This year, Annet Gelink Gallery opens with Lanterfanten, a solo exhibition by photographer Ed van der Elsken (1925-1990). 


The Dutch word lanterfanten expresses the act of going about from place to place, generally without a plan or definite purpose. 


Many of the youths Van der Elsken photographed in the 1960s and 1970s hang out on the streets with no apparent goal. Their attitude stands in stark contrast to the full agendas, time pressure and haste that characterise our present times. Unlike the yoga classes and mindfulness that flourish in the 21st century, the youth in Van der Elsken's photos do not hang around with the aim of relaxing, working more efficiently or avoiding a burnout. They represent a purposelessness that was possible during this period and is nowadays sometimes longed for.


Lanterfanten refers not only to the people portrayed, but also to Van der Elsken's own approach to photography. Many of the photos he took came about when he was hanging out in neighbourhoods such as Saint-Germain des Pres in Paris, Kamagasaki in Osaka and the Nieuwmarkt neighbourhood in Amsterdam. With his eye for detail and striking moments, he created some of his best-known works while dwelling on the streets. In Once Upon a Time, he describes that ‘’[w]orking often meant wandering around in what I thought were interesting neighbourhoods, looking for what I thought were interesting people'' (1991). 


Van der Elsken was not a photographer who confined himself to his studio or sought complete control over the images he made. Above all, Van der Elsken was a photographer of the street, who would mingle with his subjects, snapping them unannounced with his trained eye for the unexpected. 


All the photographs in this exhibition show people hanging out on the street, wandering around without direction. By selecting photos from all corners of the world, the exhibition lays bare the similarities between different countries, cultures, and periods in everyday life - with sometimes nothing but the title of the work revealing where the photograph was taken. The exhibition offers the opportunity to wander aimlessly through the exhibition space, to simply spend time with the photographs while taking in daily life as others lived it.


Ed van der Elsken's (1925, Amsterdam - 1990, Edam, The Netherlands) work remains to be widely shown at contemporary art museums throughout the world. Recent solo- and group shows were held at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2020 & 2018), the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2019), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2017), Jeu de Paume, Paris (2017), Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo (2015), Museum Boerhaave, Leiden (2014), Stadsarchief Amsterdam (2014), Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2010), Foam, Amsterdam (2005), The Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo (2003), The Palazzina di Giardini, Modena (2002) and many others.


He is highly acclaimed for his characteristic publications, the most memorable being 'Love on the Left Bank' (1956), 'Bagara' (1957), 'Jazz' (1959), 'Sweet Life' (1966), 'Eye Love You' (1977), 'Amsterdam!' (1979) and 'Once Upon a Time' (1991).