologist, she wants to “visually document the (extra) ordinariness of everyday life”. She’s done that in Leiden, her hometown, India and Iran. In these troubled times of staying at home, a refreshing view on mankind and stunning pictures of far away. I highly recommend a visit to her website here.

Serie “Dear India”, Holy river scenes ©Jule Forth
Serie “Dear India”, Gendered space(s) ©Jule Forth
Serie “Dear India”, Hay Labour ©Jule Forth

12 March 2020: Homage to Humanity in Maastricht

While passing by in Maastricht, a nice step out to a humanity on its way to extinction. Jimmy Nelson is exhibiting his Homage to Humanity at the Museum aan het Vrijthof: beautiful people magnificently shot by Nelson with respect and care. And Stephanie van der Wiel is not far…

Kazakh © Jimmy Nelson
Longhorn Miao in China © Jimmy Nelson

1 March 2020 – a “grand monsieur” of Dutch photography Eddy Posthuma de Boer

A new discovery today: the massive oeuvre of Eddy Posthuma de Boer. A giant in the footsteps of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ed van der Elsken and Robert Doisneau. At 88, Eddy can look back at more than 60 years of pictures taken all over the world. Nostalgia for a world that was and is no more, for an Amsterdam that one can only dream about today. His colour portraits of the 70’s in the Netherlands are particularly touching – one can clearly see the evolution of the population of then and now. Eddy Posthuma de Boer was a photojournalist. He preferred greatly having one of his photographs on the front page of a newspaper and thereby reaching 275,000 readers at once, rather than a few hundreds at an exhibit. The photomuseum in The Hague is however paying a well-deserved homage to this great and modest giant.

Rustenburgerstraat 393, Amsterdam 1957 ©Eddy Posthuma de Boer
Bookshop on the Clerqstraat, Amsterdam 1958 ©Eddy Posthuma de Boer
Miss Holland Peagant, Amsterdam 1959 ©Eddy Posthuma de Boer
Northern Ireland, 1969 ©Eddy Posthuma de Boer
Northern Ireland, 1969 ©Eddy Posthuma de Boer

11 January 2020 – A tribute to flowers

Exceptional series of breath-taking portraits of flowers – a “tribute to flowers”, by photographer Richard Fischer at the flowerart museum of Aalsmeer.

©Richard Fischer
©Richard Fischer
©Richard Fischer
©Richard Fischer

24 November 2019 – 3 exhibits at Fotomuseum Den Haag

Three very different exhibits at Fotomuseum Den Haag: Richard Learoyd, known for his portraits of sad looking skinny ladies but much preferred for his black and white landscapes, “La Soupe de Daguerre” displaying some of the photographs owned by the museum and finally a small exhibit of early photographs, when “Photography becomes Art” exploring the history of this art with spectacular views taken in the XIXth century.

#3 July 2015 ©Richard Learoyd
Lanzarote ©Richard Learoyd
La soupe de Daguerre, 1975 ©Marcel Broodthaers
Red, yellow and blue candles, 1980 ©Iain Baxter
Anton, with text about his father, 1978 ©Anton Heyboer
Paleisstraat, Amsterdam, ca. 1935 ©Johan Huijsen

16 November 2019 – On/Off Document Nederland

Documenting The Netherlands today. This is the task Martijn van de Griendt was given by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, with emphasis on the new codes of behaving around modern technologies and in groups. Bright colours, young and old, an in-depth dive into the Dutch society and the psyche of the country.

Lowland Festival ©Martijn van de Griendt
Toilets at the Hema ©Martijn van de Griendt
Carnaval in Breda ©Martijn van de Griendt

8 November 2019 – Henri Cartier Bresson in China

A marvellous exhibition of the fascinating Henri Cartier-Bresson’s trips to China in the periods 1948-1949 and again 1958. This very broad display shows a wide range of well-known photographs and also gems never seen before. It also provides an in-depth view on how HCB worked. Definitely worth an extended visit.

An oil workers union walks to administration headquarters to announce their production quotas. Yumen, Gobi desert, August 1958 ©Henri Cartier-Bresson
A simple soul near the forbidden city, Beijing, Décember 1948 ©Henri Cartier-Bresson
Gold rush, the last day of Kuomintang, Shanghai, December 1948 ©Henri Cartier-Bresson
Men exercising in the Tai Miao gardens, Beijing, December 1948 ©Henri Cartier-Bresson

7 November 2019 – Yann Arthus-Bertrand up in the air

An exhibit high in the air, on top of La Grande Arche in La Défense, for a photographer taking things from the heights… Yann Arthus-Bertrand and his beautiful shots from the skies: a marvel for the eyes.

Carpets in Marrakech ©Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Red ibis near Pedernales, Venezuela ©Yann Arthus-Bertrand
©Yann Arthus-Bertrand
©Yann Arthus-Bertrand

7 November 2019 – Paris Photo

Large Paris Photo fair in a wonderful place: le Grand Palais in Paris. A huge amount of artists, old and new, presented by a good hundred of international galleries. Difficult to make a representative selection of the art seen, so I will just give some of the pictures that I particularly enjoyed, with a coup de ♥️ for the crazy and wild images of Hassan Hajjaj.

Cardi B Unity, 20171438 © Hassan Hajjaj, Courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
© Hassan Hajjaj, Courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
© Hassan Hajjaj, Courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
Still lives 3, 2005 ©Maria Friberg
Hanna Hall © Sumiko Iwamuro
Man with bandage, 1968 © Fred Herzog (already seen in Ottawa)
Mari Hirao and Yui Yamamoto operating Gen H-4 flying machines, Nagano, Japan, 2016
© Tim Walker
© Pieter Hugo

28 September 2019 – A new generation

The association Stadsfotograaf Leiden gives a yearly opportunity to a photographer to portray the city and its inhabitants. In 2018-2019, this chance was given to a group of seven young women anthropologists. The result of their work was displayed in the local newspaper and also in an exhibition.

