PhotoLexicon, Volume 27, nr. 42 (July 2010) (en)

Koen Wessing

Tineke de Ruiter


Koen Wessing is generally considered one of the Netherlands’ best documentary photographers. His fame was initially derived from the shots he started taking in Middle and South America in 1973. With his penetrating photos, Wessing takes a stand on behalf of victims of power and oppression. The same kind of commitment is encountered in his photos from the 1990s, which depict people in various parts of the world fleeing from the violence of war and poverty. Wessing’s black-and-white photos are characterised by a clear visual idiom, in which contrast is used as a rhetorical stylistic device.



On 26 January, Koen Wessing is born as the son of the interior architect Han Wessing and Eva Eisenloeffel, a fashion illustrator and sculptress.


Henriëtte Wessing, Koen’s sister, is born.

Ca. 1957

Koen Wessing meets the photography man-and-wife duo Ed van der Elsken and Ata Kandó. The bohemian environment in which they live with their children appeals to Wessing. Ata Kandó teaches him the tricks of the trade.


Wessing attends a three-year ULO (Uitgebreid Lager Onderwijs, A lower-level secondary school), which he does not complete.


Koen Wessing attends the general preliminary year at the IKN (Instituut voor Kunstnijverheidsonderwijs, ‘Institute of Applied Art Education’) in Amsterdam (the present-day Gerrit Rietveld Academy). He associates with Hans Pelgrom, Wim van der Linden and Paul van den Bos, who started their study at an earlier point. Wessing is expelled from the school following a conflict with an instructor.


Wessing works for several months at the press photo agency of Ben van Meerendonk in Amsterdam.

Wessing hitchhikes to the south of Europe and photographs in Greece and Yugoslavia. Wessing works as an assistant to Ed van der Elsken, who wishes to publish a book following his round-the-world trip with Gerda van der Veen: he makes prints for a dummy of the book, which is published only in 1966 under the title Sweet Life. Wessing also assists Van der Elsken while working on a number of a television films, including Welkom in het leven, lieve kleine, which appears on television on 15 January 1964 via the VPRO broadcasting company.

From 1963

Koen Wessing works as a freelance photographer.


In Augustus, Mara Zoest and Wessing’s son, Tjarko Karijn, is born.


Wessing travels to Cuba (via Prague) after reading an advertisement in Propria Cures, announcing a study trip to this country. He shoots photographs and makes a film together with Meint van Albada. In Belgium, Wessing shoots photos of the mining strikes in Zwartberg. Wessing and Van Albada, who is also in Belgium at this time, are arrested. Because of the Cuban visa in their passports, they are seen as agitators and are held for nine days in a Belgian prison.


In 1966, the GKf (Gebonden Kunsten Federatie, vakgroep fotografie, ‘United Arts Federation, Department of Photography’) modifies its acceptance policy: a number of photographers are asked to be members based on their merit, with no more need of a balloting round. In October 1966, Wessing is invited, along with photographers such as Wim van der Linden and Paul van den Bos. As of 1 July 1967, Wessing is officially listed as a member.

In August 1967, Zoest and Wessing’s second son is born, Kasper Jochum.


Wessing departs for Paris together with several journalists and photographers (including Oscar van Alphen) in order to photograph the ‘May Days of ’68’ in the city. The exhibition Koen Wessing foto’s opens at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.


Wessing shoots photographs of the student occupation of the Maagdenhuis in Amsterdam.

The ‘Dienst voor ‘s Rijks Verspreide Kunstvoorwerpen’ (‘Department of Our Nation’s Distributed Art Objects’) commissions Wessing to photograph the construction of the Volkerak Dam, a project that is part of the Delta Works.


Wessing travels to Singapore, Saigon, Poland, and Iceland for the Dutch monthly magazine Avenue.


Wessing receives a documentary photo assignment from the AFK (Stichting Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, ‘Amsterdam Fund for the Arts’) on the theme ‘Straatbeeld’ (‘Street Image’).

In April, the farm in Oudendijk that Wessing was renovating into a living and work space burns to the ground.


Wessing receives a documentary photo assignment from the AFK, entitled ‘Amsterdam voor het voorbij is’ (‘Amsterdam Before It’s Over’). In this framework, Wessing photographs the topics: Pension ‘De Tijdgeest’ (a boarding house), the Staatslieden neighbourhood of Amsterdam, and ‘Wonen op het water’ (‘Living on the Water’).

Wessing travels to Chile following the fall of Allende on 11 September. He photographs events such as the funeral of Pablo Neruda on 25 September.

ca. 1973-‘79

Wessing works for the French agency Viva.


Chile september 1973 is published by the Bezige Bij in Amsterdam.

Wessing departs for Guinea-Bissau on assignment for the Angola Comité. His photos of this trip are published in Djarama PAIGC. Bedankt PAIGC. Beelden uit Guinee-Bissau. Een fotoreportage van Koen Wessing (‘Thanks PAIGC. Images from Guinea-Bissau. A Photo Reportage by Koen Wessing’).


In March, Wessing registers the ‘Nieuwmarktopstand’ (‘Nieuwmarkt Riots’) in Amsterdam, including the riots on the Kromboomsloot and the Lastageweg.

Wessing travels to the independent nation of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde.


The Rijksmuseum’s Department of Dutch History chooses Wessing and Hans van den Boogaard for its assignment, this year on the theme of ‘Andere culturen in onze cultuur’ (‘Other Cultures in Our Culture’).

Wessing departs for Upper Volta, together with Dolf Toussaint, on assignment for the Ministry of Development Cooperation.

Wessing works on a project Herkomst gastarbeiders uit Marokko, Kaap-Verden en Turkije (‘Origin Guest Workers from Morocco, Cape Verde and Turkey’) on assignment for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For the Ministry of CRM (Cultuur, Recreatie en Maatschappelijk Werk, ‘Culture, Recreation, and Social Work’), Wessing works on the series In Gods Naam (‘In God’s Name’), concerning religious groups in the Netherlands.


In August 1978, Somoza’s regime in Nicaragua falters. On 8 September, Wessing arrives in the country. He stays there for approximately ten days to photograph the struggle against the Somoza family. It is at this time that he takes his now famous shots from Esteli. These and other photos appear in the book Nicaragua ’78, published by Van Gennep in Amsterdam.


Through the agency Viva, Wessing’s shots are featured in an article in the March issue of the magazine Photo under the title ‘Une revolution à bout portant. Koen Wessing au Nicaragua: des photos arrivées trop tard’ (‘A Revolution at Close Range. Koen Wessing in Nicaragua: Arrival Photos Too Late’).

The AFK chooses Wessing for a documentary photo assignment on the theme ‘Rafelrand van de stad’ (‘Fraying Edge of the City’).

Wessing departs for Nicaragua in July 1979 and photographs the liberated areas in the south of the country. The photos from Wessing and Van den Boogaard’s assignment in 1976 are shown at the Rijksmuseum during the exhibition Andere culturen in Nederland (‘Other Cultures in the Netherlands’).

In Roland Bartes’ influential book La chambre claire. Note sur la photographie (English Title: ‘Camera Lucida. On Photography’), published in 1980, two of Wessing’s photos shot in 1978 in Esteli, Nicaragua, are featured and discussed as a basis for the concept ‘punctum’. Barthes is very likely to have seen these photos in the magazine Photo.

Wessing is in Latin America from March until the end of November 1980 through the financial support of the NCO (Nederlandse Commissie voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking, ‘Netherlands Committee for Development Cooperation’).

Wessing photographs the funeral of Archbishop Romero in El Salvador on 30 March and the bloodbath that follows.

For three months, Wessing does work for the INRA (‘Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Reform’) related to forming a ‘photo archive of the revolution’. He also makes an attempt train Nicaraguan photographers. In addition, he photographs complications with irrigation.

Wessing subsequently travels to the following countries, where he also shoots photos: Chile (elections in September and the mining village Lota), Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, and Uruguay.

The book Uitzichtloze situaties (‘Hopeless Situations’) is published by Bert Bakker in Amsterdam, with a text by H.J.A. Hofland accompanying photos by Wessing.


In January, Wessing’s Latin American photos from 1980 are exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam under the title Koen Wessing, foto’s uit Latijns-Amerika 1980 (‘Koen Wessing, Photos from Latin America 1980’). The exhibition later travels around the country. On 8 March, Ton Regtien opens the exhibition in Groningen. As there is no exhibition catalogue, the GKf decides to devote the entire issue of GKF Fotografen (March 1981) to the photos shot by Wessing in Latin America.

In the summer, Wessing travels to Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras.

On 23 April,

Anton Constandse opens the exhibition Nicaragua en El Salvador at the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam (Koen Wessing and Susan Meiselas).


Wessing travels with Bram Vermeulen to Managua (Nicaragua) for the magazine Avenue, where he photographs events such as the ‘Concierto por la Paz’ (‘Concert for Peace’).

The publishing company Hammer in Wuppertal, Germany, publishes Von Chile bis Guatemala, Zehn Jahre Lateinamerika (‘From Chile to Guatemala, Ten Years Latin America’), featuring text by Eduardo Galeano and photos by Koen Wessing. Later in this same year, Bert Bakker publishes the Dutch-language edition, Van Chile tot Guatemala. Tien jaar Latijns-Amerika.

From 5 September to 22 October, the exhibition Van Chile tot Guatemala is held at the Fiolet Gallery in Amsterdam. Johan van der Keuken gives the opening speech, which is later published in the GKf Bulletin of September 1983, but also in 2001 in Van der Keuken’s book Bewogen beelden. Films Foto’s Teksten uit de wereld van een kleine zelfstandige (‘Moving Images. Films Photos Teksts from the World of a Small Independent’), as well as O Mundo de Koen Wessing (‘The World of Koen Wessing’).


Wessing photographs in Nicaragua.

Wessing photographs in Cuba together with Agnès Leunen.

From 13 March to 1 April, Wessing has an exhibition at De Beyerd in Breda.


In April, Leunen and Wessing’s daughter, Marie, is born.

Wessing files a lawsuit against the newspaper De Telegraaf and its associated publication De Courant Nieuws van de Dag. In the 30 November and 2 December editions respectively, Wessing’s 1978 photo of two mourning women (Esteli, Nicaragua) shot during the Somoza dictatorship is featured in an article expressing a contrasting view, i.e. accusing the Sandinista’s of mass executions. He wins the lawsuit on 19 December and receives damage compensation for the amount of Dfl. 5,000.

In November, Wessing travels to Peking and Shanghai, China, to orient himself in anticipation of a trip planned for 1986.


Wessing travels across China for a period of six months, together with Agnès Leunen and their daughter Marie.

Starting in this year, Wessing is affiliated with the Amsterdam photo agency Hollandse Hoogte.


