PhotoLexicon, Volume 17, nr. 33 (August 2000) (en)

Boudewijn Neuteboom

Pim Milo


Boudewijn Neuteboom was a top professional photographer working in the Netherlands during the last thirty-five years of the twentieth century. In part because of his association with the trendsetting monthly Avenue and the sharp increase in demand for quality advertising photography in the 1960s, Neuteboom was able to emerge as a leading photographer doing innovative work in the areas of advertising, fashion, illustrative, and culinary photography.




Boudewijn Neuteboom is born on 18 July in Bandung, Indonesia, as the eldest son of Hendrik Willem Neuteboom and Johanna Maria Wilhelmina Hulsekamp. His father is employed as a planter on a rubber plantation.


Boudewijn’s sister, Anneliesje Nellie Neuteboom, is born on 12 October 1942 in Sukabumi, Indonesia.


Neuteboom’s father is killed during a robbery. Two days later, the family repatriates to the Netherlands and moves in with family in Oegstgeest.


Neuteboom attends the Montessori school in Oegstgeest.


Neuteboom attends school at the Rijnlands Lyceum, HBS-B (Hogere Burgerschool, ‘Higher Civic School’), first in Wassenaar, and thereafter, upon its opening, an auxiliary branch in Oegstgeest. During the building of the auxiliary school, Neuteboom and a classmate take photos of the new construction. Neuteboom later recollects that during a family holiday in Austria, he cleans his cameras and his lenses on a daily basis.


Following his third year at the HBS-B, Neuteboom is accepted to nautical school. He hopes to work in commercial shipping. While working in the tulip fields during his summer holiday, he hears stories about the sailor’s life, which ends his desire for a maritime career. He changes his mind about nautical school, and after his holiday, he again attends classes at the Rijnlands Lyceum.


Neuteboom completes his fourth academic year at the HBS-B, with satisfactory marks.


Based on the presentation of his work (the academy technically requires a diploma for a five-year HBS study), Neuteboom is accepted to the St. Joost Academy in Breda, where there is a study programme in photography and film that was started up in the previous year. Neuteboom belongs to the programme’s second batch of students. He lives in a boarding house. His teachers at the academy are Louis van Beurden, Bernhard van Gils, Cas van Os and Koen Lennaers. As part of the study, the students participate in a study week at Agfa Gevaert in Antwerp, Belgium. Marcel Gruyaert, the company’s director, later offers Neuteboom a supplementary internship position, in order to master colour enlargement.


For one-half year, Neuteboom works as an intern for the photographer Frank Filippi in Brussels. During this time, he lives with his friend Joop der Weduwen, a more senior student, in Antwerp.


Immediately after this internship period, Neuteboom graduates ‘cum laude’ (‘with honours’). He receives the ‘St. Joost Medal’ from the city of Breda.

Neuteboom travels to Spain on assignment for the city of Breda to make a reportage on Spanish dance.


Neuteboom works together with the photographer Joop der Weduwen in Antwerp.


Neuteboom travels around Europe taking photographs.


Neuteboom’s former schoolmate, the photographer Sacha, talks him into going to Paris and offers to introduce him to the monthly magazine Elle and the photographer Peter Knapp.


Neuteboom moves back in with his mother in Oegstgeest, where he begins working on a career in the Netherlands.

Neuteboom receives a commission from Paris to take photos on behalf of the De Beers diamond dealers for their advertising campaign ‘Diamonds are Forever’.


Neuteboom meets Grietje Beers, a beauty specialist and part-time model. They wed in 1968. The couple moves to Nieuwer-ter-Aa (near Maarssen), Dorpsstraat 10.


Neuteboom finds a photography studio on the fourth floor at Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 266 in Amsterdam, above the ABC Press photo agency run by Imre Rona. The studio had previously belonged to Jan Keja, who is now switching over to television directing. Before Keja, the studio had belonged to a pool of collaborating photojournalists that included Kees Scherer. The studio is approximately 12x4x4 metres. One of Neuteboom’s first clients is the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. His very first commission is for Sunkist, working on behalf of an agency in the southern part of the country.

Through the graphic designer Will van Sambeek (who works with Neuteboom for Polaroid and elsewhere), Neuteboom meets the graphic designer Henk Maas, who works for De Geïllustreerde Pers (‘The Illustrated Press’). This collaboration becomes a friendship. Maas introduces Neuteboom to Marè van der Velde-Vaikla, the beauty and fashion editor of the monthly magazine Avenue.


Neuteboom photographs fashion and beauty for Avenue.


Neuteboom is a ‘rijksgecommiteerde’ (an external examiner appointed by the state) for the photography department at the St. Joost Academy in Breda.


Neuteboom is the national commissioner at the AKI (‘Akademie voor Kunst en Industrie’, ‘Academy of Art and Design’) in Enschede.


Boudewijn en Grietje Neuteboom sell all their possessions and travel in a camper across France, Spain, and Morocco. Even though the camper is equipped with a studio, Neuteboom takes no photos. The studio on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal in Amsterdam is rented out to Wouter van Rijswijk.


Upon Neutoboom’s return to Amsterdam, Wouter van Rijswijk moves to Hans Pelgrom’s former studio of on the Rozenstraat, called ‘Pin Up Studios’. Several months later, Neuteboom takes over this studio on the Rozenstraat. He initially rents only the second floor and the attic, but in mid-1983, he purchases the entire building. The ground floor is subsequently furnished as a studio: a black studio with a white ceiling.

After first having lived in the camper at various addresses, the Neutebooms move into a house at Sloterweg 996 in Amsterdam.


Neuteboom receives the ‘Gouden Camera’ (‘Golden Camera’) of the Art Directors Club Nederland, based on his photography for an advertising campaign on behalf of ‘VAT 69’.


Neuteboom receives the Joop Alblas Prize, awarded for the first time in this year (later called the ‘Capi-Lux Alblas Prize’).


