Nico Jesse was initially a doctor. For years he combined his work as a doctor with his passion for photography. In 1955, he decided to leave his practice in order to devote himself solely to photography. Jesse was a multi-talented photographer. He worked for various companies, photographed for annual reports and company publications, and documented the Amsterdam ‘Book Ball’ for many years. In addition, he made numerous photobooks on cities and countries in Europe. Facing a lack of commissions and funds, he returned to his first profession in 1962. He became a company doctor in Cuijk and several years later in Venlo. With his death in 1976, Nico Jesse left behind an extensive photographic oeuvre, in which the main subjects are people and their day-to-day activities.
Nico Adriaan Jesse is born on 22 August, as the son of a wealthy grocer, Adrianus Arnoldus Jesse and Maria Geertruida Adeletta Jesse-Rothmeijer.
In 1918, the Jesse family moves to Velp. Nico Jesse attends school there and continues his education at the HBS (Hogere Burgerschool, an upper-level secondary school) section of the Christian Lyceum at Arnhem. He develops a great interest in photography and documents his life and that of his friends during school trips and outings.
Following his final exams, Nico Jesse begins his study of medicine and moves to Oude Gracht 44 in Utrecht. He becomes a member of the Utrechts Studenten Corps (a student fraternity). He completes his first year (‘propedeuse’) in 1931. He photographs for the fraternity’s yearbook, the Almanak van het Utrechts Studenten Corps.
In Elsevier’s Geïllustreerd Maandschrift, Otto van Tussenbroek discusses Jesse’s photographs. In addition, one of his photos is published in Modern Photography. The Studio Annual of Camera Art 1935-1936.
Jesse receives his degree in medicine. He marries Ro Dommering, whom he has known since high school. They move into a house built by Gerrit Rietveld at Erasmuslaan 3 in Utrecht. Jesse is one of the participants at the exhibition, Foto ’37, held in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Nico Jesse fulfils his internship requirements at the Academic Hospital in Utrecht, followed by his ‘semi-doctor examinations’. For three months, he and his wife, Ro, live in the Montparnasse neighbourhood of Paris.
Gerrit Rietveld opens Nico Jesse’s first solo exhibition at the Wagenaar art dealership in Utrecht.
Nico Jesse works in a number of doctor’s practices across the country. Upon his return to the Academic Hospital in Utrecht, he meets the nurse, Margreet de Vries. He decides to divorce Ro and marries Margreet in December 1942.
Jesse is commissioned by the Utrecht City Archives to photograph city life during the war.
Wendela, the oldest daughter, is born in May, followed by Machteld (1945), Rutger (1946), Anita (1949) en Colette (1951).
Nico and Margreet Jesse move to Ameide (South-Holland), where he takes over an existing medical practice. The ‘doctor’s residence’ is renovated in 1947 by Jan Rietveld.
Jesse is assisted with his photographic work by Jan Versnel.
Jesse’s first photobook, Utrecht as it is/Zó is Utrecht, appears in 1950. In 1953, his first company book, Oranje Nassau Mijnen (‘Orange Nassau Mines’) is published, commissioned by the Maatschappij tot Exploitatie van Limburgse Steenkoolmijnen (‘Company for the Exploitation of the Limburg Coal Mines’).
Uitgeverij Bruna publishes the photobook, Vrouwen van Parijs (‘Women of Paris’). It becomes a big success. Two years later, in 1956, the book appears in a pocketbook edition put out by the same publishing company.
According to the CPNB (Commissie voor de Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek, ‘Commission for the Collective Propaganda of Books in the Netherlands’), both Vrouwen van Parijs and Oranje Nassau Mijnen are included among the finest Dutch books for the year 1954.
Due to the success of Vrouwen van Parijs and his many activities as the photographer for the Paviljoen voor de Volksgezondheid at the E’55 in Rotterdam, Nico Jesse decides to sell his medical practice and to concentrate solely on his photographic work. The Jesse family moves to the estate, Over Holland, in Loenen aan de Vecht. Edward Steichen invites Nico Jesse – together with Emmy Andriesse, Eva Besnyö, Ed van der Elsken, Henk Jonker, Cas Oorthuys and Hans Schreiner – to participate in the exhibition, The Family of Man, in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Jesse becomes a member of the NFPV (Nederlandse Fotografen Patroonsvereeniging, ‘Netherlands Photographers Guild’). Uitgeverij Bruna publishes De Franse Rivièra (‘The French Riviera’) and Voetsporen van Rembrandt (‘Footsteps of Rembrandt’). For the textile factory, N.J. Menko N.V., Jesse produces a yearbook entitled: Mensen van Menko (‘People of Menko’). The photos from this book are exhibited in the city hall of Enschede. Jesse holds his second solo exhibition at Wagenaar Art Dealers in Utrecht, again opened by Gerrit Rietveld.
Willem Frederik Hermans stays for several months at Jesse’s estate, Over Holland, to learn the tricks of the photographic trade as Jesse’s assistant.
