Ed van der Elsken was a unique figure. The first true Dutch street photographer, he roamed cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Tokyo seeking out colourful personalities, head-turning young women and wayward youth. Ed van der Elsken both chronicled, and influenced, the Zeitgeist. In his work, he developed a bold, unconventional and personal style. Van der Elsken’s presence resonates throughout his work: he cared about making a personal connection with the people he photographed and, like a playful art director, often staged situations, too.
The oeuvre of Ed van der Elsken is mentioned in the same breath as those of legendary international photographers Robert Frank (1924, CH) and William Klein (1928, VS) and his legacy inspires contemporary artists such as Nan Goldin (1953, US) and Paulien Oltheten (1982, NL).