© Ed van der Elsken 1980

Farming Folk: adventures in the countryside

12.2015 / 03.2016

GEM – The Hague Museum of Photography

The furrowed face of an elderly farm labourer. The portrait of a proud Friesian horse. A still life of objects in a rustic interior. Timeless images, captured in the past by photographers like Adriaan Boer, Henri Berssenbrugge and Ed van der Elsken, and today by Bert Teunissen, Denis Guzzo, Hans van der Meer, and others. Big names who have ventured to address the all-too-familiar subject of Dutch country life. In this exhibition, some 250 images created by more than seventy different photographers provide a visual account of the period that evokes many different themes: the development of a national cultural identity, the reshaping of the landscape, and changes in agricultural work. The images reveal both gains and losses, both the hard facts and the romantic vision.

The subtitle of the exhibition, Adventures in the Countryside, is borrowed from Ed van der Elsken’s 1980 photobook of that name. The exhibition is accompanied by a Dutch-language book entitled Boeren. Avonturen op het land. Containing 120 illustrations, it is designed by Stephan Csikós and published by Lecturis.