At Over Holland, Nico Jesse meets with the German journalist, Ute Fischinger. He invites her to travel with him to Berlin as his guide, where he will produce the book, Mensen in Berlijn (‘People in Berlin’), for Van Loghem Slaterus (although the book is never published in the Netherlands, in Germany it appears in 1960 under the title of Menschen in Berlin, published by Sigbert Mohn Verlag). Jesse does not return to Over Holland and divorces Margreet in that same year.
Following a short stay in the Netherlands, Ute Fischinger and Nico Jesse depart for Paris. They live in a caravan on the Quai Henri IV. A year later they make the book, Paris, together.
In May 1961, Nico Jesse and Ute Fischinger marry in Tessin, Switzerland. Jesse finds employment as a company doctor with the meat produce factory, Homburg. He combines this function with that of advertising photographer until 1971. He makes various reportages on the factory and its employees, is responsible for Homburg’s stands at several meat produce fairs and provide photo material for various folders. He quits his job in 1971 due to differences related to an advertising campaign. He sells his photo equipment out of financial necessity. His photo archive is stored in an empty factory in Cuijk.
Jesse works for a brief time at the Bedrijfsgemeenschappelijke Dienst (‘Business Community Service’) in Oss, followed by employment as an insurance doctor at the GAK (‘Gemeenschappelijk Administratiekantoor’, ‘Community Administrative Office’) in Venlo.
Jesse dies of a sudden heart attack on 21 January 1976.
Nico Jesse’s photographic oeuvre is donated to the Nederlands Fotoarchief (‘Netherlands Photo Archive’, now the ‘Netherlands Photo Musuem’) in Rotterdam by his widow, Ute Jesse-Fischinger.
‘(…) You know, doctors work a lot with prescriptions: it seems to us that Nico Jesse works according to the famous example of Goethe’s theatre director: “Greift nur hinein ins volle Menschenleben! Und wo ihr’s packt, da ist’s interessant” [‘Live life only to the fullest! And where it grabs you, that’s where it’s interesting.’] With his camera, Nico Jesse takes life by the horns. And the result is: life. Against all the academic rules of photographic technique, he can afford to take blurry, moving shots. The final result is not bad photography, but rather increased life. From the perspective of art, professional photographers are technically inclined and can usually be quite annoying. As such, they are likely to make all kinds of derogatory remarks when it comes to Jesse’s photos. Yet none of them can deny that he approaches his subjects in a grandiose way, that he knows how to capture life at its most interesting moments and that this life is always captivating.’
Paul Citroen gave this accurate characterisation of the work of his friend, Nico Jesse, in 1955 as part of an introductory text that was found in Jesse’s archive and intended for an unknown photo exhibition. Citroen could not have described it any better: ‘life’ is at the heart of Nico Jesse’s photographic oeuvre. During his travels, Jesse sought out people who were characteristic of a city or country. In fact, ‘sought out’ is not the right term: in reality, he just ran into these people while on his trips. He would take one or more photos of his subjects, and once he was back at home, he would then determine whether they were of any value. It was in this manner that his books came into being, which were known for the candid manner of photographing.
The photos appear to have been made spontaneously. Because Jesse easily gained peoples’ favour, he was able to capture the character of the person being portrayed in a photo. This was exactly what Jesse wished to express in his photographs. On 13 June 1955, he wrote about the importance of photography for the medical profession in a column for Het Parool. He ended his essay as follows: ‘As opposed to photography as a means of registration one can see photography as a means of expression. Photography is exceptionally useful for visualising human interaction. (…) Holding on to what is temporary—the split moment is essential for modern photography, that which shows a person in a flash, just as he is, without a mask, without a label. The combination of doctor-photographer is similarly understandable, as in both areas one must, after all, possess an interest in people and humanity in general. But, I would ask, who does not possess this in the end, where one ultimately wishes to know himself better through a knowledge of the other. And what individual is not interested in himself? If one reasons as such, everyone could be a doctor-photographer! A person is difficult to measure. This explains my doubts with regards to whether everything has been seen with sufficient depth and accuracy, or whether my photos convey people and humanity down to their very essence.’
Nico Jesse has never received any education in photography and, until 1955, he combined his activities as a photographer with his study in medicine and later his professional practice as a doctor. It was his father who introduced him to photography during his high school years. With his plate camera, Jesse documented the outings and school trips of his friends and classmates. In 1930, he moved to Utrecht to study medicine. A year later, immediately after completing his sophomore year, he announced that he wanted to stop with his study in order to devote himself solely to photography. He gave up this plan under pressure from his family, but continued with photography on an intensive basis. In Modern Photography. The Studio Annual of Camera Art 1935-1936, Jesse wrote the following: ‘I have taken photographs for about seven years now without help or teaching from anyone. My opinion is that long theoretical essays on “Art Photography” are no good for the man who wants to make art photographs. A photograph is good or not good, and an art photograph is not to be made by means of brainwork.’ He was exceptionally interested in new developments and had in his possession, for instance, the book, Foto-auge, published in 1929 on the occasion of the exhibition, Film und Foto, in Stuttgart. Jesse was inspired by New Photography and he himself experimented with photograms, photo collages and photomontages. In 1933, he made a calendar with twelve surrealistically tinted photo collages for the Almanak van het Utrechts Studenten Corps (‘Almanac of the Utrecht Student Corps’). Each page of the calendar had a different aspect of student life as its theme. Nico Jesse never furthered his experiments and instead concentrated his efforts on photographing people in their daily environment. In doing so, he laid the basis for the photography that would bring him renown twenty years later.
