PhotoLexicon, Volume 12, nr. 26 (December 1995) (en)

Willem Diepraam

Frank van den Bosch


The photographer Willem Diepraam belongs to the generation of those who openly demonstrated their dissatisfaction with society in the late 1960s. As a photographer of the sociocritical student magazine Student, Diepraam emerged as a professional and socially engaged photojournalist. Photographing for the Dutch weekly Vrij Nederland, he sought out stark contrasts in the 1970s. At the end of this decade, Diepraam parted with this approach to informing the public, as he had begun to feel an aversion towards its one-sided and pamphlet-oriented nature. His work hereafter became more nuanced and marked by a personal tint. Diepraam’s notoriety grew in the 1980s as he grew to be considered as an important representative of Dutch documentary photography. Because Diepraam no longer wished to conform to the conventions that were predominant in (photo-) journalism towards the end of the decade, he withdrew from this world. Since then, Diepraam has proven to be a generalist, working on an autonomous basis.




Willem Diepraam is born on 13 April 1944 in Amsterdam. Between 1946 and 1953, he lives with his parents in Arnhem. The Diepraam family next moves to IJmuiden. Diepraam describes the environment he grew up in as middle class and protective.


Diepraam attends the Gymnasium-A (advanced-level secondary school) in Velzen. Through the father of his girlfriend at the time, Diepraam becomes enthusiastic about the medium photography. In his free time, he takes portrait and landscape shots and sharpens his skills in developing and printing.


Diepraam enrols in the medical programme at the University of Amsterdam and moves to the same city. Despite a major effort, he regretfully fails a decisive examination, thereby bringing an end to his study in medicine.

1962–ca. ‘65

Inspired by his educational background at the Gymnasium, Diepraam travels to Italy and Greece to search for remnants of classical antiquity. In Italy, he becomes extremely taken with renaissance painting. He delves into the development of Western painting and sculpture, and travels to see the art collections of major museums in Europe. During this period, he also collects paintings of the Dutch Naïves and Magic Realists.

Ca. 1965

Diepraam resumes photography as a hobby.


Diepraam begins studying sociology at the University of Amsterdam.


As a member of the ASC (Amsterdams Studenten Corps, ‘Amsterdam Student Corps’), Diepraam becomes friends with Freek de Jonge, Bram Vermeulen, and others. Vermeulen and De Jonge establish the cabaret theatrical company ‘Cabariolet’, together with Johan Gertenbach. For their first programme booklet, they incorporate photo material shot by Diepraam. From 1968 to 1980, Vermeulen and De Jonge together form the theatrical cabaret duo ‘Neerlands Hoop’ (‘Netherlands Hope’). The two men regularly approach Diepraam for poster photography, slides projected during their performances, and portraits.


As a photographer, Diepraam becomes actively involved in the national (sociocritical) students’ magazine Student. He initially reports on student demonstrations, including the occupation of the Maagdenhuis in 1968. Under influence of his sociology studies, he gains insight into societal processes and evolves into a socially engaged photojournalist.

Diepraam also works as a photo editor for Student for a period of time.

From 1970

Diepraam works as a freelance photographer.


Diepraam is awarded the ‘Experimenteerprijs’ (‘Experimentation Prize’) from the City of Amsterdam. He receives the documentary photo assignment ‘Amsterdam voor het voorbij is’ (‘Amsterdam Before It’s Over’). He shoots photos in the Vondelpark, the Kinkerbuurt neighbourhood, the IJ harbour, the Oostelijke Eilanden (‘Eastern Islands’), and the Haarlemmer Houttuinen. Dolf Toussaint nominates Diepraam as a participant in an exhibition of the GKf (Gebonden Kunsten Federatie, vakgroep fotografie, ‘United Arts Federation, Department of Photography’), entitled Jonge Fotografen (‘Young Photographers’).

Ca. 1971-‘85

Diepraam works in the form of a permanent cooperative for the weekly magazine Vrij Nederland (‘Free Netherlands’). Starting in September 1974, he produces photo reportages for the magazine’s supplement, Vrij Nederland Bijvoegsel.


Diepraam takes several journalistic trips to Suriname, accompanied by Gerard van Westerloo, a friend and a fellow colleague who writes for Vrij Nederland. In a series of articles for the magazine, the two men convey a picture of society in Suriname. Following revisions and the addition of extra photos, the series is compiled in the book Frimangron.

Ca. 1974

Diepraam begins collecting photos, starting with examples from the nineteenth century. He later supplements his collection with material from the twentieth century.


An overview of Diepraam’s work is exhibited at the Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, together with photos by August Sander.


At the request of Lydia Oorthuys, Diepraam assumes the task of finishing the book Klederdrachten (‘Regional Attire’), following the sudden death of Cas Oorthuys prior to the book’s completion.


Diepraam is commissioned by the publishing company Uitgeverij Kosmos to illustrate a new edition of Het Nederlandse landschap (‘The Dutch Landscape’).

Diepraam receives a documentary photo assignment from the AFK (Stichting Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, ‘Amsterdam Fund for the Arts’). He focuses on the themes ‘Elderly Care’ and ‘City Government’.


Diepraam’s wife and two of their three children are killed in an airplane crash.


Diepraam takes several trips the Dutch Antilles, together with the photographer Gerard van Westerloo. His photographic reporting results in two reportages published in Vrij Nederland, and his photobook The Dutch Caribbean.


In the framework of the ‘Percentageregeling’ (‘Percentage Regulation’), Diepraam produces a photographic diptych for the ‘Social Academy CISKA’ in Amsterdam, commissioned by the Rijksgebouwendienst (‘Dutch Government Buildings Agency’). Diepraam succeeds Kors van Bennekom as chairman of the GKf. His chairmanship lasts only several months.


Diepraam travels to Senegal for a project commissioned by the Comité Nederlandse Kinderpostzegels (‘Netherlands Children’s Postage Stamp Committee’). His assignment entails documenting several aid projects and to make a series of children’s postage stamps.

Diepraam organises the first photography auction in the Netherlands, held at Sotheby’s Amsterdam.


Diepraam takes a number of trips to the Sahel countries. Two reportages on this subject are published in Vrij Nederland. Diepraam later compiles the book Sahel.


Uitgeverij Fragment publishes the book Willem Diepraam, Foto’s, featuring a selection of Diepraam’s photography over a period of fifteen years.


In the framework of the Percentageregeling, the Rijksgebouwendienst commissions Diepraam to revitalise part of the interior of the Selectie Instituut (‘Selection Institute’) in Utrecht. For this purpose, he shoots a series of photos depicting cloud-filled skies.


Diepraam teaches photography at the RABK (Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, ‘National Academy of Fine Arts’) in Amsterdam for the post-academic educational programme.


Diepraam sells a major part of his photo collection (nineteenth and twentieth century) to the RBK (Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst, ‘National Fine Arts Office’) in The Hague.


Diepraam offers his services to the Novib ((Nederlandse Organisatie voor Internationale Bijstand, ‘Dutch Organisation for International Aid’) and Doctors without Borders. For this latter organisation, he documents projects in Sudan, Uganda, and Nicaragua.

Novib commissions Diepraam to make several visits to Lima, Peru, in order to take shots of the traveling Novib exhibition De jonge dorpen van Lima (‘The New Villages of Lima’). Diepraam organises the exhibition in close consultation with Jurriaan Schrofer, who does the design. The exhibition stems from the Novib project ‘Daklozen in de wereld’ (‘Homeless People of the World’).


Commissioned by Vrij Nederland, Diepraam produces a weekly photographic column in the magazine’s supplement, Vrij Nederland Bijvoegsel.


Diepraam again makes several visits to Lima, Peru, where he shoots photos for a personal project that results in his book Lima.


At the KABK (Koninklijke Akademie van Beeldende Kunsten, ‘Royal Academy of Visual Arts’) in The Hague, Diepraam teaches master classes in the history of photography as a guest instructor.


