Symposium The Comeback of Art Photography

Friday 22th November 2019

presented by Fotomuseum Den Haag, Leiden University, Nederlands Fotogenootschap and Scherptediepte

– With just elected Artist of the Year 2020 of the Netherlands: Saskia Boelsums! –

Location:           Kunstmuseum (auditorium) and Fotomuseum Den Haag
Language:         English spoken
Admission:        Free for members of NFg and Scherptediepte; 5 euro for others

Abraham Weinberg, Stilleven, ca. 1920, ontwikkelgelatinezilverdruk, 21,0 x 25,6 cm, collectie Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, PK-F-60.497.

Fotomuseum Den Haag presents the exhibition Photography Becomes Art about early Dutch art photography. This exhibition and its accompanying book place historical art photography in the spotlight and discuss its relevance today.

Why is this photo-historical episode relatively unknown in the Netherlands and abroad? A vast number of international studies have been devoted to the British, American, Wiener, Berliner and other secessions of early art photography movements, presented at exhibitions and addressed in publications. The Dutch contribution to this history, by contrast, still deserves much more attention. In fact, Dutch archives and public and private photo collections still possess many hidden jewels of art photography that can serve to greatly expand our present-day view of that history. The symposium will also call on collections and collectors to reveal these seminal works.

In what ways do contemporary photographers and artists relate to their forerunners and the practices of historic artists and photographers? Can this connection be strengthened and enhanced by providing greater access to photo-historical knowledge and vintage material? In what manner might this be achieved?

Through acquiring a greater knowledge of historical art photography, likewise establishing both a more positive valuation of its many facets and facilitating stronger ties with contemporary photographic production, the symposium aims to seek the revival of this ostensibly long-lost, but unquestionably underrated chapter in photographic history!

Part I: Auditorium Kunstmuseum Den Haag: Speakers and discussion

1:00pm Welcome

1:15pm Maartje van den Heuvel Guest curator Photography Becomes Art Van den Heuvel reflects on the rise of early Dutch art photography, its international position, and on ways to improve its relevance in contemporary artistic practice.

Saskia Boelsums, Landscape #26, 2017, inkjet print, 100x100cm, collection the artist.

1.35pm stage conversation with Saskia Boelsums (photographer and the Netherlands’ ‘Artist of the Year 2020’!) and Bas Meeuws (Photographer of the floral still life, currently successful in Asiatic countries as Taiwan, India and China) on the remediation of historical pictorial traditions into contemporary photography.

2.15pm break

2.35pm platform discussion with Adriaan Heijboer (photographer/artist and teacher of workshops on historical photographic practices and techniques at Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography in Amsterdam) and Ali Shobeiri (photographer/assistant professor for photography at Leiden University) on the relevance of historical ‘photographic practices’ for today.

3.15pm Thomas Belyea will speak about his English translation of the Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse fotografie (‘History of Dutch Photography’, i.e. the Fotolexicon) and the important role he believes it can play in the international recognition of Dutch (art) photography abroad.

3.40pm panel discussion: How can we set the tradition of art photography more firmly on the map, and does our knowledge become more directly accessible and relevant to today’s art and photography practices as a result?

4.00pm completion of the auditorium portion of the symposium at Kunstmuseum Den Haag; continuation at the adjacent Fotomuseum Den Haag

Part II: Fotomuseum Den Haag:

4.00pm-ca. 5.00pm: Viewing of the exhibition Photography Becomes Art, drinks and beverages