What do White House intern Monica Lewinsky and dancer Mata Hari have in common? What is novelist Harry Mulisch doing alongside Fidel Castro? And Bep van Klaveren and Regilio Tuur? Sure, both boxers, both Dutch, only separated by time… but what other layers does their juxtaposition reveal? The way we look at history is always shaded by our own background. With every narrative, we have to ask: What are we looking at? Whose story is being told? And from whose perspective has that story been recorded?

The photography collection of the National Archives of the Netherlands contains a trove of stories. FACE TO FACE tells some of those stories, by pairing portraits that, together, reveal a third image: a new story told from the subject’s perspective. We see parallels and contrasts between individuals who may not have shared time and space, but do share a history. Often, the combination of two portraits throws a different light on the subjects. Society and the way we look at it is always in flux, and this too leads to new interpretations and shifting views on the significance of people and events.

FACE TO FACE showcases a unique selection from the Netherlands’ largest photography collection, with portraits from both unknown sources and by leading photographers including Eddie Adams, Cecil Beaton, Gilles Caron, Ed van der Elsken, Yousuf Karsh, Erwin Olaf, Sanne Sannes and Lord Snowdon. The portraits are presented alongside letters, historical documents, books, magazine articles and additional pictures, and paired with podcasts: storytellers Wilfried de Jong, Onias Landveld, Nele Eeckhout, Mirke Kist and Siona Houthuys offer their own interpretations of the histories surrounding these portraits, drawing on their particular backgrounds to put a different slant on the meaning of the images, based sometimes on facts and sometimes on speculative conjectures. Five of the 45 podcasts have been turned into visual podcasts which are available on-line and which can be shared on social media.

FACE TO FACE is a collaboration of Nationaal Archief (NA, the Dutch National Archives) and Paradox and was curated by Elwin Hendrikse (collection curator, National Archives) and Bas Vroege (founder and director of Paradox), assisted by Susanne van der Wolf (NA). Production management: Karijn Delen (NA). The exhibition was designed by Kummer & Herrman.

Platforms

Cor Jaring, Yoko Ono en John Lennon in het Hilton Hotel, Amsterdam maart 1969, Nationaal Archief
Cor Jaring, Yoko Ono en John Lennon in het Hilton Hotel, Amsterdam maart 1969, Nationaal Archief
Ed van der Elsken, Machteld Appel, Nationaal Archief
Ed van der Elsken, Machteld Appel, Nationaal Archief
Eddie Adams, Bill en Hillary Clinton, 1995, Fotocollectie ABC Press, Nationaal Archief
Eddie Adams, Bill en Hillary Clinton, 1995, Fotocollectie ABC Press, Nationaal Archief
Eli Weinberg, Nelson Mandela, circa 1960, Nationaal Archief
Eli Weinberg, Nelson Mandela, circa 1960, Nationaal Archief
Beatrijs Kuyck, Indiase vrouw met gevouwen handen, 1957, Nationaal Archief
Beatrijs Kuyck, Indiase vrouw met gevouwen handen, 1957, Nationaal Archief
Eddy Posthuma de Boer, Harry Mulisch, 1959, Nationaal Archief
Eddy Posthuma de Boer, Harry Mulisch, 1959, Nationaal Archief
Eddy Posthuma de Boer, kroonprinses Beatrix, 1964, Nationaal Archief
Eddy Posthuma de Boer, kroonprinses Beatrix, 1964, Nationaal Archief
Fotograaf onbekend, Hella S. Haasse, 1955, Nationaal Archief
Fotograaf onbekend, Hella S. Haasse, 1955, Nationaal Archief
Fotograaf onbekend, Mata Hari, Milaan 1912, Nationaal Archief
Fotograaf onbekend, Mata Hari, Milaan 1912, Nationaal Archief
Henk Nieuwenhuijs, Willem Drees liggend in een duinpan Scheveningen, circa 1949, Nationaal Archief
Henk Nieuwenhuijs, Willem Drees liggend in een duinpan Scheveningen, circa 1949, Nationaal Archief
John Garner, Jan Cremer, circa 1970, Nationaal Archief
John Garner, Jan Cremer, circa 1970, Nationaal Archief

FACE TO FACE

Double-portraits from the Dutch National Archives, the largest photography collection in the Netherlands.

  • 14.09.201806.01.2019Nationaal Archief, The Hague

  • Curated by: Elwin Hendrikse (Nationaal Archief) and Bas Vroege (Paradox) assisted by Susanne van der Wolf (Nationaal Archief)
    Project management: Karijn Delen (Nationaal Archief)
    Design: Kummer & Herrman

FACE TO FACE

With visual podcasts by Wilfried de Jong, Onias Lansveld and AudioCollectief SCHIK. This web app is created with Slices, online software for multimedia storytelling.

 

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General Credits

FACE TO FACE is a collaboration of the Nationaal Archief and Paradox.