On the site of the Dutch steel manufacturer Hoogovens, Diepraam works on a series of serene (atmospheric) images.


In the framework of the Percentageregeling, the Rijksgebouwendienst commissions Diepraam to revitalise a prison interior.


Diepraam receives a documentary photo assignment from the AFK. For this project, he shoots photos based on the theme ‘Amsterdam Harbour’ and ‘The City By Night’.


Documentary photography has a strong tradition in the Netherlands. Firmly rooted in this tradition is the photographer Willem Diepraam, whose work initially had a social documentary character. Diepraam belongs to the generation of photographers who wished to show their commitment to society in the late 1960s. Humanity holds a key place in his oeuvre. Although Diepraam’s work continued to be documentary in nature, his photography was more strongly influenced by personal and aesthetic motives from the early 1970s on. Personal commitment has always been a determining factor for Diepraam when it comes to the choice of his subject matter, serving as an important condition for producing quality work. Even though he has practiced (and still practices) various forms of photography, the photos in which he captures his fellow man are a common thread in his oeuvre. A notable aspect of this is Diepraam’s positive take on humanity: a vision reminiscent of ‘human interest’ documentary photography from the 1950s.

Diepraam acquired his interest in photography in the mid-1950s through his girlfriend’s father. Besides portrait photos, he also took landscape shots in the vicinity of the city where he lived, IJmuiden. Diepraam practiced with the developing and printing of his own photos in a bathroom that had been converted into a darkroom. His early photos fall in the category of the romantic visual cultural typically encountered in amateur photography of the 1950s. During these years, Dutch photography magazines popular among amateurs, e.g. Foto and Focus, featured mainly romanticised portraits and landscapes.

In 1956, Diepraam attended the international documentary photo exhibition The Family of Man (In Dutch: ‘Wij Mensen’, literally ‘We People’) in Amsterdam. The exhibition made a big impression on him: a veritable eye-opener. Through its emotional impact, Diepraam came to the insight that photography was a powerful and informative medium. In the 1970s, he would take this knowledge and venture out as socially engaged photojournalist in search of images that could communicate his message in the clearest possible way.

Diepraam’s education at the Gymnasium (advanced-level secondary school) was marked by classical antiquity. This was to have a direct influence on his later work. His education inspired him to travel around Italy and Greece in order to view artworks from the classical world. In Italy, he was greatly inspired by renaissance painting. He delved into the history of the visual arts, and via the important museums in Europe, he followed its development right into the twentieth century.

After studying medicine at the University of Amsterdam, which Diepraam was obliged to abandon in 1964, a period of orientation ensued, during which time he became involved in a variety of activities. He resumed his old passion for photography once again and went looking for subjects to photograph in his immediate surroundings. As a member of the rowing association ‘Nereus’, Diepraam shot photos for illustrations in the Almanak, a publication of the fraternity ASC (Amsterdams Studenten Corps, Amsterdam Student Corps’), a student organisation affiliated with Nereus.

Diepraam sympathised with the student protests of the 1960s. He was a regular participant in demonstrations, as well taking photos. In 1968, he became involved as a photographer with the sociocritical students’ newspaper Student, for which he reported on student demonstrations. By this time, Diepraam had already been studying sociology for several years at the University of Amsterdam. Through his studies, Diepraam gained insight into societal processes and expanded the scope of his photographic work to include a larger segment of society. Because of his growing social engagement, photography was no longer just a casual hobby. In the early 1970s, Diepraam abandoned his study and decided to become a professional photojournalist. He managed to get by fairly well, living off the money he earned with freelance commissions. Diepraam did regular work for the weekly newsmagazine Vrij Nederland (‘Free Netherlands’). The collaboration arising from this would come to play an important role in the future development of his career as a photographer. In the first years, Diepraam was influenced by Dolf Toussaint, a fellow colleague at Vrij Nederland. As a socially engaged photojournalist, Toussaint not only placed importance on communicating a message that had substance, but also on the quality of the image. According to Diepraam, Toussaint possessed the talent of being able to select precisely those images in his work intriguing enough to outlive their value simply as depictions of current events. Toussaint’s approach appealed to Diepraam. By the late 1970s, this was evident in his own work.

In the early 1970s, the demand for Diepraam’s work began to grow steadily, while his photographic development started accelerating. Diepraam produced work for sociocritical newsmagazines such as Vrij Nederland, De Nieuwe Linie, De Groene Amsterdammer, TA/BK (later Wonen TA/BK), NVV-blad, and Het Sociaal Werkersblad (‘The Social Worker’s Magazine’). He also provided illustrations for corporate annual reports (often commissioned by the works council) and was likewise commissioned as a photographer for the VPRO and VARA broadcasting companies. Like many of his generation, Diepraam’s political orientation was left wing, with a critical view of society. He saw it as his task to inform the public on matters of social and societal injustice. He attempted to unravel the hidden power structures in society and sought to find images conveying a clear message. Themes such as labour relations, minorities, and housing-related politics drew his interest. Diepraam produced investigative photo reportages and reported on current events. This often included accounts of demonstrations and strikes. He was particularly interested in the numerous labour and wage conflicts arising in the first half of the 1970s. In 1972, he was one of the few journalists to witness the much-discussed occupation of ENKA, a company in Breda. Diepraam’s photos clearly show his sympathies lie with the underdog: in this case, the striking workers. Starting in the late 1960s, the genre of social documentary was gaining ground. An ever-increasing number of photographers were beginning to show an interest in societal processes and social engagement. The term ‘social photography’ was used to describe the work they produced. Nevertheless, it would never evolve into an official photographic movement. In addition to Diepraam, there were also others viewed as social photographers at the time, including Dolf Toussaint, Han Singels, and Koen Wessing. What they had in common was a desire to hold a mirror up to society, based on the belief in their ability to instigate social change. Diepraam’s photos did not go unnoticed: in 1971, he received the city of Amsterdam’s ‘experimentation prize’, and in the same year, he received a documentary photo assignment from the AFK (Stichting Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, ‘Amsterdam Fund for the Arts’). For a period of one year, Diepraam photographed life in a number of the city’s older neighbourhoods, centred on the theme ‘Amsterdam Before It’s Over’. He focused primarily on social inequality, the activities of the political left wing, alternative groups, and run-down neighbourhoods.

In 1977, the editorial board of Vrij Nederland began bringing out a weekly supplement based on a given theme, with space likewise reserved for social investigative reportages. A formula was applied in these reportages, with ordinary life as the starting point. People’s day-to-day existence became a source of inspiration for finding topics. It was an approach that provided insight into the various aspects and layers of Dutch society. The reportages were human interest in character, supported by photographic images. The staff photographers at Vrij Nederland were often free to focus in-depth on a single subject for an extended period of time. Bert Nienhuis, Hans van den Bogaard, and Willem Diepraam produced most of the reportages. Thanks to the efforts of the magazine’s chief editor, Rinus Ferdinandusse, and another editor, Ursula den Tex, the climate at the magazine was photo-friendly. At this time, Vrij Nederland was the only newsmagazine in the Netherlands to take reportage photography seriously. There was no cropping of photos, with the reportages compiled more or less based on the principle that the photographer and the journalist were on equal footing. In doing so, Vrij Nederland assumed a pioneering role in the field of newsmagazines in the Netherlands.

In the early 1980s, Diepraam found himself in a position of financial independence, stemming from a tragic airplane crash, in which his wife and two of his three children were killed. In his work as a photographer, this gave him a greater freedom of movement. Thereafter, Diepraam only produced reportages for Vrij Nederland to the exclusion of all else. It even put an end to his journalistic legwork for the Vrij Nederland Krantenkatern, which he had done for many years. In addition to his work for the weekly, Diepraam spent time working on his own projects, with an audience largely comprising readers of Vrij Nederland. The weekly had grown substantially during the second half of the 1970s. By the early 1980s, it was a widely read newsmagazine.

