donderdag 10 januari 2008

De Familie van Bennekom Family Photography

Bennekom, Kors van (1933)
Kors van Bennekom's first photo book, De Familie van Bennekom, appeared in 1990, followed by Twee planken en een hartstocht. 35 Jaar theaterfotografie (Two boards and a passion: 35 years of theatre photography) in 1993; Kors van Bennekom. Amsterdam van restauratie naar revolte 1956-1966 appeared in November, 2002. These publications reflect the three components which comprise Van Bennekom's work: the family, theatre and journalistic photography.

The first book tells the unembellished story of his family growing up, a process that the photographer followed with his camera for almost fifty years. He has an apparently guileless manner of photographing that results in relaxed photographs, with no taboos.

His second book provides an image of Amsterdam's changing artistic life between 1956 and 1991. In those years Van Bennekom worked for the communist daily De Waarheid (1956-1965), was a co-founder of the Uitkrant voor Amsterdammers (a culture and entertainment periodical) for which he would photograph until 1992, and also served as house photographer for various theatre companies, orchestras and museums.The standpoint from which he regards theatre is innovative. He feels himself at one with the actors on the stage and depicts the play through their eyes, so that in his photographs the public can see what it is in essence all about.

The third book gives a picture of Van Bennekom's street photography. The images afford a good insight into the other side of the postwar Reconstruction and the consequences of the Cold War. Together with Freek Aal, Dolf Kruger and others, Kors van Bennekom photographed the actions of the Dutch Communist Party for adequate housing, against nuclear weapons, against evictions and against the release of Nazi war criminals, but also recorded Dutch soldiers embarking for New Guinea and meetings of the Dutch Women's Movement and the General Dutch Youth Association, both allied to the Dutch Communist Party. He repeatedly did portraits of a number of prominent leaders such as Paul de Groot and Marcus Bakker, or photographed them in the company of other Party elite.

In addition, for De Waarheid and the cultural periodical Uilenspiegel (also allied to the Party) Van Bennekom photographed performances of Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf and Louis Armstrong, for instance, and Dutch artists such as Max Tailleur, Johan Kaart and Wim Sonneveld.

Kors van Bennekom developed his own unique, dynamic visual vocabulary in which movement plays an important role. His idealistic view of the world led to an accessible, 'open' sort of photography. He goes to work purposefully, and in photographing takes into account the readers of the paper, whether that be De Waarheid or the Uitkrant. In his family photographs too he strives for a clear and well-defined image through which the subject comes across unambiguously. Van Bennekom is able to extract the maximum from people and situations with a minimum of means. Mutual respect is the key. His passion for photography is great. He always has one or more cameras at hand.Kors van Bennekom renders his love for Amsterdam and its residents without beating around the bush. In his theatre photographs he testifies to his respect for everyone who creates a three-dimensional presentation from a script. And at home he finds the serenity to express his ideas about family life in romantic photographs. With the private photographs Van Bennekom perhaps creates the security that he earlier lacked. This work represents a unique value by international standards. Year in and year out, in an inimitable way he represented the cycle of human life. His photographs bear witness to a sincere, engaged vision of humankind, and of his wife Ine in particular.

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