From 1 September 1983 to 1 August 1985, Neuteboom teaches photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. During his first year, he teaches alone; during the second year, together with the graphic designer Anthon Beeke. In 1985, Neuteboom begins directing commercials and stops with teaching.


Neuteboom becomes a director at Weijdom’s RTV Services. Although this leads to practical problems, he continues with his photography.


Neuteboom’s photographic work is featured in the book 50 Jahre moderne Farbfotografie 1936–1986 (’50 Years of Modern Colour Photography 1936–1986′).


Neuteboom is a jury member for the first ‘Photography Awards of the Netherlands’. This award, an initiative of the Stichting PANL (Photographers Association of the Netherlands), is meant to be an annual competition for commercial photography. The other jury members are Jurriaan Eindhoven, Brian Griffin, Brian Morris, Peter Ruting, and Will van der Vlugt, as well as a Nigel Skelsey, the photo editor of ‘7 Days’, a supplement in the Sunday Telegraph.


Neuteboom is an examiner at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.


Neuteboom ends his collaboration with Valentijn Weijdom. Together with stylists Marianne van den Berg and Let Deutekom, he starts up his own production company: Boudewijn Neuteboom Fotografie/Film bv. Van den Berg becomes the company’s producer.


Neuteboom’s oeuvre is part of the main exhibition at the St. Vitus Church (‘Grote Kerk’) as part of the Fotofestival Naarden (‘Photo Festival Naarden’).


Neuteboom finds himself in a long-term crisis. Consequently, the studio on the Rozenstraat in Amsterdam is sold to the photographer Boudewijn Smit in January 1994.


Neuteboom travels to Indonesia, together with his sister.


Neuteboom is a jury member for the eighth annual ‘Photography Awards of the Netherlands’. The other jury members are the photographers Rolph Gobits, Frans van der Heijden and Christian Moser, Charles-Henri Favrod (founder and former director of the Musée de la Photographie 1’Elysée at Lausanne, Switzerland), Sandor Lubbe (art director of the magazine Dutch) and Wim van Sinderen (curator of photography and exhibition manager of the Kunsthal in Rotterdam). Neuteboom accepts an invitation to become chairman of the PANL (Photographers Association of the Netherlands).


At the time Boudewijn Neuteboom graduated ‘cum laude’ (‘with honours’) from the St. Joost Academy in Breda in 1964, he was strangely embarrassed by the word ‘photographer’. Because photography was associated with the neighbourhood drugstore and appeared in ordinary advertising folders, he was more ashamed of the profession as opposed to seeing any glamour in it. He was irritated by the dynamic, almost exalted way in which the actor David Hemmings was portrayed as a fashion photographer in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow Up, not knowing he would some day produce fashion reportages in much the same manner himself. While he gets great satisfaction from experimentation and his photography provides ample opportunity for the unexpected, in the preparatory stage he approaches his work cautiously and attentively, leaving nothing to chance. Neuteboom is a modest, somewhat shy man. Compared with many advertising and fashion photographers, whose primary focus is the outside world, Neuteboom is noticeably introverted. When the photographer Johan Vigeveno—under whose management the PANL (Photographers Association of the Netherlands) went from being a foundation to an association—asked Neuteboom to be his successor, he only agreed after much hesitation. In the end, however, it turns out this position fits him like a glove. Neuteboom presents himself with an ease and flair one might not have expected of him. He always finds the energy to take things one step further, to get past his own insecurities, and to face the challenge.

In 1959, after four years, Neuteboom left the HBS-B (Hogere Burgerschool, ‘Higher Civic School’) auxiliary location of the Rijnlands Lyceum in Oegstgeest to enroll at the St. Joost Academy in Breda. There were approximately eight students in his class (including Charles Petit, Hein Groot, René van Haeften, Francoise Deschietere and Joris Crebolder), who all developed a strong mutual bond with one another. They also hung out with some of the more senior (e.g. Joop der Weduwen) and junior students (e.g. Sacha), as well as those studying in other disciplines, such as sculpture, graphic design, and textile design. The photography department was first located at an annex on the Catharinastraat in Breda, but was later housed in the same building as the film programme. The photography students formed their own world, and because their department had only recently been set up, there were hardly any bylaws or rules. The study requirements were substantial and the students worked hard. Neuteboom cherishes his time at the academy as one of the best periods of his life; he considered Louis van Beurden as his most important teacher. Van Beurden’s approach to teaching photography was not based on technique, but rather an outlook on life inspired by perspectives such as anthroposophy, philosophy, theosophy and Zen. He was motivated by the human senses and feelings, matters that were applied unconsciously. After graduating, Neuteboom received the St. Joost Medal from the city of Breda. This distinction was awarded to the student that had demonstrated great talent, the right mentality and exceptional devotion throughout his time studying at at the academy. In addition to the medal, there was also a commission. Because Neuteboom had photographed album covers with the theme of ‘Cool Jazz’ as part of his final examination, he was asked to take a series of photos on the topic of Spanish dances. The financial prize that came with the award was spent entirely on the purchase of an electric cable and technical accessories. Neuteboom travelled to Spain to work on his photo commission. Upon his return, he first began working together with Joop der Weduwen in Antwerp. This was then followed by a trip across Europe, taking photographs with his camera.

In 1965, a schoolmate from an earlier year, Sacha, talked Neuteboom into moving to Paris. These were the years in which David Bailey, Terence Donovan, Guy Bourdin, Barry Lategan, and David Montgomery celebrated their triumphs. Neuteboom lived in a small apartment in Montmartre. For commissions, he rented a studio when he needed it. During the weekends, he often travelled to Breda with Sacha, and after continuing on to his mother’s house in Oegstgeest. The lack of a studio of his own and the necessity of always having to rent one was not to Neuteboom’s liking. He also had difficulty with the French mentality and the culture of ‘long lunches’. The desire for a studio increased his longing for the Netherlands.