©Lina de Los Rios Torres
©Jule Forth

28 September 2019 – Endangered species

Jimmy Nelson relentlessly travels to the most remote places on Earth to document the vast diversity of the human species. He brings back stunning pictures of our humanity. He calls it its “Homage to Humanity”, a magnificent collection of individual histories and a warning signal for a future without them? A small scale exhibition of some of his photographs is presented for a month at Kunsthuis Leiden.

Miguel Martinez Lopez, Chichimeca Jonaz
Misión de Chichimecas, Guanajuato, Mexico 2017 ©Jimmy Nelson
Marilena and Marisol, Q’ero
Qochamoqo, Hatun Q’eros, Andes, Peru 2018 ©Jimmy Nelson
Yangshuo Cormorants China, 2005 ©Jimmy Nelson

21 September 2019 – Visit at Unseen Amsterdam

Now a classic, the Unseen festival took place over the weekend at Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam for its 8th edition. An occasion to see multiple facets of the photographic art, from classic black and white to the wildest uses of the medium. Young and old artists are confronting or complementing each other. Connoisseurs, collectors and ordinary people are strolling through the large exhibition area in the iconic gas tank. A surprise this year: the presence of Deck Gallery of Singapore exhibiting several pieces representing Singapore, among which an amazing “Hanging heavy on my eyes” by Ang Song Nian denouncing the haze issue in Singapore.

©Daido Moriyama
©Tokyo Rumando
Cypress Days 1, 2019 ©Yuval Yairi
TARACO, 2018 ©Izumi Miyazaki
Sans Titre (Vietnam), nº6 ©Adrien Boyer
The Knight (I), 2018 ©Jean-François Lepage
False Idol series, 2016-present ©Leonard Suryajaya
Hanging heavy on my eyes, 2019 ©Ang Song Nian

14 September 2019 – Eugène Atget in passing…

Berenice Abbott acquired a substantial fraction of Atget’s negatives in June, 1928, and quickly started work on its promotion. Abbott’s work on Atget’s behalf continued until her sale of the archive to the Museum of Modern Art in 1968. She published several books of Atget’s oeuvre like The World of Atget (1964), A Vision of Paris (1963), published a portfolio, Twenty Photographs, and wrote essays. Her efforts helped Atget gain international recognition. At the occasion of the retrospective of Abbott’s work at Huis Marseille, several Atget’s photographs printed by Abbott in 1956 are shown.

Eclips, April 1912 ©Eugène Atget
Street pavers, 1899-1900 ©Eugène Atget
Rue Saint-Rustique, March 1922 ©Eugène Atget

14 September 2019 – Berenice Abbott – Paris – New York

Berenice Abbott’s large retrospective at Huis Marseille covers her work from Paris to New York. She spent two years studying sculpture in Paris and Berlin and started her involvement with photography in 1923, when Man ray hired her as a darkroom assistant at his portrait studio in Montparnasse. Later on, she met and worked with Eugène Atget until his death. She then visited New York City where she realised most of her most famous work.

Construction, old and new from Washington Street, New York 1936 ©Berenice Abbott
Manhattan Skyline: South Street and Jones Street, 1936 ©Berenice Abbott
72nd street and 1st avenue, Manhattan, 1936 ©Berenice Abbott
Charles Lane, between West and Washington Street, 20 September 1938 ©Berenice Abbott
Bread Store 259 Bleecker Street, 1937 ©Berenice Abbott
Penn Station, Manhattan, 1935 ©Berenice Abbott

14 September 2019 – An encounter with Brassaï

Brassaï views of Paris and its people are all breath taking. A Paris that does not exist anymore. Phantoms and shadows of things passed. A nostalgic trip back to the Paris of the 30s to the 50s.

Couple in a Café, near the place d’Italie, c. 1932 © Estate Brassaï Succession, Paris
Seller of brushes, Paris, 50s © Estate Brassaï Succession
Morris column, Avenue de l’Observatoire, Paris 1934 © Estate Brassaï Succession
The stairs of Montmartre, paris 30s © Estate Brassaï Succession

14 September 2019 – Two giants in Amsterdam

Two photography giants are currently exhibited in Amsterdam. Brassaï at FOAM and Berenice Abbott at Huis Marseille with an extra thought to Eugène Atget, also shown in his relationship to Abbott. More impressions of these two exhibits in my news. Just follow the links. A ne manquer sous aucun prétexte!

9 September 2019 – a velvet revolution in Prague

The exhibition continues inside Queen Anne’s Summer Palace with photos dedicated to the velvet revolution of 1989. Seeing Havel and Dubček in the arms of each other is touching and allows strong souvenirs to resurface.

Prague, Národni třída, November 17th 1989 ©Jan Šilpoch
Prague, Wenceslas Square ©Miroslav Hucek
Prague, Wenceslas Square, November 24th 1989 ©Jan Šilpoch
Bratislava, SNP Square, November 22nd, 1989 ©Ján Lörincz
Prague, Wenceslas Square, November 22nd, 1989 ©Dana Kyndrová
Prague, Wenceslas Square, November 22nd, 1989 ©Jaroslav Kučera
Prague, Melantrich publishing house, November 1989 ©Miloň Novotný
Prague, Wenceslas Square, November 21st, 1989 ©Dana Kyndrová

9 September 2019 – Pád železné opony

1945: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent”. Winston Churchill

1989: the curtain rises in Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia and other countries, to never descend again.

2019: 30 years have passed – Fantastic and touching open-air exhibition around the Queen Anne’s Summer Palace in the royal gardens of the Prague Castle to commemorate the events of 1989 throughout the once called “east block”.

