Koen Wessing was and remains on of the Netherlands most important icons photo journalism. Wessing started as freelance photographer in 1963. In his early years he became renowned for picturing the May protest of 1968 in Paris, the occupation of the Maagdenhuis of the University in Amsterdam in 1969, and later the military coup in Chili in 1973. Later Wessing produced more uniquely powerful work in Ireland, Guinea-Bissau in West Africa, Nicaragua, El Salvador, China and Kosovo.
Seen retrospectively, his work from South America probably received the most attention throughout the years. His images of the 1973 coup in Chile against the progressive government of Salvador Allende, as well the insurrection in Nicaragua and his reportage of the massacre during the funeral of Archbishop Romero in El Salvador, were all striking and alarming. His engaged work in these countries made him an internationally renowned photographer.
Regrettably, Koen Wessing was never able to see the finished exhibition as he passed away in Amsterdam in the morning of February 2, 2011. Until the last moment he had been involved in the preparation of the exhibition. Knowing that the show was going to happen gave him a lot of strength during the last period of his life.
www.ftn-books.com has the Stedelijk Museum catalogue on Koen Wessing now available.