PhotoLexicon, Volume 14, nr. 28 (April 1997) (en)

Ralph Prins

Carla van der Stap


Photography holds an important place in the multi-faceted oeuvre of the artist Ralph Prins. He has experimented often with printing techniques and applies this knowledge in his photography, his typographic work (posters), and his teaching. He has also been an inspiring teacher and publicist. In addition, Prins is a highly demanded designer of war monuments. Prins has worked for UNESCO on assignment and designed posters for Amnesty International on a regular basis. He became well known for his portrait drawings of artists, rabbis, composers, and writers. Outside the Netherlands, Prins’ photos have been awarded on various occasions. His photography is daring, energetic, and challenging. In terms of subject matter and style, Prins’ work is broad in scope.




Raphaël Mozes (Ralph) Prins is born on 3 May 1926 in Amsterdam. He is the son of the jurist and publicist Izak Prins and Henriëtte Martha Prins (a distant family member), the director of a shelter for young problematic Jewish girls.


Prins’ parents divorce. He lives with his mother and maintains close contact with his father.


During his years in primary school, Prins lives with his grandparents in Haarlem.


Starting in this year, Prins again lives with his mother in Santpoort.


Ralph Prins lives at the home of the poet/writer Joseph Gompers in Amsterdam.


As a Jew, Prins is no longer allowed to attend the Amsterdam Lyceum and therefore transfers to the Jewish Lyceum. He takes a class in painting and hand-lettering at the Jewish vocational school. He then attends the Jewish ‘Kunstnijverheidsschool’ (‘school of applied arts’).


Together with his mother and grandmother, Prins is voluntarily interned at the Jewish detainee camp in Barneveld. During this period, he develops himself as an artist. He draws portraits and subjects from nature. It is here that Prins meets the art historian Hans van de Waal—the later director of the Leiden University Print Room—who supports and advises him in his work.


Ralph Prins is relocated to Westerbork transit camp due to a one-time exchange of detainees that affects a large share of the ‘Barneveld group’. On 4 September, the same group is transported to Theresienstadt (Czechoslovakia). Through mediation on his behalf, Prins is allowed to attend the ‘Kunstgewerbeschule’ (‘Applied Art School’) in Zurich, Switzerland, for a brief period of time.


Upon his return to the Netherlands, Prins is taken into the home of Professor G. Wiarda and begins studying at the Kunstnijverheidsschool (‘School of Applied Arts’) in Amsterdam. He receives his first lessons in photography from Jaap d’Oliveira. Willem Schrofer advises him to switch to the KABK (Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, ‘Royal Academy of Art’) in The Hague, as this school is better equipped for teaching photography and typography.


In The Hague, Prins receives lessons from Gerrit Kiljan, Paul Schuitema and Gerard de Vries (photography).

At his own request, Prins receives permission from the Ministry of OKW (Onderwijs, Kunsten en Wetenschappen, ‘Education, Arts, and Sciences’) to follow an open study programme. He begins his study of photography at the KABK by experimenting with photograms.

Prins works as an illustrator for newspapers in The Hague: his topics are dancers and musicians.

In this year, Prins meets his future wife, who is studying interior design at the KABK in The Hague.


Prins serves in the Dutch Royal Navy, hereby fulfilling Dutch conscription requirements. He produces photo reportages for the magazine Alle Hens (‘All Hands’).


After serving his time in the military, Prins attends Étienne Decroux’s ‘École de Mime’ in Paris. Seeing the film Les enfants du paradis (‘Children of Paradise’, in 1945)—and particularly the role of the mime in this film—had made a tremendous impression on Prins and inspired him to sign up at the school. Besides meeting Jean-Louis Barrault and Marcel Marceau (whom he later photographs and draws on a frequent basis) through Decroux, Prins also comes into contact with the actor/director Erik Vos, with whom he becomes friends.

Prins photographs Decroux’s mime group and publishes his photos in the magazines Camera and Gebrauchsgraphik. He becomes a member of the Magnum ‘Group 17’. There he meets Werner Bisschof, whom Prins greatly admires. In Paris, his photos are finished by the Magnum laboratory.


In Italy, Prins is employed at Olivetti as an industrial designer. In Milan, he is named in the jury of the Triënnale of Milan. Prins makes a visual report of the Triennial for the Ministry of OKW.

Prins is hired as a coordinating designer at Vroom & Dreesmann (Nijmegen). He designs printed matter, storefront windows and interiors for this firm. In addition, he designs several interiors for monasteries in the Netherlands.


On 24 March, Ralph Prins and Helena Dorothea Smits marry.

Prins starts working as a freelance photographer, designer, and illustrator in The Hague. He does work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On behalf of COSEC (Coordinating Secretariat of the National Unions for Students), he designs numerous posters, brochures, and newspapers, both for the Netherlands and abroad. From 1953 on, Prins’ other short- and long-term clients include: Philips, Synres, FME, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mobil Oil, Esso, Orgalime, UNESCO, and the United Nations.


Prins’ son David is born on 22 February.


Prins teaches industrial design at the KABK in The Hague.


Prins’ son Daniel is born on 20 January.


Prins publishes articles with his own photos in the magazine Focus.


Prins takes photographic portraits of well-known people in the Netherlands, including the writers Victor van Vriesland and Adriaan Roland Holst, for a project commissioned by Professor Hans van de Waal, the director of the Leiden University Print Room.


Prins visits Japan for the first time stemming from an assignment to design a poster for the ‘World Assembly of Youth’. He makes a reportage in Hiroshima, for which he is awarded the ‘Grand Prix’ at Interpress Photo ’66 in Moscow, Russia.


Prins teaches graphic design, photography and drawing at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten Minerva (‘Minerva Academy of the Visual Arts’) in Groningen. Prins lectures at international conferences and seminars organised by UNESCO. He also designs posters and brochures and makes countless photo reportages on behalf of the development programme of the United Nations.

During this period, Prins presents lectures at amateur photography clubs, and also judges and holds discussions on photography. In the 1960s, he presents lectures to photographers associated with the NFK (Nederlandse Fotografen Kunstkring, ‘Netherlands Photographers Art Society’).

Prins takes various photography trips to Japan, Cuba, Peru, Costa Rica, Morocco, and numerous other European countries.