Border crossing Kapitan Andrejevo, August 1989 ©Georgi Georgiev-Johny
Sofia, November 17th 1989 ©Ivan Grigorov
August 1989 ©Ferenc Rédei
Hegyeshalom, May 2nd 1989 ©Ferenc Rédei
Berlin, November 10th 1989 ©András Bankuti
Berlin, November 10th 1989 ©András Bankuti
Prague, Žitná Street, January 1989 ©Lubomír Kotek
Prague, August 21st 1989 ©András Bankuti
Warsaw, July 1989 ©Andrzej Iwanczuk

7 September 2019 – Helmut Newton in Dialogue…

… with other photographers around fashion and the female body. Large exhibition of his works from the years 1950-2000 but also several works of his contemporaries and influences from previous historical periods. Helmut Newton in Prague: sophistication and beauty at Museum Kampa, the former Sova’s mills on the eastern bank of the Kampa island on the river Vltava.

Portrait of Marlene Dietrich, 1940s ©Martin Munkacsi
Lisa Fonssagrives for Vogue, New York, 1940 ©Horst P. Horst
Jodie Foster, Hollywood, 1987 ©Helmut Newton
Père Lachaise, Paris, Tomb of Talma 1977 ©Helmut Newton
Annette and Angela, Lustgarten, Berlin, 1982 ©Sybille Bergemann
Untitled, 1980 ©Ute Mahler

1 September 2019 – Coal miners year Zero

Werner Mahler followed the miners of the Steinkohlenwerk Martin Hoop in 1975. An incredible testimony of the working conditions in the paradise of socialism. The coals miners are naked, with limited equipment and precarious working environment, extracting coal for the benefit of the homeland.

Steinkohlenwerk Martin Hoop Series 1975 ©Werner Mahler
Steinkohlenwerk Martin Hoop Series 1975 ©Werner Mahler
Steinkohlenwerk Martin Hoop Series 1975 ©Werner Mahler

1 September 2019 – Meet Bomber

Germany 1993 – 60 years after the rise of the nazi Germany, 48 years after its fall, in a suburb of Berlin… meet, thanks to Ute Mahler, the friendly and sympathetic “Bomber”, a young East-German, living his passion in full daylight…

Untitled (at home) Berlin-Lichtenberg 1993 ©Ute Mahler
Untitled (with a friend in the pub) Berlin-Lichtenberg 1993 ©Ute Mahler
Untitled (Bomber, his friend and son Robert) Berlin-Lichtenberg 1993 ©Ute Mahler

1 September 2019 – Zirkus Hein by Ute Mahler

Ute Mahler followed Zirkus Hein between 1973 and 1974 within the borders of the GDR. Beyond the specifics of being a circus in a communist country in the 70’s, it is the human beings that Ute met that make these pictures remarkable.

Zirkus Hein 1973-1974 ©Ute Mahler
Zirkus Hein 1973-1974 ©Ute Mahler
Zirkus Hein 1973-1974 ©Ute Mahler
Zirkus Hein 1973-1974 ©Ute Mahler

1 September 2019 – Ute & Werner Mahler beyond the borders of the GDR.

A large retrospective of the work of photographers and partners Ute (born 1949) and Werner (born 1950) Mahler, both from the German Democratic Republic. A series of portraits of a small town today, of a circus in the 1970s, of a neo-nazi in the 90s, or of coal miners in the 70s show a not-unexpected facet of human beings confronted to adversity, boredom or simply poor living conditions. Stunning photographs showing some poetry were no one expects to find any.

Kleinstadt Series 2015-2018 ©Ute&Werner Mahler
Kleinstadt Series 2015-2018 ©Ute&Werner Mahler
Kleinstadt Series 2015-2018 ©Ute&Werner Mahler
Kleinstadt Series 2015-2018 ©Ute&Werner Mahler
Kleinstadt Series 2015-2018 ©Ute&Werner Mahler
Kleinstadt Series 2015-2018 ©Ute&Werner Mahler

1 September 2019 – Krijn Giezen at GEM The Hague

Krijn Giezen (Noordwijk aan Zee 1939 – Caen 2011) was not really a photographer but used photography to document his discoveries and to develop, together with collages and installations mixing media, his conceptual art. He was fascinated by the smoking of fish on the coast line of The Netherlands and used this theme several times through the years.

Gutting and filleting smoked sprat, 1976 ©Krijn Giezen
Untitled installation, 1965 – 1989 © Krijn Giezen

18 July 2019 – Women to women

Objectifs, the Centre for Photography and film is boldly “examining Singapore women’s private lives, and queer female relationships” in two exhibits “The hour before she sleeps” by Mindy Tan and “How she loves” by Charmaine Poh. Nothing offensive (to me) despite the big warning at the door “Please note this exhibition is rated Restricted 18 (Homosexual content). Age-checks may be required prior to entering the gallery”. Showing artists whatever their sexual orientation is a big progress for Singapore as homosexuality is not officially recognised.

Her hair ©Mindy Tan
Golden girl, golden mane ©Mindy Tan
Prayers ©Mindy Tan
Swiping eyebrows ©Mindy Tan
©Charmaine Poh
©Charmaine Poh

18 July 2019 – Portrait of Home

Objectifs, the centre for photography and film in Singapore continues its discovery journey of the great photography artists of Singapore. After Mr Lui, it currently gives a large exposure to 87-year-old Lim Kwong Ling with his “Portrait of Home” exhibition. Breathtaking views of daily life in the Singapore of yesterday.

Children playing among oil barrels, Alexandra Rd, c. 1960s ©Lim Kwong Ling
Cat lover, Geylang Lor 3, c .1960’s ©Lim Kwong Ling
Collecting seaweed, making a living 1960 ©Lim Kwong Ling
Fisherman 1960 ©Lim Kwong Ling
Chapel Gallery

18 July 2019 – Meeting Mr Lui

I took the opportunity of a short trip to Singapore to meet my old friend and fellow photographer Mr. Lui. We spent an hour evoking souvenirs and browsing through an amazing collection of colour photos spanning the 60’s and 70’s and all the cultural communities of Singapore: another treasure worth discovering.