In 1967, Neuteboom moved back in with his mother in Oegstgeest and began working from her home. With him, he brought a commission from Paris to take photographs for the advertising campaign ‘Diamonds are forever’ on behalf of the De Beers diamond dealers. He took photos with the model Sonja Bakker at a restaurant, ‘De Beukenhof’, as well as other locations in and around Oegstgeest. It was Sonja who told him that Jan Keya’s photo studio would soon be available, located above the ABC Press photo agency at Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 266. Neuteboom then had his own studio, but still hardly a satisfactory working portfolio that could be shown to prospective clients: just a few photos taken during his travels, a couple of still lifes, work from his internship period, and several colour photos printed at Gevaert.

The graphic designer Will van Sambeek, with whom Neuteboom had taken photos for Polaroid and whom he knew from the St. Joost Academy, introduced the young photographer to the art director Henk Maas in 1967. Working as a freelance designer for the publishing house De Geïllustreerde Pers (‘The Illustrated Press’), Maas did the design for the monthly magazine Avenue. On Maas’ advice, Neuteboom presented his portfolio to Marè van der Velde-Vaikla, who was then the magazines’ fashion and beauty editor. Neuteboom and Van der Velde also knew each other from the St. Joost Academy, where she had studied fashion design. Like Neuteboom and Van Sambeek, she too had received the St. Joost Medal from the city of Breda. In those days, all of the fashion photos featured in Avenue were taken by Paul Huf, who had worked for the magazine since it was established in 1965 and who was even responsible for coming up with its name. Avenue, however, was alert to the changes in society taking place in the late 1960s and felt in no way bound to any one photographic style. Based on the photo of a horse taken in Greece and another of a wagon loaded with oil barrels (printed in pale blue, disconnecting the image from any realistic context) that were found in Neuteboom’s portfolio, Van der Velde decided to hire him for the magazine. As a test assignment, she gave him the task of photographing large plastic earrings designed in a style influenced by Mary Quant. Neuteboom asked his fellow photographer Sacha to assist him as a model. For his studio, Neuteboom used a space at the St. Joost Academy. His first real assignment for Avenue was a series of six pages: three photos on haircare, printed each time as a spread. Soon after, the magazine’s editorial staff decided that Huf and the younger Neuteboom should take turns doing the fashion photography. In 1965, Van der Velde had produced a fashion reportage in Moscow together with Huf that was highly successful for Avenue; in 1967, it was Neuteboom who was allowed to collaborate with her on an assignment to take fur fashion photos in Siberia. The resulting photos were clearly very different. Young Neuteboom was responsive and intuitive—not a photographer who thought in terms of guidelines only. Where Huf’s photos were characterised by their austerity and serenity, Neuteboom’s photos were impressionistic. He worked with a 35 mm camera, which allowed him to photograph quickly and alert. He gave fashion photography a lively, reportage-like character. Together with Van der Velde, two photo models, and suitcases full of furs, Neuteboom travelled across Siberia. When experiencing a delay near a railway tunnel ‘in the middle of nowhere’, Neuteboom and Van der Velde jumped out of the car and began photographing the models, with trains speeding by in the background. In another shot, an old church in the town of Irkutsk, painted in green and white, served as the backdrop for a black fur coat with white stripes, resembling a bird landing in front with its wings spread wide. The photos looked as if they had been taken while at play.

In its glory days, Avenue was the only magazine of its kind. It became a leading publication that was very successful throughout Europe. At the time, there were very few magazines to compare that, quality-wise, were of this level and prominence. In the Netherlands, the only magazine to approach it—by a substantial gap—was the monthly, Elegance. This leading position gave the editorial staff at Avenue the freedom and means to go very far. It seemed as if the sky was the limit. It was through Avenue that Boudewijn Neuteboom entered the professional world of photography. The loyalty to the magazine was substantial. Every Friday afternoon, the editorial board and the freelancers would meet each other for a drink, in order to make plans and exchange ideas. Yet outlandish propositions were never readily accepted without question—they actually had to have impact. It was precisely in this aspect that Neuteboom’s strength lay. The narrative aspect played a tremendous role in his photos. At the same time, however, he abstracted the information in order to get to its essence. What was special was that the assignments were never presented to the photographer in the form of sketches prepared in advance, but rather evolved through the inspiring dialogues that occurred. When Marè van der Velde, for instance, wished to do something with evening wear, Neuteboom was invited to meet with the editorial staff to come talk about it. Philosophising about the essence of evening fashion and about the finest moments of a night out in evening wear, they came up with the notion of that moment when you return home wearing the clothes you had on all night, still wanting to hold on to that feeling for just a bit longer. As a group, Neuteboom, the art director, Henk Maas, a visagiste, models (including Van de Velde’s husband, the photographer Peter van der Velde), all headed out to ‘De Pijp’ neighbourhood of Amsterdam and waited for the early morning light to shoot the reportage. Reportages such as this—as well as that made in Siberia—are typical of Neuteboom’s journalistic style of working. Not only in terms of content, but also the way in which he used his material—the varieties of picture grain, the way in which the image was executed, the use of the wide-angle lens, the raw framing—Neuteboom was revolutionary in his approach to fashion photography, without having a conscious strategy at its base.

Other magazine editors as well recognised Neuteboom’s qualities and made ample use of his talent. Over the years, he photographed not only for Avenue, but also for Avantgarde, Cosmopolitan, Man, Margriet, Nieuwe Revu, Nouveau, Playboy, Viva and Zero.