Prins is a photography instructor at the Vrije Academie (‘Free Academy’) in The Hague.


For his theatre reportage on Kabuki theatre (Tokyo), Prins receives the gold medal at the IIe Triënnale Théâtre dans l’Art Photographique (‘Second Triennial Theatre in Photographic Art’), held in Novi Sad (Yugoslavia).


Marie-Marth Prins is born on 30 March.


On 4 May, Queen Juliana unveils Prins’ design for a war monument in Westerbork. Prins later makes war monuments for Apeldoorn, Strijen, Barneveld, Borne, and Gouda.


Starting in August 1973, Prins works as a staff employee for the magazine Foto.


Prins serves as chairman of the BFN (Beroeps Fotografen Nederland, ‘Professional Photographers Netherlands’).


Starting with a trip to Curacao in this year, Prins photographs primarily in colour.


Prins designs posters, programmes, and newspapers for the RO Theatre in Rotterdam.


Prins continues with photography and design, as well as portrait drawing. His colour photography primarily involves themes derived from nature: animals, flowers, waves and coastlines.


Prins receives the ‘H.N. Werkman Prize’ for his posters on behalf of Amnesty International.


Ralph Prins is a passionate person. His life presents a richly varied picture and forms a sequence of creative activity. His large home in The Hague houses a typographic studio, a photography studio, a drawing studio, as well as a number of collections such as objects of horses, spinning tops, and small cubes. In terms of visual expression, Prins’ starting point is a striving for the right to live in dignity and freedom.

In his numerous publications and lectures, Prins tried to support (amateur) photographers in sharpening their spirit and making them more independent in their thinking and seeing. The investigation of the possibilities provided by technique—and the total mastery thereof—has always been an important means for Prins to photograph all that is unique in people, animals, nature, and buildings.

From an early age, Ralph Prins’ father took him to museums on a regular basis, thus introducing him to various expressions of art. In 1939, Ralph attended the Jewish vocational school to gain practical experience as a house painter. Working with a paintbrush proved to be a revelation: it was this experience that awakened his desire to become involved in the visual arts. At the Jewish detainee camp in Barneveld, the mentorship of Hans van de Waal was highly valuable and instructive for Prins. To continue his schooling, he was allowed to skip the usual forced labour detail, on the condition that he showed his sketch work and drawings to Van de Waal on a daily basis. Van de Waal, in turn, was expected to present the progress in Prins’ work once a month to the Jewish heads of the camp.

Changing from the Kunstnijverheidschool (‘School of Applied Arts’) in Amsterdam to the KABK (Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, ‘Royal Academy of Art’) in The Hague gave Prins greater freedom to carry out experiments in the areas of photography and typography. It was here that he received instruction from Kiljan and Schuitema. Prins found experimenting with technical materials to be the biggest challenge. He delved into the technique of photograms, the functioning of developer, fixatives, paper, and all other conceivable applications. It was something he greatly enjoyed, as he was convinced that he could optimise his expression through the mastery of technique. While a student at mime school, Prins came into contact for the first time with theatrical photography. More important for him, however, was his initial encounter with the principle of mime. That principle is founded on a grammar that begins with a so-called ‘zero point’. Similarly, Prins always starts his work with a clean slate, i.e. moving from that ‘zero point’ versus relying on routine. Mime offers him a grammar that can serve as a universal foundation for all artistic expression. Prins therefore approaches his artisticity based on the concept that all arts have one and the same undercurrent.

The themes in Prins’ photography are highly diverse. He can be absorbed in a theme for years, until he takes the one photo that reflects on every level what he hoped to find and what he wished to communicate. Throughout his career, Prins has been an impassioned portraitist. A natural extension of this same drive are his portraits of animals. Dogs and apes have drawn his attention for years, but also horses, birds, cats, cows, and donkeys.

In recent years, nature interests him more than ever, especially themes such as flowers, leaves, trees, rock masses, and coastlines. His photos of these subjects are primarily taken in colour; he prints them in the format 50×75 cm. Many of his nature shots lean towards abstraction, comprised only of colours, structures, and streaks, or forms dominated by soft colours, comparable to watercolour effects.

Reportage photography is an important part of Prins’ oeuvre. During a trip to Moscow to receive the Interpress Photo award, he made a now famous series that shows people standing in long queues on Red Square to visit Lenin’s mausoleum. Prins seizes every opportunity—particularly when abroad—to make a new reportage.

Prins’ more recent work has a strongly poetic character. Contrasts found in the initial stages of his oeuvre have been replaced by a greater harmony. Subjects such as children, young women, nudes, theatre, and architecture generally date from an earlier period. Prins’ first photo series that concerned theatre was made at the mime school founded by Étiennne Decroux in Paris. The mime artist Marcel Marceau was one of Prins’ subjects for many years, both in his photography and his drawing. In order to ‘translate’ the secret of the theatre, but also to suggest the continuity of the theatrical narrative of a performance, Prins turns to technique. He incorporates dynamic and emotion—two important aspects of theatre—into a single photo by introducing highly reduced tints or following the movement with his camera, but also by applying combination prints.

Prins has distinguished himself from other theatrical photographers in the Netherlands by allowing himself to experiment. Countless numbers of his theatrical photos display a high degree of abstraction. Communicating the power of a performance is essential to him. When portraying José Greco’s Spanish Ballet (1953), Prins decided on a representation that strongly depicts the mood, with a large spot appearing in the left foreground. In his photos of the 1954 performance of King Lear—with Albert van Dalsum in the leading role—Prins directly confronts the viewer with emotions such as fear and suspense by selecting a vantage point that is extremely close up and a large grain for the print. Rarely did he provide a complete image of a theatrical performance: he almost always preferred ‘partial moments’ or portraits.

In the mid-1950s, Prins disseminated an explicit personal view with his (theatrical) photography, at a time when it was not yet common practice to do so. It was not until the mid-1960s that photographers such as Gerard Fieret—with whom Prins maintained personal contact— and Sanne Sannes practiced a photography that was based on a substantial degree of personal freedom.