The exhibition Koen Wessing in China en Tibet, 1986 (‘Koen Wessing in China and Tibet’) is held from 19 September to 1 November 1987 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Accompanying the exhibition is a catalogue entitled Koen Wessing in China en Tibet, with an introductory text by Els Barents.

Frank Vellinga makes a fifteen-minute documentary on Wessing for Kwartslag: Een manier van kijken (‘Quarter Turn: A Way of Seeing’, for the Humanistisch Verbond = Dutch Humanist Association).


In the first week of October, Wessing shoots photos in Santiago, Chile, where the city’s residents take part in a referendum on 5 October to decide whether Pinochet should remain as the country’s president.


In January, Leunen and Wessing’s second daughter, Merel, is born in Antwerp, Belgium.

At the end of February, Wessing travels to New York for one month, where he photographs the living conditions of Puerto Ricans in the city. This reportage is published in the 30 September 1989 issue of the weekly magazine Vrij Nederland.

On 13 April, Wessing is awarded the Capi-Lux Alblas Prize 1988 for his entire oeuvre. The award includes both a cash prize of Dfl. 7500 as well as an exhibition.

In July, Wessing shoots photos in Nicaragua during the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Nicaraguan Revolution.

The exhibition Koen Wessing & Agnes Leunen “Cuba” is held at the Dokacentrum (‘Darkroom Centre’) in Amsterdam.


After the fall of Ceausescu (22 December 1989), Wessing photographs in Bucharest, Romania.

In February and March, Wessing travels to Managua, Nicaragua, where elections are being held. He photographs events such as the election campaign of the political party FSLN.

In July, Wessing also travels to Esteli, where he visits the two sisters he photographed back in 1978.

In August, Wessing photographs in El Salvador, in places such as the city Meanguera in the province of Morazan, where refugees are returning from Honduras in order to rebuild the city.

In November, Wessing photographs the living conditions of Turkish and Vietnamese people in Berlin.


In June, Wessing shoots photos in Belgrade.


Wessing is commissioned by the Stichting de Nieuwe Kerk (‘New Church Foundation’) in Amsterdam to make a photo documentary on the topic: the quality of being older. The results of this photo assignment are shown during the ‘Information Market’, held at the Nieuwe Kerk on 6 and 7 October 1992.

From November 1992 to January 1993, Wessing works in Johannesburg, South Africa, through a subsidy from the ‘Stichting Fonds Anna Cornelis’ (‘Anna Cornelis Foundation’). From there he makes trips to Cape Town, Durban, and the townships in the Transvaal. In June and July, he is again working in and around Johannesburg.

The book Koen Wessing, the second volume in the series Monografieën van Nederlandse fotografen (‘Monographs of Dutch Photographers’), with texts by Pauline Terreehorst and Tineke de Ruiter, is published by Uitgeverij Fragment. Johan van der Keuken introduces the book at the presentation.

From 24 September to 31 October 1993, the exhibition Koen Wessing. Foto’s uit Zuid-Afrika is held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Uitgeverij Fragment publishes the book Momentopname Suid-Afrika (‘Snapshot South Africa’), featuring an introduction by Janny Groen.


Wessing photographs the Inuit people in Siberia.


Wessing works on a project about asylum seekers in the Netherlands on assignment for the Rijksmuseum’s Department of Dutch History.


In March, Wessing photographs in Bosnia-Herzegovina.


Starting in March and running until 31 August, the exhibition Een selectief welkom. Vreemdelingen in Nederland (‘A Selective Welcome. Foreigners in the Netherlands’) is held at the Rijksmuseum, with photos by Wessing addressing the subject of asylum seekers in the Netherlands.

In October, at the close of the rainy season, Wessing photographs (in colour) the Gerewol festival of the Fula people, a nomadic tribe originating from West Africa, at Tchintabarden, Niger.

In December, Wessing photographs the relocation of asylum seekers to the island of Vlieland.


An exhibition of Wessing’s photos of the Fula people is held at the World Cultural Centre in Antwerp, Belgium.


Humanist Media Support, in Naarden, acts as a producer for Wessing’s plan to photograph ‘Mensen op Drift’ (‘People Adrift’). Subsidies from the Stichting Fonds Anna Cornelis and Amnesty International contribute to making parts of this ambitious plan financially feasible.


In July, Wessing travels across Macedonia in the aftermath of the fall of Kosovo, as well as across Kosovo with Pax Christi children’s aid.

During a fourteen-day trip to Turkey in December, Wessing photographs the excesses of clandestine human trafficking in refugee boarding houses in Istanbul. Wessing gains access to this circuit through the intermediation of the journalist Ayfer Ergun.


Wessing photographs in Zanzibar on assignment for the World Cultural Centre in Antwerp, Belgium.

As a guest curator/designer, Jeroen de Vries makes an installation of Wessing’s work. On 4 July, Henk Hofland opens this exhibition, entitled De wereld van Koen Wessing. Fotografie 1963-2000 (‘The World of Koen Wessing’) at the Amsterdam Historical Museum.

In October, Wessing spends fourteen days in Pakistan on behalf of the organisation Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland (‘Refugee Work Netherlands’). He photographs Afghani refugees in the environs of Peshawar.

In November, Wessing spends fourteen days in Rwanda, where he photographs a number of refugee camps in and around Kigali.


In August, Wessing travels for four weeks to Ambon in connection with the struggle going on between Muslims and Christians. He photographs life on the street in the city of Waiyama, where Muslims and Christians appear to be living side by side in peace.

From October to December, the exhibition held at the Amsterdam Historical Museum is shown at the Centro Português de Fotografia (‘Portuguese Centre of Photography’) in Porto, Portugal, under the title O Mundo de Koen Wessing. A book is published to accompany the exhibition, entitled O Mundo de Koen Wessing/The World of Koen Wessing, which also includes Johan van der Keuken’s speech at the opening in 1983.


In April, Wessing is in Afghanistan, where he photographs in Kabul and on the border with Pakistan. Here he focuses on the victims of landmines and the refugees stemming from the consequences of the war.

In November, Wessing works in Albania, including the town of Bulqiza to the north of the capital Tirana, where substantial poverty reigns following the collapse of the phosphate industry.


Wessing travels to Naples, Italy, to shoot photos in the Quaritere Spagnolo, together with his girlfriend Machteld Bokhove.


Martin Parr and Gerry Badger publish The Photobook: A History (Volume I). Wessing’s Chile, September 1973 is discussed in the chapter entitled ‘Memory and Reconstruction: The Postwar European Photobook’.


In January and February, Wessing photographs in Burundi, including the city of Bujumbura.


Wessing travels to China, where he photographs in Shanghai, Peking, and Datong.


Wessing travels again to China, this time photographing in Chongqing, Tibet, and Kashgar.


From 30 August to 26 October, the exhibition Koen Wessing – Reizen naar China en Tibet (‘Travels to China and Tibet’) is held at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. The exhibition is opened by Catherine Vuylsteke, a journalist with the Belgian newspaper De Morgen, who has also written the display texts accompanying the exhibition.


Health problems arising for the first time in 2008 prevent Wessing from undertaking any further photography trips.

Koen Wessing, Carry van Lakerveld, and Tineke de Ruiter co-compile a book entitled Koen Wessing China 85/07, featuring photos shot during Wessing’s four trips to China in 1985, 1986, 2006, and 2007. From 28 August to 20 September, photos by Wessing shot in China in 2006 and 2007 are on display in the light court of the FOAM Museum in Amsterdam, along with a digital presentation of photos from the book. The first copy of the book, including an introduction by Catherine Vuylsteke, are presented to Wessing by the journalist H.J.A. Hofland on 28 August at the FOAM Museum.


In February, volume eight of the series Books on Books published by Errata Editions appears under the title Koen Wessing: Chile September 1973. It includes the essay ‘The Man in the Grey Suit’ by Pauline Terreehorst.


Koen Wessing dies on 2 February.


Koen Wessing’s photography falls under the social documentary tradition, a very important movement in photography in the Netherlands after World War II. Just as with the older generation of photographers in the GKf (Gebonden Kunsten Federatie, vakgroep fotografie, ‘United Arts Federation, Department of Photography’), which included Eva Besnyö, Carel Blazer, Emmy Andriesse, and Cas Oorthuys, people are central to Wessing’s work. The content of his photos, however, is never anecdotal, but contains a statement regarding human relationships. This message is conveyed in shots in which contrast plays an important role as a rhetorical stylistic figure.

At first glance, it appears that Wessing’s choice of photography was taken somewhat impulsively: in interviews he mentions repeatedly that it was the environment in which the photographer Ed van der Elsken and his wife Ata Kandó lived that made him decide to take up photography. Wessing himself came as well from an artistic family, however, and his first contact with the visual arts occurred much earlier than his meeting with the photographing man-and-wife, which was ultimately so very important for his formation. Certain is that during the period that Ata Kandó introduced him to the secrets of photography, Van der Elsken was his role model. In Wessing’s hard and coarse-grained printing technique, one can still to this day recognise Van der Elsken’s style.

More so than Van der Elsken, however, William Klein was Wessing’s true idol in these early days. The books New York (1956) and Rome (1960) had made a big impression on him. Klein’s work signified a break with the formal requirements placed by Cartier-Bresson on reportage photography. New elements in Klein’s work were the frontal orientation, abrupt crops, blur, a coarse grain, and the use of the wide-angle lens, which gave one the sense that the photographer was standing in the middle of everything that was happening.

Wessing also favoured the use of the wide-angle lens, offering a direct and lively approach. In addition, the wide angle shows a great deal of the surroundings in which people find themselves. It is precisely the relationship between these two that interests him.

Inspired by the books of William Klein, Wessing devoted his energy to visual reportages, in which a number of successive images reveals something about aspects of people’s day-to-day lives. It is not a story he tells, as in the case of Van der Elsken in Een liefdesgeschiedenis in Saint Germain des Prés (‘Love on the Left Bank’, 1956). Wessing’s visual reportages are more akin to the tradition of the photo essays appearing in Life magazine.

After attending the IKN (Instituut voor Kunstnijverheidsonderwijs, ‘Institute of Applied Art Education’) in Amsterdam for a period of one year—where photography was scarcely addressed in the basic curriculum—Wessing worked briefly as an apprentice at the press agency of Ben van Meerendonk. It was there that he learned that the profession of press photographer held not the slightest appeal. In 1963, he finally established himself as a freelance photographer.

At first, making a principled choice for a certain kind of photograph was not really feasible. Wessing photographed for annual reports, shot portraits for a column in the monthly magazine Avenue, published travel accounts, and photographed the theatrical performances of Koert Stuyf and the company Theater Terzijde (Annemarie Prins en Stuyf).

In 1968, Wessing began to manifest himself more and more as a social documentary photographer the further his career progressed. This was in part because a great deal was going on at this time, both in political and societal terms—not hidden, but openly—and consequently much to be photographed. Examples are Paris in 1968, the student riots in the Netherlands in 1969, Chile in 1973, and the Nieuwmarkt Riots in 1975 in Amsterdam.