Diepraam’s highly personal reportage work in the magazine caught people’s attention. Interviews were conducted in the national press and his work was discussed on a regular basis. Because he was associated with Vrij Nederland for so many years, there are many who still associate his name with the magazine even to this very day. In the end, however, the editorial board chose in favour of the written word, in spite of its respect for photography. Photography’s function was seen as primarily illustrative—a viewpoint Diepraam could not share. The wayward path he was on began to lead to confrontations on an increasingly frequent basis. With no signs of a more progressive policy on photography, Diepraam put an end to this close collaborative alliance in 1985. In the years that followed, reportages by Diepraam were featured incidentally in the Vrij Nederland Bijvoegsel, and on request, he published a photo of his own choosing on a weekly basis for a year in 1988. For the time being, however, this was Diepraam’s last contribution to Vrij Nederland.

Between 1973 and 1975, Diepraam made several visits to Suriname, which was on its way to achieving independence. His friend, the writer/journalist Gerard van Westerloo, accompanied him. With an eye on the Dutch colony’s independence, Diepraam and Van Westerloo showed an interest in the political and social developments occurring in the country. Together, the two men frequently reported their observations in articles published in Vrij Nederland. These reportages were strongly ‘human interest’ in character. The way they were set up is similar to the reportages later appearing in the Vrij Nederland Bijvoegsel. Van Westerloo revised the reportage series, and with the addition of extra photos shot by Diepraam, the series was compiled in the book Frimangron (1975). Jan van Toorn was responsible for the book’s design. Diepraam’s contribution provided an equitable synthesis of text and photos. Van Westerloo’s reportages were supplemented by photos taken in a style that was unmistakably Diepraam’s. In prints that were dark and grainy, he drew a dismal picture of Surinamese society. They addressed the religious rites as well as the marginal living and housing conditions for the various segments of the country’s population.

During the second half of the 1970s, a shift occurred in Diepraam’s work. To his disappointment, the activism of the political left wing was achieving very little and virtually drowning in its own dogmatism. He was no longer gaining the same satisfaction from the over-simplistic contradistinctions, which Diepraam had also employed in his work. In his estimation, they did no justice to the complexity of the actual situation. At the same time, however, Diepraam began to question the quality of his images. His uncertainty was based on a personal confrontation with the work of August Sander (1876-1964). In early 1974, a retrospective of Diepraam’s work was shown at the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, entitled Konfrontatie 2 (‘Confrontation 2’), exhibited together with photos by Sander. Diepraam was impressed by the strength of the latter’s photos. Simultaneously, they undermined his own confidence. It was then that Diepraam began delving into the history of photography. From this interest, he also started collecting photographs. His initial scope focused on photos from the nineteenth century. Later, he expanded his collection to include images from the twentieth century.

Diepraam’s previous insights made way for new ideas. The pamphletistic character of his past had disappeared. He viewed the photos he was now taking as personal products that served to bolster information. His work became more personal, more nuanced, and more aesthetic-oriented. Diepraam no longer limited himself to the genre of documentary, journalistic photography. In 1977, he accepted a commission to furnish new illustrations for a reprint of the book Het Nederlandse Landschap (‘The Dutch Landscape’). It was an interesting assignment for Diepraam, because it freed him temporarily from any obligations related to content. Through these landscapes, he was able to demonstrate his predilection for aesthetics and atmosphere from a position of comfort.

In connection with a project commissioned by Vrij Nederland, Diepraam travelled several times to the Dutch Antilles, in 1977 and 1978, where the people’s desire for independence from the Netherlands was very strong. During his first trip, Diepraam was accompanied by Geraard van Westerloo. During his second trip, he was accompanied by the journalist Elma Verhey, who also worked for Vrij Nederland. Their aim was to give the magazine’s readers greater insight into Antillean society and the underlying factors associated with it. The reportages by Van Westerloo and Verhey were both published in the Vrij Nederland Bijvoegsel, accompanied by Diepraam’s photographs, which conveyed his more nuanced vision. With their poetic and timeless character, Diepraam’s scenes of everyday life served to soften the starkness of the social disparity. The prints were light in tone, with the usual burning at the corners and along the edges abandoned.

Diepraam’s book The Dutch Caribbean (1978) once again underscores his more personal approach. It includes photos from Frimangron, photos of Suriname never previously published, and photos from the Dutch Antilles. Diepraam selected personal impressions based on aesthetic criteria. These consist of landscapes, portraits, and documentary images. Some of these landscape shots are noticeable because of the minimalistic, airy character they possess. They show nothing but light, air, sand, and water, and appear as if they were taken in passing. The emphasis lies on the single image. A division has been introduced between the text and the photos; the book has ample dimensions and is horizontal in format. The text is limited to a brief and socially inspired introduction by Gerard van Westerloo. The Dutch Caribbean is a personal document that contains documentary elements. This did not go unnoticed. The critic Martin Schouten condemned Diepraam’s approach, presenting a strong case in favour of conventional reportage photography in his review in the Haagse Post (23 December 1978). Schouten maintained that a journalist was obliged to inform people and to avoid images lacking substance, hereby referring to Diepraam’s airy landscapes.

In 1979, Diepraam travelled to Senegal on behalf of the Comité Nederlandse Kinderpostzegels (‘Netherlands Children’s Postage Stamps Committee’). He was commissioned to make a series of children’s stamps and to document several aid projects there. His time spent in Africa inspired him to set up a personal project about the Sahel. In 1980 and 1981, Diepraam visited the Sahel countries of Mali, Upper Volta, and the Cape Verde Islands. He then compiled his impressions in the book Sahel (1982), a publication highly documentary in nature. The introduction was written by Kees Schaepman, who explained the historical background and provided a sombre picture of the future. The photos are accompanied by captions and provide an image of life in the Sahel countries at that time. Diepraam minimised the number of images depicting misery, instead showing mainly scenes of everyday life, along with its more aesthetic and poetic elements. In Sahel, Diepraam broke with the stereotypical Western perspective of a starving and pathetic Africa.

Diepraam’s freer ties with Vrij Nederland did not keep Gerard van Westerloo, now on the magazine’s editorial board, from offering Diepraam space for a photo of his own choice in the Vrij Nederland Bijvoegsel in 1988—an offer that was gladly accepted. Under the heading ‘Diepraam’, a full two-page spread featuring a single colour photo appeared on a weekly basis, featuring representations of personal impressions experienced in that year in cities such as Lima, Khartoum, London, Trinidad, Paris, New York, and Amsterdam. The shots in this series varied from romantic landscapes, airy cloud-filled skies, portraits, and abstract patterns on walls or the ground, to nudes and documentary images. Initially, Diepraam had planned on doing several series conveying a personal approach based on clichés of Dutch visual culture. The series was meant to awaken readers’ awareness of how photographic images were looked at in a disinterested and stereotypical way. Diepraam also wanted to show that a personal approach was a condition for creating art. His idea was to open with a series of five nudes, beginning with ‘innocent’ and progressing to ‘full frontal’. Following his first ‘nude’, however, it was made very clear, albeit indirectly, that at Vrij Nederland people expected him to come up with items of a journalistic nature. He consequently altered his original plan. The ultimate series, however, was hampered by the two differing conceptual approaches, leaving Diepraam dissatisfied with the result. Moreover, the response of readers and other photographers to his photo column was also resoundingly negative. Many were of the opinion that a journalist’s obligation was to inform, with no appreciation for personal experimentation.

