Special photo collection Dutch East Indies now available online

Antique dealer and collector Hans van der Kamp collected more than 6,000 photographs made in the Dutch East Indies. More than a year after this unique and diverse photo collection was purchased by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) the pictures became available online via the Digital Media Library.

Flair for unknown photographers

Van der Kamp was born in April 1949, is of Indian descent and lives in The Hague. Photographers that are of interest to van der Kamp have all been active in the Dutch East Indies. In addition to collecting works by famous photographers such as Woodbury & Page and Kurkdjian, van der Kamp had a visible passion for precisely the lesser-known photographers, such as the Chinese photographer Sie Sioe Lin, located on Java.
This with an upcoming book in the mind on the corpus of Indian photographers, in which these photographers will be discussed.


Photographers at work

Of several photographers personal (photographic) documents are available. Images of photographic work in a studio were however previously not available in the collection of the KITLV. The images of photographer Thilly Weissenborn give a beautiful insight in a studio of that time. There is a picture of Thilly made while she is busy retouching during the time she was employed by the studio of the Armenian photographer Kurkdjian.

Family albums and still lifes

The collection includes many pictures of general life in the colony. There are for example pictures of families in and around the house. A remarkable family album in the collection is the album entitled The Haunted House. This album contains seven photographs, taken between 1912 and 1914 in Batavia, where a European family with servants are standing in front of their home, called the Haunted House.
Another typical genre collected with enthusiasm by Van der Kamp are the photographs of still lifes. Photographers like Van Kinsbergen and Lambert made still lifes with tropical fruits as a subject, a tradition that goes back to the 17th century painting.

Seek the collection online

The purchase of the collection is a valuable addition to the existing photo collection of KITLV. It is a collection that is interesting in the context of historical and anthropological research. Online photos can be viewed via Digital Media Library. Fill in the 'Search for' the words ‘aankoop en schenking’ for a complete overview of the more than 6,000 photos.

Last Modified: 11-03-2015