By 1969, Wessing was being noticed as a social documentary photographer. He received a commission to photograph the Delta Works from the ‘Dienst voor ‘s Rijks Verspreide Kunstvoorwerpen’ (‘Department of Our Nation’s Distributed Art Objects’), resulting in twenty-three photos that provide a fairly heroic picture of labourers at work. The shots radiate the atmosphere of the Reconstruction, while the dramatic burned skies and the coarse grain serve as references to a decade later. Between 1972 and ’74, Wessing carried out two photo projects for the AFK (Stichting Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, ‘Amsterdam Fund for the Arts’), with the emphasis placed on specific aspects of Amsterdam.

In 1976, Wessing worked on the series In Gods Naam (‘In God’s Name’) on assignment for the Ministry of CRM, concerning religious sects in the Netherlands. Many of these groups, which had arisen as a response and a counterbalance to the hippie movement, were of Eastern origins, e.g. Hare Krishna, Guru Ram Das Ashram, Maharashi Yogi, and Maharaj Ji. Wessing presents a striking depiction of their living habits, the experience of their faith, and their activities. The photos provide an account of the diversity of religious practice—unadorned, and void of drama or aesthetic—as it could be observed throughout the Western world for the first time in the 1970s.

During the years 1976 to ’79, Hans van den Bogaard and Wessing worked on the assignment Andere culturen in onze cultuur (‘Other Cultures in Our Culture’) on behalf of the Rijksmuseum’s Department of Dutch History. In 1987, Wim Vroom, the head of the department, wrote about the project’s formulation in the magazine Perspektief: ‘It was not to be about the situation of minorities amidst the Dutch (incidentally, somewhat to the regret of Koen Wessing), but about the way in which they each experience their own cultures. The assignment’s formulation conveyed an optimism that now seems dated: no one had then yet ever heard of a second generation problem.’ In no way, however, are Wessing’s photos necessarily optimistic; they often indeed show the confrontation between the Dutch and minority groups. This is sometimes perceivable, such as in the photo of policemen at a gypsy camp in Amsterdam, sometimes tangible, such as at the funeral of Tamaela, the figure who represented the military wing of the RMS (the Republic of the South Moluccas).

In 1992, Wessing received an assignment from the Stichting de Nieuwe Kerk (‘New Church Foundation’) in Amsterdam to produce a photo documentary on the topic of ‘de kwaliteit van het ouder-zijn’ (‘The Quality of Being Older’).

With a subsidy from the Stichting Fonds Anna Cornelis (‘Anna Cornelis Foundation’), Wessing worked from November 1992 to January 1993 in South Africa, where he photographed the lives of whites and blacks immediately after the fall of the Apartheid regime.

Wessing’s name is virtually always directly associated with the shots he took in Latin America, starting with the fall of Allende in 1973. Following a trip to Cuba in 1965, he became interested in the power structures in that part of the world. It was therefore his aim to portray the consequences of the division of power. Wessing feels a strong intuitive connection to the mentality ‘preferable to die standing than to live on one’s knees’ of people living in these regions. A direct consequence of this connection is the fact that he has no desire to portray people in the role of the victim, in order to create pity. On the contrary, they generally radiate a high degree of dignity.

Wessing photographed historical moments, such as Chile in September 1973, the bombardment of Esteli in Nicaragua in 1978, and the shooting into the crowd during the funeral of Archbishop Romero in 1980. He photographed in cold blood when faced with extreme circumstances, much like a war photographer. These photos communicate the soldiers’ aggression and violence as the enforcers of power, but also about the fear and desperation experienced by the general population. These images, which are above all depictions of current events, received only a minimum of coverage in the Dutch newspaper and magazine press, where the law of the premiere—the first photos to arrive are what gets placed—as well as the exclusivity. By contrast, the shots easily found their way into exhibitions, catalogues, reference books, and photography collections due to their documentary qualities.

The majority of Wessing’s photos consists of images depicting the day-to-day life of the oppressed populace, or as he puts it himself, thereby referring to Gabriel Garciá Márquez: ‘Love in the Time of Dictatorship.’ He is not concerned with the events in individual people’s lives, but the facts that illustrate the existing power structures on an abstract level.

Although unable to speak Spanish, Wessing’s contact with the people is extremely important to him. Initial contacts were established in the Netherlands via the existing national committees prior to his departure. Upon his arrival in Latin America, friends in each respective country assisted him further. Wessing felt a strong need to continue following the events as they transpired on that continent and not just when the press demanded it, though it was becoming increasingly difficult to visualise the now less perceptible repression. He often traveled without making prior arrangements, relying on advances from newspapers or small donations in order to just break even.

Susan Meiselas, an American photographer working for Magnum, as well photographed the struggle, particularly in Nicaragua and El Salvador, in the same penetrating way as Wessing. In contrast to Wessing, however, her photos are usually shot in colour. A book featuring the images of both photographers in El Salvador has been published in Mexico.

From the time that Chile, September 1973 was mentioned in the influential The Photobook: A History (Volume I), published by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger in 2004, the work of Koen Wessing has received greater interest internationally. In his series Books on Books (Errata Editions), which draws renewed attention to classic photobooks by Walker Evans, David Goldblatt, Chris Killip, William Klein, Sophie Ristelhueber, and other photographers, Jeffrey Ladd decided to publish Koen Wessing: Chile September 1973 as the eighth volume.

After more than ten years of having photographed in South Africa, Wessing became disappointed because the changes in the country were not going fast enough. He began to sense that, as a photographer, there was little reason for him to remain in the country. He longed for the days when he had started out as a photographer, hitchhiking without any preconceived plan, free of an immediate political motivation, and still having an unencumbered perspective: ‘every once in a while just observing without knowing a lot, to freshly be surprised, lively, to be alert in seeing everything.’

In November 1985, Wessing traveled to Peking and Shanghai to orient himself in planning a major trip with his family. The next year, he traveled across China for a period of six months, together with Agnès Leunen and their baby, Marie. They visited places such as Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Yangshuo, Kunming, Dali, Chongqing, Leshan, Emeishan, Chengdu, Hohhot, Datong, Peking, Shanghai, Euzhou, Ningbo, as well as Lhasa and Samoye in Tibet.

Wessing’s freedom of movement was markedly vast. He succeeded in this regard, in stark contrast to writers such as Paul Theroux, who was never able to travel without a guide in the same period. Wessing never made any official request, which gave people the idea there were no issues to be solved. He was simply free to go wherever he pleased.

With the little girl on his back, Wessing discovered that China was not an exotic country, but one in which ordinary people sleep, eat, and work, bring their children to school, and enjoy their free time. It was chiefly this everyday life that he captured in street scenes, which consistently convey the quality encountered in Wessing’s previous images: the subject figures centrally in his black-and-white photos, with contrasts in the image highlighting the underlying conflicts and power structures.

Following his 1986 trip to China, Wessing wished to return once again. The bloodbath in June 1989 on Tiananmen Square, however, prevented him from doing so for quite some time. Not until 2006 and 2007 did Wessing travel again to China, a trip made possible through subsidies from the NCDO (‘Nationale Commissie voor Internationale Samenwerking en Duurzame Ontwikkeling, ‘National Committee for International Cooperation and Durable Development’). This time he traveled there to examine the implications of the economic miracle for the life of the ordinary citizen.

Wessing now turned his eye as well in particular to the people’s burdensome existence: of minorities living in Kashgar in the province Xinjiang and in Tibet, of the uneducated labourers and ‘dagongzai’ (rural migrants) in big cities such as Peking and Shanghai, and of the ‘bangbangs’, those who carried the bamboo stiks in Chongquing.

The photos depict the change and innovation occurring in China in the years 1985 to 2007: old neighbourhoods vanishing with skyscrapers built in their place, newly constructed highways that suddenly end in the middle of nowhere, and people everywhere on the street talking on their cell phones. What Wessing also shows, however, is for a great majority of people—the extreme poor—very little has changed. Just as ever, they try to get by leading a tiresome existence by selling items on the street or doing heavy physical work. In the sparse amount of free time that they have at their disposal, people play billiards or swim in the heavily polluted Yangtze River.

During the 1990s, Wessing devoted his efforts to the depiction of the status of refugees world-wide. With the help of subsidy providers, he traveled to various locations on behalf of the project Mensen op Drift (‘People Adrift’), including Macedonia and Kosovo in 1999. In the same year, he also photographed the excesses of clandestine human trafficking in refugee boarding houses in Istanbul. In 2000, Wessing shot photos of Afghani refugees in the environs of Peshawar, Pakistan, as well as a number of refugee camps in and around Kigali, Rwanda. In his photos, Wessing focuses on the individual rather than the massive scale of the refugee problem: an old man with all of his possessions in a bag hoisted on his back, a family living in a big tent that creates a degree of privacy using pieces of fabric, a victim of a landmine in a revalidation centre, or queues of refugees where food is being distributed.

It was Wessing’s intention that this ambitious project would ultimately lead to an exhibition and a book. Neither came to fruition. A previous exhibition had been previously held in the Netherlands—in 1997 at the Rijksmuseum—which bore the title Een selectief welkom. Vreemdelingen in Nederland (‘A Selective Welcome. Foreigners in the Netherlands’) on the topic of asylum seekers.

Wessing’s subjects demand an intensive involvement on his part, which does not end once the photos have been taken. He refuses to place his photos in newspapers promoting political notions opposed to his own. In Wessing’s view, it is the photographer’s responsibility to ensure that his photos are in no way used inappropriately. It was this which led to a lawsuit filed against the newspaper De Telegraaf when it took a photo depicting the struggle in Nicaragua—an image of two mourning sisters in Esteli that by this time had taken on a symbolic significance—and placed it in the wrong context. Wessing had witnessed an extremely intimate event at the time the photo was taken. Ethics requires that such images be treated with utmost integrity.

At the moment he actually shoots a photo, Wessing himself feels anger; only when printing the photos at a later point do other emotions arise, such as sadness. Emotions of this kind would likely get in the way of taking photos, if experienced on the spot.

On occasion, Wessing requires himself to put on a kind of theatre. At such times, he flatters soldiers to get them in the right mood for taking his photos. This results in ambiguous images, such as the photo from Chile September 1973, in which three soldiers stand on the left—with two of them looking at the photographer—while they aim their weapons at a group of civilians on the other side of the street, who have been ordered to remove slogans from the wall.

Wessing’s photos possess a dramatic quality, achieved through a number of elements, such as tone, composition, and the depiction of emotion. He once stated that he sees a similarity between mime and photography. When he was growing up in Nieuwendam, Wessing, Aart Staartjes, and Eric Herfst had done pantomime together. He finds mime more permanent than theatre. With mime as well as photography, the selection of a dramatic high point is important. Such a peak moment can be heightened through sign language and facial expressions. With the photo of the two sisters from Esteli, the entire image takes on something pathetic and theatrical. Wessing accordingly compares this photo to a scene in which Ank van der Moer plays the leading role. In his photos, Wessing acts as a director in placing the emphasis on the mise-en-scène, which he nevertheless chooses from reality without intervening.