In 1935, the journalist Otto van Tussenbroek contributed an article to Elsevier’s Geïllustreerd Maandschrift (‘Elsevier’s Illustrated Monthly’) bearing the title: ‘Moderne fotografie van Nico Jesse’ (‘Modern Photography of Nico Jesse’). According to Van Tussenbroek, Jesse was able to capture what was characteristic in a person, animal or situation: ‘If he is travelling, he is always able to record all kinds of things, as in a photographic sketchpad, which touch the character and atmosphere perfectly of the foreign figures and landscapes presented before his eyes.’ Van Tussenbroek predicted that Jesse would further develop himself in the direction of film. This was not to be the case, although Jesse was most certainly interested in the film medium and belonged to the managing board of the Filmliga (‘Film League’) in Utrecht – probably in the period 1932 to 1933. Van Tussenbroek, however, was not entirely off the mark. Jesse’s later photobooks were especially appreciated for their film-like quality: their strength was not so much in the individual photo as it was in the sequential ordering of the various photos. In response to Jesse’s 1941 solo exhibition at Wagenaar Art Dealers in Utrecht, Gerrit Rietveld presented a discussion of his work in the magazine, Kleinbeeld-foto. For Rietveld, the core of a photo was: ‘the characteristic moment of a movement, freed from everything that is not a direct part of that movement, or which gives that movement a certain character.’ Rietveld praised Jesse for his talent in capturing that characteristic moment of the movement, of life that passes by, in a single image, without forgetting the aesthetic qualities of that image. In Modern Photography, Jesse himself cites movement as the most important aspect of film as well as photography. The innovative character of Jesse’s early work lies not so much in his experiments with photomontages and photograms as it does in his approach. Jesse approached photography with an unconventional, almost film-like point of view. His affinity with New Photography can also still be seen in the 1950s. Particularly in his corporate books, Oranje Nassau Mijnen (‘Orange Nassau Mines’) and N. V. Coq, he took advantage of the various ways in which to address a subject photographically. The miners and factory workers were portrayed in a spontaneous manner, while when photographing a machine, Jesse chose for abstraction by highlighting a noticeable detail.
During the Second World War, Jesse replaced a number of doctors across the country. In addition, in 1942 he received a photo commission from the Utrecht City Archives. According to a report of the city archives, the assignment concerned the years of occupation: “(…) The photographing of (…) not so much the monuments and buildings, as much as of city life in the broadest sense of the word, such as it appeared in the eyes of contemporaries during the years of the occupation.’ The bestowal of this commission was inspired by the fear that Utrecht might possibly have been partially or totally destroyed. Jesse took a large number of photos, which he assembled into small scrapbooks. He also made approximately thirty-six colour slides. Consequently, he was one of the few people to photograph in colour during the war. For the remainder of the war, Jesse was primarily busy with making family portraits. For many photographers, this was a key source of income during the German occupation.
Together with his second wife, Margreet de Vries, and their two children, Wendela and Machteld, Jesse moved to Ameide in 1945, where he was able to take over a family medical practice. It was also at this time that he began to photograph more professionally as well as sharing the knowledge he had acquired with other fledgling photographers. One of them was Jan Versnel, who assisted him in 1946 and 1947. It gradually became clear for Jesse, however, that combining his activities as a family doctor with his passion for photography was a difficult undertaking. In 1950, his photographic career began gaining momentum. In the summer of that year, Jesse’s first photobook appeared, Utrecht as it is/Zó is Utrecht, published by Lankamp and Brinkman. In the years that followed, he provided photos for Het versterkte huis. Kastelen in Nederland (‘The Fortified House. Castles in the Netherlands’). He was commissioned by the Maatschappij tot Exploitatie van Limburgse Steenkoolmijnen (‘Society for the Operation of the Coal Mines in Limburg’) to produce the commemorative book, Oranje Nassau Mijnen (‘Orange Nassau Mines’), and by the publishing company, Bruna, to make the book, Vrouwen van Parijs (‘Women of Paris’). This latter work, which appeared in 1954, received overall praise for its unconventional approach: the book consists of a sequence of photos showing women caught in the act of their daily activities. Technical aspects of photography, such as framing and focus, hardly play a role. His preference for artificial flash lighting was unusual, using flash bulbs of his own manufacture. While in most situations the available light was sufficient, Jesse still chose to use a flash bulb, resulting in an effect in which the person being portrayed, as it were, became removed from the background. Bruna Publishers put out a pocket edition of the book in 1956. The book’s print run totalled 44,000 copies, including those distributed in countries such as France, Sweden and Japan. A selection of the photos were exhibited in the Print Room of Leiden University and acquired for its collection. Even then, the book’s success was as yet incomplete. In 1954, it was included among the finest of publications cited by the CPNB (Commissie voor de Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek, ‘Commission for the Collective Propaganda of Books in the Netherlands’), just as with Oranje Nassau Mijnen, which appeared in 1953.
