donderdag 20 december 2007

Ed van der Elsken Jong Nederland Lovely Bastards Photography

Ed van der Elsken (Amsterdam, 10 march 1925 – Edam, 28 December 1990), a photojournalist born in Amsterdam.

He lived with fellow photographer Ata Kandó (b. 1913 Budapest, Hungary) and her three children amongst the 'ruffians' and bohemians of Paris from 1950 to 1954. Ata was a principled documentarian whose pictures taken in the forests of the Amazon among the Piraoa and Yekuana tribes are her best known, but her more poetic leanings, exemplified in her later Droom in het Woud (Dream in the Wood 1957) must also have been an influence on van der Elsken. Much of his work subjectively documented his own energetic and eccentric life experience, presaging the work of Larry Clark, Nan Goldin or Wolfgang Tillmans. His adopted family and their lives became the subjects of his photographs along with the people he met including, during this Paris period, Edward Steichen who used many of the photographer's images in a survey of Postwar European Photography and in "The Family of Man". Another encounter was with Vali Myers who became the haunting kohl-eyed heroine of "Love on the left bank" (Een liefdesgeschiedenis in Saint-germain-des-Pres) published in 1956, the first of some twenty publications. Twenty years later she appears in his film Death in the Port Jackson Hotel (1972, 36 min. 16 mm colour).

Moving back to Amsterdam in 1954 he records members of the Dutch avant garde COBRA, including Karel Appel whom he later filmed (Karel Appel, componist korte versie, 1961, 4 min. 16 mm black & white). He then travelled extensively, to Bagara 1957 (now in Democratic Republic of Congo), and to Tokyo and Hong Kong in 1959 to 1960, with Gerda van der Veen, his second wife (also a photographer). Shortly after he records on film the birth of their second child Daan in the old-fashioned working-class Nieuwmarkt in Amsterdam (Welkom in het leven, lieve kleine, 1963, 36 min. 16 mm black & white).

His imagery provides quotidian, intimate and autobiographic perspectives on the European zeitgeist between the Second World War and the seventies in the realms of art, music (particularly jazz), and cafe culture. His last film was Bye (1990, 1 hour 48 min, video, 16 mm film, colour and black & white) a characteristic response to his terminal prostate cancer.

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