Thursday, 18 October 2012

Jo Teeuwisse

This works for me.  Jo Teeuwisse is a Dutch historical consultant and bought 300 old negatives at a flea market in Amsterdam. Wow, what a find. I think the approach of overlaying the archival photos, which are of soldiers in war-torn France, on the present day locations, is really very powerful.  A similar treatment has been used by Shawn Clover and I am sure I have seen other examples too in the past.

There are three things that interest me in particular about Teeuwisse's work.  The first is that it offers a suggestion as to how one can reconcile the challenge of photographing the past in the present. This is something that I ponder not infrequently about bygone eras within the Lakes and how current landscapes belie what has been before.  The second is that it is yet another example of how one can use photos as a vehicle for a greater purpose and not an end in itself. In this case, the purpose of the photograph is less relevant than its ability to support the greater goal, which in this case is 'to give a deeper understanding of our history'.  The third aspect, not unlike the work of Mishka Henner or John Stezaker, is the continued trend to 're-work' or 're-use' images from the past and alter or transform their meaning by adding or subtracting something from the image. In Teeuwisse's work I personally find this 're-work' does give deeper meaning and relevance to the subject by bringing history back to the current day which does make it relevant to us, now. And it enhances what were clearly already strong images that she acquired.


  1. Incredible find. To find them in the first place is perhaps one thing, but to someone who was working in that period is remarkable. I think the edits are terrific and done with such sensitivity, bringing that past, that memory to the fore is wonderful. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  2. It seems to be a photographer's past-time now - trawling through flea markets and auctions for that old set of negs that can be 'recreated' in to something new for today's market...that and google maps/streetview.