Encouraged by this success, in 1955 Jesse made the decision to leave his family medical practice and begin work as a professional photographer. The immediate reason for Jesse’s move was the Nationale Energie Manifestatie (‘National Energy Manifestation’) E ’55 in Rotterdam, an event for which he was commissioned to make illustrations for the ‘Pavilion for Public Health’. He spent his entire summer working on this project, realising afterwards that he could no longer maintain his commitments as a doctor while working as a photographer. This change in his career entailed moving his family to the estate called ‘Over Holland’ in Loenen aan de Vecht.
In his early years as a professional photographer, Jesse experienced no shortage of work. He received commissions from various companies, photographed for annual reports and corporate publications, and for years documented the renowned ‘Book Ball’ held annually in Amsterdam. He also produced a large number of photobooks at a rapid tempo on Spain (1955), the French Riviera (1956), London (1959), Rome (1960), Berlin (1960), and once again, Paris (1962). Jesse always worked for publishing companies and corporations, but was at the same time continually busy developing ideas for photobooks. His archive comprises various mock-ups and scrapbooks on the widest variety of subjects, including flamenco dancers, the liberation of Ameide in 1945 and sculpture in the Netherlands. In the 1950s, working on photobooks figured as the most significant share of his photographic activities. When comparing the different photobooks on European countries and cities, one finds a number of similarities. Jesse was, above all, interested in people. The tourist attractions of a city or region were hardly covered. The basis for each book was the atmosphere that a city or country radiated. In Rome, where life takes place on the street (more so than in the northern Europe), Jesse photographed mainly the countless terraces, squares and parks. In London, by contrast, his attention was devoted to the theatres, department stores and pubs, hardly taking any outdoor shots.
With these photobooks, Jesse placed himself into the category of ‘human interest’ photography, which in the Netherlands came into play in the late 1930s with the exhibition Foto ’37, and the establishing of a photography department at the VANK (Nederlandsche Vereeniging voor Ambachts- en Nijverheidskunst, ‘Netherlands Association for Applied and Industrial Art’). This tradition reached its climax with the famous exhibition, The Family of Man.
Appreciation for Nico Jesse’s work developed in the years that he worked as a photographer. The first books that he produced were suited to the tradition of the times. Publishers were producing touristic books on a large scale. Vrouwen van Parijs received attention thanks to its design and Jesse’s unconventional manner of photographing. In 1954, it was still unusual to go out on the street and photograph anyone who passed in front of one’s view. Starting in the second half of the 1950s, however, there were other requirements placed upon photobooks. Jesse’s photobooks were discussed more critically. Since The Family of Man, aesthetically justified photos without any message were no longer appreciated. Jesse became increasingly seen as a photographer who was superficial, someone who did not take the trouble to delve into the lives of the people that he photographed. He portrayed the homeless and the outcasts, not as a complaint against the terrible circumstances in which these people lived, but rather because these figures were photogenic and distinctive. Instead, it was the books of photographers such as Ed van der Elsken and Johan van der Keuken that drew attention. Ed van der Elsken lived from 1950 to 1954 in Paris, where he came into contact with the existentialism that was to become an important way of life for some groups in the years following the Second World War. Van der Elsken was fascinated by this and showed the futility of such an existence for young people – characterised by alcohol, drugs and suicide – in his book, Een liefdesgeschiedenis in Saint Germain des Prés (English title: Love on the Left Bank, 1956). While the book was set up as a photo novel with a fictitious storyline, the situation in which these people found themselves was by no means artificial. Life in Paris had never before been photographed so penetrating: the city itself only served as a background for the story.
Between 1956 and 1958, Johan van der Keuken photographed in Paris during his study at the film academy. His book, Paris Mortel (1963), provides an image of the harsh reality in 1950s Paris. The Algerian issue led to demonstrations by the far right, while labourers protested against their horrible working conditions. Van der Keuken photographed the demonstrations, railway strikes and the Salvation Army out on its collections. The image that he presented of the city was neither touristic – such as with Cas Oorthuys, and to a lesser degree, Nico Jesse – nor realistic and at the same time coloured, as was the case with Ed van der Elsken. Ed van der Elsken and Johan van der Keuken rebelled against the conventional values of the generations that came before them. They were confronted by a society that was completely different from what Steichen showed in The Family of Man. Nico Jesse continued to photograph in the old way. His approach was still personal, but was now considered superficial, in the same way that The Family of Man had come to be seen as naive and unrealistic.