Whenever Prins worked on assignment, he always stipulated the condition that he be allowed to photograph behind the scenes. Both his foreign projects for UNESCO and the prizes that he was awarded abroad enabled him to take theatrical photos outside the Netherlands. In 1996, he was offered the opportunity to photograph Kabuki theatre in Japan. It was unique for someone to be allowed to photograph this centuries’ old pure theatrical form, based on a religious tradition, as well in the dressing rooms. With the photo series that resulted from this work, Prins received the gold medal at the II Triënnale Théatre dans l’Art Photographique (‘Second Triennial Theatre in Photographic Art’), held in Novi Sad (Yugoslavia) in 1968. The portrait of Maya Plissetskaya, the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, is Prins’ most celebrated photo.

For the reportage-like portrait photos that he took during his travels, Prins applied no special techniques. His children’s portraits are generally lively. When necessary, Prins uses these photos to draw attention to the inadequate living conditions of children. By contrast, a series he made for the newspaper Het Vaderland, entitled ‘Kindertypen in Israël’ (‘Child Types in Israel’) reveals a somewhat dream-like and poetic quality that is highly similar to Wim Noordhoek’s children’s portraits.

In Cuba, Prins became fascinated with baseball. He photographed boys playing baseball in the streets by very primitive means, but also the professionals, who are important national heroes there.

In the portrait photos he takes, Prins gives a person’s eyeglasses a noticeable role. He makes no effort to conceal such an accessory, but makes it an integral part of the image. In Prins’ portrait of the architect Le Corbusier, for instance, the architecture outdoors is surprisingly reflected in the lenses of the glasses he is wearing. In the portrait of an old woman, the eyes are almost hidden behind the glasses, thereby enhancing the impression of her fragility.

Prins’ contact with Hans van de Waal during the war would ultimately lead to his being asked to take portrait photos of a number of prominent figures in Dutch society for the collection of the Print Room of Leiden University. Among those photographed were the writers Adriaan Roland Holst, Victor van Vrieslandt, and R. van Gulik, the actor Albert van Dalsum, Professor Cleveringa of Leiden, and the ‘upper equerry’ to the Dutch royal court Bisschof van Heemskerk. What is noteworthy about these portraits is that they are photographed from very close up and cropped unexpectedly.

Prins regularly manipulates a situation in the direction he wishes in order to create an image that he feels is appropriate for the individual standing before him. He asks a woman praying in a temple to repeat her pose—after the church service is completed. He requests a woman playing a violin in the street to start once again, this time with her children in view. He has a baseball player re-enact his slide over the base, just as he did before after actually hitting a home run. It is through the bold artistic direction of his photos that Prins achieves the liveliness of the snapshot.

In addition to people, Prins puts great effort into photographing cities and architecture during his travels. Places that are normally inaccessible evoke in him a particularly strong attraction.

For UNESCO, Prins collaborated on a book to raise funds for the restoration of historic architectural monuments in Peru. At the site of the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu, he photographed the archaeological remains from an extremely high vantage point. In addition, he photographed the deplorable conditions of architectural monuments in Havana, Cuba, as well as life in the Moroccan city of Fez. This last project was commissioned by the United Nations.

Prins has also photographed in the countries France, Portugal, Spain, Curacao, Romania, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Russia, and Japan. In Switzerland, he took shots of Rudolf Steiner’s buildings in Dornach.

In general, Prins tries to capture the character of what he photographs—so, too, with architecture. In many cases, he achieves this by capturing the details, as can be observed in his photos of windmills.

For several cities, including Toledo, Spain, Prins took a long shot and processed this into an image that was purely graphic in nature. He then reworked this image with an inking roller. Prins has frequently documented Paris, with its architecture, parks, and its inhabitants.

Prins in fact sees no essential distinction between photography and other forms of art—nor does he have any desire to see such a difference. The constrained nature of photography, in his view, is a freedom under constraint. In many cases, Prins’ photos are in no way exact representations of the real world. Instead, he brings feeling and candour to the forefront, and this he does in part with the aid of technical skills.

When architecture is the subject of his photographs, Prins goes in search of a building’s ‘core’. To achieve this, he examines not only the building itself, but also its surroundings. Only then does he make a decision regarding the camera and film to be used. In the case of theatre, his first step is to get a sense of the mood by thoroughly familiarising himself with the play itself.

No matter what the subject, Prins delves into his work scrupulously. Every portrait photo he takes initially ends up on the so-called ‘test shelf’. Only after a period of time does he make a judgement regarding the success or failure of that particular photo.

‘I know, recognise and apply the rules of photography from a distance. The dogmatic application thereof blocks the creative progress of photography,’ as he wrote in 1971 in the magazine Fototribune (‘Photo Tribune’).

Prins’ first example of what he called ‘kleurfixerel’ (‘colour fixative aquarel’) was made in 1946 on photographic paper with developer and fixative. In addition, he experimented with a pen dipped in fixative. Another technique entailed placing a drawing made on a transparent hard material in the same place as the negative, and then projecting it onto photographic paper. He also reworked photos with cold enamel, with potassium ferrocyanide (‘bloedloogzout’), with sparkles, printing ink, and ink rollers. With a sponge dipped in developer, Prins drew on photographic paper, resulting in a spotted pattern. This latter effect was primarily used for his nude photos. Prins never limits himself to the standard techniques, and they are likewise mutually interchangeable.

Starting in about 1970, Prins returned to colour photography, and since his trip to Curacao in 1983, he has worked almost exclusively in colour. In his publications, Prins distinguishes between the factors involved in direct techniques—i.e. what camera, which film, what developer do you choose—versus the indirect techniques, i.e. the so-called manipulation techniques.

With his colour photography, Prins chooses the camera, e.g. his 35 mm camera with interchangeable lenses, and he chooses the film. He then possibly processes the photo after it has been professionally printed. Prins also often works with inexpensive disposable cameras, such as a panorama camera with or without flash, or an underwater camera. Essential in his view is the combination of film type and exposure: he often uses a 3200 ASA film, where a 100 ASA is sufficient. Prins has acquired substantial knowledge with regards to the effects of film grain size on the final image. In his flower, animal and nature photography, he frequently applies higher ASA values. With forced developing, these photos obtain such a coarse grain that the dots only begin to form a homogeneous whole when viewing from a certain distance. At the academy, Prins had his students start out working with a simple box camera, so that they were able to obtain a thorough introduction to the basic principles of photography.