17 June 2019 – Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was a son of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A visit to the Steel City was an occasion to also pay a visit to the museum dedicated to the artist, as Warhol took his inspiration from existing photographs.

White Burning Car III, 1963 ©Andy Warhol
Little Electric Chair, 1964-1965 ©Andy Warhol
Marlon, 1966 ©Andy Warhol
Jackie, 1964 ©Andy Warhol

9 June 2019 – FFN – Monk’s life by Armando Jongejan

Armando Jongejan (1960) spent several years of his life taking photographs of the monks’ life inside the St.Adelbert abbey of Egmond-Binnen. The result was exhibited during the Foto Festival Naarden, along with his book “Monnikenleven”. Although the topic can be perceived as very dry and confidential, Jongejan was able to depict the simplicity and humility of a monk’s life within the walls of an abbey.

©Armando Jongejan
©Armando Jongejan
©Armando Jongejan

9 June 2019 – FFN – Delta F collective

Photos hanging in the open air on the gates surrounding the church of Naarden. An interesting way of exhibiting photographs.

Tuk Tuk Chauffeur, Udaipur, India ©John Seegers
Ghent, Belgium ©Willem Wernsen
Three generations, Bikaner, India ©John Seegers
Salesman, New York ©Frank Detrixhe

9 June 2019 – FFN – Helena van der Kraan

Helena van der Kraan is a Dutch photographer born in 1940. She was featured in an exhibit of her most stunning portraits, in the attic of Naarden’s beautiful city hall.

Iris, 1998 ©Helena van der Kraan
Puck, 1998 ©Helena van der Kraan

9 June 2019 – FFN – Eddy van Wessel

At the Foto Festival Naarden, a beautiful exhibit in an old church: Eddy van Wessel is a Dutch photojournalist of the old type: the kind of Don mcCullin and Gilles Caron… hardship, tough environment, boots on the ground, close to his subject, great black and white pictures. Eddy van Wessel just was back from a trip in Irak, tracking the last followers of ISIS in their forced exile from their heaven on Earth caliphate…

©Eddy van Wessel
©Eddy van Wessel
©Eddy van Wessel
A stunning contrast between the topic and the location

9 June 2019 – Fotofestival Naarden

Attended the Fotofestival Naarden 2019 held in multiple locations of the gorgeous Naarden vesting. An occasion to see the work of some refreshing photographers, like Thijs Wolzak who took pictures of people in their living environments. Weird, unusual, funny, astonishing, as the people in general can be.

©Thijs Wolzak
©Thijs Wolzak
©Thijs Wolzak
©Thijs Wolzak
©Thijs Wolzak

26 May 2019 – The Anarchist Citizenship

A very unusual exhibition at the Rotterdam Kunsthal: The Anarchist Citizenship: Ode to Youthful Daredevils gives us an insight on on the young Somalilanders, inhabitants of Somaliland, dress and behave in their country. The installation consists of juxtapositions of photos printed on silk and plexiglass. They move with the air being displaced as we walk through it. The project is a collaboration between Amal Alhaag and Nadine Stijns.

©Amal Alhaag and Nadine Stijns
©Amal Alhaag and Nadine Stijns
©Amal Alhaag and Nadine Stijns
©Amal Alhaag and Nadine Stijns
©Amal Alhaag and Nadine Stijns
©Amal Alhaag and Nadine Stijns

26 May 2019 – Lust for Life Ed van der Elsken

Well known for his black and white photographs taken in Amsterdam and Paris in the 50’s, Ed van der Elsken also took throughout his life a large amount of pictures in colour on slides predominantly in the 60’s and 70’s. The fotomuseum in Rotterdam restored these pictures to their original glory. The result is a magnificent ode to life and love and a touching homage to human diversity. From Amsterdam to Dhaka, from Cuba to Tokyo, Ed van der Elsken shows his profoundly humane eye and sincere love for people. The large collection of photographs is presented in a buoyant way, as a celebration of humanity.

Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, 1986 ©Ed van der Elsken
Nepal, 1966 ©Ed van der Elsken
Old Dehli, India, 1976 ©Ed van der Elsken
Santiago, Chili, 1971 ©Ed van der Elsken
Havana, Cuba, 1967 ©Ed van der Elsken
Diderik Vijghstraat, Tiel, The Netherlands, ca. 1970 ©Ed van der Elsken
Bourgogne, France, 1980 ©Ed van der Elsken
Greenland, 1969 ©Ed van der Elsken
Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1974-1975 ©Ed van der Elsken
India, 1966 ©Ed van der Elsken
Amsterdam, ca. 1966 ©Ed van der Elsken
Dam, Amsterdam, 1978 ©Ed van der Elsken
South Africa, 1968 ©Ed van der Elsken

19 May 2019 – Coup de coeur for…

Coup de ❤️ for the photos of Alejandro Cegarra, an extraordinary young (29) photojournalist from Venezuela, featured at the 2019 World Press Photo exhibition. His series “State of Decay” got him am award for Long-term projects. The Venezuelan society has been in a long state of decay, degrading day after day under Chávez and now Maduro with no sense of an outcome, happy or else. We see it every day on TV and then zap to some other news. The people of Venezuela suffer it day after day, with violence, deprivation, tears, political chaos, No way for them to zap from this daily nightmare and move on to something better. Cegarra has documented over the years this violence from within and brought back powerful pictures of an unimaginable turmoil with a divided society of ordinary people rising up to the occasion or not.

