Van der Elsken’s beehive girl has a name

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beehive-girl-ed-van-der-elsken

‘Funfair on the Nieuwmarkt, girl with beehive’ (‘Kermis op de Nieuwmarkt, meisje met suikerspinkapsel) is one of the main pieces of Ed van der Elsken’s retrospective exhibition at the the municipal archive of Amsterdam, but until recently the subject of the photo remained unknown.

The archive asked its Facebook followers if they knew who this girls was. As it turns out her widower recognised her in a previous exhibition and was all too happy to share her name: Margriet Swart.

Van der Elsken (1925-1990) was a street photographer and an important chronicler for Amsterdam during one of its most interesting periods, the 1950s and 1960s, when nozems (Dutch black leather jacket ‘bad boy’ type) provos (Dutch anti-establishment ‘bad boy’ type) made the city an interesting place to be again.

De Groene Amsterdammer explains his role: “Van der Elsken had an eye for what was brewing under that grey reality, a sense for rebellion and bold adventure, against the long leather coats and the bull pizzles of the police. This brewing is visible everywhere in Van der Elsken’s photos, in the faces of the boys hanging out in the streets and in the eyes of the girls at the funfairs.”

The exhibition, Amsterdam!, runs until 14 September 2014.

(Link: PhotoQ; illustration: PhotoQ / Ed van der Elsken)

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