Critics accused Jesse of applying a success formula—shots that are apparently candid, radiating dynamic and spontaneity— without daring the risk of breaking away from it. Jesse, however, was not one to be persuaded by a political conviction, but was led by a personal interest in the ‘common’ man in his daily surroundings. He chose not for exceptional events that occur in life, but rather for its every day aspects. His subjects are recognisable, but thanks to the photographer’s frankness and his subject, they carry an additional value. The critique was aimed not only at his personal approach, but also to the technical aspects of his work. His frequent use of artificial flash lighting – which at the time of Vrouwen van Parijs was still seen as something positive – was later viewed as a lack of technique instead of a pronounced trait of Jesse’s style of photographing. Jesse was very well informed of the technical possibilities. For him, however, it was more important to convey an emotion than to strive for technical perfection.
Nico Jesse took photographs based upon a genuine fascination with the medium of photography and with his fellow man. Throughout the years, he remained truthful to his own ideas concerning photography and did not allow himself to be persuaded by shifts in appreciation and taste. It is for this reason that his oeuvre possesses a coherent character. His interest in people—a trait that motivated him both as a doctor and a photographer—resulted in an oeuvre that provides a personal vision of life in the Netherlands and Europe in the years both prior to and after the Second World War, with an emphasis on the 1950s.
Kalender Almanak van het Utrechts Studenten Corps 1933, Utrecht 1932.
C.A. Schilp (tekst), Utrecht as it is/Zó is Utrecht, Amsterdam (Lankamp & Brinkman) 1950.
Hella S. Haasse (tekst), Het versterkte huis – Kastelen in Nederland, Amsterdam (De Bezige Bij) 1951.
Oranje Nassau Mijnen, Heerlen (N.V. Maatschappij tot Exploitatie van Limburgsche Steenkolenmijnen genaamd Oranje Nassau Mijnen) 1953.
André Maurois (tekst), Vrouwen van Parijs, Utrecht (A.W. Bruna & Zoon) 1954 (idem Franse en Zweedse editie en Japanse editie (1959)).
Kalender Katholieke Arbeidersbeweging 1955. Utrecht 1954.
Clare Lennart (tekst), Op schrijversvoeten door Nederland, z.p. (Vereeniging ter bevordering van de belangen des boekhandels) 1955.
Bert Schierbeek (tekst), Spanje, land en volk, Utrecht (A.W. Bruna & Zoon) 1955.
Brieven aan de redactie (reactie op brief van J.G. Gompelman, in Focus 40 (5 maart 1955) 5, p. 103.
Fotografie en ‘t medische vak, in Het Parool 13 juni 1955.
Martie Verdenius (tekst), Mensen van Menko, Enschede (NJ. Menko N.V.) 1956 (idem Engelse en Franse editie).
N.V. Coq -1956, Utrecht (N.V. Coq. Fabriek voor Hoogspanningsschakelmateriaal) 1956.
Jaap Romijn (tekst), De Franse Rivièra, Utrecht (A.W. Bruna & Zoon) 1956 (idem Duitse editie).
Ella Goldstein en E.R. Meijer (tekst), Voetsporen van Rembrandt. Een beeldbiografie, Utrecht (A.W. Bruna & Zoon) 1956.
Clare Lennart (tekst), N.V. Vaalser textielfabriek 1932-1957, z.p. (N.V. Vaalser Textielfabriek) 1957.
Aar van de Werfhorst (tekst), Nico Jesse, Ger Dekkers en Kees van Barneveld (foto’s), Overijssel, Den Haag (NVW. van Hoeve) 1958.
Daan van der Vat (tekst), Mensen in Londen, Arnhem (Van Loghum Slaterus) 1959 (idem Duitse editie).
Bertus Aafjes (tekst), Mensen in Rome, Arnhem (Van Loghum Slaterus) 1960 (idem Duitse editie).
Du Bose Heyward (tekst), Porgy und Bess, Lesering (Im Bertelsmann) 1960 (idem Nederlandse editie).
Franz Tumler (tekst), Menschen in Berlin, z.p. (Sigbert Mohn Verlag) 1960.
Ute Vallance (tekst), Visages de Paris, Parijs/Brussel (Sequoia) 1961 (idem Nederlandse editie: Parijs, Amsterdam/Brussel (Elsevier) 1962 en Duitse editie: Sehnsucht nach Paris).
Kalender N.V. Levensverzekeringsmaatschappij ‘Utrecht’ 1964, Utrecht 1963.
Kleinbeeld-foto 2 (december 1938) 9, p.311.
De 8 en Opbouw 12 (augustus 1941) 8, omslag, p. 103-107.
Catalogus tent. The Family of Man, New York (The Museum of Modern Art) 1955, p. 25.
Focus 40 (8 januari 1955) 1, p. 12-13.
Focus 40 (24 december 1955) 26, omslag.
Nieuws van de Dag 5 oktober 1957.
Magnum. Die Zeitschrift für das moderne Leben (oktober 1958) 20, p. 27.
Oto Bihalji-Merin, Das naive Bild der Welt, Keulen (DuMont) 1959.
