The Schiphol Region and the Public Imagination of the Dutch Land- & Cityscape

19 Collections

It is common sense that photography and documenting reality are more or less the same. We know of course that it is just a picture, but we still believe it is a slice of the world we know, a true representation of was is out there, somewhere. For press photography, we believe it even more. The press photograph is traveling around, sending home a part of what can be seen. Interesting though, is that all press photographers, and editioral boards of news papers, act more or less a like: they all make their own selection, given the news that is at stake, and given the overload of images that are produced every day.

Collecting press photographs at random for many years now, and from several Dutch newspapers -  primarily and systematically de Volkskrant and NRC Handelsblad, to a lesser degree Trouw (weekend edition), and free journals like Metro (ad random) - revealed patterns that turned to have their own pace, frequency and spreading. Without any central actor to steer the process, it was remarkable that in a rather 'spontaneaous' way collections or serials were formed in the course of time. Sometimes they were permanent, sometimes they started and dyed out after a while, sometimes to be taken up after a short or longer period. The time between photographs of what is accepted as a collection of its own can differ - but most of the time press photographs will pop up with intervals of at least several days, but more often it were weeks, or months. Patterns like these are not (consciously) remembered - although similar images or variations on certain formal compositions, themes or motives, will be recognised. Interesting for instance is, that over the years there is also a category of the same press photographs that are used twice, or more. The hypothesis is that, although nobody will see all the press photographs thar are collected in this database, and people in fact will often see most of the press photographs just out of the corner of one's eye, the overall effect of these collections concerning the image we develop of the Dutch land- and cityscape, can be overwhelming. Because at a first glance at the collections that were formed, it is quite clear that only certain parts of the Netherlands are shown and that there is an excessive attention to some characteristics of what has become the typical Dutch land- and cityscape.

This project grew out of interest in the press photography of the Schiphol region: what was shown in the Dutch newspapers about the airport, about the landscape, about air planes, accidents, environmental questions, etc. To be able to determine weight and value of ''Schiphol-region'' press photography, collections were added that had some relation to the presentation: Dutch land- and cityscape in general. Note that the press photographs with the collections show some overlap: some press photographs belong to more serials. In line with this also maps and diagram on land- and cityscape are collected, as well as cartoons.