More on his website

© Alejandro Cegarra
© Alejandro Cegarra
© Alejandro Cegarra
© Alejandro Cegarra
© Alejandro Cegarra
© Alejandro Cegarra
© Alejandro Cegarra
© Alejandro Cegarra

18 May 2019 – WorldPress Photo in Amsterdam

The world press photo edition 2019 is upon us. The exhibition is presented in the beautiful Nieuwe Kerk on the Dam in Amsterdam. As usual, our eyes are confronted with a sum of misery, tears, blood, human suffering, absurdity, mal treatment of women and children. But yet, these are the best photographs of events and people around the world. My good friend Thierry calls it “the horror of the world that feeds the photojournalists“. This horror is relentless but, once in a while, there is some hope, like this picture by Iranian photographer Enayat Asadi of illegal refugees waiting to take a ride on a wagon at the eastern border of Iran and where one of the immigrants is comforting his companion. A simple image showing two human beings helping each other.

© Enayat Asada, July 2018
A supporter of Martin Fayulu, leader of an opposition party, runs from police tear gas in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 2018 © John Wessels

President Kabila sits in the garden of his ranch in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 2018 © John Wessels
The BFF, April 2018, © Brendan Smialowski
Figures representing Ireland’s dark treatment of women line up for social media cameras, May 2018 © Olivia Harris
An orphaned boy walks past a wall with drawings depicting rocket-propelled grenade launchers in Bol, Chad. © Marco Gualazzini
Mennonite farmers in Campeche, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico © Nadia Shira Cohen
A Caribbean flamingo, like a ballerina… Curaçao ©Jasper Doest

4 May 2019 – Deutsche Börse at FOAM

The Deutsche Börse art collection comprises approximately 1800 works from over 120 international photographers, including famous names like Diane Arbus or Walker Evans. FOAM in Amsterdam proposes a large exhibition “Changing Views – 20 Years of Art Collection Deutsche Börse“. The first part of this exhibition in four parts is titled “Chapter 1: Germany” and shows the view of their own country by various German photographers.

Town Hall, Cologne, Germany, 1958 ©Karl Hugo Schmölz
Socioeducational scheme, Cologne, 1974 ©Timm Rautert
Homeless due to housing shortage, 1973 ©Timm Rautert
Untitled ©Helga Paris
Train station Berlin-Schöneweide, 1989 ©Gerd Danigel
Volksbühne, 1996 ©Gerd Danigel

30 April 2019 – Coup de Coeur for…

Everlasting coup de ❤️ for the photos of Ed van der Elsken, this time, spotted on the walls of the AMC hospital in Amsterdam. Ed van der Elsken was extremely active in the years 50 and 60 and at the top of his art, both in Amsterdam and Paris, but also later on in Japan. I associate his black and white photographs of Paris and Amsterdam with the nostalgia I have for a world that does not exist anymore, for a moment of my life and a period of time that will never be back. A world where life appeared simpler, where happiness was within reach, where artists were gathering to reinvent the world permanently, where a laughter, a glass of wine, an animated discussion with a good friend could make your whole day. Of course, the 50’s and 60’s were also full of pain and drama, wars and misery but what’s left behind now from that era, apart from the History with a big H, is the humanist approach to everyday life.

Tweelingmeisjes op de Nieuwmarkt, 1956 ©Ed van der Elsken
Amsterdam, Nieuwmarket, 1958 ©Ed van der Elsken
Amsterdam, Nieuwmarket, 1958 ©Ed van der Elsken
Herengracht, Amsterdam 1956 ©Ed van der Elsken

18 April 2019 – MBS

Itinerrands playing it iconic, in front of MBS, thanks to Susan.

15 April 2019 – Saatchi #1

A visit in London would not be complete without spending some time at the Saatchi gallery, looking at the bizarre pictures of Jessica Craig-Martin.

©Jessica Craig-Martin
©Jessica Craig-Martin
©Jessica Craig-Martin

15 April 2019 – At the V&A Museum

In a day rich of visual wonder, strolling through the photographic collection of the V&A Museum.

Beach Clean, 1999 ©Sian Bonnell
What she wanted and who she got, 1982 ©Graham Smith
Hong Kong (Facade of a unité d’habitation), 1963 ©Frank Horvat
The Volga, 1958 ©Howard Sochurek
Spain: El Rocio Pilgrimage, 1959 ©Ramon Masats
29 pictures within 5 minutes London, 1970 ©Dieter Meier
Hardware store, 1938 ©Berenice Abbott

15 April 2019 – Markéta Luskacova

Taking the opportunity of being in Tate Britain, discovering a Czech-born photographer and her portraits of people in their everyday lives.

Laughing Pilgrims Levoca, Slovakia, 1964 ©Marketa Luskacova
Funeral of Starka Gordanova, 1971 ©Marketa Luskacova
Woman passing the procession near Kosice, Slovakia 1968 ©Marketa Luskacova
©Marketa Luskacova

15 April 2019 – Don McCullin

A fantastic comprehensive exhibition of Don McCullin at Tate Britain in London. An oeuvre spanning over several decades and all the continents. Don McCullin has been everywhere with his profoundly human eye. No one can put it better than himself “Photography for me is not looking. it is feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures”. I am glad I was able to be there.

©Don McCullin
Berlin, 1961 ©Don McCullin
©Don McCullin
©Don McCullin
©Don McCullin
©Don McCullin
©Don McCullin
©Don McCullin
©Don McCullin

31 March 2019 – Sally Mann – A thousand crossings at the MFAH

Lost paradise, haunted places, souvenirs of past battles, a reflection of age and death, Sally Mann explores in this exhibit the Deep South of the USA.

