Monthly Archives: January 2017

| HERO | Ed van der Elsken at Stedelijk Museum

Ed van der Elsken was a unique figure. The first true Dutch street photographer, he roamed cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Tokyo seeking out colourful personalities, head-turning young women and wayward youth. Ed van der Elsken both chronicled, and influenced, the Zeitgeist. In his work, he developed a bold, unconventional and personal style. Van der Elsken’s presence resonates throughout his work: he cared about making a personal connection with the people he photographed and, like a playful art director, often staged situations, too.

The oeuvre of Ed van der Elsken is mentioned in the same breath as those of legendary international photographers Robert Frank (1924, CH) and William Klein (1928, VS) and his legacy inspires contemporary artists such as Nan Goldin (1953, US) and Paulien Oltheten (1982, NL).


In 1956, the young Van der Elsken became an international sensation with Love on the Left Bank, a photographic novel inspired by his own life about a group of young bohemians leading an aimless life in post-war Paris. Van der Elsken recognised himself in their nihilistic view of the world but also maintained the detachment needed to capture them in pictures. The filmic structure of the book, with flashbacks and ever-changing viewpoints, hints at the filmmaker Van der Elsken would become.

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| SUNDAY READING | Critical Path

Satyagrah is a term comprising two words; satya or truth, and agrah or insistence. Hence, in its loose English interpretation, satyagrah means insistence on truth. In practice, however, satyagrah transpired into non­violent resistance, passive resistance or civil resistance as a form of mass protest against the State. Gandhiji sometimes also referred to it as truth force or soul force. The practice was so successful in the Indian independence movement that Martin Luther King Jr. emulated it for the American Civil Rights Movement, and so did Nelson Mandela to protest against South African apartheid
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