In his articles that were published in photo magazines in the 1970s, Prins provided comprehensive instructions in the so-called manipulation techniques, such as the copying of a negative onto graphic film or creating an irregular grain precisely in the area that you want to have it. When explaining combination printing, he indicated which kind he preferred: working with several negatives at the same time, in order to determine the composition with greater precision.

In his typographic work and as well in his poster designs for various clients, Prins incorporates his own photos, but also those of others.

As an instructor at the art academies, Prins gave his students a tremendous amount of freedom. He tried to bring out the individuality of each of his students. In doing so, he was able to teach in a manner that was custom-tailored.

Both in the Netherlands and abroad, Prins has been a guest instructor at art academies and given lectures and classes on all kinds of topics, including theatrical photography. Dispatched to do photographic work on behalf of the United Nations, he had an opportunity to teach in countries such as Cuba and the Dutch Antilles. In the Netherlands, Prins taught classes to photographers associated with the NFK (Nederlandse Fotografen Kunstkring, ‘Netherlands Photographers Art Society’) and amateur photography clubs in the 1950s and ’60s.

In his articles for photography magazines, Prins primarily drew attention to creative and inventive photographers that were willing to try out anything that was off the beaten path. He wrote just as easily about the photographers of the nineteenth century as he did those of the early twentieth-century, e.g. Roger-Viollet, Lewis Caroll and Gianni Penati.

An important aspect of these articles was Prins’ desire to motivate amateur photographers to create their own distinctive style. In his 1965 article in Focus, entitled ‘Maatstaf’ (‘Standard’), Prins reproached the photography clubs for promoting a general style that ‘(…) is still under the impression of the most brilliant German printing technique of the 1930s and that it is still greatly influenced by the early work of Cartier-Bresson. “Needle-sharp” and informal humanity are the polar opposites of those photographing in the Netherlands.’

Because of his international experience and notoriety, Prins was named chairman of the BFN (Beroeps Fotografen Nederland, ‘Professional Photographers Netherlands’). His manner in this function was unorthodox, as the opinions he voiced were quite strong. A number of these bold pronouncements occasionally led to his being overruled. It was for this reason that he ceased all publishing endeavours on behalf of the amateur photography magazines.

One of Ralph Prins’ important functions, both in his photography and in his public actions, is to awaken people with outdated notions of photography. Instead of generalities and dogma, he seeks individual expression and freedom in the creative process. Having published numerous articles over the years, he has provided a major impulse to (amateur) photography in the Netherlands. Internationally, Prins has acquired notoriety in his capacity as a photography ambassador of the United Nations, and as a theatrical photographer and poster designer.


Primary bibliography

Porgy en Bess, in Parnas (1956).

Ralph’s pagina, in Niw Hanoar 1959 [wekelijks een paginagrote foto plus tekst].

Foto’s van Sieto en Marijke Hoving, in Het Vaderland 10 juli 1959.

Foto’s van Karl Kohn en Ingrid Palier, in Het Vaderland 24 augustus 1959.

Onder ons, in Focus 46 (25 november 1961) 24, p. 770-779.

Oogopslag, in Focus 48 (1 februari 1963) 3, p. 10-19 (met foto’s).

Moeder en kindverhouding in de fotografie, in Focus 48 (20 december 1963) 26, p. 10-19 (met foto’s).

Voor en achter de camera, in Focus 49 (10 april 1964) 8, p. 2-11 (met foto’s).

Over keien en kiezelstenen, in Focus 49 (17 juli 1964) 15, p. 2-11 (met foto’s).

Het fotograferen van eigen kinderen, in Focus 49 (18 december 1964) 26, p. 2-9.

Maatstaf, in Focus 50 (19 maart 1965) 6, p. 2-11.

Cartes postale de la “Belle Époque”, in Phototribune (1965) 11,p. 16-19.

Achter de lens, in Vakfotografie (1966) 2, p. 2-22 (met foto’s).

William Klein, in Beet (1967) 2.

De Poil et de Plume, in Phototribune (1967) g, p. 14-17 (met foto’s).

Gesprek met Oleg Popov, in Wereldkroniek 22 november 1969, omslag, e.a. pagina’s (met foto’s).

Fotografie en illustratie, in Tété 23 (1969) 3, p. 1-4 (met foto’s).

Ralph Prins fotografeert bekende Nederlanders, in TFF januari 1969, p. 6-11 (met foto’s).

Swinging Shakespeare, in Wereldkroniek 51 (1969) 1 2, omslag e.a. pagina’s (met foto’s).

Fototoepassingen in affiches, in TFF (1971) 5, p. 14-17.

Generaliseren van portret, in BFN. Maandblad Beroepsfotografen Nederland (1976) 2, p. 1.

Ik wil eens met u praten, in BFN. Maandblad Beroepsfotografen Nederland (1976) 1, p. 1.

Een vakfotografisch front, in BFN. Maandblad Beroepsfotografen Nederland (1976) 10, p. 1.

Fotografische Arbeiten, in Catalogus Ausstellung Akademie für das Grafische Gewerbe, München, september 1989.

Catalogus tent. Epic of the Americas. Ralph Prins photo’s of Havanna, Londen (Royal Institute of British Architects) 1989.

Cataloguskrant Ralph Prins, Den Haag (Sijthof Pers) 1986 (met foto’s).

Catalogus tent. Ralph Prins. Portret van een kunstenaar, Amersfoort (De Zonnehof) 1987.

Joodse verhalen en liederen, in Theatertje thuis, Den Haag 1989 (met foto’s).

Onzichtbaar, in Catalogus tent. Ogenblikken. Een keuze uit het werk van twaalf Haagse fotografen, Den Haag (Stichting Hollands Negatief) 1989, p. 14-17.

Catalogus tent. Foto-impressie Nationaal Monument Westerbork, Hooghalen (Stichting Voormalig Kamp Westerbork) 1989.

Ralph Prins (ontwerper), Catalogus tent. Verwondering, Wolvega (De Kijkzaal) 1990.

Ralph Prins (ontwerper), Catalogus tent. Homo Ludens. De spelende mens, Uden (De Pronkkamer) 1992.


in Foto:

Fotografie op de Vrije Academie, 28 (juni 1973) 6, p. 44-49.

Raymond Peter, 28 (juli 1973) 7, p. 25.

Paule Pia, 28 (juli 1973) 7, p. 30-35.

George Lampe, 28 (augustus 1973) 8, p. 40-43.

