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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It's a way of life." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Photographer Profile ~ Ed van Wijk

Ed van Wijk's (1917 - 1992) name is inseparably linked with The Hague (third largest city of the Netherlands): a major part of his archive consists of photographs taken in that city. He preferred to work in black-and-white and captured the events and people who make this part of Europe special. Wijk's compelling photographs of the devastating flood aftermath in the Netherlands (1953) are a testament to his skill and sensitivity as a photographer.

The Hague, 1952-56

Ed van Wijk, At the Beach, Scheveningen, The Netherlands, 1950s

Girl with a doll and a dog, Amsterdam, 1963.

The Big Flood of 1953

During the night of 31 January 1953, a flood disaster hit the South-west of the Netherlands. About 1850 people and tens of thousands of animals lost their lives. Around 100,000 people had to be evacuated, 4500 buildings were destroyed and many more were damaged. Almost 200,000 hectares of land were flooded. Nine months later the last hole in the dike was closed.
Of the numerous floods that have swept the Netherlands, this was the first one to be documented photographically on a large scale. 
Berta Baarland with dog and Jan Oele in shelter Ossendrecht just after the flood (1953)
Woman and her dog take shelter after the massive flood (1953)
Evacuated child with doll in dormitory just after the flood, New Zealand (1953)
Evacuated child with doll in dormitory just after a major flood (1953)

Evacués wachten bij bus op vervoer uit opvangcentrum Ossendrecht vlak na de watersnoodramp (1953)
Flood evacuees board bus ( 1953)
Rescuers rest against hedge house after the flood (1953)
Boy gets fed by nurse just after the flood (1953)
Girl eating soup in shelter after the flood, New Zealand (1953)

Men in boat evacuate livestock from flooded street just after the flood, New Zealand (1953)

North Sea flood, Stavenisse (1953)

Ed van Wijk | Het Nationale Ballet, Den Haag (1945-1960)

Ed van Wijk | Balletgroep 'Marjo', Den Haag (1945-1960)

Ed van Wijk | Balletgroep 'Marjo', Den Haag (1945-1960)

Ed van Wijk | Modeltekenen aan de Vrije Academie, Den Haag (1945-1960)

Ed van Wijk | Beeldhouwen aan de Vrije Academie, Den Haag (1945-1960)

Ed van Wijk | Beeldhouwen aan de Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, Den Haag (1945-1960)

Ed van Wijk | Speelplek bij de gasfabriek, Den Haag (1945-1960)

Ed van Wijk | Klimboom, Den Haag (1945-1960)


  1. What a wonderfully atmospheric series of photographs.

    The photograph showing the cars, tramlines and a cobbled street with two people crossing - is a scene you'll never see now. It's all been sanitized, smoothed over and there's lights everywhere.

    And then there's the man in the crowded shop selling light fittings - now that you can still find if you look hard enough!

    It's rare for someone to catch such atmosphere in a photograph.

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