Emotions are expressed by the tone (black and white). Wessing’s photos are often very formal schematically, with a balanced distribution between horizontals and verticals, as well as light and dark. He finds his own shots often overly aesthetic; the content is his biggest concern. Relationships and power structures become visible by introducing strong contrasts in the composition of elements of meaning. Contradictions in a single image, such as soldiers and nuns moving in opposing directions, create a tension in the complex photos. For Roland Barthes, who was perhaps familiar with a number of photos shot in Nicaragua through their appearance in the magazine Photo in March 1979, this duality in Wessing’s photos inspired him to make a distinction between the concepts ‘studium’ (rational understanding) and ‘punctum’ (getting swept up emotionally).

Wessing began his career in photography as a press photographer, equipped with a heavy SpeedGraphic: a plate camera with two cartridges and four plates in total. This taught him to capture the essence in a small quantity of images. As well after having switched to a Leica under the influence of William Klein, Wessing continued to be a photographer taking a minimum of shots. He selects the image he wants to have with great care.

In contrast to a number of reportage photographers who eventually started working with large-format cameras, Wessing has always remained loyal to the Leica. He typically uses the light 21 and 35 mm wide-angle lenses, as well as the normal 50 mm lens. For his prints, Wessing adheres to the principles of the 1960s and ’70s: they are generally rather hard and coarse-grained in structure. In most cases, he uses the entire negative.

Although Wessing is best known for his black-and-white photography, he also uses colour film with a majority of his reportages

Koen Wessing’s photography has been highly influential for a group of photographers practicing social photography during the 1970s. Hannes Wallrafen has said that it was Wessing’s photos shot in Chile that got him to start photographing. Not just the thematic content, but also the form is what drew people to follow in his footsteps. Wessing himself has always continued down the path he started out on years ago that has been such a determining factor for the identity of Dutch social photography.


Primary bibliography

(eigen publicaties: tekst, eventueel met foto’s, maar ook fotoboeken e.d.)

Koen Wessing, Chili september 1973, Amsterdam (De Bezige Bij) z.j. (ca. 1974).

Koen Wessing, Djarama PAIGC. Bedankt PAIGC, Beelden uit Guinee-Bissau. Een fotoreportage van Koen Wessing, Amsterdam (Angola Comité) 1974.

Catalogus tent. In Gods naam. Religieuze groeperingen in Nederland, Amsterdam (Nederlandse Kunststichting) 1976.

Jan van der Putten (nawoord), Nicaragua ’78, Amsterdam (Van Gennep) 1978.

Jan Stoof (tekst) en Koen Wessing (foto’s), Nicaragua, in Vrij Nederland-Bijvoegsel (7 oktober 1978) 40, p. 2, 32-35, 38-41.

H.J.A. Hofland (tekst) en Koen Wessing (foto’s). Uitzichtloze situaties, Amsterdam (Bert Bakker) 1980.

Eduardo Galeano (tekst), Von Chile bis Guatemala. Zehn Jahre Lateinamerika, Wuppertal (Peter Hammer Verlag) 1983 (Ned. ed.: Van Chili tot Guatemala. Tien jaar Latijns-Amerika, z.p. [Amsterdam] (Bert Bakker/NOVIB) 1983).

Catalogus tent. Koen Wessing in China en Tibet, Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum) 1987.

Frank Diamand (tekst) en Koen Wessing (foto’s), Pinochet, geen straat zal jouw naam dragen. Chileens dagboek uit een week democratie in vijfien jaar dictatuur, in Vrij Nederland-Bijvoegsel (5 november 1988) 44, p. 10-17.

Klaas Wellinga (tekst) en Koen Wessing (foto’s), Spaans sprekend New York. “Als je geen drugs gebruikt, niet drinkt en wel werkt, verslijten ze je voor gek”, in Vrij Nederland-Bijvoegsel 30 september 1989, omslag, p. 6-15.

Koen Wessing, Momentopname Suid-Afrika = Flashes from South-Africa, Amsterdam (Fragment) 1993.

Koen Wessing (foto’s). Koen Wessing in Zuid-Afrika, in Intermediair 30 (27 mei 1994) 21, p. 30-31.

Carry van Lakerveld, Tineke de Ruiter en Koen Wessing (samenstelling) en Catherine Vuylsteke (inl.). Koen Wessing. China 85/07, Amsterdam (Uitgeverij Voetnoot) 2009.

Jeffrey Ladd en Pauline Terreehorst, Koen Wessing Wessing: Chili September 1973, New York (Errata Editions) 2010 (serie: Books on Books 8).


(foto’s in boeken, tijdschriften en ander drukwerk)

Vrij Nederland 23 (17 november 1962) 12, p. 1.

Simon Vinkenoog, Het verhaal van Karel Appel. Een proeve van waarneming, Utrecht (Bruna & Zoon) 1963, afb. 48.

Vrij Nederland 24 (31 augustus 1963) 1, p. 1.

Han de Vries (samenstelling en vormgeving), Foto grafie, in Drukkersweekblad en Autolijn (1963) 52 (Kerstnummer), p. 76-77.

Vrij Nederland 24 (15 februari 1964) 25, p. 1, 3.

Sanne Sannes, Fotografie in het museum, in Focus 49 (5 juni 1964) 12, p. 14.

Photography Year Book 1964, pl. 204.

Photography Year Book 1965, pl. 171.

Rinus Ferdinandisse, Jan Blokker en Dimitri Frenkel Frank (samenstelling), Zo is het toevallig ook nog ‘s een keer, Amsterdam (Van Ditmar/Polak & Van Gennep) 1966, p. 152.

Rob Stolk en Christoph Hahn (red.), Cor Jaring, Ed van der Elsken, Koen Wessing en G.J. Wolfensperger (foto’s), 10 maart ’66, Amsterdam (Parel van de Jordaan) 1966, ongepag.

Stedelijk Jaarverslag Amsterdam 1966, p. 4, 135.

Roel van Duyn, Het witte gevaar. Een vademekum voor provoos, Amsterdam, (Meulenhoff) 1967, afb. 4, 14-16 (serie: Meulenhoff editie, E 126).

Nieuwe Revu 7 oktober 1967.

Stedelijk Jaarverslag Amsterdam 1967, p. 6, 40, 65, 69, 94, 108.

Bijenkorf Beheer NV. Jaarverslag 1968-69, Amsterdam 1969, p. 2, 4, 8, 11-1 2, 17, 24-25, 38, 42, 46.

Avenue (september 1971) 9, p. 48-57.

Vrij Nederland 32 (31 december 1971) 18, p. 7.

Avenue (april 1972) 4, p. 114-123.

Avenue (augustus 1972) 8, p. 38-45.

Catalogus tent. Raamwerk. Een tentoonstelling van ramen, raamafsluitingen en gordijnen n.a.v. 50 jaar Weverij de Ploeg nv, Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum) 1973, ongepag.

Hans Werner Bartsch e.a. (samenstelling), Chile, ein Schwarzbuch, Keulen (Pahl-Rugenstein) 1974 (Ned. ed.: Chili, een zwartboek, Bussum (Agathon) z.j. [1974]).

Jan van der Putten, Chili ’71-’74. Analyse en voorlopige conclusies, Amsterdam (Van Gennep) 1974, omslag.

Vrij Nederland 35 (13 juli 1974) 28, p. 1, 6-7.

Maya Vermeulen e.a., Volkskongres 1975, Groningen (Volkskongres) 1975.

Albert Blitz en Loe van Nimwegen, Blauwe Maandag. Omdat mijn huis daar stond. 24 maart 1975. Een verslag in fotoos van de gebeurtenissen die dag in de Amsterdamse Nieuwmarkt, Amsterdam (Aktiegroep Nieuwmarkt) 1975.

Pieter Kooistra (tekst). Beelden van ? Amsterdam, Amsterdam (SBK-Kunstuitleen) 1975.

Fotografen 1976. Geïllustreerde ledenlijst van de beroepsvereniging van fotografen GKf, Amsterdam (GKf) 1976, p. 64-65.

Robert de Hartogh (samenstelling). Kijkboek over gastarbeid. Utrecht (Nederlands Centrum Buitenlanders) 1977, afb. 56-58, 63, 68.

Het Parool 15 december 1977.

Hugo Kijne, Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse studentenbeweging, 1963-1973, Amsterdam (SUA) 1978, omslag.

(Brochure tent.) Andere culturen in Nederland, Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum) 1979.

Carl Grasveld e.a., Guinee-Bissau, Den Haag (NOVIB) 1979 (serie: NOVIB Landeninformatiemappen).

Jan Naeyé, De sterke arm. Tekstboek behorende bij een video onderzoek naar de rol van de Amsterdamse politie en justitie in het Nieuwmarktkonflikt over de periode 1973-1978, Amsterdam (VU Boekhandel) 1979.

Jeroen de Vries e.a. (samenstelling), Tot de strijd ons geschaard. Beeldverhaal over het communisme in Nederland, Amsterdam (Pegasus) 1979, p. 127, 170-171.

Anoniem, Sandinisten slachten stiertjes van Somoza. Een fotoverslag van Koen Wessing, in De Groene Amsterdammer 18 juli 1979, p. 20.

Nieuwe Revu (24 augustus 1979) 34.

Roland Barthes, De fotografische boodschap, in Skrien (winter 1979/1980) 92/93, p. 48.

Nico Bogaart, Paul van Eeuwijk en Jan Rogier, Zigeuners. De overleving van een reizend volk, Amsterdam/Brussel (Elsevier) 1980.

Rogier Fokke e.a. (red.). Liedboek van de strijd. Dl. 1, Wageningen (De Uitbuyt) 1980, p. 146.

Albert Stol (eindred.), Nicaragua. Een informatiemap. Den Haag (NOVIB) 1980 (serie: NOVIB landenmappen) (idem Jannie van der Berg, Nicaragua, 1984, geh. herz. dr.).

Jan van der Putten, El Salvador. De moord op een buitenlandse journalist heeft meer effekt dan op duizend landgenoten, in De Groene Amsterdammer 9 april 1980, p. 10-11.

GKfoto bulletin (december 1980) 1, ongepag.

Catalogus tent. Ben d’Armagnac, Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum) 1981 (serie: Catalogus Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, nr. 683).

P. Heyse (hoofdred.), Foto en film encyclopedie, Amsterdam etc. (Focus) 1981, 4e geheel herz., uitgebr. dr., p. 267.

Urban Hovers, El Salvador, Den Haag (NOVIB) 1981 (serie: NOVIB landeninformatiemappen).

