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Losing one’s head. Paul de Nooijer

Photography: Paul de Nooijer

Text: Ingeborg Leijerzapf

Design: Henrik Barends


Book of the month - February 2022

'Losing one's head' is the first book Paul de Nooijer made. The book begins with an introduction by Ingeborg Leijerzapf, then curator of the history of photography, Print Room Leiden University. What is striking is that all texts are printed skewed, just like the image on the cover.

After the introduction, black-and-white photos and colored black-and-white photos follow, each time one image per page. In between, Polaroids are included in series, spread over two pages.

In the introduction we read that Paul de Nooijer (1943) presents us with 'a distorting mirror of our own lives'. “Paul's photographs take us out of the rigidity of our thinking and take us beyond the boundaries of our supposed reality. They challenge us to look for things 'that you can't' or 'that you shouldn't do'.” A humorous reference to bourgeois morality, but portrayed in an alienating way.

The image in the image (by photomontage), sequences, stagings, dressing up and distorting lenses create an alienating effect. Most of the photos feature Paul himself, with his wife Françoise and son Menno. 'Selfies' before the word was established.

Everything you see in the images has been built up (in his house in Eindhoven) or is composed by photomontage. After all, Photoshop didn't exist yet.

Paul de Nooijer can be regarded as one of the pioneers of staged photography in the Netherlands.

Menno (1967), still a child in this book, has formed an artist duo with Paul since 1989. In addition to photography, they have expanded the repertoire to include video, film, installation, performance and music. They still work together after all these years. April 14, 2022 they will be guests at Fotokafeine at Pennings Foundation.

The book 'Losing one's head. Paul de Nooijer' is published by Lecturis and is in the library of the Pennings Foundation.

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