Following the shot, Neuteboom’s work was not yet completed. He was always looking into and trying out various solutions for his photos and the wide variety of choices that the photographic material at his disposal made possible. Neuteboom handed his developed 35 mm films over to the editorial department, with the art director making an initial selection using a light box. The photos chosen in this rough selection were then placed into slide frames and projected onto layout sheets in the dark. Art director Henk Maas devoted ample space to photography, having no problem placing the most unusual photos across two pages and taking a highly distinctive approach to devising the layout. When Maas departed, Dick de Moei took over his function. When De Moei moved to the magazine Penthouse in 1981, Hans van Blommestein became the new art director. Neuteboom had the same kind of working relationship with both De Moei and Van Blommestein, with the basic idea first formulated in a meeting with the editorial board, and during the subsequent photo session in the studio, further discussed via polaroid photos.

Avenue was the brainchild of the gifted magazine publisher and motivator, Joop Swart, who was also the magazine’s first chief editor. Marè van der Velde was the fashion and beauty editor. Swart was succeeded by Helene (Lenie) Vesters. Under Vesters, Van der Velde became the chief editor. Upon Vesters’ departure in 1981, the tasks were divided, with Van der Velde and Louki Boin sharing the responsibility of the magazine’s running. Van der Velde was in charge of Avenue Reizen (‘Travel’) and Literair (‘Literary’); Boin was in charge of Mode (‘Fashion’), Beauty, and Culinair (‘Culinary’). Louki Boin and her chief editor, Frans Ankoné, made their own mark on Avenue and sought after new styles of photography. Neuteboom was still taking photos for Avenue Culinair, but for Mode and Beauty, the magazine had begun working with other photographers. Neuteboom was greatly upset by this process of change. The management of Avenue was unclear in its policy. Some fifteen years earlier, Paul Huf is also certain to have had to swallow his pride when informed that all fashion work was to be shared with another photographer. In Neuteboom’s case, however, no one had ever made it entirely clear that his relationship with Avenue was coming to an end. From 1982 on, the number of commissions began to diminish; by 1985, it was clear that Neuteboom’s role in fashion photography was over, though he was still receiving assignments for culinary and illustrative photography right up until the end of the 1980s. The period that Neuteboom worked for Avenue, which lasted for more than two decades, had been extraordinarily important to him. The manner in which his working relationship with the magazine ended, left him with a bad feeling.

By the mid-1960s, advertising in the Netherlands was beginning to become a professional field of its own. The Anglo-Saxon countries, where advertising was more than just a bit of text and a picture, served as a model for this development. In these countries, art directors and copywriters were given respect and recognition, which their counterparts in the Netherlands were still not afforded. The arrival of television advertising in January 1967 accelerated the evolution of the advertising profession. Bob McLaren, an experienced art director from the United Kingdom, was hired by the Amsterdam advertising agency ‘Smit’s’, charged with the task of elevating the work being done to a higher level. Once determined that a photo was expected to surpass the regular level of Dutch advertising photography, the art directors would then fly to London to work with British photographers such as Brian Duffy, John Vaughn or David Montgomery. Together with graphic designer Pieter Brattinga and art director Nico Hey, Bob McLaren set up the ADCN (Art Directors Club Nederland) in June 1966. In August 1967, the ADCN hosted its first exhibition. Starting in 1968, the ADCN judged the work that had been produced in the previous year. In 1969, the magazine Avenue was awarded with prizes for the first time. It would continue to do so, with incidental breaks, well into the 1980s. For the advertising world in the Netherlands, Avenue was a paragon of visual flair. The annual ADCN juries served as the ideal moment to express an appreciation for this quality. Avenue was a pool of creative talent, where the advertising profession eagerly sought to find new people. Neuteboom’s narrative photography, with its editorial style, was perfectly aligned with the manner in which the new generation of advertising people viewed communication: no hard selling, but rather an advertising that appealed to the emotions and experiences of the consumer. For Neuteboom, there was no distinction between working in editorial and advertising photography, as long as there was an assignment and an inspiring collaboration with an art director at its base. Thanks to the international interest in Avenue, Neuteboom’s work also caught the eye of those living and working outside the Netherlands, though this did not lead to foreign assignments, with the exception of Germany. Starting in 1983, Neuteboom had his own agent in Düsseldorf, Margit Kloewing. Through her, he received photo assignments from German advertising agencies on a regular basis.

Neuteboom thought of himself as a typical ‘affiliated’ photographer, i.e. someone who needed an art director with good ideas. He wanted a basic concept, a train of thought. He would first allow himself to be inspired by the subject that had been proposed, then working the idea out further. The combination of the sketch devised by the art director and the discussion that followed always sparked his creativity: it was the latter part that was particularly defining. As Neuteboom listened and talked, the atmosphere, location, lighting, and the technique to be applied were all swirling around in his head. When he worked with an art director who was good at ‘briefing’, then half of his work was already done. He liked to have the art director in the vicinity when taking a photo, as there were so many possibilities, and accordingly, always choices that had to be made. Neuteboom wanted art directors that had a vision, but who were also open to doubt, willing to assist with seeking and weighing matters, someone who understood that the creative process was occurring right then and there.

Prior to working on an assignment, time permitting, Neuteboom tested his film out, studying how it behaved and what the grain did. When actually doing the work, he tried to maximise his freedom in a responsible way. Neuteboom avoided anything traditional and let new things happen. He achieved this through the mobility of his camera, the composition, and the choice of his lenses in combination with light. His studio on the Rozenstraat was painted black, so that he could see exactly what the light was doing.

Neuteboom worked almost exclusively in a 35 mm or 6×6 format: small cameras that permitted mobility and, as it were, which functioned as an extension of his body. He never worked from a fixed point, but was always seeking to ‘find’ his subject and developing his compositions by constantly looking into the viewfinder. It would have been impossible for him to do his work without the viewfinder, because it was via the frame that he made his choices and devised his image. By removing the camera from its tripod and having the models move with him, he was able to express his enthusiasm and participate as well, an act that served to inspire those he was portraying. Neuteboom’s impulsive style of working did not conflict with his sense of responsibility. He wanted his photos to be expressive as possible and was looking for spontaneity. In addition, he photographed people at moments when they were not paying attention, thereby taking his ‘stolen shots’.