Diepraam felt that he was being misunderstood. Because he saw little hope of this ever changing, he decided to turn his back on journalism. Diepraam has been working exclusively for himself ever since. He no longer took on journalistic assignments. For Artsen Zonder Grenzen (‘Doctors Without Borders’) and the Novib ((Nederlandse Organisatie voor Internationale Bijstand, ‘Dutch Organisation for International Aid’), however, he was willing to make an exception. To support these organisations, Diepraam accepted commissions on a pro Deo basis. The photos he took had a supporting function. In 1988, Diepraam documented a number of aid projects in Sudan, Nicaragua, and Uganda for Doctors Without Borders. In this same year, he travelled on behalf of Novib to Lima, Peru, to photograph slum neighbourhoods for the exhibition De jonge dorpen van Lima (‘The New Villages of Lima’).

In 1989 and 1990, Diepraam made several other visits to the slums of Lima for a project of his own. Intuitively, he looked for images that were in synch with his own life perspective. A number of these images would later function as building blocks for a visual poem realised in book format, entitled Lima (1991). It was to be his most personal book. The introduction consists of two brief quotations by Albert Camus, in which Diepraam discusses the meaning of life from a philosophical approach. The photographic section of the book that follows contains images taken from everyday life on the outskirts of the city. In an atmosphere of timelessness, Diepraam shows that, behind the facade of this raw existence, there are people. In them, we can see ourselves. To achieve this, Diepraam employed subtle visual effects, creating a tension between form and content. To heighten this tension, he relied on technique. Using a large-format camera, Diepraam shot his negatives with a fine grain. Consequently, subtle shifts in tonal greys can be observed in his prints. The detached character of these images contrasts with the subjects they depict.

After Lima was published, Diepraam travelled again to Peru. There he made still lifes of walls and posters. Upon his return to the Netherlands, he continued further. The landscape of the Hoogovens steel factory offered the ideal surroundings to do so. Located in IJmuiden, where Diepraam had grown up, it was a landscape that had never ceased to fascinate him. After submitting a proposal to the company’s management, Hoogovens commissioned Diepraam to realise his plans. For a period of one year (1993-’94), he made regular visits to shoot photos on company premises. He subsequently selected twenty-two of these images for his book Landschap aan Zee (‘Landscape at the Sea’, 1995)—a reference to the renowned corporate photobook Vuur aan Zee (‘Fire at the Sea’, 1958, reprint 1962), which also centred around Hoogovens. Vuur aan Zee is generally considered one of the most beautiful publications in the genre of corporate photography books from the reconstruction era in the Netherlands, with photographic contributions by Cas Oorthuys, Violette Cornelius, Ed van der Elsken, Paul Huf, Ata Kando, and others. In Landschap aan Zee, Diepraam shows images detached from any semblance of meaning. With well-conceived compositions, he introduces a subtle play with elements such as light, shade, structure, visual rhyming, as well as linear and surface arrangement. A rich gradation of tonal greys serves as its basis. Diepraam transforms the bleak and imposing exterior of the Hoogovens landscape into an aesthetic feast for the eye. A poem by Remco Campert underscores the poetry these images exude. With Landschap aan Zee, Diepraam again demonstrates that aesthetics and atmosphere are determining factors in his work.

As a journalist, Diepraam had sharpened his skills in make portraits over the years. He initially worked in a style that looked classical. The people portrayed were positioned frontally, with a portion of the upper body still visible. When Diepraam shifted course in the late 1970s, this also became evident in his portraits. Frontal close-ups filling the image were framed in a way that only a part of the face could be seen. In doing so, he questioned the predominant notion that full-frame portraits somehow reveal an individual’s character. For Diepraam, this was simply an illusion. Instead, he took the liberty of playing with form in a more deliberate manner.

From an early stage, Diepraam was aware of photography’s manipulative qualities. As a photographer who was politically aware, he took advantage of this aspect at a time when very few yet questioned the degree of authenticity in photos. He intentionally applied stylistic devices—e.g. burning, a coarse grain, photomontages, and photo crops—in order to bolster the photo’s content. When photographing, Diepraam allowed himself to be led by his own personal sentiment, such as anger or surprise, thus giving his photos a direct and spontaneous character. Later on, the grain of his negatives became finer, his prints had a lighter tone, and formal elements played a more express role in his work. In doing so, Diepraam deliberately created a tension between form and content. He also did this by alternating black-and-white with colour film in his reportages.

As a photojournalist, Diepraam worked with a 35mm mirror reflex camera. To maximise the power of his images, he got as close to his subject as he possibly could. To accomplish this, he relied primarily on 28 mm and 135 mm objectives, and on occasion, a 35 mm and a 80-200 mm zoom lens. Diepraam is an autodidact. His mastery of developing and printing techniques is the product of profuse experimentation. The raw character of Diepraam’s prints was typical of the 1970s—in his case, achieved through coarse-grain negatives. For this purpose, Diepraam exposed Tri-X film of 400 ASA as 800 ASA. Over the years, he became extremely skilled at printing photos. The frequent fluctuations in the quality of his negatives obliged him to do so: precision in his camera technique was never one of Diepraam’s strong points.

Aspects of form were not the only means employed by Diepraam to create a tension between form and content. Switching to a finer grain was another option. The resulting detailed composition served to enhance the effect of depth. With his shots taken for the book Lima, Diepraam took this even one step further by choosing to work with a large-format camera. In comparison with 35mm roll film, which he used more often than not, he was able to obtain a greater sharpness and depth. This gave Diepraam’s photos a more detached quality—a direction he would continue to take. The prints in Landschap aan Zee are characterised by their fine grain and the rich gradation of grey tints.

In the early 1970s, Diepraam started collecting photos in order to stimulate his own photography. Eventually, this ‘collector’s urge’ took on a life of its own. By about the mid-1980s, Diepraam’s activities as an intensive collector had subsided, as prices for photos that interested him were dramatically on the rise. In 1987, Diepraam sold most of his impressive collection to the RBK (Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst, ‘National Fine Arts Office’). The dates for the collection that Diepraam sold range from circa 1850 to circa 1870. The artistic quality of these photos is high. For the nineteenth-century portion of the collection, the emphasis lies on British photography. It is today preserved in the photography collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The portion concerning photos from the twentieth century is more international-based, focusing on the first three decades. It includes a large number of Bauhaus photos. Dutch photography is well represented, with work from the periods 1920 to 1940 and 1950 to 1965. This share of Diepraam’s collection is now housed at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Diepraam’s standing as one of Vrij Nederland‘s regular photographers—at a young age—as well as his spontaneous photographic work were greatly appealing to a younger generation of photographers. When the photographers Hannes Wallrafen and Michel Pellanders began their studies at the Rietveld Academy around 1973, they and their classmates saw Willem Diepraam as an important role model.

Diepraam played a significant role at a time when the art world’s interest in photography shifted. In the Netherlands, this development occurred in the late 1970s. This interest was also directed towards the genre of documentary photography. Vice versa, it was also a time when many documentary photographers discovered the art circuit. Besides the usual reportages for newspapers and weekly magazines, the work of these photographers was also often being shown at galleries and museums. Because of such developments, the path conventional documentary photography was abandoned with ever-greater frequency. Elements of form and a more personal approach were particularly to blame for this trend. Diepraam was one of the first Dutch documentary photographers to unify these aspects in his work.

Willem Diepraam’s contribution to the culture of photography in the Netherlands extends beyond his activities as a photographer and a collector. Because he spent years building up his collection, and because he saw and read a great deal for this very purpose, he acquired a broad knowledge of the history of photography—a topic he enjoys sharing with others. Diepraam has organised a variety of photo exhibitions. Noteworthy are those he put together at the Amsterdam Historical Museum, featuring the work of Cas Oorthuys, Eva Besnyö, and Carel Blazer, respectively. Each of these exhibitions was accompanied by a catalogue, with Diepraam writing the text himself. In addition, Diepraam taught master classes in the history of photography at the KABK (Koninklijke Akademie van Beeldende Kunsten, ‘Royal Academy of Visual Arts’) in The Hague, as well as classes in photography at the RABK (Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, ‘National Academy of Fine Arts’) in Amsterdam. Presently, Diepraam sits on the editorial team commissioned by the Prince Bernhard Fund to oversee a series of monographs concerning Dutch photographers.