Walther von Hollander (tekst), Unser Publikum, Gütersloh (Praesentverlag) 1959 (latere uitgave onder de titel: Der Mensch neben dir – ein Spiegel unserer Industriegesellschaft, Gütersloh (C. Bertelsmann Verlag) 1960).
Jaarverslag 1961 N.V. Levensverzekeringsmaatschappij ‘Utrecht’, Utrecht 1962.
Voorzichtig. Jaarverslag 1961 Stichting Valkenheide Maasbergen, Maasbergen 1962.
Jan Roelfs, Wij op de hei (uitgave ter gelegenheid van 50 jaar Valkenheide), Maasbergen (Stichting Valkenheide Maasbergen) 1964.
Jaarverslag 1964 Homburg N.V. Vleeswarenfabriek Homburg N.V. Cuyk, Cuyk 1965.
de Volkskrant 15 december 1990, Het vervolg, p. 11.
Otto van Tussenbroek, Moderne fotografie van Nico Jesse, Elsevier’s Geïllustreerd Maandschrift 45 (1935) 90, p. 19-23 (met foto’s).
Modern Photography. The Studio annual of Camera Art 1935-1936, p. 17, 22, afb. 38.
Gerrit Rietveld, Is fotografie een kunstuiting? Een beschouwing naar aanleiding van de tentoonstelling van Nico Jesse in den Kunsthandel Wagenaar te Utrecht, in Kleinbeeld-foto 5 (januari 1942) 10, p. 267-268.
Auteur onbekend, Bij de foto’s, in Kleinbeeld-foto 5 (januari 1942) 10, p. 273-277 (met foto’s).
D.B. (= Dick Boer), Meester van het moment. Bij de foto’s van Nico Jesse, in Focus 35 (11 november 1950) 23, p. 497, 504.
C.A. Schilp, Het huis van de arts-fotograaf Nico Jesse te Ameide, verbouwd door arch. Jan Rietveld, in Hoe wonen wijl Maandblad voor wooncultuur 1 (1951) 4.
KL. (= Hille Kleinstra), Nico Jesse weet wat fotografie kan zijn, in Foto 9 (september 1954) 9, p. 265-272 (met foto’s).
C.Th.R., Ons fototoestel: een middel tot expressie. Dokter Nico Jesse exposeert in Prentenkabinet, in Nieuwe Leidsche Courant 6 november 1954.
Auteur onbekend, Foto-kunstenaar Nico Jesse exposeert in Prentenkabinet. Artistieke visie, gesteund door volmaakte techniek, in Leidsch Dagblad 6 november 1954.
Auteur onbekend, Nico Jesse knipoogt met z’n camera. Tentoonstelling Leids Prentenkabinet, in De Leidse Courant 6 november 1954.
Auteur onbekend, Foto-tentoonstelling in Prentenkabinet, in Nieuwe Rotterdamse Courant 8 november 1954.
R.E. Penning, Nederlandse arts fotografeerde drieduizend Parijse vrouwen, in Haagsch Dagblad 13 november 1954.
Anthony Bosman, Nico Jesse: dokter, fotograaf, in Algemeen Dagblad 2 november 1954.
R. Nieman, Vrouwen van Parijs, in Elseviers Weekblad 27 november 1954.
A.M. Sloff, Dokter Jesse uit Ameide nam 3000 foto’s in 3 weken. Kortom “Vrouwen van Parijs”, in Noord Amsterdammer 10 december 1954.
Catalogus De best verzorgde 50 boeken van het jaar 1954, Amsterdam (Commissie voor de Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek) 1955.
H., Nico Jesse, in Foto 10 (januari 1955) 1, p. 3.
D.B. en J.v.R.D, In het Leids Prentenkabinet. Grote dag voor de kunstfotografie. Nico Jesse en zijn boek: ‘Vrouwen van Parijs’, in Focus 40 (8 januari 1955) 1, p. 2-4.
Auteur onbekend, Analyse der platen, in Focus 40 (8januari 1955) 1, p. 10.
J.G. Gompelman, Brieven aan de redactie. Meten met twee maten!, in Focus 40 (5 maart 1955) 5, p. 103.
Kees Fens, Vrouwen van Parijs, in De Linie 30 april 1955.
Auteur onbekend, Nico Jesse verhuist van Ameide naar “Over Holland”. Van arts tot fotograaf, in Het Parool 31 augustus 1955.
Auteur onbekend, Analyse der platen, in.Focus 40 (24 december 1955) 26, p. 588.
Hans Koningsberger, The Family of Man, in De Groene Amsterdammer 24 maart 1956.
Paul Citroen gezien door Mari Andriessen, Johan Bendien, Anna Blaman …/ Mari Andriessen, Johan Bendien, Anna Blaman … gezien door Paul Citroen, Den Haag (Boucher) 1956.
Kl. (= Hille Kleinstra), Nieuw werk van Nico Jesse, in Foto 11 (juni 1956) 6, p. 182-183 (met foto’s).
Kl., Nico Jesse bij de “mensen van Menko”, in Foto 11 (november 1956) 11, p. 386-389 (met foto’s).
