Cor Jaring’s Magical Press Helmet
Dutch press photographer Cor Jaring was best known for his association with the Provo movement of the mid-1960s when among others he covered the clashes between Provos and the police.
As Groene Amsterdammer writes: “Wearing a polyester shield underneath his clothes for protection, Jaring climbed on top of cars, stood on window sills, lowered himself into manholes and walked backwards in front of demonstrations” in order to get his shots.
Jaring designed and wore what he called a ‘magical press helmet’, but whether it was part of his personal protection is unclear. “The helmet had everything a photographer could need”, Groene Amsterdammer paraphrases Jaring, “an automatic subject finder, a flash installation, a semi-automatic activity alarm, a flip-flop switch, a radio installation and an escape device which could produce a 30 metre smoke screen in three colours, red, white and blue.”
Provo had a strange relationship with the Telegraaf newspaper that was both antagonistic and symbiotic. Every time Provo organised a happening – an event for which provoking the police into a violent response to an innocent trigger was a requirement – Telegraaf would report angrily to its conservative readers. Telegraaf’s reporting would in return help spread Provo’s ideas.
Provo’s sense of publicity resonated with Jaring, who was considered part of the movement. It is just possible he wore the helmet as yet another thing for people to talk about.
Huis Marseille hosts an exhibition of Jaring’s work until 28 June.