Neuteboom preferred the 35 mm format, both for its expression and the observable grain. This sometimes led to disputes with his clients, who preferred a large format and grain-free slide film. The graphics industry had difficulty getting optimal results from 35 mm slides. Still, this working method had a positive side: more attention was given to the printing process. For lithographers and printers, reproducing a technically complicated slide with a maximum of sharpness became a matter of prestige.

At least 95% of Neuteboom’s oeuvre is photographed in colour. This is in part due to his mentality, in part due to his working method. Neuteboom maintained that black-and-white photography was easier, that one could give photos an extra dimension more readily by leaving out the colour. For him, the true challenge lay therefore in colour photography.

In addition, Neuteboom was a staging photographer. He manipulated the situation to his liking by introducing props and styling, so that the colour pallet was exactly as he desired. Such an entourage is not necessarily conducive for taking black-and-white shots. Black-and-white photography has different contrasts, different norms. Other requirements as well apply for the lighting. Contrasts highly suited for colour photography can turn out disastrous in black and white. Neuteboom consistently refused to photograph in black and white in addition to colour. Not only because of the technical impossibilities, but also because the concentration required was simply infeasible. It would only have been possible by doing the same work twice: first in colour, and then following the necessary adjustments, in black and white. The dedication on Neuteboom’s part, as well as that of the production team and the models (when present), however, was so great that it would have been unrealistic to expect the same creative explosion twice.

In 1980, Neuteboom received the Joop Alblas Prize, which was presented for the first time in this year. The members of the jury were Fred Hazelhoff, graphic designer and editor of the monthly magazine Foto, A.J. Lohr, the director of the School voor Fotografie en Fotonica (‘School of Photography and Photonics’) in The Hague, and Professor Emile Meijer, an art historian. The jury was assigned the task of awarding the prize to ‘a man or woman residing in the Netherlands, who, with a new vision, has proven in the field of photographic or magnetic image registration to draw in and interest viewers with his or her style and approach, whereby “new vision” is to be understood as such, that he or she is said to possess a new vision, when his or her name is sustainably associated with a clearly identical form of image registration or with a given methodology that is his or her own.’

Through the nature of his work, Neuteboom’s photographic practice allowed no opportunities for internship. On one hand, he travelled frequently: work in the studio subsequently came to a sudden halt, with nothing for an intern to do. On the other hand, Neuteboom worked with an efficient, close-knit team in which everyone had a clear, personally assigned task. The concentration was substantial, and as a result, little attention was devoted to outsiders. Nevertheless, there were occasional days when Neuteboom received photography students in his studio, when he would take the time to examine their portfolios. As he viewed the transmission of knowledge as a moral obligation, he did occasionally experience guilt feelings for not taking on interns. For two years, Neuteboom taught photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. In the second year, he gave lessons together with Anthon Beeke, who placed the accent on conceptual matters, while Neuteboom devoted most of his attention photographic execution. Among their students were Rineke Dijkstra, Barend van Herpe, Frans Jansen and Ton Werkhoven. It was difficult combining teaching with the daily requirements of being a photographer. When in 1985 Neuteboom’s work also began to entail directing commercials, he ended all of his teaching activities.

In the late 1960s, the ten freelancers working for Avenue collectively set up a business partnership, called ‘AvTen’. During the weekly Friday afternoon cocktail hour at the Avenue editorial department, they made wild plans, with film being part of the conversation. Chief editor Joop Swart encouraged them. He suggested that Neuteboom, together with photographer Bart Nieuwenhuijs, put the winning photos of the World Press Photo Contest on film. Nothing ever came of this, but the idea of making films never completely slipped from Neuteboom’s mind. In 1985, he collaborated with art director Pim van der Meer on advertising campaigns for Heineken and Amstel beers: Neuteboom photographed large groups of people in cafés and other public spaces. Van der Meer felt that there was something film-like in Neuteboom’s approach: the manner in which he went to work, his interactions with others and his interest in people. As a result, he advised Neuteboom to go into film. Shortly thereafter, the art director Bert Rorije tipped him off that the advertising commercial producer Valentijn Weijdom was looking for a new director. Neuteboom met Weijdom during the ADCN prize ceremony in Berlage’s Stock Exchange in Amsterdam. Neuteboom observed parallels in directing, lighting, organisation, and the way in which the film image was photographed. Despite having little more than a fairly romanticised view of film direction, he decided to team up with Weijdom’s RTV Services. Neuteboom got along well with the camera people and possessed a thorough knowledge of camera movement, filters and lighting. He also had no problems with making a film synopsis, otherwise known as a ‘shooting script’. For the rest, however, the undertaking turned out to be a great disappointment. The world of television commercials turned out to be even more rushed, more aloof than the field of advertising, with entirely different kinds of people. The costs were higher, typically requiring that advertising firms request estimates from three different production companies. This took time and led to delays in the decision-making process. Neuteboom had great difficulty with this, because when enthused by a productive briefing, he liked to jump right in and get to the task at hand. At every stage of the unavoidable negotiations, the film would pass before his creative eye once again. By the time he actually began to shoot, he effectively had the feeling he was making the film ninth or tenth time. It irritated Neuteboom that projects failed to go through without any clear explanation, or that they were given to another director, regardless of the time and energy invested in the concept during the bidding stage. Due to the large scale of film and working with a big production team, Neuteboom found himself working under pressure. Making films was a dream, but the feeling of not having everything under control was wiping him out. As a photographer, his work also suffered in this period: in organisational terms, it was virtually impossible to combine film and photography. At the start of his directing career, advertising firms were approaching him with work that had to be usable for both television commercials and printed media. From the viewpoint of these agencies, it seemed practical to hire a photographer who was also able to direct film—someone who could devise a campaign in both directions. The two different forms of expression would therefore have a unified signature, with efficient use being made of models, set decors, styling, and props. In this vein, Neuteboom was asked to make an extended series of commercials for a fashion brand, each time requiring a photo of the final frame to be used in advertisement. Because the making of a film requires so much time and energy, by the end of the day, very little time remains to take photos. At the end of an intensive workday—with everyone having given it their all—and the film shots are done, one gets a liberating feeling. But the same energy then has to go into taking the photo. Neuteboom immediately sensed that photographing on the filmset was by no means just a matter of ‘As long as you’re busy, why not just take a photo while you’re at it’. The lighting had to be adjusted, the framing had to be different, and it involved setting up another camera angle. Neuteboom directed, while consciously aware of the fact that the photos still had to be taken: his concentrated effort was therefore now under pressure. Having grown wiser through experience, he decided to accept only those assignments that allowed him to approach this work as two separate matters: one or more days for film direction, and after that, an additional day for taking the photo.

