Going Dutch Ed van der Elsken

...the 'enfant terrible' of Dutch photography...

Ed van der Elsken Beeldroman

Ed van der Elsken Analyse van een foto

Ed van der Elsken Bagara

 see the reprint ...

Ed van der Elsken Danstheater
Ed van der Elsken de Jong & van Dam 1912- 1962
Ed van der Elsken Sweet life
Ed van der Eksen Wereldreis volumes 1, 2, 3,4
Ed van der Elsken Eye Love You
Ed van der Elsken Hallo
Ed van der Elsken Amsterdam!
Ed van der Elsken Are you famous?
Ed van der Elsken Parijs
Ed van der Elsken Amsterdam!
Ed van der Elsken Jong Nederland
Ed van der Elsken de Ontdekking van Japan
Ed van der Elsken Jazz
Ed van der Elsken NatLab Philips
Ed van der Elsken Once upon @ time
Ed van der Elsken L'Amour

Ed van der Elsken Martin Parr My Amsterdam
Ed van der Elsken Kondensfabryk
Ed van der Elsken Zaak met een hart

Ed van der Elsken

Ed van der ElskenAnalyse van een foto


Short Biography

Ed van der Elsken was born in Amsterdam in 1925. He lives and works in Paris from 1950 to 1954. In this period, he lives with Ata Kando and her 3 children.
He moves back to Amsterdam and lives there from 1954 to 1971. He travels a lot for his work, for instance to Bagara, Central Africa in 1957, and makes a long world trip in1959 and 1960 with Gerda van der Veen, his second wife.Shortly after, they have two children Tinelou and Daan. During his many travels, he makes reports in colour for the monthly magazine Avenue.
From 1971, he lives in the country near Edam. In this period, he often travels to Japan and also works in Amsterdam. He is living with Anneke Hilhorst and they have a son named John. In 1998 he is diagnosed with cancer. He dies in 1990.

Ed van der Elsken (1925-1990) - the 'enfant terrible' of Dutch photography - was a talented photographer and filmmaker who expressed his meetings with people in photos, photo books and films for more than 40 years. Strolling through cities such as Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Amsterdam or travelling through Africa and Japan, he preferably took photographs of striking individuals with character. His first photo book was published in 1956 Love on the left bank, which instantly made him world-famous. Some twenty photo books followed. He also made several television films, mostly about subjects regarding his own life.

The books:

Love on the left bank (1956)
Bagara (1958)
Jazz (1959) see the reprint ...
Dans Theater (Dance Theater) (1960)
Nederlands Dans Theater (Dutch Dance Theater) (1960)
De jong & van dam nv 1912-1962 (1962)
Sweet Life (1966)
Wereldreis in fotoís (world-tour in photos) four volumes (1967-1968)
Eye Love you (1977)
Zomaar in een sloot ergens bij Edam (Just somewhere in a ditch near Edam) (1977)
Hallo! (Hello!) (1978)
Amsterdam! Oude foto's (Old photos) 1947-1970 (1979)
Avonturen op het land (Adventures on the countryside) (1980)
Parijs! Foto's (Paris! Photos) 1950-1954 (1981)
Amsterdam? (1984)
Are you famous? (1985)
Elsken: PARIS 1950-1954 (1985)
San-jeruman-de-pure no koi LíAmour à Saint Germain des Prés (1986)
Jong Nederland: 'Adorabele rotzakken' 1947-1987 (Young Holland: Adorable bastards') (1987)
Elsken: JAPAN 1959-1960 Nippon data (1987)
De ontdekking van Japan (The discovery of Japan) (1988)
JAZZ Ed van der Elsken 1955-1959.61 (1988)
Natlab (1989)
Africa Ed van der Elsken 1957 (1990)
Once upon a time (1993)
L'amour! (1995)
Hong Kong (1997)
Leve ik! (Long live me!) (1997)

Nippon data & After Ed van der Elsken (2000)
Fotografie + Film 1949-1990 Ed van der Elsken Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2000)
Eye love you Fotografies + films 1949-1990 Ed van der Elsken Fundació "la Caixa" (2001)
55 Ed van der Elsken. Text Hripsimé Visser Phaidon Press Inc. Londen (2002)
My Amsterdam Ed van der Elsken Edited by Martin Parr

The Company photobooks :

Gouden Banden: uitgegeven ter gelegenheid van het vijftigjarig bestaan van de Coöperatieve Condensfabriek 'Friesland'. [Photography Ed van der Elsken. Layout Theo Kurpershoek].

Dat is't kondensfabryk: Een halve eeuw coöperatieve condensindustrie in Friesland. [Text K. Tjepkema (firm's history). Photography Ed van der Elsken; K. Heemskerk; J.D. Jong; F. Popken. Layout Theo Kurpershoek].

De wereld van vandaag: Na vijftig jaar Vredestein. [Text Max Dendermonde (essay). Photography Carel Blazer, Cas Oorthuys, Ed van der Elsken, Cor van Weele. Illustrations: E. Dukkers, Aad Feldhoen, Mart Kempers, Frits Müller, B. Witteveen, H. Bartels, Peter van Straaten. Layout Mart Kempers].

Vuur aan zee. [Text Paul Rodenko (essay); G.S.K. Blaauw (firm's history); J.F. ten Doesschate; P.R. Bentz van den Berg; P. van Delden (redactie). Photography Violette Cornelius, Ed van der Elsken, Paul Huf, Cas Oorthuys, Ata Kando. Illustrations: Jan H. Verhoog, Frits Müller. Layout Jurriaan Schrofer].