Easter dress, 1986 © Sally Mann
Picnic, 1992 © Sally Mann
Deep South, Untitled (Fontainebleau), 1998 © Sally Mann
Deep South, Untitled (Valentine Windsor), 1998 © Sally Mann
Battlefields, Wilderness (Solarized Trees), 2002 © Sally Mann
The two Virginias #2, 1989 © Sally Mann

30 March 2019 – Photography at its Limits, Houston, Tx

Visited a small scale exhibition of young Latino talents at the Houston Center for Photography. “Photography at its limits” explores “the regimes of power that have naturalised and popularised the use of the photograph as a means of tracking and controlling the world at large”…

#dominicanwomangooglesearch, 2016 © Joiri Minaya
#Container#2 fragment © Joiri Minaya
Libro abierto (con manos), 2011 © Oscar Munos
Criollitas, Santa Fe, Argentina, 1996 © Marcos Lopez
Asado en Mendiolanza – Fragment © Marcos Lopez
Inca Kola, 1997 © Marcos Lopez
Il piccolo Vapore, Buenos Aires, Argentina © Marcos Lopez

30 March 2019 – Chaville

Itinerrands on a nostalgic trip to Chaville, France, the town where I grew up. Merci beaucoup Evelyne pour ta contribution discrète à cette période.

23 March 2019 – Japanese Nudes at Sieboldhuis

The Sieboldhuis in Leiden was purchased by Ph.F.B. Von Siebold (1796-1866) to exhibit his collection of Japanese objects. it is now a foundation established “to further express the long and special ties between the Netherlands and Japan”. There was a new occasion to visit this special place during the recently opened photo exhibition titles “Japaans naakt” or “Japanese Nudes”.

Embrace #60, 1970 © Hosoe Eikoh
Embrace #62, 1971 © Hosoe Eikoh
Untitled, c. 1955 © Iwase Yoshiyuki
Nu 06, 1985 © Tahara Keiichi
Untitled, from Family, 1970s © Fukase Masahisa
Untitled, from Family, 1970s © Fukase Masahisa
Untitled, from the serie Alluring Hell, 2008 © Araki Nobuyoshi
#7 Rem & Marina from Fleshlove, 2010 © Photographer Hal
#25 Taiki & Shino from Fleshlove Returns, 2016 © Photographer Hal
© Daido Moriyama

10 March 2019 – Coup de Coeur for…

Coup de ❤️ today for Pearl Gan, a Singapore photographer and dear friend who recently published her new website. Pearl describes herself as a storyteller who tells stories with her images. She was heavily involved in the Asia Malaria project with the University of Oxford, which described the damages of malaria in Asian populations. She loves to get close to the people she photographs, capture them in their day to day activities, get to know them and their stories. I particularly enjoy her black and white portraits, but not only…

Singapore © Pearl Gan
Chinatown 2014 © Pearl Gan
Bandung, Indonesia © Pearl Gan

9 March 2019 – Coup de coeur for…

Coup de ❤️ today for Anette Brolenius discovered at the Cobra Museum of Modern Art. Anette was born in Stockholm and now lives in The Hague. Her serie of portraits of women’s rights activists, male or female in the exhibition “Unsung” are just stunning. More on her photography can be discovered on her website.

Mustafa Dzhemilev, 2015 © Anette Brolenius
Amala Francis, 2015 © Anette Brolenius
Madi Jobareth, 2016 © Anette Brolenius

9 March 2018 – Ladies First

Kati Horna, Eva Besnyö and Ata Kandó are three photographers who studied under the then famous photographer József Pécsi in Hungary. They were not as widely known as their male contemporaries and compatriots Brassaï, Robert Capa and André Kertész. All three were forced to flee Hungary in the 1930s. They all settled in different places (Mexico for Horna, The Netherlands for Besnyö and Kandó) and continued to exercise their art in their new home. The beautiful Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen devotes a large space to all three in a huge exhibition around Kati Horna mainly “Kati Horna, Compassion and Engagement”.

Spanish Civil War, Spain 1937 © Kati Horna
Spanish Civil War, Spain 1937 © Kati Horna
Spanish Civil War, Spain 1937 © Kati Horna
Dolle Mona, 1970 © Eva Besnyö
Hungarian Refugees in the border area, Hungary 1956 © Ata Kandó
Hungarian Refugees in the border area, Hungary 1956 © Ata Kandó

23 February 2019 – Erwin Olaf in The Hague

A very bizarre, well-visited exhibit in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague: a large retrospective of Erwin Olaf’s work for his 60th birthday. Olaf is a famous Dutch photographer. Most pictures cannot be shown here. Not my cup of tea as we say in French, but still worth the visit for education purposes mainly.

Olger, 1986 © Erwin Olaf
Pearls, 1986 © Erwin Olaf

16 February 2019 – Nach Holland

An unusual photo exhibit at the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam: the German troops invading Holland on May 10th, 1940 took photographs as if they were mere tourists. This must have been a walk in the park for them…

German soldiers boarding a JU52 that is ready to fly to The Netherlands
A group of German officers at a railway line. The soldier on the left put a Dutch helmet on for the picture
The petrol station at the top if the Afsluitdijk

10 February 2019 – Shadows by Alfredo Jaar – Photos van Koen Wessing

A strange exhibition at the Nederlands Fotomuseum of Rotterdam. An installation by Alfredo Jaar based on a photo of Koen Wessing taken in Nicaragua during the last days of the Somoza regime. The exhibit continues with a series of chilling photos from The coup of September 11st, 1973 in Santiago. The famous photos of blind military repression haven’t aged at all and are still very vivid.

©Koen Wessing
©Koen Wessing
The cover of this book long out of print serves as the exhibition’s poster
©Koen Wessing
©Koen Wessing
©Koen Wessing
©Koen Wessing

10 February 2019 – Coup de Coeur for…

Coup de ❤️ today for Merel Schoneveld, a young street photographer from The Hague, discovered during the Haute Photographie Rotterdam 2019. Her black and white pictures, taken mainly in The Netherlands, show a very diverse population, living together in this old country, in their day-to-day interaction with each other. Merel is among them, discreet but yet very present and engaged in their lives. She discovered this passion for photography very late in her young life and has created a large body of work to this date, all visible on her web site and instagram accounts. Merel’s web site can be seen here and instagram feed there.