Primary bibliography

Pieter M. Riemens (tekst), Roodkapje in het Vondelpark. De geschiedenis van Roodkapje en de boze wolf. Een proeve van menselijkheid. Het Vondelpark-projekt 1971, Amsterdam (Buro’s Jongeren Service Limburg in samenw. met de Nederlandse Jeugd Gemeenschap Amsterdam) 1972 (serie: Trasreeks. Specials nr. 1).

Aad van Cortenberghe en Jeroen Terlingen (tekst), Enka Dossier: handboek voor bezetters, Utrecht etc. (Bruna) 1972.

Gerard van Westerloo (tekst), Frimangron. Suriname. Reportages uit een Zuid-amerikaanse republiek, Amsterdam (De Arbeiderspers) 1975.

J.T.P. Bijhouwer (tekst), Het Nederlandse Landschap, Amsterdam (Kosmos) 2de herz. en bijgewerkte dr., 1977.

Gerard van Westerloo (tekst), The Dutch Caribbean. Foto’s uit Suriname en de Nederlandse Antillen, Amsterdam, (De Arbeiderspers) 1978.

Vrouwen, in Mensen van Nu (maart 1978) 3, p. 43-46.

Vrouwen beslissen, in Mensen van Nu (april 1978) 4, p. 32-35.

Willem Diepraam en Jan van Toorn, 4 kinderzegels, 1979.

Kees Schaepman (inl.), Sahel. Foto’s van reizen naar Senegal, Mali, Opper-Volta en de Kaap Verdische Eilanden, Amsterdam/Antwerpen/Den Haag (Kosmos/Novib) 1982.

Gerard van Westerloo (inl.), Willem Diepraam. Foto’s/Photographs, Amsterdam (Fragment) 1985.

Diepraam [wekelijkse column: kleurenfoto die over 2 pagina’s is afgedrukt], in Vrij Nederland Bijvoegsel (9 januari 1988) 1 – (24 december 1988) 51/52.

Hans Appenzeller en H.W. Drutt, Hans Appenzeller 20 years/jaar, Amsterdam/New York (Helen Drutt Gallery) 1989.

Lima, Amsterdam/Den Haag (Fragment/Novib) 1991.

Willem Diepraam (tekst), Een beeld van Cas Oorthuys, Amsterdam (Fragment in samenwerking met het Amsterdams Historisch Museum) 1991.

Willem Diepraam (tekst), Een beeld van Eva Besnyö, Amsterdam (Fragment in samenwerking met het Amsterdams Historisch Museum) 1993.

Willem Diepraam (tekst), Een beeld van Carel Blazer, Amsterdam (Stichting Fragment Foto Foundation in samenwerking met het Amsterdams Historisch Museum) 1995.

Willem Diepraam (met gedicht van Remco Campert), Willem Diepraam. Landschap aan Zee. 22 Foto’s, Amsterdam (Focus Publishing) 1995.


images in:

Student 21 mei 1968 – oktober/november 1973.

Zwartboek Maagdenhuis. Foto’s van W. Diepraam en E. van der Elsken, in Almanak Amsterdams Studentencorps 1970, p. 14-47.

Willem Diepraam zag het Maagdenhuis, in Jaarboek Algemene Studentenvereniging 1970, p. 41-51.

TA/BK 14 (juli 1970) – 22 (november 1972).

Wonen-TA/BK 1 (januari 1972) – 20 (oktober 1974).

Catalogus tent. De straat, Eindhoven (Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum) 1972.

Sociaal Werkersblad jaren zeventig.

NVV-blad jaren zeventig.

W. Woltz (tekst), Raamwerk. Een tentoonstelling van ramen, raamafsluitingen en gordijnen n.a.v. 50 jaar Weverij de Ploeg nv, z.p. (Eindhoven) (Lecturis) 1973.

Arbeid, een aflopende zaak?, Amersfoort (Werkgroep 2000) 1975 (serie: Katernen 2000, nr. 3).

Constance Nieuwhoff (tekst), Willem Diepraam en Cas Oorthuys (foto’s), Klederdrachten. Een reis langs de levende streekdrachten van Nederland, Amsterdam (Contact), 1976.

Edgar Cairo (samenstelling), Suriname wie ben je [gedichten], Amsterdam (De Populier) z.p. (1976) (serie: De Populier. Cahier no. 7).

Bert van Berkel e.a., Vluchthaven. Einde van een kinderhuis?, Amsterdam (J.A.C.) 1976.

NRC Handelsblad 28 maart 1978.

Catalogus tent. Nederlands landschap, Amsterdam (Canon Photo Gallery) 1979, ongepag.

Catalogus tent. Het Portret door 35 Nederlandse fotografen, Amsterdam (Canon Photo Gallery) 1980, ongepag.

Mensen van Nu jaren tachtig.

Onze Wereld juni 1980.

Zero 2 (september 1980) 5, p. 9.

Opzij 12 (november 1980) 11, p. 52.

Jan Schaefer e.a., Plan voor de steden, z.p. (De Trommel) 1981.

Haarlems Dagblad 17 maart 1982.

Freek de Jonge, De komiek. Een spel in vier bedrijven, Amsterdam (De Harmonie) 2de dr., 1983.

Constance Nieuwhoff (tekst), Willem Diepraam en Cas Oorthuys (foto’s), Klederdrachten, Amsterdam/Brussel (Elsevier) 1984 (idem engelse ed.: The Costumes of Holland, 1985).

Opzij november 1984, p. 52-53.

VPRO [radio- en televisiegids] (31 augustus 1985) 31.

Rinus Ferdinandusse (inl.), 24 uur Amsterdam. Foto’s van Hans van den Bogaard, Ad van Denderen, Willem Diepraam, Bert Nienhuis, Eddy Posthuma de Boer en Han Singels, Amsterdam (Meulenhoff/Landshoff) 1986.

de Volkskrant 4 januari 1986.

Em. Kummer e.a. (tekst), 50 Jaar Huis aan de Drie Grachten. Amsterdam 27 september 1986, Amsterdam z.j. (1986).

Haagse Post 23 januari 1988, p. 41.

De Tijd 2 september 1988, p. 23.

Rudy Kousbroek (tekst), 66 Zelfportretten van Nederlandse fotografen, Amsterdam/Den Haag (Nicolaas Henneman Stichting/Sdu) 1989, afb. 40.

de Volkskrant 10 juni 1989.

Artsen Zonder Grenzen. Hulppost 4 (december 1989) 5, omslag, p. 6-7, 11 (met foto’s).

Artsen Zonder Grenzen. Hulppost vanaf 1990 onregelmatige bijdragen.

Nico Wilterdink en Bart van Heerikhuizen (red.), Samenleving. Een verkenning van het terrein van de sociologie, Groningen (Wolters-Noordhoff) 3e herz. dr., 1993.

Man, vrouw, fitnesscentrum. Beeldverhaal van Willem Diepraam, in Vrij Nederland Document maart/april 1995.


in De Groene Amsterdammer.

8 juni 1968, p. 8.

14 juni 1969, p. 9.

1 november 1969, p. 1.

8 november 1969, p. 1.

22 november 1969, p. 3.

18 oktober 1970, p. 3.

14 november 1970, p. 9.

10 oktober 1970, p. 10.

21 november 1970, p. 3, 9, 12.

28 november 1970, p. 9.

26 december 1970, omslag.

30 januari 1971 – 11 december 1971.

15 januari 1972, p. 1.

29 januari 1972, p. 3.

4 maart 1972, p. 5.

30 mei 1972, omslag, p. 12.

29 augustus 1972, p. 9.

25 april 1973, p. 3.

5 december 1973, p. 9.