In 1991, Neuteboom’s collaboration with Weijdom was ended. The prizes the Art Directors Club Netherlands awarded him each year confirm his film directing had nevertheless been a success. Although approached by several other film production companies, Neuteboom wished only to work on a smaller scale, to keep everything under his own control, as he was accustomed with photography. Together with Marianne van den Berg and Let Deutekom, whom he knew from the photo world as stylist and producer respectively, Neuteboom set up his own production company. The collaboration went well, but film and photography still proved to be a difficult combination.

In 1993, Neuteboom was preparing to exhibit fifty of his photos in the St. Vitus church (the ‘Grote Kerk’) of Naarden at the request of the managing board of Fotofestival Naarden (‘Photo Festival Naarden’). In his then current frame of mind, he decided to let this exhibition be his final farewell to the profession. He constructed a scale model of the side aisle in the church, where his photos were to be put on display in an attempt to convince the festival committee that there was sufficient space to show, not just fifty, but rather a total of 180 photos. As a condition, Neuteboom requested that art director Hans van Blommestein be there to assist with the selection of the photos, with the photographer Ans Otsen assigned the task of looking up slides and negatives. The exhibition gave an impressive idea of the magnitude and depth of Neuteboom’s oeuvre. His work turned out to be completely distinctive, free of outside influence and possessing a timeless beauty. In an interview with Leonoor Wagenaar appearing in the newspaper Het Parool, Neuteboom talked about the pressure of having to produce a top showpiece each and every day. After the photo festival, he decided, at least for the time being, to stop with photography and devote more attention to his own welfare. This was a difficult time for Neuteboom. Besides his disillusion with working as a television commercial director, he was confronted—in part with the subsidence of his hectic working schedule—by events from his childhood in Indonesia, where sub-conscious elements related to his experiences in a Japanese concentration camp and the violent death of his father in 1953 might possibly have played a role. Neuteboom sought help and went into therapy. In a letter to his business relations in the advertising field, he wrote that he was taking a one-year sabbatical. He sold his studio on the Rozenstraat—his ‘island in the Jordaan’ neighbourhood of Amsterdam—to the photographer Boudewijn Smit. To complete this process of recovery, Neuteboom travelled to Indonesia with his sister and brother-in-law, a journey that would prove to be an extremely positive experience. It was here that he found his true self in a reoriented approach to life; in painting and other activities, he discovered new ways to express his own creativity. Neuteboom decided he would eventually donate his negatives and slide archives to the Maria Austria Institute. In 1998, he became chairman of the photographer’s association PANL, which he saw as a good opportunity to pass his photographic insight and experience on to others. In Neuteboom’s archive there are subjects and themes to be found in the areas of advertising, fashion, cosmetics, culinary and illustrative photography. His work varies from small to large still lifes, from studio to location work, from simple ‘pack shots’ to large sets, from an individual portrait to large groups: at all times preferably with people. Well into the 1980s, Neuteboom submitted his photos to the advertising agencies that had commissioned him, and which also claimed to own all rights to his photographic material. Rarely did he receive material back once it had been used. His archive therefore displays large lacunas, as is the case with many photographers of his generation.

Boudewijn Neuteboom is one of the few commercial photographs who never chose to limit himself to or specialise in any one topic. He practiced the entire genre of commercial photography at a high level. His work reveals no clearly distinctive trends, though he always kept abreast of the times. He drew his inspiration, not from the photographs of others, but from the ideas of the art directors with whom he worked. As opposed to being influenced by other people’s work, for Neuteboom it was much more important to always examine the world around him and to see through his own eyes. It is for this reason that his oeuvre has a character all its own.


Primary bibliography

Henk Gerritsen, 32 Fotografen die hun persoonlijke voorkeur in beeld brengen oog in oog met fotograaf Henk Gerritsen, Zoetermeer (P/F Publishing) 1991, p. 10.


images in:

Avenue 1967-1992.

Margriet 1972-1982.

Catalogus Overzichtstentoonstelling Gijs Bakker meubelontwerpen en verlichting. Shapes Bob Bob Bonies schilderijen 1966-1977. Vormgevingsbeleid Storck van Besouw Benno Premsela, Apeldoorn (Gemeentelijke Van Reekumgalerij) 1977, p. 6.

Hubrecht Duijker, De goede wijnen van Loire, Elzas, Champagne, Utrecht (Het Spectrum) 1977, omslag.

Caterine Milinaire en Carol Troy, Ik heb niks om aan te trekken, Bentveld-Aerdenhout (Landshoff) 1977, p. 149.

Photographis 78, 1978, afb. 516.

Zero 1 (december 1979) 1,p. 122-123.

Photographis 80, 1980, afb. 499.

Zero 2 (april 1980) 2, p. 56.

European Photography 81, 1981, p. 98.

Photographis 82, 1982, afb. 74-75.

Zero 4 (september 1982) 5, p. 109.

Cosmopolitan november 1982, omslag.

