© Fred Ernst
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Nederlands Fotomuseum’s 99 top images

June 15, 2021

On 9 June 2021, the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam opened the Gallery of Honour of Dutch Photography to the public.

Six themes and six time periods

In the Gallery of Honour, 99 photos tell the story of photography in the Netherlands from 1842 to the present day. The Gallery shows the highlights, the innovations, and the great steps photographers have made, from the invention of photography to the unique technological innovations of today.

It starts off by showing the earliest examples of photographs, known as daguerreotypes, and showcases work by dozens of photographers who explored boundaries, developed new techniques, and brought about innovation – from black and white images to colour photography and the digital age. Through six time periods, the visitor is taken through the fascinating development of 180 years of photography.

First time period: The new Miracle, 1839 -1890

The invention of photography was first announced in 1839. The possibilities and magic of the new medium were then put to the test..

Various methods were developed after that, including albumen printing (negatives printed directly onto paper), glass negatives, the first colour photo in 1861, and silver gelatin  printing, invented in 1871.

Second time period: Photos for the masses, 1890-1920

Kodak introduced the Kodak box camera in 1888. With this camera, anyone could take photographs and the medium was no longer only for specialists. Amateur photography emerged.

Third time period: The new gaze, 1920-1945

Photographers are exploring new possibilities. New points of view, new visual language (collages) and other ways of making portraits..

Fourth time period: Towards a better world, 1945 – 1970

Photographers start exploring more and more: the camera becomes an instrument for compassion, criticism or for recording progress. From 1960, colour photography becomes widely accessible.

Fifth time period: Photography becomes self-aware, 1920-2000

Photographers are looking for a new way of creating art. Visual artists discover photography. Digital cameras are available on the market from the 1990s.

Sixth time period: The digital world, 2000 – the present day

Photography is everywhere and for everyone. The power and versatility of the photographic image is further exploited. After 2000, cameras were built into telephones. This is also the era of the selfie and the Instagram Account.

The public decides: 99+1

The Gallery of Honour consists of 99 iconic works, plus one empty frame. This symbolises the photograph that – consciously or subconsciously – was not chosen or noticed, not known, or not (yet) appreciated. The public can pick this ‘missing photo’ themselves. In this way, the Gallery of Honour invites everyone to offer a response to the current selection of photographs. Visitors can add their own +1 photo with a special App during their visit to the Gallery of Honour.


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