Henri Knap, Zo fotografeert Nico Jesse, in [Folder] Gevaert, Den Haag (N.V. Handelsonderneming Gevaert) z.j. (1957).
Auteur onbekend, Mensen ontdekken met de camera, in Nieuwe Rotterdamse Courant 2 februari 1957.
Maps Valk, Bij bekende mensen thuis. Nico Jesse-arts-fotograaf, in Thuis, tijdschrift gewijd aan de inrichting der woning 24 (april 1957) 98, p. 8-9.
Hille Kleinstra, Over de Nico-Jesse- lezingen, in Foto 13 (januari 1958) 1, p. 21.
R.N., Allerlei mensen in Londen, in Elseviers Weekblad 11 juli 1959.
Oprijer, Mensen, in Dagblad van het Oosten 29 augustus 1959.
Kees Fens, Beeldroman over Mensen in Londen, in De Linie 19 september 1959.
Auteur onbekend, Mensen in Londen, in Alkmaarse Courant 22 september 1959.
Auteur onbekend, z.t. [recensie Mensen in Londen, in de rubriek ‘t Boekenplankje], in Haagsche Courant 26 september 1959.
Auteur onbekend, Mensen in Londen, in Nieuwe Limburger 28 september 1959.
Auteur onbekend, “Mensen in Londen”: knap en vindingrijk fotoboek, in Bussumsche Courant 1 oktober 1959.
Auteur onbekend, Mensen in Londen. Nieuw fotoboek van Nico Jesse, in Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad 22 oktober 1959.
Auteur onbekend, Mensen in Londen. Nieuw fotoboek van Nico Jesse, in De Bredasche Courant 23 oktober 1959.
J. Spierdijk, Mensen in Londen, fotoboek voor ingewijden, in De Telegraaf 3 november 1959.
J.A., “Mensen in Londen”. Nico Jesse schiet met hagel in de nacht, in Algemeen Handelsblad 7 november 1959.
Auteur onbekend, z.t. [Mensen in Londen], in Haarlems Dagblad 7 november 1959.
Auteur onbekend, Nico Jesse in Londen, in Leeuwarder Courant 19 november 1959.
Auteur onbekend, z.t. [Mensen in Londen], in Nieuw Utrechts Dagblad 4 december 1959.
Auteur onbekend, Mensen in Londen, in Het Boek van Nu februari 1960.
J. van der Ster, Mensen in Londen, in De Groene Amsterdammer 20 februari 1960.
P.T., Mensen in Londen, in Op de uitkijk maart 1960.
Auteur onbekend, z.t. [Mensen in Rome], in De Linie (Belgische editie), z.j. (1960).
Auteur onbekend, Eeuwige stad in foto’s, in Leeuwarder Courant 24 maart 1960.
v/d V., Mensen in Rome, in De Volkskrant 26 maart 1960.
Auteur onbekend, Mensen in Rome, in De Gooi en Eemlander 5 april 1960.
Auteur onbekend, Mensen in Londen, in Algemeen Dagblad 19 april 1960.
A.T., Mensen in Rome, in De Uitkijk mei 1960.
E.J., z.t. [recensie Mensen in Rome, in de rubriek ‘t Boekenplankje], in Haagsche Courant 27 mei 1960.
Auteur onbekend, Mensen in Rome. Fotografische kunst en werkelijkheid, in Utrechts Nieuwsblad 28 mei 1960.
Auteur onbekend, Nieuwe fotoboeken, in Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad 2 juni 1960.
H. Wolf-Catz, Fotoboeken, in Het Boek van Nu november 1960.
Stö. (= Heinr. Stöckler), Meister der Leica. Besuch bei Nico Jesse, in Leica-Fotografie 6 (1962) 6, p. 226-235 (met foto’s).
Auteur onbekend, Arts-fotograaf Nico Jesse plotseling overleden, in Het Parool 26 januari 1976.
Auteur onbekend, Fotograaf-arts Nico Jesse overleden, in Foto 31 (april 1976) 4, p. 14.
Auteur onbekend, Nico Jesse overleden, in De Volkskrant 27 januari 1976.
Auteur onbekend, Fotograaf-arts Jesse overleden, in Het Parool 30 januari 1976.
C.A. Schilp, In memoriam Nico Jesse. Kunstenaarfotograaf en medicus, in Arts en Auto 42 (8 mei 1976) 10, p. 879-882 (met foto’s).
W.F. Hermans, Boze brieven van Bijkaart, Amsterdam (De Bezige Bij) 1977, p. 293-301.
Els Barents (red.), Fotografie in Nederland 1940-1975, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1978, p. 30.
Flip Bool en Kees Broos (red.), Fotografie in Nederland 1920-1940, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1979, p. 86-88, 97, 142, 151.
Ute Eskildsen e.a., Subjektive Fotografie. Images of the 50’s, Essen (Museum Folkwang) 1984, p. 85, 161, 173.
