...the 'enfant terrible' of Dutch photography...
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Ed van der ElskenAnalyse van een foto
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.
Love on the left bank (1956)
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].
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
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 ...
"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.
|Ed van der Elsken Bijster 1969 1 - 6|
|Titel||see this photobook Online ...|
|Fotograaf||Ed van der Elsken|
|Uitgever||De Bezige Bij (Amsterdam)|