Giuliana Scimé, Women in the magic mirror 1842-1981. A selection of photographs on women from Bert Hartkamp’s collection, Milaan (Selezione d’Immagini) 1981, p. 109.

Jan Baart (tekst). Mime in Nederland, Amsterdam (Meulenhoff Informatief) 1982, p. 21, 46.

Koen Wessing (foto’s). Chili ’81-’82. De dictatuur in krisis. Politiek, ekonomie, mensenrechten, Amsterdam (Chili Komité Nederland) 1982.

GKf Fotografen (april 1982) 6, afb. 1. Tijmen van Grootheest e.a. (red.), Amsterdam 60/80. Twintig jaar beeldende kunst = Twenty years of fine arts, Fodor 1 (april/mei/juni 1982) 8/9/10, p. 65, 73.

H.J.A. Hofland (tekst), Een teken aan de wand. Album van de Nederlandse samenleving, 1963-1983, Amsterdam (Bert Bakker) 1983, p. 461.

Klaas Wellinga, De bergen, de vogels en Sandino. Cultuur in Nicaragua, Baarn/Utrecht (Wereldvenster/Stichting Kultuur Kollektief Latijns-Amerika) 1983, p. 32, 40, 54, 78, 102, 116, 128, 144, 160.

Avenue (juli 1983) 7, p. 39, 41-43.

Linda Annink e.a. (.samenstelling), De doden worden met de dag opstandiger. Literatuur uit El Salvador, Weesp (Het Wereldvenster) 1984, p. 15, 25, 48, 96, 116, 138, 145, 170, 175-177.

Jannie van der Berg (samenstelling), Nicaragua, een landenmap, Den Haag (NOVIB) 1984.

Jitske Bosma e.a. (red.), “… de beste aktiegroep ter wereld …”. 40 dorpsverhalen uit de Nieuwmarkt, Amsterdam (Stichting Uitgeverij De Oude Stad) 1984, p. 51, 62.

De ruil: Johan van der Keuken Koen Wessing, in GKf-bulletin (1985) 4, p. 5.

Ton Hendriks, De eidos van de fotografie, in Perspektief (juni 1985) 21, p. 33.

de Volkskrant 1 november 1985.

De Telegraaf 30 november 1985, p. 11.

De Courant Nieuws van de Dag 2 december 1985.

Leon Clements en Ton de Vreede (samenstelling en red.). Lastpost van wereldformaat. 25. Amnesty International 1961-1986, Amsterdam (Amnesty International) 1986, p. 88-89.

Aldo van Eyck, Niet om het even, wel evenwaardig, Rotterdam/Amsterdam (Stichdng Rotterdam-Maaskant/Van Gennep) 1986, p. 89.

100 Meter foto in het Stedelijk, GKf-bulletin (1986) 1, p. 7.

Martin Mulder e.a. (samenstelling), Blijven bouwen. Stadsvernieuwing in de jaren negentig, Amsterdam (Gemeente Amsterdam. Afdeling Coördinatie Stadsvernieuwing) 1987, p. 5, 201.

Arnulf Lüchinger (red.), Herman Hertzberger. Bauten und Projekte, 1959-1986 = Buildings and projects = Bâtiments et projets. Den Haag (Arch-Edition) 1987, p. 28 (afb. 42).

Thijs Asselbergs (inl.), Wiek Röling. Stadsarchitect Haarlem 1970-1988, Haarlem (De Toorts) 1988, p. 21.

Ad Petersen en Ina Munck, Viktor IV, z.p. [Amsterdam ] (Meulenhoff/Landshoff etc.) 1988, p. 22.

Ton Regtien, Springtij. Herinneringen aan de jaren zestig, z.p. (Het Wereldvenster) 1988, omslag, na p. 96, na p. 160.

Pauline Terreehorst, Koen Wessing, in Bildende Kunst (1988) 1, p. 31-33 (met foto’s).

Anoniem, Vijftien Nederlandse fotografen: 1979-1989: Tien jaar Nicaraguaanse geschiedenis in beeld, in Onze Wereld (1989) 7/8, p. 33-38.

Net Nederlands Theaterboek 38 (1988-1989), p. 101 (= Toneel Teatraal 110 (oktober 1989) 8).

NRC Handelsblad 15 december 1989.

Klaas Wellinga (samenstelling) en Koen Wessing (foto’s), Puertoricaanse literatuur in Nueva York, Den Haag/Houten (NOVIB/Het Wereldvenster) 1990, na p. 32, na p. 64, na p. 96.

Foto 45 (april 1990) 4, p. 62.

Catalogus Eotomanifestatie Noorderlicht 1991. Fotografie opdracht stadsverlangen. Galerie en podium-circuit, Groningen (Stichting Fotografie Noorderlicht) 1991, p. 61-65.

Leo Divendal (red.), De vierde wand. De foto als theater = The fourth wall. Photography as theatre, Amsterdam (Fragment) 1991, p. 4-5, 50, 151.

de Volkskrant 1 juni 1991.

Trouw 26 oktober 1991, p. 7.

de Volkskrant 9 november 1991.

Catalogus tent. Afscheid van een tijdperk [uitgave in het kader van de ingebruikneming nieuwbouw Tweede Kamer], Den Haag (SDU) 1992.

Jeroen Schilt en Jouke van der Werf, Genootschap Architectura en Amicitia 1855-1990, Rotterdam (Uitgeverij 010) 1992, p. 181.

Sandra Rottenberg (red.), Toekomstmuziek. Tien jaar informatiemarkt voor ouderen, Amsterdam (Stichting De Nieuwe Kerk) 1992, omslag, p. 11, 20, 22, 24, 26.

NRC Handelsblad 14 mei 1993.

Bert Ockers (samenstelling). Leven in Nederland. Twintig jaar fotografie in opdracht, Arnhem (Nederlands Openluchtmuseum) 1994, p. 13-14, 16, 18-20, 22, 26.

Francis Strauven, Aldo van Eyck. Relativiteit en verbeelding, Amsterdam (Meulenhoff) 1994, p. 507 (idem Engelse ed.; Aldo van Eyck. The shape of relativity, Amsterdam (Architectura & Natura) 1998, p. 499).

Flip Bool, Foto’s geven een onvervangbaar beeld van de geschiedenis, in NRC Handelsblad 3 november 1994.

Louwrien Wijers, Ben d’Armagnac, Zwolle (Waanders) 1995, p. 127 (serie: Monografieën van Nederlandse kunstenaars 12).

NRC Handelsblad 1 november 1995.

Jurrien Dekker en Bas Senstius, Dit is mijn huis. Verhalen over tien jaar opvang van asielzoekers, Amsterdam (Mets) 1997, p. 23, 100.

Jos van der Lans en Herman Vuijsje, Lage landen, hoge sprongen. Nederland in beweging 1898/1998, Wormer (Immerc) 1998, p. 187.

Anja Krans, Annemarie Prins. Theatermaker, Amsterdam (Theater Instituut Nederland) 1999, p. 42 (serie; Reeks theaterportretten 2) (idem, Naarden (Strengholt) 2000 (serie: Portretten van Nederlandse theatermakers 2)).

Vincent Ligtelijn (samenstelling), Aldo van Eyck. Werken, Bussum (THOTH) 1999, p. 136 (idem Duitse ed. Aldo van Eyck. Werke, Basel etc. (Birkhäuser) en Engelse ed.: Aldo van Eyck. Works, Basel etc (Birkhauser)).

Metro 4 juli 2000.

Catalogus China-Naarden, Wall-to-wall/Legio Fotofestival Naarden 2001, Naarden (Stichting Fotofestival Naarden) 2001, p. 31.

Peter-Paul de Baar e.a., De Amstel, Amsterdam (Lubberhuizen) 2002, p. 134.

Ton van den Brandt, Amsterdamse zaken. De rechtbank en de stad, Amsterdam (Lubberhuizen) 2006, p. 109, 120, 149.

Daniël Koning en Bernd Wouthuysen (samenstelling). Teder, z.p. [Amsterdam] (Lubberhuizen), 2006, ongepag.

Tom Kando e.a. (tekst), The living other. A project by Ata Kando, Diana Blok and Sacha de Boer, Rotterdam (Veenman) 2008, p. 126.

Opzij 1 januari 2010.

Het Parool 3 april 2010.


in Avenue (rubriek Galerie Avenue):

(april 1967) 4, p. 64, 66.

(mei 1967) 5, p. 100.

(juni 1967) 6, p. 68, 70.

(juli 1967) 7, p. 85.

(augustus 1967) 8, p. 87-88.

(oktober 1967) 10, p. 143.

(november 1967) 11, p. 103.

(december 1967) 12, p. 96.

(januari 1968) 1, p. 86.

(februari 1968) 2, p. 72.

(maart 1968) 3, p. 56.

(april 1968) 4, p. 136.

(mei 1968) 5, p. 116.

(augustus 1968) 8, p. 68.

(december 1968) 12, p. 112.

(maart 1969) 3, p. 120.

(april 1969) 4, p. 176.

(mei 1969) 5, p. 212.

(juni 1969) 6, p. 194.

(juli 1969) 7, p. 129.

(augustus 1969) 8, p. 32.

(oktober 1969) 10, p. 104.

(november 1969) 11, p. 159.

(december 1969) 12, p. 120.


(na het jaar staat vermeld de opdrachtgever en tussen haakjes het onderwerp en/of het doel waarvoor de foto’s zijn gemaakt)

1969 Dienst voor ‘s Rijks Verspreide Kunstvoorwerpen (De bouw van de Volkerakdam).

1972 Stichting Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst (Straatbeeld).

1973 Stichting Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst (Amsterdam voor het voorbij is).

1976 Afdeling Nederlandse geschiedenis van het Rijksmuseum (opdracht samen met Hans van den Bogaard: Andere culturen in onze cultuur).

1976 Ministerie van Ontwikkelingssamenwerking (opdracht samen met Dolf Toussaint; Opper-Volta).

1976 Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken (Herkomst gastarbeiders uit Marokko, Kaap-Verden en Turkije).

1976 Ministerie van CRM (In Gods Naam).

1979 Stichting Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst (Rafelrand van de stad).

1992 Stichting de Nieuwe Kerk (De kwaliteit van het onder-zijn).

1992 Stichting Fonds Anna Cornelis (Momentopname Suid-Afrika. Het land in de overgangsfase van apartheid naar democratie).

1995 Afdeling Nederlandse Geschiedenis van het Rijksmuseum (Asielzoekers in Nederland).

2001 Stichting Fonds Anna Cornelis (Mensen op drift).

Secondary bibliography

(publicaties over de fotograaf en/of zijn werk)

Catalogus Cinquième Biennale de Paris. Manifestation biennale et internationale des jeunes artistes du 29 septembre au 5 novembre 1967, Parijs (Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris) 1967, p. 116.