Bas Roodnat, Document van typisch Parijse vrouwen. Jaren vijftig door de ogen van fotograaf Nico Jesse in kasteel Hoensbroek, in NRC Handelsblad 3 juni 1986.
KM, Het Nederlandse fotoboek. Vier Nederlandse fotografen en Parijs, in Catalogus tent. Foto ’86, Amsterdam (Staatsuitgeverij) 1986, p. 79-80.
Mattie Boom, Foto in omslag. Het Nederlandse documentaire fotoboek na 1945, Amsterdam (Fragment) 1989, p. 37.53.
Sandra Felten, Het archief van Nico Jesse, in Nieuwsbrief nfa 1 (1991) 2, p. 14-17.
‘Mijnwerkers-foto’s van Nico Jesse in wachtkamers artsen. Arts fotografeerde Oranje Nassau-mijnen’, De Limburger 3 september 1991.
Ingeborg Leijerzapf e.a. (tekst), Het beslissende beeld. Hoogtepunten uit de Nederlandse fotografie van de 20e eeuw, Amsterdam (BIS) 1991, p. 33, 195.
Flip Bool, Steden van Europa in de jaren vijftig. Cas Oorthuys en Nico Jesse, in Artoteek Magazine september 1992.
Flip Bool en Sandra Felten, De vrouwen van Nico Jesse, in Catalogus Fotofestival Naarden, Naarden 1993, p. 19-26.
Flip Bool en Sandra Felten, De vrouwen van Nico Jesse, in Focus 78 (februari 1993) 2 , p. 4, 19-26 (met foto’s).
Sandra Felten, Het leven bij z’n lurven. De fotografie van Nico Jesse, in Argus 2 (1994) 1,p. 59-67.
1938 Tweede prijs, ‘Onze Groote Fotowedstrijd 1938’ van het tijdschrift Kleinbeeld-foto.
1936 (g) Praag, Kunstenaarsvereniging Manes.
1937 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, foto ’37.
1941 (e) Utrecht, Kunsthandel Wagenaar.
1950 (e) Utrecht, Kunstmin.
1954 (e) Leiden, Prentenkabinet van de Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Vrouwen van Parijs.
1954/1955 (g) Amsterdam, Arti et Amicitiae, Zestiende Nationale Kerstsalon van Fotografische Kunst.
1955 (g) New York, Museum of Modern Art, The Family of Man.
1956 (e) Utrecht, Kunsthandel Wagenaar, Nicojesse.
1956 (e) Enschede, Stadhuis, Mensen van Menko.
1956 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Wij Mensen.
1978/1979 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Fotografie in Nederland 1940-1975.
1979/1980 (g) Den Haag, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Foto 20-40.
1984 (g) San Francisco, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Subjektive Fotografie. Images of the 50‘s (rondreizende tentoonstelling).
1986 (e) Hoensbroek, Kasteel Hoensbroek, Vrouwen van Parijs.
1986 (g) Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk, Het Fotoboek: 4 Nederlandse fotografen en Parijs (Ed van der Elsken, Nico Jesse, Johan van der Keuken en Cas Oorthuys) (Foto’86).
1991 (g) Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk, Het beslissende beeld. Hoogtepunten uit de Nederlandse fotografie van de 20e eeuw (Collectie Stichting Dunhill Dutch Photography).
1991/1992 (e) Wijnandsrade (Limburg), Oranje Nassau Mijnen (rondreizende tentoonstelling langs diverse artsenwachtkamers).
1992 (e) Rotterdam, Nederlands Fotoarchief, Oranje Nassau Mijnen (Fotografie Biënnale Rotterdam III).
1992 (g) Den Haag, Artoteek, Steden van Europa in de jaren vijftig. Foto ‘s van Cas Oorthuys en Nico jesse.
1993 (e) Naarden, De Vrouwen van Nico Jesse (Fotofestival Naarden).
Amsterdam, Sandra Felten (ongepubliceerde doctoraalscriptie culturele studies: Nico Jesse 1911-1976. Leven en werk met de camera, Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1993).
Amsterdam, Dhr. Jan Versnel (mondelinge informatie).
Cuyk, Mevr. Ute Jesse-Fischinger (mondelinge informatie en geboortealbum bijgehouden door de moeder van Nico Jesse, 1911-1942).
Driebergen, Mevr. Margreet Jessede Vries (mondelinge informatie).
Ede, Mevr. To Haeck (mondelinge informatie).
Rotterdam, Nederlands Fotoarchief (nu Nederlands Fotomuseum).
Sittard, Dr. A. Winters (schriftelijke informatie).
Utrecht, Nanda van den Berg en Vincent Wagenaar (ongepubliceerde bijvakscriptie kunstgeschiedenis: Nico Jesse. Medicus en kunstfotograaf, Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht, 1986).
Velp, Mevr. Ro Staal-Dommering (mondelinge informatie).
Amsterdam, Stichting Dunhill Dutch Photography.
Leiden, Prentenkabinet van de Rijksuniversiteit Leiden.
Rotterdam, Nederlands Fotomuseum.