©Merel Schoneveld, 2018
©Merel Schoneveld, 2018
©Merel Schoneveld, 2018

9 February 2019 – Haute Photographie Rotterdam

Fourth edition of this salon/exhibition, during Art Rotterdam Week 2019. Younger and older talents are presented by International galleries. The prices are exorbitant but the photographs worth admiring. I have extracted some of the gems I particularly enjoyed.

©Thomas Hoepker – Ali left Fist, London, 1966
©Marvin Newman – Broadway Bookstore, 1954
©Christer Strömholm – Paris, Montparnasse, late 50’s
©Yoshinori Mizutani – Rain, 2015
©Merel Schoneveld – 2018
©Werner Bischof/Magnum – A priest rests in the temple of Ryōan-Ji, Kyoto, Japan, 1951
©Marvin Newman – Theater Marquees, Broadway, 1954

9 February 2019 – Crossings

Without knowing it, some places and attitudes shared with Martine Frank…

© Martine Frank – Peintres de l’Imaginaire Exhibition, Grand Palais, Paris April 1972
René Burri Exhibition, Rotterdam, April 2010
©Martine Frank – Garden of the MoMa, New York, 2000
Meet me at the MoMa, New York, May 2010

5 February 2019 – Robert Doisneau and Music

Robert Doisneau spent a lot of time photographing musicians and singers. Maurice Baquet and his cello of course, but also the famous singers from the 1950’s to today. A sweet and nostalgic trip down memory lane at Cité de la Musique in Paris.

Les Petits formats, May 1951
Barbara à l’écluse, Paris VIº, December 1957
Les Cadres, 1958
Violoncelliste nu, 1957
Jacques Higelin, 31 août 1991

2 February 2019 – Martine Frank in Paris

A wonderful Martine Frank exhibit at the newly moved Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in the heart of Paris.

Strike at the Renault factory, Boulogne-Billancourt, May 1968
Nursing Home, Ivry-sur-Seine, 1975
Ms J.Q., Meung-sur-Loire, 1980
Xi’an, China, 1980
Swimming pool, designed by Alain Capeillères, Le Brusc Summer 1976
HCB in front of Goya, Madrid, 1993

21 January 2019 – Famous Noordwijkers exhibited

Saskia van der Linden, a local photographer, took amusing pictures of famous Noordwijker in poses from famous paintings. Where different arts meet. A small scale exhibit is currently held in Grand Hotel Huis Ter Duin.

©Saskia van der Linden
Louis van Gaal and his wife

20 January 2019 – Rijksmuseum, 3 photos from the collection

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has a rich collection of photographs but those are timidly presented in a remote corner of the vast museum.

Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam by Roger Parry
Les Halles de Paris tôt le Matin by André Kertész
Bateau de Pêcheurs à Marseille by László Moholy-Nagy

19 January 2019 – Het Café by Stacii Samidin

The Dutch Café by a young photographer Stacii Samidin at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. A celebration of the Dutch diversity in a historical place.

The presentation
Stacii Samidin
Witte de Withstraat, Rotterdam
Café Moskes, Breda
Buiten Bij – Outside Café Okee, Rotterdam

15 January 2019 – Toa Payoh

Itinerrands taking a stroll in the heartland of Singapore in Toa Payoh. Thank you Chen Ee for your kind efforts!

30 December 2018 – Sentosa

Itinerrands on Sentosa Island in Singapore. Back to where it came from. Thank You Susan!

20 October 2018 – Visiting the Cas Oorthuys Exhibit

Dutch photographer Cas Oorthuys has left behind a huge amount of photographs taken around the world depicting the people and their environment. A humanist like Robert Doisneau, he deserves to be better recognised as such. The exhibit at the Nederland Fotomuseum in Rotterdam is worth a visit.

11 October 2018 – Toronto, Ontario Canada

“Itinerrands” like 50% of the inhabitants of Toronto was not born in Canada. A good reason to enjoy the Indian Summer there… Thank You Leona!


10 October 2018 – Namur, Belgium

“Itinerrands” marching under the fortress of Namur, Belgium, on the tune of “Sambre et Meuse”. Merci Nathalie & Clara!

9 October 2018 – London

“Itinerrands” taking the British sun on the banks of river Thames, just before Brexit. Merci Patrick.

29 September 2018 – NOLA

My book “Itinerrands” taking a walk near Jackson Square, New Orleans, LA. Thank You Ian.

22 September 2018 – Visit at Unseen Amsterdam

7th edition of Unseen Amsterdam this weekend in a magical place, the Westergasfabriek in the Westerpark. Plenty for the eyes, on the walls and around. This year, some remarkable Japanese young artists were featured in the Beyond 2020 exhibit.

Kenta Nakamura – Your Story

15 September 2018 – Beautiful portraits by Koos Breukel

While visiting the Frans Hals museum in Haarlem, stumbled upon some beautiful portraits of Dutch people by Koos Breukel, a photographer born in The Hague.

Pieter van den Blink and his father


More on

9 September 2018 – Alphons Hustinx Exhibit

A fantastic exhibit in The Hague: Alphons Hustinx – A Traveller’s Perspective. Photos taken in 1932 during a road trip with a friend from Maastricht to Kabul. Additional colour photos taken during the German occupation of The Netherlands

The two first photos are mine!

4 August 2018 – Worldpress Photo 2018 in Leiden

Richard Tsong-Taatarii

Daniel Beltrá

Li Huaifeng

Oliver Scarff

Erik Sampers

Always a great source of inspiration, the yearly WorldPress Photo exhibit, this time in Leiden

14 October 2017 – Peter Martens Exhibit in Rotterdam

A small scale exhibit of Dutch photographer Peter Martens in Crooswijk, Rotterdam. Beautiful pictures taken in the USA and The Netherlands. A nice walk to the place by a wonderful “Indian Summer” day.

12 October 2017 – Fotomuseum Den Haag

Visiting the Peter Hujar exhibit at Den Haag Foto Museum. Active in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s until his death in 1987, Peter Hujar took pictures of his contemporaries, like Susan Sontag and William Burroughs.