Anoniem, Deelnemers aan Parijse Biennale, in Het Vaderland 14 augustus 1967.

Hanneke Meerum Terwogt, Vrouwen van Amsterdam, Amsterdam (Foton) 1970, ongepag.

Anoniem, Koen, in Vrij Nederland 20 februari 1971.

Anoniem, Foto’s, in de Volkskrant 29 april 1971.

Marja Roscam Abbing, De Koen Wessingstraat, in NRC Handelsblad 21 september 1973.

Anoniem, Foto-beelden, in De Tijd 20 juni 1975.

Walter Barten, Tussen verstilde bespiegeling en meeslepende getuigenis. Foto’s van Amsterdam in het Van Goghmuseum, in De Groene Amsterdammer 1975.

Aloys Ginjaar, Je zit er toch middenin, in Plug. Kulturele informatiekrant voor de hoofdstad en ommelanden (januari 1976) 97, p. 4-7 (met foto’s).

J.W. Jongedijk, Secten en bewegingen in beeld. ‘In Gods Naam’ boeiende tentoonstelling in Rijswijk, in Het Vaderland 27 februari 1976.

Anoniem, Fotoproject religieuze groepen, in Trouw 13 augustus 1976.

Bas Roodnat, Het portret (7) waar Koen Wessing het eerst aan dacht, in NRC Handelsblad 14 augustus 1976, Zaterdags-Bijvoegsel, p. 5.

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

Anoniem, Opdracht fotoserie over de verkiezingen, in NRC Handelsblad 14 januari 1977, p. 6.

Anoniem, “In Gods Naam”. Foto-project over religieuze groepen, in Trouw 18 januari 1977.

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

Anoniem, Kijk op gastarbeid van 10 fotografen, in NRC Handelsblad 29 november 1977, p. 2.

Hella Liefting, Gastarbeiders gefotografeerd, in de Volkskrant 13 december 1977.

Els Barents (red.). Fotografie in Nederland 1940-1975, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1978, p. 34-35, 78-79 (met foto’s en losse biografie).

Catalogus tent. La fête. Rencontres internationales de la photographie Arles juillet 1978, Arles 1978, ongepag.

Hennie van de Louw, Koen Wessing fotograaf “Parijs mei ’68, voor mij een inspirerende gelukservaring”, in De Nieuwe Linie 24 mei 1978, p. 5.

Martin Schouten, Fotograaf Koen Wessing: ‘Als er een oploopje is, wil ik erbij staan’, in NRC Handelsblad 11 november 1978.

Els Barents en Evert Rodrigo (samenstelling), Fotografie in Nederland 1940/75, in Stedelijk Museum extra bulletin 22 december 1978-4 februari 1979.

Martin Schouten, Moed als esthetische kwaliteit. Fotografie: Van Alphen, Wessing en Diepraam, in Haagse Post 65 (23 december 1978) 51/52, p. 98-100.

Max Pam, Koen Wessing. Het moment. Foto’s met commentaar, genoteerd door Max Pam, in De Revisor 6 (1979) 5, p. 28-35.

Willem K. Coumans, Fotografie in Nederland ouderwets en onvolledig, in Foto 34 (maart 1979) 3, p. 36-41.

Anoniem, Une revolution à bout portant. Koen Wessing au Nicaragua; des photos arrivées trop tard, in Photo (maart 1979) 138, p. 42-49, 95 (met foto’s).

Anoniem, Andere culturen in ons land op fototentoonstelling, in Het Binnenhof 21 september 1979.

B. Roodnat, Minderheden gefotografeerd, in NRC Handelsblad 29 september 1979, p. 6.

Anoniem, Foto-expositie over minderheden: actueel maar niet compleet, in Haagsche Courant 2 oktober 1979.

Anoniem, Indrukwekkend fotowerk over minderheden, in Leidsch Dagblad 3 oktober 1979, p. 23.

Aad Flapper, Andere culturen in Nederland, in Het Parool 4 oktober 1979.

Anoniem, Expositie foto’s in Rijksmuseum, in Algemeen Dagblad 11 oktober 1979.

Bas Roodnat, De honger naar fotografie, in NRC Handelsblad 29 december 1979, Cultureel Supplement, p. 10.

Paulien Terreehorst, Fotograferen is aanwezig zijn, in Skrien (winter 1979/1980) 92/93, p. 24-28, 30-32.

Roland Barthes, La chambre claire. Note sur la photographie, z.p. (Gallimard, Le Seuil) 1980, p. 42-46, 72.

Johan van der Keuken, Zien, kijken, filmen. Foto’s, teksten en interviews, Amsterdam (Van Gennep) 1980, p. 48-49.

Lorenzo Merlo, New Dutch photography = Hedendaagse fotografie in Nedeland, Amsterdam etc. (Kosmos) 1980, p. 5, 7-8, 104-108 (met foto’s) (idem Engelse editie: A critical history of photography in the Netherlands. Dutch Eyes).

Hank Raaff, “Je fotografeert vanuit een woede, hè”, in de Volkskrant 5 januari 1980.

Max Pam, Momentje, in De Revisor 7 (februari 1980) 1, p. 65.

Lien Heyting, Dragonders in drijfzand, in NRC Handelsblad 21 november 1980.

Joost Smiers, Joost Smiers in gesprek met Pieter Boersma, Hans van den Bogaard, Joost Guntenaar, Bertien van Manen en Han Singels, in Carry van Lakerveld en Joost Smiers, Matheid, hoezo? Tweeëntwintig teksten over kunst en politiek ’70…’80, z.p. (Sjaloom) 1981, p. 122-123.

Max Arian, Struktureel geweld in beeld. Foto’s van Koen Wessing in het Stedelijk, in De Groene Amsterdammer 14 januari 1981.

Anoniem, [zonder titel; kort artikel over tentoonstelling in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam], in Trouw 19 januari 1981.

Bas Roodnat, Koen Wessing: een bedachtzaam reizend en solidair fotograaf, in NRC Handelsblad 22 januari 1981, p. 6.

Anoniem, Koen Wessing. Foto’s uit Latijns-Amerika 1980, in Stedelijk Museum bulletin 2/81, p. 11.

Anoniem, Koen Wessing in Het Financieele Dagblad 6 februari 1981.

Max Arian, Koen Wessing Latijns-Amerika, in GKf Fotografen (maart 1981) 2, p. 1-20 (met foto’s).

Willem K. Coumans, Koen Wessing in het Stedelijk, in foto 36 (juni 1981) 6, p. 74 (met foto’s).

Jan Coppens, De bewogen camera. Protest en propaganda door middel van foto’s, z.p. (Amsterdam) (Meulenhoff/Landshoff) 1982, p. 352-365.

Steef Davidson en Frans van Burkom, Geen commentaar. Fotografen als ooggetuigen van agressie en geweld [catalogus], Amsterdam (Nederlandse Kunststichting) 1982, ongepag.

Eric van der Schalie, Losing control, in Perspektief (jan./feb./mrt. 1982) 10, p. 8.

Henk Glimmerveen, De muchachos in het offensief, in De Waarheid 13 maart 1982, p. 5.

Fred Jansz, Ik ben een echte Amsterdamse straatjongen. Fred Jansz interviewt Koen Wessing, in foto 37 (april 1982) 4, p. 30-35 (met foto’s).

Els Barents, Veranderingen in de fotojournalistiek 1960-’80, in Stedelijk Museum [bulletin] 9 april 1982-1 juli 1982, p. 43-44.

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

Anoniem, Koen Wessing. 10 Jaar Latijns-Amerika, in BFN. Nieuwsblad Beroepsfotografen Nederland 9 mei 1983, p. 15.

Johan van der Keuken, Openingsspeech van Johan van der Keuken, gehouden bij de opening van de tentoonstelling “Van Chili tot Guatemala” van Koen Wessing, in GKf bulletin september 1983, p. 26-29.

Matt Dings, Een fotograaf ‘van Chili tot Guatemala’. Koen Wessing. ‘Dank zij fotografie kun je controleren of je goed hebt nagedacht’, in De Tijd 2 september 1983, p. 28-34 (met foto’s).

Pauline Terreehorst, Koen Wessings foto’s geven naamloze massa gezicht, in de Volkskrant 5 november 1983, p. 17.

H.J.A. Hofland, Fotoboek van Koen Wessing. De fysiognomiek van macht en onmacht, in NRC Handelsblad 11 november 1983.

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

Miryam en Herman, Gesprek met Hannes Wallrafen, in Herman (tekst). Zwart op wit. Nieuwsfotografie in de media, Amsterdam (Lont en Raket) 1984, p. 73-76.

Dick van de Pol (red.). Foto in vorm. Grafisch Nederland 1984, p. 39, 86-87.

E.d.R. (= Evelyn de Regt), Van Chili tot Guatemala, in Perspektief (winter 1984) 16, p. 45.

Catalogus tent. Wat Amsterdam betreft… = As far as Amsterdam goes …, Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum) 1985, p. 136-137.

JVB, Koen Wessing[,] Frank Lateur [en] Joseph Chatelain, in XYZ-Fotografie Newsletter 1 (1985) 3.

Anoniem, Levenslust, in Bondig 22 april 1985, p. 16-21.

Johanneke van Slooten, De dilemma’s van de sociale fotografie, in Haagse Post 72 (18 mei 1985) 20, p. 50-53.

Anoniem, Fotograaf klaagt krant aan wegens misbruik foto, in Het Parool 6 december 1985.

Anoniem, Fotograaf spant kort geding aan tegen dagblad De Telegraaf, in de Volkskrant 7 december 1985.

Mark van Dongen, Van Chili tot Guatamala, in Lies Ros, Frank Beekers en Rob Schröder (samenstelling). Het ontwerpproces. Grafisch ontwerpers en hun opdrachtgevers, Amsterdam (Gerrit Jan Thieme Fonds/De Populier) 1986, p. 13 (serie: Gerrit Jan Thiemefonds 9).

Ellen Kok, Telegraaf moet fotograaf schadevergoeding betalen, in Foto 41 (maart 1986) 3, p. 11.

Anoniem, Manifestatie Foto 86 is goed voor ruim 90 exposities. Fotografie van de jaren ’50 en van de laatste 5 jaar centraal, in Uitkrant voor Amsterdammers 20 (mei 1986) 9, p. 24.

Anneke van Veen e.a. (tekst). Foto’s voor de stad, Fodor. Tweemaandelijks tijdschrift voor beeldende kunst in Amsterdam 5 (mei/ juni 1986) 3, p. 10, 40-41, 43 (met foto’s).

Willem Ellenbroek, Amsterdam in vijftien beeldverhalen. Gemeentearchief laat foto-opdrachten zien, in de Volkskrant 1 mei 1986.

Pauline Terreehorst, Koen Wessing, in Dutch Art + Architecture Today (december 1986) 20, p. 14-19 (met foto’s).

