Posted on Leave a comment

Atze Haytsma (1929)

Schermafbeelding 2020-07-08 om 16.27.49

Born in Amersfoort this little known photographer is still working.

Haytsma has become known for his nude photography in which he shapes the body into almost abstract forms. Inspired by the greats of all nude photographers like Bill Brandt and Lucien Clergue, his nudes are almost always made in a studio setting.

The difference is therefore the way light in the photograph is used . He can set up his studio lights in a way that is never possible when photographing outside. Personally i prefer the natural light of the outside photography, but that does not mean that i am not attracted to the photographs of Haytsma. His photographs still have a quality of their own, making these highly collectable items at a reasonable price. This is an artist to watch whenever an item appears on an online auction site. The ATZE book is available at www.ftn-books.com

Atze Haytsma (1929) was educated to be a sculptor. At fourteen years old he started his professional career as an assistant of Geert Marree, just before the Dutch famine of 1944. After that he studied at the Applied Art School and the State Academy of Expressive Arts. He also learned how to glaze and work with modelling clay in a pottery to finally produce the designs of sculptors such as Bill Couzijn, Carel Kneulman, Marie Andriesse and many others. Basically everything in his life revolves around shape. Where he used to work with stone, he now, because of his age, works only with wax. But it has always been about the shape of a woman’s body.

atze

Photographing women became an essential part of his life. It all began when he started to teach portrait and model moulding. At first he used nude models in the classes, but when the school could no longer afford to pay for the models, Atze started to photograph women and used the pictures as reference material for his students. They posed for him at his home, in the -presence of Atze’s wife, Mieke, who was a painter. First, they were students of the art academy he was teaching at, but by word of mouth the list grew longer through the years.

Around the age of sixty, Atze quit teaching. He then started to create small sculptures. He did this without a model; the female body was imprinted in his head in such a way, that he did not need a model. However, the longing to photograph women remained. Since then, Atze has been working in a pocket-sized attic, with construction lamps as lighting. He started out with two cameras, but soon needed others, because of the use of different lenses. By now he has eight of them, all Mamiya and Rolleiflex cameras, purchased for a small price at the end of the analogue era, when everyone switched to using digital cameras. Twin-lens reflex cameras for a 6 x 6 cm picture size on a 120 mm roll-film. Cameras that should be handled with caution, perfectly suitable for portrait and model photography because of their precision and handy size. Ideal for Atze, who has a soft, modest, almost shy personality. Using a Rolleiflex camera, you look down, into the waist-level finder, indirect, much more pleasant for the model. Instead of piercing, probing eyes she sees a head humbly bowed. The camera, placed on a tripod, is deliberately at about the same height as the top of the sofa bed. Atze does not for a moment want to give the models the feeling he is looking down on them.

The models are amateurs. Just women he met or who were referred to him. He will never ask someone himself, he does not have the courage. Maybe after a second posing session he could ask: ‘Will you come again?’. Sometimes he only speaks to them over the telephone and sees them for the first time when they walk through the door. The first time, they are a bit uneasy and nervous. Atze himself is relaxed, because he has been working with nude models his whole life. Atze always asks new models to come and see his photographs first so they can decide after that. If you feel that you are too fat or not pretty enough, he reassures them. A roll of fat or a skin crease can heavenly divide the body.

Posing for the first time the woman sits uncertainly on the corner of the sofa bed. ‘Just let yourself fall on the sofa,’ is Atze’s friendly advice. Followed by: ‘Beautiful, keep it like that’. That is how it starts and it doesn’t get more complicated then: ‘Can you turn around’, ‘Stretch a little more’ or ‘Can you crouch’. Photographs improve when a woman is aware of her body. He wants to give as few directions as possible, because it is all about interaction. A few words suffice.

He always photographs his women naked. Atze sees clothing as a kind of mask, so he wants his models to take it off. The absence of jewellery and other modern body embellishments make the images look like they could have been taken in the 1930ties.

Atze keeps his sculptures anonymous. Because a face has such a different expression than a body, he keeps the face out of the picture. Sometimes if a model lies in such a way that her eyes are prominent, he asks her to look at the lens and takes a portrait as a present for the model.

The pictures are a mirror image of Atze’s softness and admiration. The women show themselves unrestrainedly, bask in his gaze, let his eyes caress them. It is about surrender and relief. From Atze’s side, it is reverence for a woman’s body. And a kind of eagerness. If it is there, he wants to capture it.

For 25 years Atze has been capturing the tangible in moulding clay, the visible in photography and his thoughts in poetry. Three things that are inseparably linked.

Posted on Leave a comment

George Hendrik Breitner (1857-1923)…continued

Schermafbeelding 2020-07-06 om 15.10.29

Over 3 years ago I wrote a short blog on Breitner in which i wrote about his models and his Japanese Kimono painting. This blog is on another aspect of his artist life.

Breitner is known to have been one of the very first artists who used photography as a means for composing his paintings. The photographs he made were for him like sketches he made in the streets. These early days of photography everything was different…ni camera phones but large camera’s with sensitive plates, but the result was not only historically of importance but showed great artistry.

Schermafbeelding 2020-07-06 om 15.12.07

This quality is now recognized of one of the very important aspects of his artist life and many of his photographs are now in public collections being a part of the heritage of the complete artist George Hendrik Breitner was. He was one of the very first street photographers in the world.

www.ftn-books.com has some Breitner photography books available.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Giorgio Armani (1934)

Schermafbeelding 2020-05-19 om 09.31.01

I have a soft spot for fashion catalogues. It is not that I am a “fashionado” but the way these seasonal publications by the greatest of fashion designers are published I admire. They search for the best photographers, stylists, designers and really spent serious money on a publication that is in most cases given away for free. Chanel is arguably my personal favourite. They published in the Lagerfeld years really great catalogues and the combination Claudia Schiffer / Karl Lagerfeld is hard to beat by others.

Still, a great effort was done during the last 30 years by “Giorgio Armani” being in the fashion business since 1975 , they currently have over 300 stores spread all over the world ( except Africa). This means their appeal has to be truly international and with the seasonal catalogues, they presented in a universal way their fashion to their public. Besides some very nice Chanel catalogues, FTN books has also some great and classic Giorgio Armani catalogues available.

Posted on Leave a comment

Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952)

Schermafbeelding 2020-05-14 om 14.06.17

I did not realize that Curtis is almost a contemporary photographer. When you look at his photographs you get an impression that these were made in the earliest days of photography, but studying his works you discover that many were made well after 1930.

His most important contribution is however, the series he made around 1915 on the history of the North American Indian people. He photographed the Indian peoples in a way that his works were not only important as a photography document but also they reflected the way the Indian peoples in North America, lived, dressed and were present in US society.

In 1906, J. P. Morgan provided Curtis with $75,000 to produce a series on Native Americans This work was to be in 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs. Morgan’s funds were to be disbursed over five years and were earmarked to support only fieldwork for the books, not for writing, editing, or production of the volumes. Curtis received no salary for the project, which was to last more than 20 years. Under the terms of the arrangement, Morgan was to receive 25 sets and 500 original prints as repayment.

Once Curtis had secured funding for the project, he was able to hire several employees to help him. For writing and for recording Native American languages, he hired a former journalist, William E. Myers. For general assistance with logistics and fieldwork, he hired Bill Phillips, a graduate of the University of Washington. Perhaps the most important hire for the success of the project was Frederick Webb Hodge, an anthropologist employed by the Smithsonian Institution, who had researched Native American peoples of the southwestern United States.[ Hodge was hired to edit the entire series.

Eventually 222 complete sets were published. Curtis’s goal was not just to photograph but also to document as much of Native American traditional life as possible before that way of life disappeared. He wrote in the introduction to his first volume in 1907, “The information that is to be gathered … respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost.” Curtis made over 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Native American language and music. He took over 40,000 photographic images of members of over 80 tribes. He recorded tribal lore and history, and he described traditional foods, housing, garments, recreation, ceremonies, and funeral customs. He wrote biographical sketches of tribal leaders. His material, in most cases, is the only written recorded history, although there is still a rich oral tradition that preserves history.[His work was exhibited at the Rencontres d’Arles festival in France in 1973.

The book by Curtis on the North American Indians is available at www.ftn-books.com

curtis legacy

Posted on Leave a comment

Christopher Knowles (1959)

Schermafbeelding 2020-05-13 om 15.06.41

Christopher Knowles (born 1959) is an American poet and painter. He was born in New York City on May 4, 1959, and has received a diagnosis of possible brain damage. He is often referred to as autistic. In 1976, his poetry was used by Robert Wilson for the avant-garde minimalist Philip Glass opera, Einstein on the Beach. Wilson describes his discovery of the then 13-year-old Knowles in the extended notes to the Tomato Records release of Einstein on the Beach

In early 1973 a man … gave me an audio tape … I was fascinated. The tape was entitled “Emily Likes the TV”. On it a young man’s voice spoke continuously creating repetitions and variations on phrases about Emily watching the TV. I began to realize that the words flowed to a patterned rhythm whose logic was self-supporting. It was a piece coded much like music. Like a cantata or fugue it worked with conjugations of thoughts repeated in variations…

The first time I heard about Knowles was when the Boymans van Beuningen museum presented an exhibition on the artists and the BEBERT publishers published one of the best books from the Eighties on this hardly known artist.