Team van art director en fotograaf maken foto, 28 (augustus 1973) 8, p. 50-55.

“Fotokunst”, een gesprek van Ralph Prins met Paul Citroen over fotografie, 29 (januari 1974) 1, p. 38-43.

Joop van den Berg, 29 (september 1974) 9, p. 38-41.

Opsporing verzocht, 30 (september 1975) 9, p. 34.

Flitsen, 30 (oktober 1975) 10, p. 35.

Roger-Viollet, 30 (november 1975) 11, p. 54-57.

Zelfportret, 31 (februari 1976) 2, p. 41.

Filmfoto’s, 31 (maart 1976) 3, p. 51.

Leunend met gekruiste beentjes, 31 (maart 1976) 3, p. 56-57.

Verkleed op de foto, 31 (mei 1976) 5, p. 54-55.

Minimale deformatie, 31 (mei 1976) 5, p. 55.

Twee visies op Maya Plissetskaya, 31 (mei 1976) 5, p. 69 (met foto’s).

Peter Mazel, 31 (juni 1976) 6, p. 58-61.

Lewis Caroll en Gianni Penati, 31 (juli 1976) 7, p. 32-34.

Een naaktreportage, 31 (juli 1976) 7, p. 67-69 (met foto’s).

Sanders, 31 (oktober 1976) 10, p. 44-50.

Anders dan anders, 31 (oktober 1976) 10, p. 72-75.

Gerard Fieret, 32 (oktober 1977) 10, p. 76-80.


in Fototribune.

Dierenfotografie, 27 (december 1965) 12, p. 454-457.

Bril en portret, 29 (juli 1967) 7, omslag, p. 8-12,41 (met foto’s).

Van miauw tot piep, 29 (september 1967) 9, p. 14-17.

Lachend op de foto, 29 (oktober 1967) 10, p. 18-23 (met foto’s).

Japan, 29 (december 1967) 12, p. 30-37 (met foto’s).

Toneelfoto’s van Ad van Gessel, 30 (maart 1968) 3, p. 8-13.

Annemarie poseert naakt, 30 (april 1968) 4, p. 8-13 (met foto’s).

David Robertson, 30 (mei 1968) 5, p. 28-33.

Het vangen van uitdrukkingen, 30 (augustus 1968) 8, p. 28-33 (met foto’s).

Paardenpostzegels, 30 (september 1968) g, p. 22-24.

Paule Pia, 30 (oktober 1968) 10, p. 6-13.

Oude mensen, 30 (december 1968) 12, p. 30-35.

Naaktmodel, 31 (februari 1969) 2, p. 14-21.

Michael Toner, 31 (november 1969) 11, p. 8-11.

Pan Sok, 32 (januari 1970) 1 ,p. 28-32.

Wolfgang Winter, 32 (april 1970) 4, p. 20-25, 49.

Leen Manneke, 32 (juni 1970) 6, p. 36-41.

Marcel Marceau, 32 (augustus 1970) 8, p. 14-19 (met foto’s).

Benny Holwerda, 32 (oktober 1970) 10, p. 42-45.

G.J.L. Offerhaus, 32 (november 1970) 11, p. 35-41.

Jaap Doornik, 33 (januari 1971) 1, p. 20.

J. van Griethuysen, 33 (april 1971) 4, p. 8-11.

Hoe & waarom, 33 (juli/augustus 1971) 7/8, p. 16-23 (met foto’s).


foto’s in:

Catalogus tent. Fotoschouw ’52, Den Haag (Haags Gemeentemuseum) 1952,ongepag.

[Programma] Chanah Milner ca. 1955, omslag.

[Platenhoes] LP Porgy & Bess, van His Masters Voice jaren vijftig.

Positief. Maandblad Stichting Evangelisch Herstel en Opbouw 1956-1970.

Het Vaderland, [rubriek Den Haag vandaag], vanaf 1956.

Kindertypen in Israël, in Het Vaderland 25 september 1959.

Oost & West september 1959, omslag.

“Vol verwachting klopt ons hart”, in Het Vaderland 1 december 1959.

[Brochure] Beckson, ca. 1960.

Haagsche Courant 9 mei 1960.

[Kalender] Theater, Rotterdam (Plantijn N.V.) 1960.

[fubileumbrochure] N.V. Chemische Industrie Synres, 1960.

Jaarverslag De Jeugdhaven, Rotterdam 1961.

[Brochure] Poppentheater Guido van Deth, Den Haag (Felicia van Deth Beek) ca. 1964.

[Brochure] In vogelvlucht, Den Haag (Nederlands Theaterbureau) ca. 1964.

Catalogus tent. World Press Photo ’67, Den Haag (Nederlands Congrescentrum) 1967, p. 6, 23.

Haagsche Courant 6 juni 1967.

Haagsche Courant 28 september 1967.

Catalogus tent. Theater in Blik, Amsterdam (Toneelmuseum) 1968.

Bres, ca. 1969.

TéTé, ca. 1970, foto-experimentele omslagen.

[Brochure] Academie Minerva, Groningen 1976.

Mobil Oil B.V. Jaarverslag 1980.

Mobil Oil B.V. Jaarverslag 1981.

Jan Plekker, Albert van Dalsum, man van het toneel. Een theaterdocumentaire, Zutphen (De Walburg Pers) 1983 omslag, p. 241.

Mobil Oil B.V. Jaarverslag 1985.

Mobil Oil B.V. Jaarverslag 1986.

CD Shura Lipovsky 1994, omslag.

Secondary bibliography

R.E. Penning, Ralph Prins. Uitzonderlijke veelzijdige begaafdheid, in Haagsch Dagblad 4 november 1950.

Auteur onbekend, Ralph Prins op zoek naar mogelijkheden, in Het Binnenhof 10 november 1950.

Cornelis Veth, Ralph Prins, in De Nieuwe Courant [Den Haag] 4 november 1950.

Jos de Gruyter, Foto’s en tekeningen door Ralph Prins, in Het Vaderland juni 1951.

Corn. Basoski, Ralph tekende en fotografeerde bewegingskunst, in Haagsch Dagblad 30 juni 1951.

S. Hageman, Middag bij de NFK, in Focus 40 (april 1955) 4, p. 91.

Auteur onbekend, “I got plenty o’nutting”, in Parnas 1 (1956).