Rini Scheffers, Op reis, in Foto 41 (december 1986) 12, p. 77-83,

Emile Meijer en Joop Swart (samenstelling), Het fotografisch geheugen. Twaalf kenners over persfotografie, Amsterdam (World Press Photo/Nijgh & Van Ditmar) 1987, p. 136, 151 (idem Engelse ed.: The photographic memory, London/Amsterdam (Quiller/World Press Photo) 1988).

Jannetje Koelewijn, Het China van Koen Wessing. ‘Iedere seconde zag ik nieuwe mensen’, in Vrij Nederland-Bijvoegsel (7 maart 1987) 10, omslag, p. 4-19 (met foto’s).

Anneke van Veen, Amsterdam voordat het voorbij is. De foto-opdrachten van het Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst ten behoeve van het Gemeente-Archief, in Perspektief (juni 1987) 28/29, p. 54, 66-67 (met foto’s).

Hripsimé Visser, Documentaire en monumentale foto-opdrachten in Nederland na 1945, in Perspektief (juni 1987) 28/29, p. 115-121.

Wim Vroom, Twaalf jaar Rijksmuseum opdrachten, in Perspektief (juni 1987) 28/29, p. 32-33 (met foto’s).

Anoniem, Stedelijk, Amsterdam, in Foto 42 (oktober 1987) 10, p. 16.

Eric van ‘t Groenewout, China en Wessing, in GKf bulletin (oktober 1987) 2, p. 5.

Frits Baarda, Koen Wessings hart ligt in Latijns-Amerika. “In de wortel zijn we allemaal slecht”, in Focus 74 (november 1987) 11, p. 19-24 (met foto’s).

Eddie Marsman, Boeken. Koen Wessing in China en Tibet, in Foto 42 (december 1987) 12, p. 28.

Anoniem, Zuid-Amerika, in Leidsch Dagblad 28 december 1987, p. 31.

Ingeborg Leijerzapf, Koen Wessing, in Ingeborg Leijerzapf e.a., Roots + Turns. 20th Century photography in The Netherlands, Den Haag (SDU Publishers) 1988, p. 144-149, 170 (met foto’s).

Louis Zweers, Vier boeken over de Derde Wereld, in Perspektief (april 1988) 31/32, p. 80-81.

Rolf Bos, Zuid-Amerika blijft Wessing fascineren. Bereisde fotograaf krijgt Joop Alblas-prijs, in de Volkskrant 13 december 1988.

Frits Baarda, Koen Wessing en Latijns-Amerika. Als de actualiteit vervaagt, moeten de foto’s er nog zijn, in Frits Baarda, Het oog van de oorlog. Fotografen aan het front, Den Haag/Amsterdam (SDU/Focus) 1989, p. 115-121 (met foto’s).

Mattie Boom, Foto in omslag. Het Nederlandse documentaire fotoboek na 1945 = Photography between covers. The Dutch documentary photobook after 1945, Amsterdam (Fragment) 1989, p. 40, 42, 63-64, 117-119, 121, 134, 140.

Mattie Boom, 150 jaar fotografie. Een keuze uit de collectie van de Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst, Den Haag (SDU) 1989, p. 53, 155 (serie; RBK-reeks, nr. 2).

Catalogus Rijksaankopen 1988. Werk van hedendaagse beeldende kunstenaars. Den Haag (Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst) 1989, p. 223-224 (met foto’s).

Bas Roodnat, Berichten uit de bewoonde en onbewoonde wereld, in NRC Handelsblad 14 januari 1989.

Anoniem, Koen Wessing wint Alblas-prijs, in P/F Professionele Fotografie (februari 1989) 1, p. 83.

Margalith Kleijwegt, Uit het archief. Fotografen kiezen fotografen, in Vrij Nederland-Bijvoegsel (11 maart 1989) 10, p. 18-28.

Carel Kuitenbrouwer, Fotografie als wapen. Fotojournalist Koen Wessing bekroond met Capi-Lux Alblas-prijs 1988, in Capi-Lux Vakkrant april 1989, omslag, p. 2-3.

Herman Hoeneveld, Koen Wessing, in P/F Professionele Fotografie (april 1989) 2, p. 69-78.

Leo Divendal, Wessing krijgt Capi-Lux-Alblas-prijs, in Haarlems Dagblad 13 april 1989.

Charles Lennartz, “Ik ben geen kouwe kikker”. Koen Wessing fotografeert al jaren in de door oorlog verscheurde wereld, in De Limburger 23 september 1989.

Harry van Gelder, Koen Wessing, in Catalogus tent. 10 jaar Capi-I.ux Alblas Prijs, Amsterdam (Capi-Lux Alblas Stichting) 1990, p. 24-37.

La Ligna 3 (maart 1990) 3, themanummer Overzichtstentoonstelling ’10 jaar Capi-Lux Alblas Prijs’, p. 3-27.

Hripsimé Visser, Confrontaties, in Perspektief (mei 1990) 38, p. 27-41.

Ingeborg Leijerzapf (red.). Het beslissende beeld. Hoogtepunten uit de Nederlandse fotografie van de 20e eeuw, Amsterdam (BIS) 1991, p. 86, 215-216.

Anoniem, Wessing, in Nieuwsblad van het Noorden 1 november 1991.

Maartje van den Heuvel en Anneke van Veen (samenstelling). Foto’s voor de stad, Amsterdamse documentaire fotoopdrachten 1972-1991 / Leontine Coelewij, Haro Plantenga en Anneke van Veen (samenstelling). Foto’s voor de stad. Amsterdamse documentaire foto-opdrachten 1989-1991, Amsterdam (Gemeentearchief Amsterdam) 1992, ongepag.

Johan M. Swinnen, De paradox van de fotografie. Een kritische geschiedenis. Met foto’s uit de collectie van het Museum voor Fotografie en het Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen en uit privé-collecties, Antwerpen/De Bilt (Hardewijch/Cantecleer) 1992, p. 254.

Flip Bool e.a. (red.), Koen Wessing, Amsterdam (Fragment) 1993 (serie: Monografieën van Nederlandse fotografen = Monographs on Dutch photographers 2).

Veilingcatalogus Dutch and Flemish vintage photographs 1860-1992. Veiling zondag 23 mei 1993 (etc.), Den Haag (Glerum) 1993, lot 159-160.

Willem Ellenbroek, Wessings foto’s zeggen meer dan ze laten zien, in de Volkskrant 25 mei 1993.

Anoniem, Foto’s met bewogen verhalen. Boeiende monografieën van Koen Wessing, in Algemeen Dagblad 26 mei 1993.

Max van Rooy, Ook generaals zijn slachtoffer, in NRC Handelsblad 23 juli 1993, Cultureel Supplement, p. 8.

Joep Eijkens, Koen Wessing is de politiek voorbij. Boek doet eindelijk recht aan fotografisch oeuvre, in Het Nieuwsblad 19 augustus 1993.

Leonoor Wagenaar, Naïef en onbewogen, in Het Parool 28 augustus 1993.

Willem Ellenbroek, Hakken in de huid van de foto. Koen Wessing en Johan van der Keuken wagen zich op elkaars terrein, in de Volkskrant 22 oktober 1993.

Bram Wisman, Argusogen. Een documentaire over de persfotografie in Nederland, Amsterdam (Voetnoot) 1994, p. 132. 139-140.

Taco Anema e.a. (red.), 50 Jaren fotografie. GKf 1945-1995, Amsterdam (De Verbeelding) 1995, p. 22, 108-111 (met foto’s).

Ursula den Tex, Fotografen/journalisten. De fotogeschiedenis van Vrij Nederland 1966-1990, Amsterdam (Amsterdam University Press) 1995, p. 11, 23, 33, 84-85, 143, 148.

Peter Weiermair (samenstelling), 100 Jahre 100 Bilder. Eine Geschichte der Fotografie 1895-1995, Kilchberg etc. (Edition Stemmle AG) 1995, p. 17-171, 230.

Hripsimé Visser (red.), 100 x Foto. 100 Foto’s uit de collectie van het Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) 1996, p. 110-111, 158.

Louis Zweers, Standplaats in de tropen. Missie, zending en ontwikkelingshulp in beeld, Zutphen (Walburg) 1996, p. 89.

Françoise Ledeboer, Vluchtelingen onthutsend gefotografeerd. Aanklacht Koen Wessing in Rijksmuseum, in Utrechts Nieuwsblad 17 maart 1997.

Françoise Ledeboer, Aanklacht tegen de wereld. Foto’s van vluchtelingen in Rijksmuseum raken onverwacht diep, in Drentse Courant 21 maart 1997.

Françoise Ledeboer, Foto’s tijdloze aanklacht tegen exodus vluchtelingen, in Noordhollands Dagblad 22 maart 1997.

Françoise Ledeboer, Tijdloze aanklacht tegen exodus. Foto’s Koen Wessing raken onverwacht diep, in Arnhemse Courant 11 april 1997.

Françoise Ledeboer, Chaotisch en armoedig Zuid-Afrika. Fotografie van Koen Wessing in Stedelijk Museum, in Gooi- en Eemlander 29 oktober 1997.

Johan van der Keuken e.a. (tekst), Johan van der Keuken. Aventures d’un régard. Films. Textes, z.p. [Parijs] (Cahiers du Cinéma) 1998, p. 40-42 (vert. en uitgebreide versie van: Zien, kijken, filmen. Foto’s, teksten en interviews, Amsterdam (Van Gennep) 1980).

Anoniem, Radio uit, in NRC Handelsblad 14 maart 1998.

Catalogus Positions Attitudes Actions. Engagement in de fotografie = Social and political commitment in photography, Rotterdam/Amsterdam (Nederlands Foto Instituut/Idea Book) 2000, p. 302-305, 316, 319.

Françoise Ledeboer, Een tijdloze aanklacht tegen dood en destructie, in Dagblad van Almere 5 juli 2000.

Françoise Ledeboer, Wessing in Amsterdams Historisch Museum. Tijdloze aanklacht tegen dood en destructie, in Haagsche Courant 6 juli 2000 (idem, in Haagsch Dagblad 11 juli 2000 en Leidsch Dagblad 11 juli 2000).

Elsbeth Etty, De wereld van Koen Wessing, in NRC Handelsblad 8 juli 2000.

Peter van Brummelen, Wessings wereld, in Het Parool 8 juli 2000, PS van de week, p. 38-40 (met foto’s).

Melchior de Wolff, Koen Wessings inspectie van de werkelijkheid, in Vrij Nederland 8 juli 2000, p. 32-36 (met foto’s).

Mark Duursma, ‘Opkrabbelen en doorvechten fascineren me’. Gesprek met fotograaf Koen Wessing over betrokkenheid, in NRC Handelsblad 10 juli 2000.

Ferry Wieringa, ‘Ja, ik kies voor de slachtoffers’, in Trouw 28 juli 2000.

