Monday’s Photography Inspiration – Ed Van Wijk

Ed van Wijk was a self-taught Dutch photographer. As with most photographers of his generation, he started young. Precisely at 12 years after he received a camera from his grand-father. At school he gained more experience by taking candids of his classroom unnoticed using a Rolleicord. After school, he chose to turn his hobby into a profession and soon bought a Leica 35mm.

Although he is know for his black and white imagery, van Wijk initially applied himself intensively to colour photography.  His early experiences with colour photography resulted in his first large official commission. He documented the famous sixteenth-century stained-glass windows by the Crabeth brothers in the Church of Sint Jan in Gouda, because of the threat of war.

After the war he made portraits and pictures of children, as well as photo reports for the theatre group Residentie Toneel. His photographs appeared in the women’s magazines.

One of the first photo books in which his work appeared was Nederland – wonder uit water (The Netherlands – Miracle out of Water, 1954) published by W. van Hoeve after the example of publishing house Contact’s series ‘De schoonheid van ons land’ (‘The Beauty of our Country’). This was followed by the books: ‘s-Gravenhage (1955), Amsterdam (1958), Rotterdam (1958), Leiden (1961), Madurodam (1963) en Friesland (1963).

From 1952 onwards, Ed van Wijk was a core member of the Dutch Photographer’s Art Society. In his work the influence of Otto Steinert’s ‘subjective’ photography is clearly in evidence. In the sixties he was a member of GKf for a short period. Having made a name for himself with his photo books, he was given teaching positions at a number of academies.

In 1957 he became a teacher at the Vrije Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Den Haag, in 1959 at the Haagse School voor Fotografie en Fototechniek and in 1964 at the Akademie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Arnhem.

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