Anton Sailer, Ralph Prins, Theaterfoto’s, in Gebrauchsgraphik 2 (1956).

J.J. Hens, Ralph exposeert in het Prentenkabinet, in Foto 13 (december 1958) 12, p. 491.

Catalogus tent. Foto’s en tekeningen, Nijmegen (De Waag) 1958.

Auteur onbekend, Ralph Prins exposeert bij GHB Amsterdam, in Graficus 20 oktober 1959.

R.E. Penning, Spel met het licht in foto’s van Ralph, in Het Vaderland september 1960.

E. v.d. V., Ralph Prins: oog voor dramatisch detail, in Het Vrije Volk 10 september 1960.

George Lampe, Interessante affiches van Ralph Prins, in Haagsch Dagblad 13 september 1961.

R.E. Penning, Ralph Prins ontwerpt dienend drukwerk, in Haagsche Courant september 1961.

K.W., Uitzonderlijke kwaliteit, in Het Vaderland 20 september 1961.

H.A. Gerritsen, Uitmuntende affiches van Ralph Prins, in Het Vrije Volk 16 september 1961.

R. E. Penning, Foto’s van Ralph zijn meer dan een document, in Het Vaderland 1963.

Auteur onbekend, Ralph Prins laat het materiaal spreken, in Graficus 8 oktober 1963.

Auteur onbekend, Ralph Prins: een affiche hoeft niet duur te wezen om goed te zijn, in Revue der Reclame 3 februari 1965.

Auteur onbekend, Hiroshima impressions 21 years after, in The Student 1966.

Catalogus tent. Interpress ’66, Moskou 1966.

Martien Coppens, Ralph Prins, in Vakfotografie 2 (1966) p. 1-2 (met foto’s).

Auteur onbekend, Affiches Ralph Prins, in Spaarbank en Publiek september 1966.

Auteur onbekend, Ralph Prins. Hagenaar is winnaar van “Interpress” in Moskou, in Haagsche Courant 18 oktober 1966.

Auteur onbekend, Fotograaf Prins ontevreden over Russische “Foto ’66”, in Haagsche Courant 21 oktober 1966.

Pem Sluijter, De bom en de cola, in Algemeen Handelsblad 22 oktober 1966.

Auteur onbekend, Nederlands jurylid: Gechicaneer met foto’s in Moskou, in Het Parool 22 oktober 1966.

Auteur onbekend, Gecensureerd geluk. Fotoserie in Moskou “politiek” bekroond. Ralph Prins blij ondanks kritiek, in Algemeen Dagblad 24 oktober 1966.

Auteur onbekend, Voor Hiroshima van heden is bom aas voor toeristen. Fotograaf Ralph Prins terug uit Moskou, in De Tijd 25 oktober 1966.

Auteur onbekend, Ralph Prins en het geheim van het Bolshoï-theater, in Nieuwblad van het Noorden 29 oktober 1966.

D.F. van de Pol, Ralph Prins, portrettist. Hagenaar kreeg grote fotoprijs in Moskou, in Het Vaderland 5 november 1966, p. 2.

Auteur onbekend, Russen goochelden met serie foto’s van Hagenaar Ralph Prins. ‘Ik ben geen ban-de-bommer maar in Hiroshima ben ik toch wel geschrokken’, in Het Binnenhof 21 november 1966.

Jacques Meijer, Ralph Prins wint Grand Prix in Moskou, in Fototribune 28 (december 1966) 12, p. 32-35 (met foto’s).

Auteur onbekend, Ralph Prins won opnieuw persprijs, in Haagsche Courant 26 juli 1967.

Auteur onbekend, Ralph Prins wint weer Russische fotoprijs, in Het Vaderland 26 juli 1967.

Catalogus tent. Triënnale Theatre dans 1’Art Photographique, Novi Sad 1968.

Auteur onbekend, Haags fotograaf wint medaille in Zuid-Slavië, in de Volkskrant 31 mei 1968.

Martin Uitvlugt, “Talent, discipline, ambitie”. Weer grote prijs voor Ralph Prins, in Het Vaderland 1 juni 1968, p. 20.

Catalogus tent. Theaterfoto’s Ralph Prins, Amsterdam (Toneelmuseum) 1970.

Catalogus tent. Foto-portret, Den Haag (Haags Gemeentemuseum) 1970, p. 62.

Auteur onbekend, Ralph Prins ontwerpt monument Westerbork, in Haagsche Courant 20 februari 1970.

André Rutten, Geboeid door beweging. Toneelfoto’s van Ralph Prins, in De Tijd 2 maart 1972.

Ben Huising, Ralph Prins’ theaterfoto’s, in Trouw 7 maart 1972.

Simon Koster, Foto’s van Ralph Prins, in Haarlems Dagblad 9 maart 1972.

Auteur onbekend, Camera in het theater, in Het Parool 11 maart 1972.

Else Madeion Hooykaas, Theaterfoto’s van Ralph Prins, in Foto 27 (juni 1972) 6, p.51.

Auteur onbekend, Fotokunst fra teatrets verden, in Bergens Tidende (Noorwegen) 3 november 1973.

Bj. K., Verdenskjent teaterfotograf pa UB, in Morgenwisen Bergen 3 november 1973.

Willem K. Coumans, Ralph Prins vertaalde Marcel Marceau, in Maastrichts Dagblad 1974.

Willem K. Coumans, Ralph Prins zag Marcel Marceau in foto’s en tekeningen, in Foto 29 (maart 1974) 3, p. 21.

Dolf Welling, Duivelse genoegens in Voorburgs museum, in Haagsche Courant 27 januari 1976.

Hedendaagse Haagse beeldende kunstenaars, Den Haag (Dienst voor Schone Kunsten) 1977.

Els Barents (red.), Fotografie in Nederland 1940-1975, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1978, p. 96, met losse biografie.

Philipp Luidl, Designer Ralph Prins, in Novum- Gebrauchsgraphik 3 (1980), p. 30-37 (met elf fotoaffiches).

J. van Kranendonk, Indrukwekkende foto’s Ralph Prins, in Haagsche Courant 13 mei 1980.

Cathérine van Houts, Ralph Prins legt kampervaringen in zijn werk, in Het Parool 20 oktober 1981.

