Who takes care of your photos when you are no longer there? That was the central question during the afternoon discussion about the legacy of photographers that Pennings Foundation organized on Saturday, November 23, 2019.
The immediate reason for this was the exhibition of Pierre Segers (1935-2016), which can be seen at Pennings Foundation and which his friends, Jo Brunenberg and Ton Huijbers, organized after his death. They also made a book and a film in remembrance of him. Brunenberg and Huijbers were invited as speakers for the discussion. Other speakers were Emy Thorissen, curator of the Brabant-Collectie; Tjabine Guntlisbergen, heir to the photo archive of Harry Guntlisbergen; Piet den Blanken, photographer, who will eventually transfer his photo archive to the Brabant-Collectie; and Peter van den Doel of Stichting 1000 foto’s. A report (resume) of the meeting.
Jo Brunenberg and Ton Huijbers - the friends of Pierre Segers
With the exhibition of Pierre Segers as a decor, Brunenberg and Huijbers told the story of Pierre Segers and what they undertook after his death. Pierre Segers had informed Jo Brunenberg that the photos would go to him after his death (verbal statement only). The friends organized an exhibition and in remembrance of him they made a book and a film. The publicity they gained in this way led to the Gemeentemuseum Weert recognizing the importance of the collection, allowing the transfer of the photo archive to this museum.
see blog # 21)
Emy Thorissen (curator) – Brabant-Collectie (Tilburg University Library)
The Brabant-Collectie now manages 9 photo archives of photographers who have lived and worked in the province of Noord-Brabant. The way the Nederlands Fotomuseum acts at a national level when it comes to recording photo archives, the Brabant-Collectie acts at a provincial level.
There are a number of selection criteria: the photo archive must be of historical documentary interest; it must have photographic quality; preferably The Brabant-Collectie receives the entire archive; and preferably it must relate to Brabant. Both old and recent photo archives are recorded, from both professional and amateur photographers.
The Brabant-Collectie also preferably receives copyright, so that photos can be used more easily for exhibitions and publications. The Brabant-Collectie does not accept collections from autonomous photographers.
Tjabine Guntlisbergen - heir
Tjabine Guntlisbergen made an effort to transfer the photo archive of her father, Harry Guntlisbergen, to the Brabant-Collectie. Harry Guntlisbergen had documented the landscape and people in Brabant with his camera before it would disappear. Tjabine felt it was a great responsibility, a mission, to place the photo archive with the right institution. The process took years, also to get the family convinced. After the transfer a burden fell off her.
Piet den Blanken - documentary photographer and photojournalist
Piet den Blanken (1951) worked for 40 years for newspapers and on own projects, especially with socially critical topics. His photos offer a unique picture of the times.
His photo archive will eventually be transferred to the Brabant-Collectie. He is now preparing the transfer. He has a son and he doesn't want to burden him with that.
Piet den Blanken has always documented his photos well. "I want my photos to last longer than tomorrow's newspaper." He has put his photos in a database with reference to contact sheets. Part of the photo archive is analogue (negatives), part is digital.
Peter van den Doel – Stichting 1000 foto’s
‘1000 foto’s’ is a digital archive where professional photographers can place photos, up to a maximum of 1000 photos.
There are a number of photo archives in the Netherlands, such as the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Amsterdam City Archives with the Maria Austria Institute, and Spaarnestad, housed at the National Archive in The Hague, but not everyone can offer his photo archive to these institutions. "We created a solution to this problem by founding Stichting 1000 foto’s. We want to be additional to existing archives."
For a fee (250 euros once, followed by 25 euros per year), professional photographers can upload their photos to the image bank. This image bank is linked to the RKD network, which guarantees continuity. Stichting 1000 foto’s only wants ‘truthful’ photos, but also accepts photos of autonomous photographers. Copyright remains with the photographer or the heir.
• The discussion was conducted by speakers and the public: employees of heritage
institutions, employees of an image bank, heirs and photographers. The situation was therefore explained from various sides.
• There are a number of institutions in the Netherlands that manage photo archives. But not every photographer can offer his photo archive at these institutions.
• Heritage institutions are only interested in photography of documentary historical value.
• ‘Stichting 1000 foto’s’ offers photographers the opportunity to upload a selection of 1000 photos on their website. Autonomous photographers are also welcome.
• It is difficult for autonomous photographers to place a photo archive at an institution.
• Heirs experience it as a burden when they are saddled with the care of a photo archive.
• Photographers can take action themselves by arranging their legacy during life:
o Document your photos (subject, location and year)
o Make a selection of the most important work
o Arrange who will be responsible for your photo archive and ensure that he / she has access to the photo files. Also think of login codes.
o If necessary, contact a heritage institution.