12 december 1973, p. 3.

23 januari 1974, p. 11.

28 februari 1974, p. 11.

10 juli 1974, p. 9.

11 februari 1976, p. 3.

24 maart 1976, p. 12.


in Vrij Nederland:

18 mei 1968, p. 13.

29 juni 1968, p. 7.

20 juli 1968, ongepag.

3 augustus 1968, p. 8.

8 november 1969, p. 7.

5 december 1970, p. 11.

20 maart 1971, p. 16.

24 april 1971, p. 23.

8 mei 1971 – 1 maart 1986.

18 oktober 1986, p. 6.

11 november 1989.


in Vrij Nederland Bijvoegsel:

2 maart 1974, p. 24-28.

28 september 1974, omslag, p. 1-18.

21 december 1974, p. 1, 38-39.

1 maart 1975, p. 25.

10 september 1977, omslag, p. 21-29.

10 december 1977, omslag, p. 3-11.

20 mei 1978, p. 2-3, 10-11.

3 juni 1978, p. 28.

1 juli 1978, omslag, p. 3-39.

8 juli 1978, omslag, p. 3, 5-6, 9-10, 13-14.

16 september 1978, omslag, p. 2-28.

10 februari 1979, p. 11.

17 maart 1979, omslag, p. 1-27.

7 juli 1979.

14 juli 1979, omslag, p. 2-13.

15 september 1979, omslag, p. 2-23.

3 november 1979, omslag, p. 3-15, 20-29, 31.

2 augustus 1980.

8 november 1980, omslag, p. 2-3, 8-12, 18-23, 26-37.

28 november 1981, omslag, p. 2-3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 19, 21, 27, 36.

13 februari 1982, p. 2-3.

8 mei 1982, omslag, p. 2-3, 7, 11, 13, 15, 19, 21, 23, 27-31, 35-39, 43-47, 51-53.

11 september 1982, omslag, p. 2-3, 5-6, 9, 14-16, 19, 22, 24-29, 32.

16 oktober 1982, p. 14.

6 november 1982, p. 21, 29.

4 december 1982, p. 2-3, 9, 15-16.

5 februari 1983, p. 6-7, 9-10,13-14,17-19.

12 maart 1983, omslag, p. 3-35.

14 mei 1983, omslag, p. 2-6, 13, 15, 18-19, 27, 34-35, 38-39, 41-44, 50.

3 september 1983, p. 2-3, 18-20.

17 maart 1984, omslag, p. 2-10, 15, 18-19, 23, 27, 33, 35.

28 juli 1984, p. 11, 19.

4 augustus 1984, p. 7, 29.

15 september 1984, omslag, p. 2-35.

29 september 1984, omslag, p. 2-7, 11-13, 18-23, 26-39, 42-47.

22 december 1984, p. 10-11, 32-33, 36-37.

26 januari 1985, omslag, p. 3-25.

30 maart 1985, p. 20.

6 april 1985, omslag, p. 2-7,13-16, 24, 27.

27 april 1985, p. 14-25.

15 juni 1985, omslag, p. 4-11.

27 juli 1985, p. 2,28-31.

24 augustus 1985, omslag, p. 2-16, 19, 23-24, 27-28.

31 augustus 1985, p. 14-17, 21.

26 oktober 1985, p. 5-7, 12.

16 november 1985, p. 2-24.

23 november 1985, p. 18.

14 december 1985, p. 10-13.

26 april 1986, omslag, p. 2-13, 16-19, 22-25 ,28-29, 32-33.

10 mei 1986, omslag, p. 3-27.

31 mei 1986, p. 18, 20, 26.

5 juli 1986, omslag, p. 3-39.

6 december 1986, omslag, p. 4-28.

11 april 1987, omslag, p. 8-23.

Secondary bibliography

Auteur onbekend, Mini-interview met Willem Diepraam, in Het Parool 16 januari 1973.

Auteur onbekend, Diepraam fotografeert Amsterdam nu. Mooie plekjes in hoofdstad vastgelegd voor nageslacht, in NRC Handelsblad 20 februari 1973.

Ruud Brouwers, Amsterdam voor het verdwijnt, in Wonen-TA/BK (maart 1973) 6, p. 5-9 (met foto’s).

Catalogus tent. Konfrontatie 2 [August Sander en Willem Diepraam], Eindhoven (Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum) 1974, p. 13-16 (met foto’s).

Willem K. Coumans, Willem Diepraam, in Foto 29 (januari 1974) 1, p. 24-27 (met foto’s).

Ton Frenken, Beeldinformatie over mensen, in Eindhovens Dagblad 12 januari 1974 (idem, in Nieuwsblad van het Zuiden 12 januari 1974).

wb, Statisch en dynamisch fotograferen. Willem Diepraam en August Sander, in De Groene Amsterdammer 16 januari 1974.

P.L. van der Vliet, August Sander en Willem Diepraam. Fotografie van twee generaties, in de Volkskrant 19 januari 1974.

Auteur onbekend, Feilloos. “Konfrontatie 2”, in Algemeen Dagblad 26 januari 1974.

Auteur onbekend, Sander en Diepraam: mens centraal, in NRC Handelsblad 1 februari 1974.

Auteur onbekend, Diepraam, in Haagse Courant 29 november 1974.

Bas Roodnat, Foto’s uit de West, in NRC Handelsblad 19 december 1974.

Bert Sprenkeling, Diepraam: een fotograaf met een mening. Foto-aankopen in Stedelijk, in Het Parool 19 augustus 1976.

Auteur onbekend, Fraai fotowerk over levende streekdrachten, in Eindhovens Dagblad 23 september 1976.

Catalogus tent. Foto’s voor de stad. Amsterdamse documentaire foto-opdrachten 1971-1976, Amsterdam (Amsterdams Historisch Museum) 1977.

F. Dobbrauski Jr., Wat een gedoe in de bedstee. Amsterdamse documentaire foto’s, in Elseviers Magazine 9 april 1977.

Catalogus tent. La fête. Rencontres internationales de la photographie, Arles juli 1978 (met foto’s).

Els Barents (red.), Fotografie in Nederland 1940-1975. Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1978, p. 130-134, (biografie).

Marja Roscam Abbing, De Willem Diepraamstraat, in NRC Handelsblad 3 augustus 1978.

Anna Tilroe, Willem Diepraam, in Avenue (november 1978) 11, p. 224-225.

Martin Schouten, De plannen van Willem Diepraam: ‘Vijf miljoen en je hebt de toppen van de fotografie’, in Haagse Post 2 december 1978, p. 84-85.

Martin Schouten, Moed als esthetische kwaliteit. Fotografie: Van Alphen, Wessing en Diepraam, in Haagse Post 23 december 1978, p. 98-100.

Willem K. Coumans, Willem Diepraam. The Dutch Caribbean, in Foto 34 (januari 1979) 1, p. 36-41 (met foto’s).

Ton van der Stap, Willem Diepraam. Fotograaf, in De Nieuwe Linie 31 januari 1979, p. 15.

Max Pam, Willem Diepraam. Het moment. Foto’s met commentaar genoteerd door Max Pam, in De Revisor 6 (1979) 4, p. 42-49.

Bas Roodnat, Bajesmanifestatie besteedt aandacht aan gevangenen, in NRC Handelsblad 9 mei 1979.

Bas Roodnat, Het Nederlandse landschap wordt weer gefotografeerd, in NRC Handelsblad 18juni 1979.

Lorenzo Merlo, New Dutch photography/Hedendaagse fotografie in Nederland, Amsterdam/Antwerpen (Kosmos) 1980, p. 40-45.

Elmer Spaargaren, Fotojournalistiek, Sociale Fotografen en Mediastruktuur, in Nyckle Swierstra (voorw.),

Sociale fotografie Studium Generale, Groningen (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) 1981, p. 11-12.