Sybren Paul, Ralph Prins, wie is dat?, in NAPA (Curacao) 20 januari 1984.

Hendrik van Leeuwen, Rake theaterfoto’s van Ralph Prins, in Delftse Courant 9 oktober 1984.

Cataloguskrant Ralph Prins, gemaakt naar aanleiding van vijf verschillende eenmanstentoonstellingen in 1986, Den Haag 1986.

Pem Rutgers-Sluijter, Ik ben een geboren toeschouwer, in Wending 5 (1986), p. 287-304 (met foto’s).

Lex Gilhuys, Ralph Prins, in een oogopslag, in Haagsche Courant 1 maart 1986.

Friggo Visser, Ralph Prins, 60 jaar, in Nieuwsblad van het Noorden september 1986.

Auteur onbekend, Tussen Gutenberg en Ralph Prins, in Compres 11 november 1986.

Catalogus tent. Ralph Prins. Portret van een kunstenaar, Amersfoort (De Zonnehof) 1987.

Catalogus tent. Verwondering, Wolvega (De Kijkzaal) 1990.

Catalogus tent. Le théatre a 1’affiche. Theateraffiches uit Frankrijk en Nederland, Den Haag 1990.

Auteur onbekend, Weinig verkoop op kunstmarkt Stadhuisplein, in Leidsch Dagblad 12 juli 1990.

Catalogus tent. Humanity, noodzaakaffiches Ralph Prins, Den Haag (De Vrije Academie) 1991.

Catalogus tent. De Nieuwe Vrijheid. Joodse kunstenaars in Nederland 1945-1960 Amsterdam (Joods Historisch Museum) 1991.

Hans Oerlemans, Ralph Prins, nog altijd vormgever van hartekreten, in Het Binnenhof 10 mei 1991.

Stijn Duuk, Kunstenaar Ralph Prins, in Brabants Dagbdlad 6 mei 1992.

Rob Wissink, Ralph Prins, in Hengelo’s Dagblad 15 mei 1992.

Annemiek van der Vest, Ik kan nu werken zoals ik wil, in Zwolsche Courant 5 augustus 1992.

Toos Bartelds, Ralph Prins, veelzijdig kunstenaar, in Kijk op ‘t Noorden maart 1993 p. 51-57.

Catalogus tent Oog voor elkaar, oor voor elkaar. Handicap en Samenleving, 1993.

Robert P. Welzel, Auch kleinstes Licht ist wichtig, in Der Weg 29 juni 1994.

Bram Hulzebos, Werkmanprijswinnaar Ralph Prins, in Nieuwsblad van het Noorden 27 september 1994.

Pauline Weseman, Kunstenaar Ralph Prins, in Aktie (1995) 9.

Auteur onbekend, Warmte, schoonheid tonen, in Centraal Weekblad Amsterdam 24 februari 1995.

Cees Straus, Atelier Ralph Prins, in Trouw 2 maart 1995.

Willem van Hamersvelt, Ralph Prins, in Nieuwsblad van het Noorden 4 maart 1995 (met foto’s).

Martin Schouten, Ralph Prins, “Al het bevoorrechte”, in de Volkskrant 11 maart 1995.

Mieke Preude-Meyer, Oppassen voor zelfexpressie, in Haarlems Dagblad 8 september 1995.

Eva den Buurman, Ralph Prins toont Theater, in Nieuw Israëlietisch Weekblad 8 maart 1996.

Auteur onbekend, Het enige dat ik moet doen is mijn ziel hechten aan die van mijn model, in Schager Weekblad 24 april 1996.

E. de Vries, Ralph Prins graficus zonder grenzen, in Compres 29 mei 1996, p. 26-29.

Karla Götz, Weltkünstler Ralph Prins gestaltet das Toscaprogrammheft, in Braunschweiger Zeitung 26 oktober 1996.


ATYPI (Association of Typographs International).

BDB (Bund Deutscher Buchgestalter).

BFN (voorzitter van 1975-1979).

BNO (Bond van Nederlandse Ontwerpers).


GVN (Grafische Vormgevers Nederland).

ICTA (International Center for the Typographic Arts).


St Lucas.

Jury tentoonstelling De mens en zijn omgeving (NAFV), Amsterdam 1978.


1966 Grand Prix Interpress ’66 (voor Hiroshima serie), Moskou.

1967 Nowosjti Persprijs (voor portret Maya Plissetskaya), tentoonstelling Moskou en de Moskovieten, Moskou.

1967 Zilveren medaille, internationale foto-expositie, Berlijn.

1967 Eerste prijs, internationale affichetentoonstelling, Wenen.

1968 Eerste prijs (en andere onderscheidingen) II Triënnale Theatre dans 1’Art Photographique, Novi Sad.

1969 Eerste prijs Internationale affiche tentoonstelling, Stockholm.

1971 Eerste prijs (en andere onderscheidingen) III Triënnale Theatre dans 1’Art Photographique, Novi Sad.

1982 Henegouwerprijs, Political Posters, Mons 1982.

1994 H.N. Werkmanprijs (voor Amnesty International affiches).


1947 (e) Fotogrammen (rondreizende tentoonstelling door Polen).

1951 (e) Den Haag, Kunstzaal Plaats, Mime-pantomime-negerballet.

1951 (g) Parijs, Musée de la Danse (rondreizende tentoonstelling: in 1952 naar Rome, Milaan en San Remo).

1952 (g) Den Haag, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Fotoschouw ’52.

1953 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Photo+Scene.

1955 (g) New York, Greenwich Village, Dutch Photography.

1958 (e) Nijmegen, De Waag, Foto’s en tekeningen.

1958 (g) Pescara, II Biënnale Internazionale di Fotografia per Invito (rondreizende tentoonstelling: in 1959 naar Hamburg en in 1960 naar Tokyo).

1959 (e) Amsterdam, GHB, Ralph Prins.

1959 (e) Leiden, Prentenkabinet van de Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Ralph foto’s/tekeningen.

1960 (e) Den Haag, Kunstzaal Plaats, Foto ‘s Ralph.

1960 (e) Rotterdam, ‘t Venster, Ralph foto’s, tekeningen, drukken.

1962 (e) Den Haag, Du Midi, Kinderen foto ‘s Ralph.

