Ed van der Elsken, a photographer who looked through his lens without any judgement and with an open mind. Pictures showing love, courage and beauty but also anger,blood, sweat and tears. people often call him a street photographer but in every piece of work you see a reflection of himself, not only in his photographs but also in the way he talks in his films. He was a happy man and always looking for contrasts and making some sort of connection with the person he was photographing.
After the war there was this collective feeling of taking your freedom and every thing was possible and had to be possible. You also needed to go to paris. every person who was involved in some sort of art form just needed to go there because everyone was there. In a place called st. Germain-des-près he meets kids who are on the edge of society and procrastinating full-time. he sees some parts of himself in those kids but also not because he is photographing.
As a photographer you need to make hours and that’s what Ed did, he could stroll hours and hours through large cities and knowing what he wanted to photograph. Despite of what you might think, he also made a book with photo’s from his world trip to asia with his wife which was a disaster because no one wanted to buy it but now this book which is called sweet life is one of the icons of the history of dutch photography books.
last week I visited van der Elskens exhibition at the stedelijk museum Amsterdam and was inspired by the way he wanted to show the beauty in the people he photographed and not in a judgemental way. I wanted to include some of my favourites from the exhibition.
Ed van der Elsken – Camera in Love stedelijk museum Amsterdam
4 Feb – 21 May 2017