Zero 4 (november 1982) 7, p. 48.

Cosmopolitan februari 1983, p. 15.

Photographis 84, 1984, afb. 272-274.

Brochure Globe speelt Globe’s Carambole, Eindhoven (Zuidelijk Toneel Globe) 1985.

Photographis 85, 1985, afb. 328.

de Volkskrant 9 mei 1987.

Holland Herald 26 (11 november 1991), p. 18.

Secondary bibliography

Mieke de Haas, Fotografe tegen fotografen, in De Tijd 18 maart 1968.

Hazelhoff, Boudewijn Neuteboom over zijn werk, in Foto 23 (september 1968) 9, omslag, p. 436-446 (met foto’s).

Art Directors Annual ’69, p. 2, 84.

Auteur onbekend, Signaal 70, in de Volkskrant 2 juli 1970.

M.v.R., Meer Vogue dan Libelle, in Algemeen Handelsblad 3 juli 1970, p. 7.

Art Directors Annual ’70, p. 54.

Cees Overgaauw, Boudewijn Neuteboom: organisatie en improvisatie, in NRC Handelsblad 19 juni 1971.

Art Directors Annual 1971, p. 23, 80-81.

Art Directors Annual 1973, p. 110-111.

Fred F. Hazelhoff, Fotografen en hun werk. Boudewijn Neuteboom, in Foto 31 (november 1976) 11, omslag, p. 52-60 (met foto’s).

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

Mare van der Velde, Boudewijn Neuteboom kan alles [interview i.s.m Anthon Beeke], in Credits (1995) 2, p. 14-28 (met foto’s).

Ernst Gottlieb, Modellen over fotografen, in Professionele Fotografie (augustus/september 1983) 1, omslag, p. 33-35.

Auteur onbekend, Reclamefotografie. De Citroen CX campagne, in Professionele Fotografie (augustus/september 1983) 1, p. 40-45.

Auteur onbekend, ‘Happening’ van vijftien fotografen, in Het Vrije Volk 18 juli 1980.

Pauline Terreehorst, Porno voor zuinige calvinisten, in de Volkskrant 30 november 1985, Vervolgens, p. 3.

Eric van ‘t Groenewut, Fotografie, in de Volkskrant 7 december 1985.

Reinier Bresser, Fotografie 2, in de Volkskrant 14 december 1985.

JT/MT (=Johannes Teutenberg en Mirelle Thijsen), Nederlandse kleurenfotografie, in Catalogus tent. Foto ’86, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1986, p. 95-105.

Catalogus tent. 50 Jahre moderne Farbfotografie/50 Years Modern Color Photography 1936-1986, Keulen (Photokina) 1986, p. 263, 338.

Jan Kuitenbrouwer, Wat Paul Huf goed deed, doen wij fout, in de Volkskrant 21 juni 1986.

Catalogus tent. 16 Reklamefotografen in Nederland 1987, Amsterdam (Canon Photo Gallery) 1987, p. 37-40, 75, 79 (met foto’s).

Adriaan Monshouwer en Joop Swart (hoofdred.), De wereld van de KLM in 24 uur, Amstelveen (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij) 1989, p. 85, 140-141, 196-197, 218-219, 258 (met foto’s).

Catalogus tent. Op reportage. 25 jaar Avenue-reisfotografie, Amsterdam/Den Haag (Focus/SDU) 1990, p. 33, 95.

Hein Janssen, Boudewijn Neuteboom, in Catalogus tent. Capi-Lux Alblas Prijs 10 jaar, Amsterdam (Capi-Lux Alblas Stichting) 1990, p. 150-163 (met foto’s).

Ingeborg Leijerzapf e.a. (tekst), Het beslissende beeld. Hoogtepunten uit de Nederlandse fotografie van de 20 e eeuw/The Decisive image. Dutch Photography from the 20th Century, Amsterdam (BIS) 1991, p. 129, 204.

Christian Oerlemans (tekst), En toen ging er een lampje branden…. Het beste uit 25 jaar Nederlandse reclame en grafische vormgeving, Amsterdam (Stichting Art Directors Club Nederland 25jaar) 1991, ongepag.

Jan Coppens (samenst), Een toekomst in de fotografie. Oud-studenten van de Academie Sint Joost te Breda, Eindhoven (Stichting Brabants Fotoarchief) 1993, p. 92-97 (met foto’s).

Annick Visser, Retrospectief Boudewijn Neuteboom, in Focus 80 (maart 1993) 3, p. 27-34 (met foto’s) (idem in Catalogus Fotofestival Naarden, Naarden (Uitgeverij Focus) mei 1993).

Leonoor Wagenaar, Van een drol een taart maken, in Het Parool 13 mei 1993, p. 23.

Reclame Jaarboek [uitgave van Art Directors Club Nederland]:

1976, p. 104-105.

1979, ongepag.

1980, p. 123.

1981, p. 44-45, 108, 131, 134-135.

1982, p. 2, 45, 67-68.

1983, p. 116, 134.

1984, p. 12, 81, 85.

1985/’86, p. 56, 105.

1986/’87, p. 18.

1987/’88, p. 69, 102.

1989, p. 100, 364.

1990, p. 74, 175, 134, 226.


ADCN, 1976-heden.

Jury eerste Photography Awards of the Netherlands 1989.

Selectie comité Photography Annual of the Netherlands 1990.

Bestuur PANL [Photographers Association of the Netherlands], 1996-heden (voorzitter van 1998-heden).

Jury achtste Photography Awards of the Netherlands 1998.


1964 St. Joost Penning.

1969 1ste prijs categorie B (kleurenfoto’s) en 2de prijs categorie C (inzendingen van 6 tot 10 foto’s die in totaliteit werden beoordeeld), wedstrijd Textilia-Texpress’ Modefoto ’67.

1969 bekroning ADCN, categorie advertenties: NV Magazijn de Bijenkorf.