Frits Oppenoorth, Interview met Willem Diepraam, in Frits Oppenoorth, Neerlands Hoop. 12 jaar Bram en Freek in zes hoofdstukken en zes interviews, Amsterdam (In de Knipscheer) 1981, p. 30-34 (met foto’s).

Catalogus tent. De stad in zwart/wit. 5 Jaar Amsterdamse dokumentaire foto-opdrachten, Amsterdam (Museum Fodor) 1981, p. 18-19, 34 (Skrien (juni 1981) 108, bijlage).

Marleen Kox, Verslag onderzoek fotoarchieven. (Samengesteld in opdracht van de Stichting Nederlands Foto-Archief), Amsterdam, juli 1981.

Fred Jansz, Het zaad dat in de vruchtbare bedding valt, in Foto 36 (augustus 1981) 8, p. 26-32 (met foto’s).

fl, Instrumenteel en esthetisch gebruik van de fotografie, in Fodor. Maandblad voor beeldende kunst in Amsterdam 1 (oktober 1981) 2, p. 9-11.

Steef Davidson en Frans van Burkom, Geen commentaar. Fotografen als ooggetuigen van agressie en geweld (catalogus), Amsterdam (Nederlandse Kunststichting) 1982, ongepag. (met foto’s).

R. Kruithof, Willem Diepraams angst voor een mooie foto, in NRC Handelsblad 11 november 1982.

Luuk Kramer, Geen commentaar, in Perspektief (lente 1983) 14, p. 6-9.

Fred Jansz, Willem Diepraam: Sahel, in Foto 38 (februari 1983) 2, p. 56-59 (met foto’s).

Carl De Keyzer en Mark Van Roy, Willem Diepraam. Sahel (interview), in XYZ Fotografie (september/oktober 1983) 3, p. 18-25 (met foto’s).

Mark van Gysegem, Willem Diepraam. Sahel (kritiek), in XYZ Fotograf ie (september/oktober 1983) 3, p. 25.

Els Barents (samenstelling), Zeven hedendaagse Nederlandse fotografen, in Catalogus tent. Foto ’84, Amsterdam (Stichting Amsterdam Foto) 1984, p. 56-61.

Catalogus tent. Zien en gezien worden. Fotografische zelfbespiegeling in Nederland van ca. 1840 tot heden, Nijmegen (Nijmeegs Museum ‘Commanderie van Sint-Jan’) 1984, p. 84.

Els Barents, Van afbeelden naar verbeelden, in Foto in vorm. Grafisch Nederland 1984, Amsterdam (Koninklijk Verbond van Grafische Ondernemingen) 1984, p. 41.

Martin Schouten, Een wandeling door de tijd, in Foto in vorm. Grafisch Nederland 1984, Amsterdam (Koninklijk Verbond van Grafische Ondernemingen) 1984, p. 81-91.

Auteur onbekend, Moeder tegen boek met foto dochter, in Het Parool 23 mei 1985.

Rolf Bos, Het mooist vormgegeven fotoboek in jaren, in de Volkskrant 25 mei 1985.

Ellen Kok, Willem Diepraam. “Ik heb geen illusies over de effekten van mijn foto’s”, in Foto 40 (juni 1985) 6, p. 22-26 (met foto’s).

A. Botman, Foto’s die je langer bezighouden, in Trouw 1 juni 1985.

Auteur onbekend, Fotoboek blijft in de handel, in Trouw 7 juni 1985.

Bert Sprenkeling, Willem Diepraam was ooit goed, in Het Parool 7 juni 1985.

Bas Roodnat, Zwaarmoedige wereld. Honderdzes foto’s van Willem Diepraam, in NRC Handelsblad 8 november 1985.

Werry Crone, Lin Tabak, De filosofie van fotograaf Willem Diepraam, in De Groene Amsterdammer 27 november 1985.

Remi van der Elzen, Willem Diepraam. Onthullend fotograaf, in Focus (november 1985) 11, p. 68-69.

Catalogus tent. Foto ’86, Amsterdam (Staatsuitgeverij) 1986, p. 148.

Mariëtte Haveman, Zwaar op de hand in een elegante, stevige stijl. Een losse selectie van Willem Diepraams foto’s, in Vrij Nederland/Boekenbijlage 25 januari 1986, p. 15-16.

Bas Roodnat, Een nieuwe visie op het onbekende. Tentoonstelling in Sittard met werk van veertien reizende fotografen, in NRC Handelsblad 31 juni 1986.

Willem K. Coumans, Ontdekkingsreizigers in Kritzraedthuis. Nederlandse fotografen op reis, in De Limburger 25 juli 1986.

Doris Grootenboer, Fotografen op reis. Gevarieerde expositie in Sittard, in Algemeen Dagblad 8 augustus 1986.

Margot de Jager en Mirelle Thijsen, Monumentale foto-opdrachten in Nederland, in Perspektief (juni 1987) 28/29, p. 113.

Hripsimé Visser, Documentaire en monumentale foto-opdrachten in Nederland na 1945, in Perspektief (juni 1987) 28/29,p. 115, 120.

Rinus Ferdinandusse, Marilyn Monroe. Vrij Nederland vraagt diverse personen naar hun favoriete Monroe-beeltenissen, waaronder Willem Diepraam, in Vrij Nederland Bijvoegsel 1 augustus 1987, p. 18-19.

Auteur onbekend, De keus van verzamelaar Willem Diepraam, in Trouw 1 juli 1989.

Mattie Boom, Oorlog en vrede. Thema en waardering van het fotoboek na 1945, in Mattie Boom (red.), Foto in omslag. Het Nederlandse documentaire fotoboek na 1945, Amsterdam (Fragment i.s.m. Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst) 1989, p. 64, 122-125 (met foto’s).

Rik Suermondt, Van documentaire plaatwerk naar kunstenaarsboek, in Mattie Boom (red.), Foto in omslag. Het Nederlandse documentaire fotoboek na 1945, Amsterdam (Fragment i.s.m. Rijksdient Beeldende Kunst) 1989, p. 42 (met foto’s).

Rik Suermondt, Beeld en zetsel in wit, in Mattie boom (red.), Foto in omslag. Het Nederlandse documentaire fotoboek na 1945, Amsterdam (Fragment i.s.m. Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst) 1989, p. 76 (met foto).

Auteur onbekend, Willem Diepraam. Korte biografie, in Nederlandse Kunst. Rijksaankopen 1984, Den Haag (RKD) 1990, p. 61-63 (met foto’s).

Rolf Bos, Diepraams subjectieve beelden van “woestijnstad” Lima, in de Volkskrant 24 augustus 1991.

Joost Divendal, Een vederlicht Sysifusbestaan, in Trouw 27 augustus 1991.

K. Gottlieb, Lima en de worsteling van Sysifus, in Het Parool 28 augustus 1991.

Katrien Gottlieb, Door Diepraam ‘geredde’ foto’s nu fel begeerd, in Het Parool 28 januari 1992.

Auteur onbekend, Geding Magnum tegen Diepraam, in NRC Handelsblad 25 april 1992.

Auteur onbekend, Magnum eist foto’s terug, in Het Parool 27 april 1992.

Auteur onbekend, Magnum eist oude foto’s terug van fotograaf Diepraam, in de Volkskrant 27 april 1992.

Auteur onbekend, Foto’s Diepraam verzegeld. Notaris bewaart door Magnum begeerd fotowerk, in Het Parool 1 mei 1992.

Auteur onbekend, Willem Diepraam. Korte biografie, in Nederlandse Kunst. Rijksaankopen 1991, Den Haag (RKD) 1992, p. 71-72 (met foto’s).

Catalogus tent. Amsterdamse documentaire foto-opdrachten 1972-1991, Amsterdam (Museum Fodor) 1992.

Auteur onbekend, Fotograaf geeft foto’s van Magnum terug, in NRC Handelsblad 27 april 1993.

