Amsterdam in Black & White 1947-1970

blog_ed_van_der_elsken_201406_smallA picture is worth a thousand words? Those by Ed van der Elsken sure are! His black & white pictures of Amsterdam are amongst the most appreciated: they capture the real Amsterdammers.

“My Amsterdam. My Amsterdammers. People from decent burroughs, the Nieuwmarkt (New Market), Jodenbuurt (Jewish Neighborhood), the Pijp (Pipe), Kattenburg. People that never go to the Apollolaan or the Goudkust (Gold Coast, aka Minervalaan), unless, well, yeah, perhaps as a milkman, or a burglar”–the very people Van der Elsken (1925–1990) wanted to capture in his pictures (see original quotes here).

Van der Elsken loved the hustle and bustle of the city: he photographed demonstrations, markets, fun fairs, traffic, as well as workmen, rebels, pretty girls, ‘dirty mounted police’…
In other words: his city. Pictures taken by him between 1947 and 1970 were originally published in the book ‘Amsterdam!’, in 1979.

For the reprint published end of last month by Top Notch–its design true to the original!–over 300 original negatives were scanned by the Netherlands Photo Museum to provide the best possible quality. Thankfully, the book’s published in Dutch (with the original captions) and English.

AND… as of today, June 6th, there’s an exposition of Van der Elsken’s work at the City Archives! At ‘Amsterdam! Ed van der Elsken, old pictures 1947-1970’ you will see his ‘vintage prints’ as well as work that hasn’t been previously shown.
Subtitles Video:
“Als je naar de foto van Ed van der Elsken kijkt, waarop die man mij nakomt, me pet van me kop slaat–ik zie ‘m nog drijven, in het water van de Keizersgracht, ik zie ‘m nog drijven!”

“If you look at that picture of Ed van der Elsken, in which that man comes after me, hitting me cap of me head–I can still see it float, in the water of the Keizersgracht, I can still see it float!”

“Mensen staan centraal in het werk van Ed van der Elsken, het tuig, de etters, de dwarsliggers, de outsiders, de dropouts, rebellen.”
“Central to Ed van der Elsken’s work are the people; the scum, the rascals, the contraries, the outsiders, the dropouts, rebels.”

“…en ik weet nog, ik had een Leica met een hele lichtsterke lens, een Canon lens had ik erop zitten.”
“…and, I still remember, I had a Leica with a powerful lightstrong lens, I had a Canon lens on it.” (END SUBTITLES)

Funny coincident: it’s almost exactly a year ago that we posted another blog about Ed van der Elsken; Cycling underneath the Rijksmuseum (with an Amsterdam video by Van der Elsken himself).

Photographer Van der Elsken offers a beautiful, raw insight in Amsterdam and the Amsterdammers of the fifties and sixties.
WHY NOW The book with the pictures has only just been republished, and the exhibition kick-off is today, June 6th. Tickets at the door: adults € 6, kids 12-18 years € 4, kids 11 and younger € 0. Price including audio tour.
WHEN June 6th – September 14th 2014, Tuesdays-Fridays 10:00 hrs – 17:00 hrs (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.), Saturdays/Sundays 12:00 hrs – 17:00 hrs (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
WHAT Black & white photographs plus sound clips–of Amsterdammers and photographer Van der Elsken himself
WHERE City Archives (Stadsarchief) Amsterdam, Vijzelstraat 32 (in a wheelchair over 225 kg? Access via Herengracht 482)

© Image still YouTube Text © Amsterdam Culture/Sheila Schenkel

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