Film
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Ed van der Elsken (1925-1990)



Handen (1960)
Karel Appel, componist aka Karel Appel, composer (1961)


Ed van der Elsken, the 'enfant terrible' of Dutch photography, was linked with Amsterdam, his place-of-birth where he photographed and filmed throughout his life. He captured Amsterdam's free spirit, open-mindedness and creativity from the1950s on. The exhibition puts this typical Dutch outlook on life in the spotlight. For Sophie Landres, director of Mireille Mosler Ltd., it's really important to show New Yorkers the work of Van der Elsken: 'he's such a wonderful photographer; he really knew how to capture the essence of a city.'

Influenced by Weegee, known best for his straight-forward street photography, Van der Elsken explored every aspect the city has to offer. In 1956, he published his first black-and-white photo-book Love on the left bank, on the life of artists in Saint-Germain de Pres in Paris. Many of the color photographs of My Amsterdam were originally published in Eye Love You (1977) and Hallo! (1978).


Most often, Van der Elsken's subject was his beloved Amsterdam. But the overall theme can be viewed in a much broader way. Director Sophie Landres: 'Van der Elsken's work holds something universal about cities, something of reference to Amsterdam as well as to New York. He portrayed the diversity of Amsterdam, and New York is a city that has always celebrated that aspect too.'


Not only the theme, but also Van der Elksen's methods were of a diverse nature. Since the early sixties he shot several movies in addition to his photography, one of which will be shown at the exhibition. In the short, black-and–white 16mm film called Fietsen (Cycling), the artist observes cyclist in the 1960s, moving over the bridges on the canals his beloved city is still famous for.