Ed van der Elsken (1925-1990)
Ed van der Elsken saw much of the world in his travels. Of particular importance for him during these travels was to meet people – the fascinating, characteristic residents of world cities such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and Amsterdam, as well as other locations in Africa and Japan, were the beloved subjects of his camera. Between 1950 and 1954 he lived and worked in Paris, and a few of the photos that he made during those years can be seen at the Cat Cabinet. Among them is a picture of Ata Kando, his partner at the time.
Alongside many other topics, he documented his life in Paris with his (first) wife. The everyday life on the streets – specifically the life of a group of teenagers in Saint Germain des Prés and the Dutch artists who were active in Paris – is a topic that appears often in his work from his time in Paris. These inspiring works were collected in the picture book “Een liefdesgeschiedenis in Saint Germain de Prés” and garnered worldwide fame. After this debut came another twenty picture books of his work, primarily over his own life. As a filmmaker, as well, he was not without merit. For about forty years van der Elsken documented all his meetings and experiences.
Alongside photos from his Paris days you can also see in the Cat Cabinet two photos of the writer W.F. Hermans. The portrait of Hermans with his cat Sebastiaan was taken in 1955, as was the one of Hermans and his wife feeding the cats.
Van der Elsken died of prostate cancer in 1990. Prior to his death he was working on his last film, documenting his life with the disease. It was titled “Bye”.