Françoise Ledeboer, Foto’s Koen Wessing tijdloze klacht tegen dood en destructie, in Rotterdams Dagblad 18 augustus 2000.

Veilingcatalogus Dutch photography 1900-2000, maandag 27 november 2000, Amsterdam (Glerum Auctioneers) 2000, lot 139-141.

Johan van der Keuken, Bewogen beelden. Films, foto’s, teksten uit de wereld van een kleine zelfstandige, Breda (De Geus) 2001, p. 54-55, 163.

Tereza Siza en Johan van der Keuken, O mundo de Koen Wessing = The world of Koen Wessing, Porto (Centro Português de Fotografia) 2001.

Wim van Sinderen, Fotografen in Nederland. Een anthologie 1852-2002, Amsterdam/Gent/Den Haag (Ludion/Fotomuseum Den Haag) 2002, p. 428-429 (met foto’s).

[Jaarboek] GKf Fotografen 2003-2004, Amsterdam (GKf, beroepsvereniging voor fotografen) z.j. [2004], p. 212-213, 227.

Martin Parr en Gerry Badger, The Photobook. A history volume I, Londen/New York (Phaidon Press) 2004, p. 229.

Jet Baruch e.a.. Document Nederland. Nederland gefotografeerd 1975-2005. Een keuze uit 30 jaar documentaire foto-opdrachten van het Rijksmuseum, Zwolle/Amsterdam (Waanders/ Rijksmuseum) 2005, p. 28, 67-75, 330-342, 450-451 (met foto’s).

[Jaarboek] GKf fotografen 2005-2006, Amsterdam (GKf, beroepsvereniging voor fotografen) z j . [2006], p. 204-205, 222.

Flip Bool e.a. (red.), Nieuwe geschiedenis van de fotografie in Nederland. Dutch Eyes, Zwolle (Waanders i.s.m. Stichting Fotografie in Nederland) 2007, p. 284, 287, 356, 358, 401, 407-408, 410, 418-419, 434, 460, 466, 478-479 (met foto’s) (idem Engelse editie: A critical history of photography in the Netherlands. Dutch Eyes).

Fransje Kuyvenhoven, De Staat koopt kunst. De geschiedenis van de collectie 20ste-eeuwse kunst van het ministerie van OCW 1932-1992, Amsterdam/Leiden (Instituut Collectie Nederland i.s.m. Primavera Pers) 2007, p. 188, 214, 281.

[jaarboek] GKf fotografen 2007-2008, Amsterdam (GKf, beroepsvereniging voor fotografen) z.j. [2008], p. 1, 280-281, 318.

Anoniem, Reizen naar China en Tibet, in NRC Handelsblad 29 augustus 2008.

Ron Kaal , Oude tijden, nieuwe tijden, in HP/De Tijd 5 september 2008, p. 50-55.

Lucette ter Borg, Koen Wessing. ‘Ik ben een slenterende fotograaf, in Vrij Nederland 69 (13 september 2008) 37, p. 44-49 (met foto’s).

Anoniem, Collectors Tip. Koen Wessing Chili september 1973, in GUP. Guide to Unique Photography (2009) 019, p. 36-37.


GKf, vanaf 1967.


13 april 1989 Capi-Lux Alblas-prijs 1988.


1967 (g) Parijs, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Cinquième Biennale de Paris.

1968 (e) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Koen Wessing foto’s.

1969 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, Parijs mei/juni ’68.

1969 (g) Amsterdam, Toneelmuseum, Theater in blik.

1971 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, Fotografen voor Vietnam.

1972 (g) Groningen, Galerie De Mangelgang.

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

1975 (g) Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Beelden van Amsterdam.

1976 (g) Rijswijk, Expositiezaal Centrale Bibliotheek, In Gods naam.

1976 (g) Terneuzen, Gemeentehuis, In Gods naam.

1977 (g) Amsterdam, Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Foto’s voor de stad.

1977 (g) Amsterdam, Het Fort van Sjakoo (Jodenbreestraat 24).

1977 (g) Rotterdam, Hulp- en Informatiecentrum (Coolsingel), [selectie uit Kijkboek over gastarbeid].

1978 (g) Arles, 9ème Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie.

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

1979/1980 (g) Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Andere culturen in Nederland.

1980 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Stedelijk Museum, GKf beroepsvereniging van fotografen V.E.S. vereniging van edelsmeden en sieraadontwerpers.

1981 (e) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Koen Wessing foto’s uit Latijns-Amerika (1980) [reizende tentoonstelling].

1981 (g) Amsterdam, The Transnational Institute, Nicaragua en El Salvador [foto’s van Koen Wessing en Susan Meiselas].

1982 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Veranderingen in de fotojournalistiek 1960-’80.

1983 (e) Amsterdam, Galerie Fiolet, “Van Chili tot Guatemala”. Tien jaar Latijns-Amerika.

1983 (g) Amsterdam, De Nederlandse Kunststichting, ‘Geen Commentaar’ – fotografen als ooggetuigen van agressie en geweld [reizende tentoonstelling].

1983 (e) Hasselt, Cultureel Centrum Hasselt.

1983 (e) Rotterdam, Salvador Allende Center, “Van Chili tot Guatemala”. Tien jaar Latijns-Amerika.

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

1984 (e) Breda, De Beyerd, centrum voor beeldende kunst, [“neerslag van 10 jaar volgen van de strijd in Latijs-Amerika”].

1984 (e) Gent, Galerie XYZ.

1985/1986 (g) Gent, Galerie XYZ, [Joseph Chatelain, Koen Wessing en Frank Lateur].

1986 (g) Amstelveen, Cultureel Centrum, Dutch Photography [reizende tentoonstelling].

1986 (g) Amsterdam, Canon Photo Gallery, Op reis.

1986 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, Foto’s voor de stad, documentaire foto­opdrachten 1983-1985.

1986 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, 100 Meter foto in het Stedelijk [GKf-tentoonstelling].

1987 (e) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Koen Wessing in China en Tibet, 1986.

1988 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Roots + Turns. Traditie en vernieuwing van de fotografie in Nederland vanaf 1900.

1988 (g) Houston, Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery, Roots Turns. 20th Century photography in The Netherlands.

1989 (e) Amsterdam, Canon Image Centre, Koen Wessing.

1989 (g) Amsterdam, Dokacentrum, Koen Wessing & Agnes Leunen “Cuba “.

1989 (e) Amsterdam, Hollandse Hoogte.

1989 (e) Amsterdam, Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen, [tentoonstelling n.a.v. de toekenning van de Capi-Lux Alblas-prijs].

1989 (g) Amsterdam, De Moor, 1979-1989: Tien jaar Nicaraguaanse geschiedenis in beeld.

1989 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, De Fotoruil/De Andere Keuze [GKf-tentoonstelling].

1989 (g) Den Bosch, Noordbrabants Museum, Foto in omslag. Het Nederlandse documentaire fotoboek na 1945 [reizende tentoonstelling].

1989 (e) Rotterdam, Capi-Lux Vak, Koen Wessing.

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

1990 (e) Borne, Latijns Amerika.

1990 (g) Rotterdam, Laurenskerk, Confrontaties. Nederlandse fotografen en hun betrokkenheid bij (inter)-nationale conflicten.

1991 (g) Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk, Het Beslissende Beeld. Hoogtepunten uit de Nederlandse fotografie van de 20e eeuw.

1991 (g) Amsterdam, Oude Kerk, De Vierde Wand. De foto als theater [reizende tentoonstelling].

1991 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Nederland O Nederland [GKf-tentoonstelling].

1991 (e) Arles, China.

1991 (e) Groningen, Volkenkundig Museum Gerardus van der Leeuw, [retrospectief van Koen Wessing].

1992 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, 20 Jaar foto’s voor de stad.

1992 (e) Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk, Ouder zijn.

1992 (g) Den Haag, Statenpassage nieuwbouw Tweede Kamer, Afscheid van een tijdperk.

1992 (g) Groningen, Volkenkundig Museum Gerardus van der Leeuw, Koen Wessing: retrospectief (Fotomanifestatie Noorderlicht 1991).

1993 (g) Naarden, [buitententoonstelling op vestingwallen]. Fotofestival Naarden.

1994 (g) Arnhem, Nederlands Openluchtmuseum, Leven in Nederland. Twintig jaar fotografie in opdracht.

1995 (g) Frankfurtam Main, Frankfurter Kunstverein, 100 Jahre 100 Bilder.

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

1996 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, 100 Foto’s uit de collectie.

1997 (e) Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Een selectief welkom. Vreemdelingen in Nederland.

1997 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Koen Wessing. Foto’s uit Zuid-Afrika.

1998 (e) Antwerpen, Wereld Cultuur Centrum, [foto’s van herdersvolk de Peul]/

2000 (e) Amsterdam, Amsterdams Historisch Museum, De wereld van Koen Wessing. Fotografie 1963/2000.

2001 (g) Naarden, Grote Kerk, China-Naarden: Wall-to-Wall. (Fotofestival Naarden)

2001 (e) Porto, Centro Português de Fotografia, O Mundo de Koen Wessing.

2002/2003 (g) Den Haag, Fotomuseum Den Haag, Fotografen in Nederland 1852-2002.

2003 (e) Beilen, Architectenbureau DAAD, Koen Wessing (fotomanifestatie Noorderlicht).

2008 (e) Utrecht, Centraal Museum, Koen Wessing – Reizen naar China en Tibet.

2009 (g) Amsterdam, Foam, Koen Wessing. China 85/07.

Radio Programs

1998 (14 maart) Radio Uit, o.a. gesprek met Koen Wessing n.a.v. zijn exposities in Antwerpen en Den Haag (Radio 5).

Television Programs

1984 (27 december) Kenmerk, Kees van Twist in gesprek met Vincent Mentzel, Peter Martens en Koen Wessing (IKON).

1987 (28 december) Kwartslag. Een manier van kijken. Frank Vellenga (regie) (Humanistisch Verbond).

1988 (13 december) Voor, tijdens en na – Chili 5 oktober, regie Frank Diamand (IKON).


Amsterdam, Koen Wessing.

Leiden, Prentenkabinet Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, bibliotheek en documentatiebestand (o.a. ongepubliceerde doctoraalscriptie Marjorie van Beekum, Koen Wessing. Fotograaf van Latijns-Amerika, Leiden, augustus 1987 en Marleen Kox, Verslag onderzoek foto-archieven. (Samengesteld in opdracht van de Stichting Nederlands Foto-Archief) Amsterdam, juli 1981).

Leusden, Jan Wingender (collectie nederlands fotoboek).


Amsterdam, Instituut Collectie Nederland (standplaats Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam).

Amsterdam, Stadsarchief.

Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum.

Amsterdam, Stichting Dutch Photography.

Haarlem, Spaarnestad Photo.

Leiden, Prentenkabinet Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden.