Van Zoetendaal Publishers
Johan van der Keuken
Text: Noshka van der Lely
Concept: Willem van Zoetendaal
Design: Willem van Zoetendaal
Published in 2010
Johan van der Keuken had already garnered the reputation of being a highly promising talent in the Dutch world of photography at a very young age.
To allow him to develop his talents further he was awarded a Dutch state scholarship to pursue his studies in Paris, as there was no film academy in the Netherlands at the time. At the age of eighteen he left for Paris and registered at the Institute for Advanced Cinematographic Studies (IDHEC). Initially he did not feel at home at the academy; instead of attending classes he preferred to wander through the city taking photographs, which resulted in the photographs published in Paris mortel.
At this point Johan van der Keuken was still a photographer first and foremost, but from the start of his career he was intrigued by the possibility of making manifest the dynamism in stationary images. He experimented with series of photographs, which he arranged to produce a ‘pictorial narrative’. He also combined dynamic, blurred images with static, sharply focused images, thus discovering how a chosen arrangement, a particular sequencing of stills, could accelerate their implicit dynamism or imbue them with a different meaning.
The possibility of suggesting movement via the static medium of photography continued to fascinate him, even when he concentrated on film-making after completing his studies at the film academy.
Besides the famous photo of the dancers taken on 14 July 1958, it came to light that the archives he left behind contained a great many negatives from his Paris period that had never been published. These rolls were shot on the same occasion as the widely known print and together they capture an enthralling dance scene. Johan van de Keuken then selected the most beautiful of these negatives, the photo that for him encapsulated this event in a single image. For this book we have opted for a different approach, incorporating what surrounds that particular shot, what went before and what came after, bringing this session to a close. This reveals the ‘cinematic’ quality of the scene, the movement it embodies. It is as if the photographer dances along with the twirling public.
One of the best photobooks 2010.