Ed van der Elsken (1925, Amsterdam -1990, Edam NL) was a photographer and filmmaker who expressed his meetings with people in photos, photo books and films for more than 40 years. He started to photograph at the end of the 1940s. In the 1950s he left Holland for Paris. There he encountered the bohemian society of Saint-Germain-de-Prés. Marked by the bitter post-war atmosphere these young people spent their days in bars, living on alcohol and drugs. At the suggestion of Edward Steichen, whom van der Elsken met in Paris, he turned his photographs into a photographic novel. ‘Love on the Left Bank’ instantly made him world famous. Ed van der Elsken’s work is highly subjective, portraying striking individuals he encountered on his travels, documenting his own life and that of his surrounding. His approach was confrontational, embracing the bright as well as the darker sides of human life. The unconventional technique and the gritty snapshot-like quality of his work have been of great importance in the development of contemporary photography. Ed van der Elsken’s work remains to be widely shown at contemporary art museums throughout the world. Recent solo- and group shows were held at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2017), Jeu de Paume, Paris (2017), Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo (2015), Museum Boerhaave, Leiden (2014), Stadsarchief Amsterdam (2014), Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2010), Foam, Amsterdam (2005), The Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo (2003), The Palazzina di Giardini, Modena (2002) and many others.

Ed van der Elsken
Amsterdam, 1925 - 1990

Current Exhibitions

Ed van der Elsken

Fundación MAPFRE

25 Jan — 20 May
The exhibition on the work by Ed van der Elsken at the Bárbara de Braganza Hall in Madrid is the largest retrospective in Spain on the photographic and cinematographic work by the author (Amsterdam, 1925 – Edam, 1990), who was one of the most...

Past Exhibitions

Life World. Photography from the CIAC Collection

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
27/02/2017 — 30/04/2017

Ed van der Elsken

Jeu de Paume
14/06/2016 — 24/09/2017

Solo Shows

Camera in Love, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL
Camera in Love, Jeu de Paume, Paris, FR (forthcoming)

Me and You: Mario Testino and Ed van der Elsken, with Mario Testino, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL
Johan and Ed, with Johan van der Keuken, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL Sin Censura, MATE, Lima, PE
Ed van der Elsken fotografeert het Philips Natlab, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NL
Love on the Left Bank, Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, JP
Cuckoo, with Johannes Schwartz, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL

Color & Motion, with Robby Müller, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL Imprimés, Le Point du Jour, Cherbourg-Octeville, FR
Hit & Run. Ed van der Elsken fotografeert het Philips Natlab, Museum Boerhaave, Leiden, NL
Love on the Left Eye, with Nobuyoshi Araki, Ed van der Elsken Archives, Amsterdam, NL
Amsterdam! Ed van der Elsken, Stadsarchief, Amsterdam, NL
Love on the Left Bank, Fotomuseum, Antwerpen, BE

Love on the Left Bank, Galerie VU, Paris, FR

Group Shows

FRAMING FOLK, Adventures in the Countryside, Fotomuseum Den Haag, Den Haag, NL
The Avant-Garde Won’t Give Up: COBRA and It’s Legacy, Blum & Poe Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USA

Imprimes, Centre d’art Editeur, Paris, FR
Ordinary Freaks, Kunstlerhaus KM, Graz, AT
Punctum. Reflections on Photography, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, AT Modern Times, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, NL
How far how near, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL

De Grote Kunstshow, Stadsschouwburg, Amsterdam, NL
Wit, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, NL
From Holland with Love / Liefde in beeld en liefde voor het beeld, Nederlands Fotomuseum, NL

The Traveler – A visual journey by Alexander Ramselaar, TENT, Rotterdam, NL

Contacts & Details

City of birth: Amsterdam Country of birth: Netherlands Date of birth: 1925 - 1990