The Dark Room #3

March 9th, 2011
by imagitect

It was another very busy Monday at the third edition of De Donkere Kamer (The Dark Room) in Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam!

Three pitches of three minutes
For a photographer and/or affiliate in the world of Dutch photography once again DDK proved worth a visit . For 5 euro entrance fee you won't have to pass up, especially because the entrance fee is divided between three photo projects of which the photographers hold a pitch talk of 3 minutes to sell it to the public. Together with your entrance ticket you will receive five coins that you can distribute between the “pitchers”. The one with the strongest story usually gets the bulk of the coins, thrown in three collection boxes afterwards.. Els Zweerink was the happy “winner” with her El Salvador project.

Varied program
On the program was also a tribute to the recently deceased Koen Wessing (1942-2011) known as one of Holland's best documentary photographers. A series of impressive photos of his hand was projected on large screens around the stage.

Pim Milo held a humorous plea against the free provision of photos for auctions, the proceeds of which go to charity. You stimulate the debasement of your work, he finds. Leave it, for example, to the collectors to offer work out of their collections at auctions. Do not do this yourself. Read the plea.

Lars Boering (director of the Fotografenfederatie) interviewed Claudia Hinterseer. She is director of NOOR, a successful photographer-collective based in Amsterdam. NORWAY focuses mainly on the big story behind important events and tries to reach a large audience, for example with strong photo essays on the impact of environmental problems on the traditional ways of living in countries around the world. With ten renowned photographers who are all co-owners, NOOR is close to the limit. A maximum of 15, according to Claudia Hinterseer, it shouldn't be more, it becomes unworkable.

Koos Breukel
is a well known black and white portrait photographer in the Netherlands. In a brief interview with Edie Peters he told about his methods and his photos as snapshots of a moment. However, he revealed little about the tricks of the trade. His cynical attitude and outpour, “actually I do not like people so much” seemed pretty weird. It conflicts with the impression he leaves behind as a sympathetic and humorous professional who captures people effectively and in a sensitive way.

The world of Popel Coumou
Then Popel Coumou (1978) told about her work. She makes her own subjects with various materials, adds lighting and takes pictures of it with her analogue 35-mm camera. It's mostly pictures without people; forms, lines and colors, very “clean” but then again very soft and romantic in some way or another. Difficult to interpret, better have a look at her site.

The Office
Finally, a presentation by Florian van Roekel (1980), the creator of the book ‘How Terry likes his coffee’. For this book he made pictures of people in office environments in some Dutch banks. The book was hailed as one of the best in 2010 and because of publicity on some prominent blogs and social media the 500 prints sold out in no time. That doesn't happen often.
Florian had a lot to tell, among other things, about the way people view photos and how you can steer this. According to him, it is increasingly difficult to convey the reality in a photograph because the spectator views from his own perspective of alienation. A serious picture of a woman stepping over barbed wire and handing a baby over to a man, can convert to a kind of advertising photograph if it's too beautifully shot. Or a shot of a cop with a drawn pistol taken with an over the shoulder camera has much less impact because it is so similar to a first person shooter game. As a photographer you should therefore thoroughly consider how you capture something if you want reality to hit the spectator. There is much to say about ‘How Terry likes his coffee’ but then this blog article would become too long. Florian Roekel will surely dwell on it some more at another time. Meanwhile you can watch the book online

To conclude De Donkere Kamer #3 evening, Edie Peters of PhotoQ walks us trough the agenda. There are yet again a lot of interesting things to experience in the photography world the coming period, no doubt about that! You want to be present at De Donkere Kamer #4 next time ? It will take place in May. When exactly you can discover if you keep an eye on the program Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam. Surely come!

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