Auteur onbekend, Artistieke impressie van Hoogovens, in Algemeen Dagblad 8 oktober 1993.

Ursula den Tex, Fotografen/Journalisten. Vijfentwintig jaar fotojournalistiek in Vrij Nederland, Amsterdam (Amsterdam University Press) 1995, p. 5, 14-23, 25-51, 54-58, 70, 84, 87-104, 118, 120, 130, 136-139, 145 (metfoto’s).

Taco Anema e.a. (red.), 50 jaar Fotografie. GKf 1945-1995, Amsterdam (De Verbeelding) 1995, p. 22-23, 94-97,194.

Sjak Jansen, De opvoedende foto’s van VN, in Algemeen Dagblad 10 mei 1995, p. 25.

Auteur onbekend, Landschap aan Zee. Nieuw boek Willem Diepraam verschijnt bij Focus, in Focus 82 (oktober 1995) 10, p. 36-39 (met foto’s).

Eddie Marsman, Willem Diepraam. Landschap aan Zee, in NRC Handelsblad 7 oktober 1995.


GKf, 1973-1986.


1971 Experimenteerprijs van de Gemeente Amsterdam.


1972 (e) Amsterdam, Floriade, Kind en leefmilieu.

1973 (g) Amsterdam, Nederlandse Kunst Stichting, Ooggetuigen (rondreizende tentoonstelling).

1973 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Groepsfoto. Fotografen GKf.

1973 (g) Kerkrade, Kasteel Ehrenstein, Ooggetuigen.

1974 (e) Amsterdam, Buro GVN/GKf, Foto ‘s van Diepraam.

1974 (g) Eindhoven, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Konfrontatie 2, foto’s van August Sander en Willem Diepraam.

1974 (e) Den Haag, Galerie Arta, Willem Diepraam, foto’s.

1975 (e) Velzen, Museum Beeckestijn, Willem Diepraam. Fotojournalist.

1976 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, (Foto-aankopen W. Diepraam, L. Friedlander en E. Posthuma de Boer).

1977 (g) Amsterdam, Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Foto’s voor de stad. Amsterdamse documentaire foto-opdrachten 1971-1976.

1977 (e) Amsterdam, Galerie Fiolet, Hollands landschap.

1978 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Fotografie in Nederland 1940-1975.

1978 (e) Amsterdam, Galerie Fiolet, The Dutch Caribbean.

1978 (g) Arles, La fête (9èmes Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie).

1979 (g) Rotterdam, De Kijkkist, Bajesmanifestatie (mobiele expositieruimte).

1979 (g) Amsterdam, Canon Photo Gallery, Nederlands landschap.

1980 (g) Amsterdam, Canon Photo Gallery, Het Portret door 35 Nederlandse fotografen.

1980 (e) Londen, Photographers Gallery, Diepraam.

1981 (g) Amsterdam, Musem Fodor, De stad in zwart/wit. 5 jaar Amsterdamse documentaire foto-opdrachten.

1981 (e) Hoensbroek, Fotogalerie 68, Willem Diepraam. Van 1970 tot heden.

1982 (e) Amsterdam, Galerie Fiolet, Willem Diepraam – “Sahel”.

1982/1983 (e) Amstelveen, Exposorium Vrije Universiteit, Willem Diepraam. Sahel.

1982 (e) Leeuwarden, Museum Het Princessehof, Leven aan de rand van de woestijn.

1983 (g) Amsterdam, De Nederlandse Kunststichting, ‘Geen Commentaar’-fotografen als ooggetuigen van agressie en geweld (rondreizende tentoonstelling).

1983 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, 50 Fotografen in het Stedelijk.

1983 (g) Stockholm, Kultürhusit, Willem Diepraam en Peter Magubane.

1983/1984 (g) Nijmegen, Nijmeegs Museum Commanderie van Sint Jan, Zien en gezien worden. Fotografische zelfbespiegelingen in Nederland van ca. 1840 tot heden.

1984 (g) Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk, 7 Hedendaagse Nederlandse fotografen (Foto ’84).

1985 (e) Amsterdam, Olympus Gallery, Willem Diepraam – Foto’s/Photographs.

1985 (e) Amsterdam, Canon Photo Gallery, Willem Diepraam 1971-1983.

1985 (e) Leeuwarden, Pier Pander Museum, Willem Diepraam foto’s.

1986 (e) Sittard, Het Kritzraedthuis, Nederlandse fotografen op reis, een keuze.

1986 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, 100 Meter foto in het Stedelijk.

1986 (g) Amsterdam, Focus on Photography, 24 Uur Amsterdam (Foto ’86).

1987 (g) Baarn, Kasteel Groeneveld, Friese landschappen. Foto ‘s van Willem Diepraam, Allaard Hidding, Rob Nypels en Karl Gombault.

1987 (g) Leeuwarden, Museum Het Princessehof, Friese landschappen. Foto’s Willem Diepraam, Allaard Hidding, Rob Nypels en Karl Gombault.

1988 (g) Rotterdam, Galerie Perspektief, Portretten voor de media.

1989 (e) Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk, De jonge dorpen van Lima (reizende Novib-tentoonstelling).

1989 (g) Amsterdam, De Verbeelding, [zelfportretten van Nederlandse fotografen].

1991 (e) Amsterdam, RAI, Lima (Kunst RAI).

1991 (e) Lima, Nationaal Museum Lima, Lima.

1992 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, Amsterdamse documentaire foto-opdrachten.

1993 (e) Velsen, Museum Beeckestijn, Hoogovens.

1994 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Persoonlijke keuzen van Eva Besnyö.

1995 (g) Milaan, Galeria Fac-Simile, Sipek voor Ajeto [Diepraam neemt glaswerk van Borek Sipek tot uitgangspunt].

1995 (g) Amsterdam, Galerie Speijer & Vogtschmidt, Landschappen aan zee. Willem Diepraam (foto’s) en Arnaud Beerends (objecten/schilderijen).

1995 (g) Rotterdam, Nederlands Foto Instituut, Lichtjaren. 50 Jaar GKf-fotografie.


Door Willem Diepraam samengestelde tentoonstellingen

1974 Amsterdam, Galerie Fiolet, Antieke portretfotografie.

1979 Leeuwarden, Museum Het Princessehof, Bill Brandt.

1979 Leeuwarden, Museum Het Princessehof, A. Kertèsz.

1979 Leeuwarden, Museum Het Princessehof, Moderne Franse fotojournalistiek. R. Dityvond, M. Franck en H. Gloaguen.

1982 Leeuwarden, Museum Het Princessehof, Samuel Bourne. Foto’s uit India.

1991 Amsterdam, Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Cas Oorthuys.

1993 Amsterdam, Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Eva Besnyö.

1995 Amsterdam, Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Carel Blazer.

Television programs

ca. 1972-’73 Het gat van Nederland (een documentaire van Pieter Verhoeff) (VPRO).

1985 (26 mei) Nederland C (Cees van Ede in gesprek met Willem Diepraam) (NOS).


Amsterdam, Gemeentearchief.

Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum.

Amsterdam/Praag, Collectie Borek Sipek.

Den Haag, Rijksdienst voor Beeldende Kunst.

Leiden, Prentenkabinet van de Rijksuniversiteit Leiden.


Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, bibliotheek en documentatiebestand.

Leiden, Prentenkabinet, bibliotheek en documentatiebestand.

Utrecht, Frank van den Bosch (ongepubliceerde doctoraalscriptie kunstgeschiedenis: Willem Diepraam. Van fotojournalist naar fotograaf, Universiteit Utrecht, november 1994).

Utrecht, Maartje van de Heuvel, (ongepubliceerde doctoraalscriptie kunstgeschiedenis: Twintig jaar foto’s voor de stad. Amsterdamse documentaire foto-opdrachten 1971-1991, Universiteit Utrecht, oktober 1993, p. 22, 24, 28, 30).