About the development of photography on the basis of one of our country's oldest and most complete photo collections. You can also register for one of the public events with experts who highlight a small part of the collection.
- Photography! A Special Collection at Leiden University
- Contemporary and classic: a unique and complete collection
- The exhibition: the development of photography, from pioneer to the Dutch New Photography movement
- Public events
- More information
From 23 January until 18 April, you can visit the exposition: Photography: A Special Collection at Leiden University at The Hague Museum of Photography. The exhibition features a selection of the special photo collection of Leiden University, one of our country’s oldest and most complete photo collections.
Surprisingly, the collection is not presented in chronological order, but on the basis of artistic themes. This leads to unusual combinations and new perspectives. Moreover, it is the first time that the photo collection can be seen on a large scale and that the portrait series can be seen that photographer Hendrik Kerstens made of his daughter (see the preview on this page: Hendrik Kerstens, Hairnet, 2000, inkjet print, 50x40 cm, coll. Special Collections, Leiden University Library).
Simultaneous to the exhibition period you can attend public events on various Saturdays in the Special Collections Reading Room of Leiden University Library. Several experts, amongst whom Hendrik Kerstens, will highlight a small part of the photo collection or exhibition.
The exhibition will be opened on Staurday 23 January 2010 at 18h00 in The Hague Museum of Photography, with the presentation of two related publications.
The oldest known image of the camera obscura principle (1545), the original camera belonging to painter George Hendrik Breitner, daguerreotypes over 150 years old: Leiden University’s photographic collection is unique in many ways. It is both the oldest and the largest museological photography collection in the country, telling the whole story of the emergence and development of photography. It also includes work by contemporary photographers, and ‘classic’ works by photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Diane Arbus. Despite resistance from both artists and academics – who felt it was ‘beneath them’ – in 1953 Hans van de Waal, professor of art history at the Leiden University, began the university’s photography collection. His explicit aim was for the collection to illustrate the development of the medium. The acquisition of several large private collections provided firm foundations for the collection, which has been enriched with many purchases and donations over the decades. The photography collection is now part of Leiden University Library’s Special Collections.
Leiden University’s photography collection represents the history, development and different forms of the medium. It includes examples of virtually all photographic techniques, rare objects and artistic highpoints: the early experiments of photographic pioneers like William Fox Talbot, for example, and the photomontages of Paul Citroen. Artistic ambition is illustrated by pieces from Piet Zwart and Paul Schuitema’s Dutch New Photography movement, and photographers like Emmy Andriesse and Cas Oorthuys represent the engagement of documentary photographers. The collection focuses on Dutch photography in an international context, and so includes work by great photographers like Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Curtis and Richard Avedon. Contemporary photography will play a special role, including Hendrik Kerstens’ complete series of portraits of his daughter Paula – recently donated by the artist to the university’s collection – which have never been shown together before.
The diversity and richness of the University of Leiden’s photography collection, as showcased in the exhibition, will also be reflected in a lavishly illustrated catalogue, in English, with texts by Maartje van den Heuvel and Wim van Sinderen. The exhibition has been sponsored by Leiden City Council, Cultuurfonds Leiden, The Hague City Council and Cultuurfonds Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten.
While the exhibition is on display in The Hague, a number of public events will be held in Leiden University Library’s Special Collections Reading Room.
Saturday 13 February 2010, 14h30-15h30: Maartje van den Heuvel
Maartje van den Heuvel, Curator Photography at Leiden University Library, talks about photobooks, showing original dummies and work books by e.g. Ed van der Elsken, Johan van der Keuken and Ata Kando.
Saturday 13 March 2010, 14h30-15h30: Michiel Kort
Dutch photographer and photo restorator Michiel Kort tells the unbelievable story of the restoration of a 19th century photo, which was believed lost, by the famous British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.
Saturday 27 March 2010, 14h30-15h30: Hendrik Kerstens (NO PLACES LEFT!!!)
A demonstration of portrait photography by Dutch photographer Hendrik Kerstens. He recently made fame in London and New York with portraits of his daughter, captured in e.g. the tradition of the Flemish primitives.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS WORKSHOP IS FULLY BOOKED, THERE ARE NO PLACES LEFT.
Saturday 17 April 2010, 14h30-15h30: Tineke de Ruiter
Photohistorian Tineke de Ruiter shows a unique and fragile piece: the 19th century Forrester album with salt presses of very early photography experiments. Due to the high luminous sensitivity, this piece is too fragile to be exhibited.
Please note: unfortunately, the activity with Koos Breukel, who would talk about photography with a 19th century box camera, has been cancelled.
You can register for the public events by sending an e-mail to: email@example.com. Mention your name, telephone number and the speaker’s name of the event(s) of your choice. PLEASE NOTE: It is not possible anymore to register for the workshop with Hendrik Kerstens on 27 March, this workshop is fully booked.
Please visit the museum’s website for information about the exposition Photography! and contact details of The Hague Museum of Photography. On the occasion of the exposition the following relevant (themed) publications are issued:
- Fotografisch Geheugen (issued by the Nederlands Fotogenootschap)
- Omslag (issued by Scaliger Institute and Leiden University Library)
- Fotografie! Een Bijzondere Collectie van de Universiteit Leiden by Wim van Sinderen (curator, The Hague Museum of Photography) and Maartje van den Heuvel (curator, Leiden University Library).