For this occasion Jannes Linders, a Rotterdam photographer made the press material. Knowles name did not grow , but the book and his great art remain and are available at http://www.ftn-books.com and so are the press ( original)  photographs .

knowles foto c

Posted on Leave a comment

the 500 first Stedelijk Museum publications…A very important list

Schermafbeelding 2020-07-24 om 15.06.36

Last Thursday i encountered finally one of the list I was hoping to find for a long time. The list is made in the beginning of the Eighties when interest rose in acquiring and collecting the Stedelijk Museum publications. Since the start in the Mid ’30s from last century, over 1100 publications have been published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and this list contains the numbers and titles of the first 500 numbered publications. Willem Sandberg, Piet Zwart and Wim Crouwel, 3 of the greatest of Dutch designers all can be found on this list and i noticed of the 500 titles on it I have over 400 currently available at http://www.ftn-books.com

Beside the one on the list, there are of course many others published by the Stedelijk Museum FTN books has available. Take a look, save and share this very important document. the list is in PDF format and can be downloaded with the link below:

sm lijst 1 tm 500

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Helena van der Kraan (1940-2020)

Schermafbeelding 2020-07-21 om 13.49.06

A few days ago i learned that Helena van der Kraan had died at the age of 80.

I have encountered Helena a number of times at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag where she had become friends with many of its staff. At many occasions these friendships grew into series of portraits and i remember at one time she made photographs of all the staff to be published in a little book which was presented to Theo van Velzen at his leaving the museum. A very kind woman she was and she will be surely remembered for her great photographs she made during her entire career.


On June 14th, on her 80th birthday, former participant and photographer Helena van der Kraan passed away. Born in Prague in 1940, she came to the Netherlands shortly after the uprising in former Czechoslovakya in 1968, for a two year residency at what was then known as ‘ateliers ’63’. There she met sculptor Axel van der Kraan, with whom she collaborated for many years on large-scale, wooden sculptures, until Helena’s artistic practice focussed more and more on photography. She is known for her restrained and tender portraits of artist friends. Her work is represented in the collections of the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum and Museum Boijmans-Van Beuningen. In Fotomuseum The Hague, her series of teddybear photographs is on view until November 1st, 2020.

https://www.fotomuseumdenhaag.nl/nl/tentoonstellingen/beer-teddy

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Henri Cartier-Bresson…his drawings

Schermafbeelding 2020-03-17 om 15.35.50

Henri Cartier-Bresson, known for his photographs and member of the Magnum agency will always be remembered for his fantastic photographs he has made during his life,

but what i did not know and discovered recently is that he also was a very talented artist. Last week i purchased a book on his drawings. An artistic quality of this artist i was not aware of, but leafing through the book i found that his drawings have an almost impressionist quality.

These drawings were made in the last 3 decades of his life but show that he has the same approach to a drawing as with his photographs. Perhaps his photographs were the origin of the drawing….i do not know, but abstraction and mouvement within the same drawing show that his mind worked the same with making a drawing and taking a photograph. The book; Henri Cartier-Bresson / Zeichnungen is now available at www.ftn-books.com

bresson zeichnungen

Henri Cartier-Bresson (French: [kaʁtje bʁɛsɔ̃]; August 22, 1908 – August 3, 2004) was a French humanist photographer considered a master of candid photography, and an early user of 35 mm film. He pioneered the genre of street photography, and viewed photography as capturing a decisive moment. His work has influenced many photographers.

Henri Cartier-Bresson was born in Chanteloup-en-Brie, Seine-et-Marne, France, the oldest of five children. His father was a wealthy textile manufacturer, whose Cartier-Bresson thread was a staple of French sewing kits. His mother’s family were cotton merchants and landowners from Normandy, where Henri spent part of his childhood. The Cartier-Bresson family lived in a bourgeois neighborhood in Paris, Rue de Lisbonne, near Place de l’Europe and Parc Monceau. His parents supported him financially so Henri could pursue photography more freely than his contemporaries. Henri also sketched.

Posted on Leave a comment

Marlo Broekmans (1953)

Schermafbeelding 2020-03-06 om 14.46.18

I always have had an admiration for the photographs of Marlo Broekmans and sold her publications in the bookstore of the Haags Gemeentemuseum from the early 80’s. She is a master of lights and shadows and plays with them to enhance her models and subjects . This quality make her photographs stand out and make them recognizable at the same time.

The black and white photographs of her nudes are of a classic beauty and some of these were purchased by the Stedelijk Museum for their photography collection. In many of the photographs from the collection of the Stedelijk Museum, Marlo Broekmans is her own model , which gives these photographs an extra “:personal” layer and make them self reflecting documents.

marlo broekmans

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Jo van Katwijk (1953)

Schermafbeelding 2020-03-05 om 15.46.30

For me personally i find that Jo van Katwijk/ Joke van Katwijk  has had  a fascinating career. I noticed her works some 15 years ago and started to visit her gallery exhibitions. Because I admired her Heliogravures i began to study her other photographs and found that they too had a quality i admired in black and white photography.

Schermafbeelding 2020-03-05 om 16.02.17

Beside her heliogravures i very much liked her nudes and still lives and recently i finally found the book i was looking for for a long time . The book is the KWAK & VAN DALEN & RONDAY publication which was published  on the occasion of the Grafiekprijs they initiated. It is a shared publication with POL TAVERNE, but for me the interesting part is the van Katwijk part which has some of her best Heliogravures published. This second copy that i now have( beside my personal copy ) is in great condition and now available at www.ftn-books.com