Een zaak met een hart: inderdaad ... een zaak. [Text J. Alders, A. Bevers, J. Doesburg, J. Jongenelen, C. van Kessel. Photography Ed van der Elsken. Illustrations, layout C. van Velsen].

Toen en nu 1907-1957. Photography Ed van der Elsken, Willy Schurman e.a.

Martin Parr and Gerry Badger: The Photobook A History volume I: Memory and reconstruction: The Postwar European Photobook

Ed van der Elsken Jazz

The 1950s consituted a golden age for jazz music. The decade was also renowned for classic small-camera photography, much of it as rough and ready as the best experimental jazz. The two art forms combine to perfection in Ed van der Elsken's gem of a book, Jazz.

Jazz is an elusive art form, and there would seem to be two aspects to pinning it down in a photobook: the form of the photographers and the form of the book. Van der Elsken's assiduous attention to both makes this modest volume probably the most successful of the numerous attempts to do so. Jazz is a spontaneous, fluid, improvisatory art, best caught on the wing, and this generally means photographing in a variety of illlit places. Formal, carefully lit studio portraits may be perfect for album covers, but they hardly catch the essence of a performance. Small cameras and available light, using a slow shutter speed, are much more effective ways of ambushing the practioners of what Whitney Balliett called the 'sound of surprise''.

The form of the book itself owes much, one suspects, to Klein's New York, and possibly to Brodovitch's Ballet. As with Sweet Life, the covers varied according to the country of publication. Inside the book begins with an image of crowd 'digging' a concert, then builds into a series of variations on the relationship between performers and audience, constructed in much the same way as a jazz musician constructs an improvised solo. Pages are split into two-, three-, four-, and six-part image combinations, resembling the clusters of notes in a saxophone or trumpet run. Graphically, vertical clusters of images suggest piano keys, while horizontal, stretched images recall held notes. The result is not just a succession of musicians' portraits, or even a documentary record of performance, but a book that visually echoes the music itself. other photographers, perhaps closer to the jazz community, have made books on the subject, but Van der Elsken's is the work of an authentic jazz fan and a maker of authentic photobooks. See also Lionel Hamptom & Ed van der Elsken 1956 ...


Martin Parr and Gerry Badger : The Photobook: A History volume 1/ The Indecisive Moment: The 'Stream-of-Consciousness' Photobook

Ed van der Elsken Sweet Life

Out of stream-of-consciousness photography emerged several distinct genres - the 'personal' documentary, the diaristic photobook, the photonovel and so on. Another was the photographic odyssey, the photographer's quest to find himself (it's generally a boy thing), the photographic version of On the Road. The epitome of this genre is, of course , Robert Frank's The Americans, but not far behind is Ed van der Elsken's epic photojourney - Sweet Life. Whereas Frank criss-crossed the United States, Van der Elsken was even more wide-ranging. Sweet Life is the result of a 14-month world trip that he made in 1960-1, covering West Africa, the Malay Peninsula, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, the United States and Mexico. Sweet Life was the name of a little tramp steamer in the Philippines, which makes its appearance in the book. Not surprisingly, modes of transport form one of the volume's major leitmotifs.

Van der Elsken's rationale for this freewheeling odyssey is typical Existential: 'I didn't understand one damn thing about it, except that it's enough to keep me in a delirium of deligth, surprise, enthusiasm, despair, enough to keep me roaming, stumbling, faltering, cursing, adoring, hating the destruction, the violence in myself and others.'

Although Sweet Life chronicles a journey, Van der Elsken's magnum opus has more in common with William Klein's New York than with The Americans. Like Klein, Van der Elsken designed the whole package himself, in an equally cinematic, improvisational, free-association way - there is no linear determinism in the narrative, though it does progress more-of-less logically from country to country.Like Klein, Van der Elsken brings into play a whole panoply of layout effects - double-page bleeds, crops, running pictures together and so on - and it is an unprecedented book in that a different cover for each of the seven countries in which it was published. Also like Klein's book, van der Elsken's was a big hit in Japan. His work consituted a significant influence on the young japanese photographers of the 1960s, about to be hit by the iconoclasm of the Provoke era.

Van der Elsken's words quoted above describe the tenor of the book as much as his journey. Sweet Life is a sprawing, exuberant cornucopia, a preview of the pure stream-of-consciousness, machine-gun approach that would soon come with the japanese Provoke aestetic, Van der Elsken's work has its dark and pessistic undertones, although in Sweet Life bold, frantic energies predominate. See also the Birth of Sweet Life ...

Martin Parr (Editor) about My Amsterdam :

"I never met Ed van der Elsken. But after going through his archives i feel i know him and his work a lot better. You can sense the exuberance and energy of this photographer by just leafing through the contact prints. My interest in Ed's work was initially sparked by the excellent books he has published. As photographic books are my passion, Ed's contribution to this genre is enormous.
Although he was a great traveller he would always look forward to returning to Amsterdam, his home city. The Amsterdam work is, of course, the subject of this project and to this end i have been given privileged access to Ed's archives and even the contact prints.
This book combines the original black and white prints that came from his archives and a selection of new colour images. However many of the black and white images, although printed by him, had not made it into his Amsterdam book published in 1979 or any of the shows where he presented his Amsterdam work." (Martin Parr; from the introduction)
This publication coincides with an exhibition curated by Martin Parr in the Amsterdam Fotomuseum FOAM from June 22nd to September 29th. 2005.


Ed van der Elsken Bijster 1969 1 - 6


Titel see this photobook Online ...
Fotograaf Ed van der Elsken
Periode 1950-1954
Aantal pagina's 114
Vormgever Jurriaan Schrofer
Uitgever De Bezige Bij (Amsterdam)
Formaat 19,5x27cm, gebonden