vrijdag 23 april 2010

Streetlife Amsterdam 1975 Ed van der Elsken Color Photography

Ed van der Elsken was one of the most influential figures in postwar Dutch photography. He is inextricably linked with Amsterdam, his place-of-birth where he photographed and filmed throughout his life. Van der Elsken captured every aspect of Amsterdam from the 1950s on. Working primarily with natural light, his objective was to show things as they are, without disrupting any integrity or mainstreaming his subjects. His openness to accident and the unexpected is indicative of the artist's lust for life and lends empathy to the strange and tender encounters captured. The quixotic technique often resulted in textures ranging from hard grains to soft blurs, playing upon the pictures' surface in a manner that elevated the atmosphere beyond the confines of its factual content. The unconventional technique and the gritty snapshot-like quality of Van der Elsken's work have been of great importance in the development of contemporary photography.

Heavily influenced by Weegee and stylistically in-step with Brassai's shadowed city streets, Nan Goldin's sexual curiosity, Diane Arbus's eye for the bizarre and Robert Frank's recognition of cultural identity, Van der Elsken explored seedy city underbellies and rugged backwoods with complete surrender to his environment. As a brazen populist and champion of the underdog, he traveled the world, observing idiosyncrasies with a combination of intimacy and drama. Most often, his subject was his beloved, "pre-renovation" Amsterdam, though the underground nightclubs of Jazz-era Paris, and the culturally foreign countries he visited did not go unnoticed. In 1956, Van der Elsken published his first b/w photo-book Love on the left bank, capturing the life of artists in Saint-Germain de Pres in Paris and many of the color photographs were originally published in Eye Love You (1977) and Hallo! (1978).
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