The photo book Dark Dunes is based on a stack of found negatives, made during the German occupation of the Netherlands. This enthusiastic amateur photographer was very meticulous in his handling of the medium of photography. Not only did he write down shutter times and aperture stops in the margins of his negatives, he also recorded the time of day, what the weather was like and what year it was: almost all between 1940 and 1945. He photographed landscapes, tulips, country lanes, and sometimes the cloudy sky. A photographer who looks through the lens without seeing the age and world that he's living in.

This series of negatives is questioning how photography can conceal the reality, instead of revealing it, and can be escapistic, instead of engaging. All photographs are printed as I found them: as negatives. Included are some newspapers whose publication dates correspond with the dates the photographer wrote in the margins of the negatives.


An insert sheet with the English translation of the essay writen by Wilco Versteeg is included.

The photobook is designed by Willem van Zoetendaal.

© Rein Jelle Terpstra, Dark Dunes. All pictures courtesy of the artist.

Rein Jelle Terpstra lives and works in Amsterdam. He investigates the relationships between perception, memory and photography, by making slideshow installations and books. His work is held in various collections, including the collection of the SFMOMA (San Francisco), MoMA Library (New York), the Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles), EYE Film Museum (Amsterdam) and the Nederlands Fotomuseum (Rotterdam). In 2017, Terpstra undertook a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in Washington, D.C., as part of the project about the Robert F Kennedy Funeral Train. In this project he searched for snapshots and home movies people took from the train on June 8 1968, and stitched them together in a timeline. His book Robert F Kennedy Funeral Train – The People’s View has been awarded with a Golden Medal for The Most Beautiful Book of the World, in 2019. He teaches fine arts and photography at Hanze Minerva Art Academy, Groningen.

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