Camera in love

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Sep 23 2018

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Category: Europe, Netherlands

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That was the title given to the exhibition of the work of Ed van der Elsken at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 2017. The woman with the cigarette on the photo is Vali Myers, a bohemian artist who was Van de Elsken’s muse during his stay in Paris in the early 1950s. She figures on many pages of his photobook “Love on the west bank”, that is to say, the west bank of the River Seine in Paris (original Dutch title: “Een liefdesgeschiedenis in Saint-Germain-des-Prés”).

Ed van der Elsken: “Just like tramp I think” – Ed van der Elsken Exhibition Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam 2017

Seeing an exhibition of the work of a street photographer like Van der Elsken in a museum of modern art is kind of strange. It is as if the photos, neatly put up on the walls, some blown up to enormous proportions, are torn loose from their natural messy context, the street. As if they feel awkward with their innate playfulness and informality in the environment of an official museum. While, interestingly, if you open a page on google Ed van der Elsken – Images and scroll through a haphazard multitude of his photos, the fun and joy of his “camera in love”, so characteristic of the man and his work, burst from the screen.

Photo of the week: Portrait of Vali Myers, Ed van der Elsken exhibition, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Netherlands 2017

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