1963 (e) Den Haag, Kunsthandel Martinus Liernur, Foto ‘s Ralph.

1963 (e) Den Haag, Academie voor beeldende kunsten, Ralph Prins.

1964 (g) Kassel, Documenta III.

1966 (g) Moskou, Manezji-hal, Interpress ’66.

1966 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Zeefdrukaffiches.

1966 (e) Warschau, Ralph Prins Foto’s.

1967 (g) Berlijn, [internationale fotoexpositie] .

1967 (g) Moskou, Moskou en de Moskovieten.

1967 (g) Den Haag, Nederlands Congrescentrum, World Press Photo ’67.

1967 (g) Parijs, Unesco, Atypi-expositie.

1967 (g) Wenen, [internationale affichetentoonstelling].

1968 (g) Amsterdam, Toneelmuseum, Theater in blik.

1968 (e) Amsterdam, Toneelmuseum, Ralph Prins.

1968 (g) Novi Sad, II Triënnale Theatre dans l’Art Photographique.

1969 (g) Eindhoven, Fotomundi.

1970 (g) Den Haag, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Foto-portret.

1971 (g) Novi Sad, III Triënnale Theatre dans l’Art Photographique.

1972 (g) World Press Photo 1971-1972.

1972 (e) Amsterdam, Toneelmuseum, Theaterfoto ‘s Ralph Prins.

1972 (e) Oslo, Heny Onstadt Museum, Theaterfoto ‘s.

1973 (e) Bergen (Noorwegen), Universiteit, Theaterfoto ‘s Ralph Prins.

1974 (e) Maastricht, Galerie Dander, Ralph Prins [tekeningen en foto’s van Marcel Marceau].

1975 (e) Warschau, Galerii Fotografiki STF/ZPAF, Wystawy Fotografii Ralpha Prinsa (rondreizende tentoonstelling door Polen).

1976 (g) Den Haag, Ace-Art Gallery, Frederick Linck en Ralph Prins.

1976 (e) Den Haag, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Ralph Prins [Haags Atelier nr. 31].

1977 (g) Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, World Press Photo 1977.

1977 (g) Boekarest, 1e Tentoonstelling Vakfotografie.

1977 (g) Fribourgh, Fotokunst Triënnale.

1979 (g) Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, World Press Photo 1979.

1980 (e) Den Haag, De Kuil, Ralph Prins Foto ‘s.

1980 (e) Termunterzeil, Galerie ‘t Golden Zieltje, Oogappeltjes (kinderfoto’s).

1981 (e) Den Haag, Fotogalerie Kiek, Ralph Prins.

1982 (e) München, Akademie für das grafische Gewerbe, Fotografische Arbeiten.

1983 (e) Emmerich, Plakatmuseum, Ralph Prins.

1983 (e) Willemstad. U.N.A., Ralph Prins foto ‘s.

1983 (e) Willemstad, Synagoge, Ralph Prins foto ‘s.

1984 (e) Delft, Waagfoyer, Theaterfotografie.

1984 (e) Mainz, Gutenbergmuseum, Ralph Prins.

1984 (e) Rijswijk, Museum Rijswijk, Ralph Prins Foto ‘s.

1984 (e) Willemstad, Curacaosch Museum, Ralph Foto’s.

1986 (e) Groningen, ABK Academie Minerva, Ralph Prins.

1987 (g) World Press Photo ’87.

1987 (e) Amersfoort, Zonnehof, Ralph Prins, portret van een kunstenaar.

1989 (g) Den Haag, Galerie Nouvelles Images, Ogenblikken, 12 Haagse fotografen.

1989 (e) Hooghalen, Herinneringscentrum Kamp Westerbork, Foto-impressie Nationaal monument Westerbork. Noodzaak affiches.

1989 (e) Londen, Royal Institute of British Architects, Epic of the Americas, Photogaphs of Havanna by Ralph Prins.

1989 (e) Londen, Semana Cubana, Baseballphotos Ralph Prins.

1990 (g) Den Haag, Koninklijke Schouwburg Den Haag/Institut Francais Den Haag, Le Theatre a l’affiche. Theateraffiches uit Frankrijk en Nederland.

1990 (e) Wolvega, De Kijkzaal, Verwondering.

1991 (g) Amsterdam, Joods Historisch Museum, De Nieuwe Vrijheid. Joodse Kunstenaars in Nederland 1945-1960.

1991 (e) Den Haag, Vrije Academie, Noodzaakaffiches.

1992 (e) Den Haag, Aandachtcentrum, A rose is a rose, bloemenfoto’s.

1992 (g) Hilversum, I.F.F., Muziek verbeeld.

1992 (e) Scheveningen, De Liefde, Twee muzikanten, foto ‘s Ralph.

1992 (e) Uden, Pronkkamer, Homo Ludens, de spelende mens.

1993 (g) Oog voor elkaar, oor voor elkaar. Handicap en Samenleving (rondreizende tentoonstelling door Nederland).

1993 (e) Amsterdam, De Krakeling, Operafoto’s Ralph Prins.

1995 (g) Chaumont, Festival, Affiches.

1995 (e) Lochum, KunstGalerij, Ralph Prins, tekeningen, foto ‘s affiches.

1996 (e) Den Haag, Pulchri Studio, Theater overzichtstentoonstelling.

1996 (e) Deventer, Etty Hillesumcentrum, Ralph Prins, foto ‘s, tekeningen, affiches.

1997 (e) Utrecht, Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Maestro ‘s van de straat, foto’s.

Television programs

(jaar onbekend) Was getekend Ralph Prins (EO).

1992 (februari) De Stoel, programma van Rik Felderhof (NRCV)

1992 Homo Ludens (Brabantse regionale zender).


1989 (mei) Geboren uit nieuwsgierigheid, video door Frits van Echteren over Ralph Prins.


Den Haag, Ralph Prins, documentatie en mondeling informatie.

Leiden, Prentenkabinet, bibliotheek en documentatiebestand.


Amsterdam, Joods Historisch Museum.

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum.

Den Haag, Gemeentemuseum.

Emmerich, Plakatmuseum (affiches).

Essen, Plakatmuseum (affiches).

Leiden, Prentenkabinet van de Rijksuniversiteit Leiden.

Mainz, Gutenberg Museum.

New York, Museum of Modern Art.

Washington, Library of Congress.