Another exhibit left a vivid memory in our minds: the repetitive pictures of Hans Eijkelboom. He took hundreds of pictures of people in the streets of European cities, matching them on clothes patterns or types. Here the green loden.

7 October 2017 – Genesis

Visiting again the Sebastião Salgado exhibit Genesis in Rotterdam is like visiting an old friend… no need to recap, no need to catch up, it is well known territory, immediate understanding and the same awe is there! We can continue where we left it, one year ago, in Singapore. Marvellous setup, breath-taking pictures, really worth the trip. From Africa to Antarctica, from North America to Asia, Salgado’s Genesis pictures have something biblical about them. Our Earth and their inhabitants are just amazing and we should be reminded of that constantly.

7 October 2017 – Bruce Davidson Exhibit

Very big Bruce Davidson exhibit at the Nederlands Fotomusuem in Rotterdam. Pictures from the 50’s to the recent years, from New York to Paris. The famous pictures from his most famous series, from East 100th Street, to Brooklyn Gang, to Paris, to Los Angeles. The social struggles in the USA in the last 50 years. Nothing much has changed today.

24 September 2017 – Visit at Unseen Amsterdam

Unseen Amsterdam is “the leading platform for contemporary photography”. Unseen Amsterdam was returning for its sixth edition at the beautifully rehabilitated Westergasfabriek this weekend. A beautiful vivid show of photographs, combined with a superb Autumn Dutch weather.

More details:

31 August 2017 – Visiting Pearl Gan before her exhibit on Malaria in Asia

Pearl is a compassionate photographer. She is able to establish contact with her models and take the most natural compelling pictures of men, women and children in various Asian countries. The Asia Malaria Images Exhibition will be held between 2 – 29 September 2017 at the Promenade Level 8 of the National Library Singapore, 100 Victoria Street, Singapore 188064

14 July 2017 – An article over Singapore Black and White Houses in La Gazette

Photo Courtesy of the Singapore Land Authority

Photo Courtesy of the Singapore Land Authority

The Black & White houses remain a fascinating topic for the expats in Singapore. History, architecture, style attract the people from overseas to these very special Singapore houses. I had the opportunity to help the French La Gazette team illustrate a series of articles about the Black & White houses. The result of this work was published in the July-September 2017 La Gazette magazine.

6 July 2017 – Photos of the party by Albert Sim

Albert is a quiet photographer of a few words but he knows how to look at people in the eyes. it is actually his job to take pictures of people’s eyes for ophthalmologic purposes. In his free times, Albert takes pictures for himself.

3 July 2017 – Sarah and Schooling

The success of the book is due to the wonderful graphic work of two awesome ladies: Sarah Tang and Alison Schooling of Sarah And Schooling

© Albert Sim

22 May 2017 – Shooting B&W Houses

Thanks to SLA (Singapore Land Authority), I have been allowed to go shoot pictures in three distinct empty black and white houses in Adam Park. An opportunity not given to everyone! I am very blessed and thankful to SLA.


































Photos © Gerda Genty de Witt

28 March 2017 – Living and Deads

Taking care of the living by caring for the dead: a visit to a cemetery is always a good way to determine that…

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Go check the portfolio here

26 March 2017

The website works again after its looooong migration from Singapore to France!

The next step will be to modernise it as a 3 year old site is a very very old site in internet terms…

A bit of wisdom and a zest of calm are required.

16 March 2017 – Meeting Lui Hock Seng

Everything started when reading the following article in the Straitstimes:

Mr. Lui Hock Seng is a 80 year old Singaporean cleaner with a special talent: photographer. He has been recording life in Singapore with his camera since the early 60’s. A raw artistic talent and a tremendous historical value, and yet, totally unknown to the public!

I reached out to Venessa Lee, the author of the article, and to my surprise, she answered. I expressed to her my desire to own a copy of Mr. Lui’s “Clarke Quay’s Teochew Market”… it took a while, but here we are and it is simply gorgeous.

Clarke Quay’s Teochew Market © Lui Hock Seng

Venessa organised the gathering at SPH, Singapore Press Holdings this Thursday. Mr. Lui is a delightful, funny and witty, very modest gentleman and a great artist. He took the time to share with me some of his shots and I encouraged him to sort his negatives, to digitise them and to think about an exhibition of his work in Singapore.

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On my side, I pledged to do my best to help him.

I am now the proud and unique owner in Singapore and elsewhere in the world of a piece by Lui Hock Seng, the hidden wonderful artist!

Mr. Lui is still taking pictures with his brand new Nikon, offered by the Japanese company, and still “looking for the weird and beautiful” as he puts it.




13 March 2017 – Meeting Aik Beng Chia

Handing over his latest work about Hong Kong













Aik Beng Chia’s previous work was Sing Kar Por, a great insider account of Singapore.

2 March 2017 – At the World Press Photo 2016 Exhibit

More information:

Photo: Francesco Zizola – Series In the Same Boat Contemporary Issues, second prize stories


Photo: Sergey Ponomarev – Series Reporting Europe’s Refugee Crisis General News, first prize stories


Photo: Anuar Patjane Floriuk – Series Whale Whisperers Nature, second prize singles



Photo: David Guttenfelder – Series North Korea: Life in the Cult of Kim Long-Term Projects, third prize stories






Bhutan by Angeline Teo













Angeline Teo is a passionate photographer whose love lies in black-and-white film photography. In this journal, she keeps a memory of her first experience of Bhutan, a special place where life is simple and the people readily smiles with kindness.

If you are interested, contact Angeline directly.



New Black and White Pictures…















In preparation of my first published book “Itinerrands”. Go check them out…

Trip To Japan


Playing keekaboo with the train conductor in Kyoto

4 very intense days in Japan with Glenn, Hannah and Karin on a photo shoot.

More to come here…