1969 bekroning ADCN, categorie redactionele opmaak: Avenue.

1970 bekroning ADCN, categorie redactionele opmaak: Avenue.

1971 bekroning ADCN, categorie advertenties: Philips.

1971 bekroning ADCN, categorie redactionele opmaak: Avenue (Zonaffiche en Betekenis van een lijn).

1973 vermelding vakjury ADCN, categorie tv-, bioskoop- en radioreklame: J.C. Boldoot n.v. Kon. Eau de Cologne fabr.

1976 bekroning vakjury ADCN, categorie diversen: Avenue.

1979 deelbekroning fotografie (Gouden Camera) ADCN, categorie advertentiecampagnes tijdschriften: VAT 69.

1979 vermelding Jury van Tien ADCN, categorie advertenties tijdschriften: Peugeot.

1979 vermelding ledenjury ADCN, categorie advertentiecompagnes tijdschriften: VAT 69.

1979 vermelding ledenjury ADCN, categorie advertentiecompagnes tijdschriften: Giroblauw.

1980 vermelding ledenjury ADCN, categorie advertentiecompagnes tijdschriften: Ernte 23.

1980 Joop Alblas-Prijs [later Capi-Lux Alblas Prijs genoemd].

1981 vermelding ledenjury ADCN, categorie advertentiecompagnes tijdschriften: Heineken.

1981 vermelding ledenjury ADCN, categorie advertenties vakbladen: KVH/GGK International.

1981 vermelding ledenjury ADCN, categorie advertentiecompagnes tijdschriften: Olympus camera’s.

1981 vermelding ledenjury ADCN, categorie advertentiecampagnes tijdschriften: Lux afwasmiddel.

1981 bekroning ledenjury ADCN, categorie advertentiecampagnes tijdschriften: Citroen.

1982 vermelding Jury van Tien ADCN, en 2 vermeldingen ledenjury, categorie advertenties tijdschriften: Citroen.

1983 vermelding Jury van Zes ADCN, categorie redactionele vormgeving: Avenue.

1983 vermelding Jury van Zes ADCN, categorie boekomslagen: De goede wijnen van de Loire, Elzas, Champagne.

1984 bekroning Jury van Tien en vermelding ledenjury ADCN, categorie postercampagnes: Delial.

1984 vermelding ledenjury ADCN, categorie advertentiecampagnes tijdschriften: Amro Bank.

1984 vermelding Jury van Tien ADCN, categorie advertentiecampagnes tijdschriften: Westland/Utrecht Hypotheekbank.

1985 vermelding ledenjury ADCN, categorie advertentiecampagnes tijdschriften: Heineken.

1985 vermelding Jury van Zes ADCN, categorie grafische & redactionele vormgeving: Avenue.

1986 bekroning ledenjury en bekroning Jury van Tien ADCN, categorie tvcommercials: Redband (regie: Boudewijn Neuteboom).

1987 vermelding Jury van Tien ADCN, categorie campagnes tijdschriften: Van Haren schoenen.

1987 vermelding Jury van Tien ADCN, categorie tv-commercialcampagnes, Conimex (regie: Boudewijn Neuteboom).

1988 vermelding jury grafische & redactionele vormgeving ADCN, categorie folders & brochures: Gispen+Staalmeubel.

1988 vermelding Jury van Tien en vermelding ledenjury ADCN, categorie tv-commercials: Dommelsch (regie: Boudewijn Neuteboom)

1989 vermelding Jury van Tien ADCN, categorie advertenties dagbladen: BMW.

1989 bekroning Jury van Tien en bekroning ledenjury ADCN, categorie tv-commercials: Volkswagen (regie: Boudewijn Neuteboom samen met special effects-regisseur Robert Seaton).

1989 deelbekroning filmproduktie ADCN, categorie tv-commercials: Volkswagen (regie: Boudewijn Neuteboom).

1989 vermelding Jury van Tien ADCN, categorie tv-commercials: Hoogovens (regie: Boudewijn Neuteboom).


1968 (g) Amsterdam, Expositiezaal van N.V. Drukkerij Sigfried, Textilia-Texpress’ Modefoto ’67.

1970 (g) Amsterdam, Galerie Sigfried, Signaal 70.

1978/1979 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Fotografie in Nederland 1940-1975.

1985 (g) Amsterdam, Canon Image Centre, 20 Jaar Avenue.

1986 (g) Keulen, 50 Jahre moderne Farbfotografie 1936-1986 (Photokina).

1986 (g) Amsterdam, Koopmansbeurs, Nederlandse kleurenfotografie (Foto ’86).

1986 (g) Amstelveen, Het Cultureel Centrum, Dutch Photography (rondreizende tentoonstelling).

1987 (g) Amsterdam, Canon Photo Gallery, 16 Reklamefotografen in Nederland 1987.

1990 (g) Amsterdam, Posthoornkerk, 10 jaar Capi-Lux Alblas Prijs.

1990-1991 (g) Amsterdam, Canon Image Centre, Op reportage. 25 jaar Avenue-reisfotografie.

1991 (g) Amsterdam, Beurs van Berlage, En toen ging er een lampje branden… Het beste uit 25 jaar Nederlandse reclame en grafische vormgeving.

1991 (g) Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk, Hel beslissende beeld. Hoogtepunten uit de Nederlandse fotografie van de 20 e eeuw.

1993 (g) Naarden, Grote Kerk, Fotofestival Naarden.

1994 (g) Breda, De Beyerd, Een toekomst in de fotografie, oud-studenten van de Academie Sint Joost te Breda.


Amsterdam, Boudewijn Neuteboom, documentatie en mondelinge informatie.

Amsterdam, Hans van Blommestein, Pim van der Meer en Mare van der Velde, mondelinge informatie.

Leusden, Jan Wingender (collectie nederlands fotoboek).


Amsterdam, Capi-Lux Alblas Stichting.