Dutch photographer Chris de Ruig worked for 3 years in the 50s on a book about Amsterdam’s rough tough Jordaan quarter. The book was never published & he stopped taking pictures.

Chris de Ruig, The Jordaan festival on the Lindengracht. c. 1956-1958.
Jordaan festival on the Palmgracht with illuminated
Ferris wheel. c. 1956-1958.
Woman in a cafe in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Family in front of a shop in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.

The life of the Dutch photographer, Chris de Ruig (1930-2013), is sketchy and elusive.

Here’s what little we have.

De Ruig discovered photography as a boy in the darkroom of his father, a man who sold photo products and traded cigars as well as developing and printing for customers in the Dutch province of Friesland. 

It gets complicated. By the the mid-1950s, de Ruig was in Amsterdam, where he met another photographer named Cees Nieuwenhuijzen, who would later change his name to Oscar van Aplhen. Until 1958 the pair lived around the corner from each other: de Ruig in the Kerkstraat and Oscar van Alphen in the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 27. Together they set up a photo agency, De Ruig came up with the name Printikon. A publisher friend suggested the two shoot a photo series for a potential book about the tough working-class neighbourhood of The Jordaan, a leftwing stronghold, with a stormy history of heavy drinking, strikes and riot.

De Ruig, worked on the book for over 2 years between 1956 & 1958.

Effectively that’s how long he spent as a photographer. Two or three years. The book never materialised.

In 1961, two of De Ruig’s photos were published in Dag Amsterdam and shown in Het Parool, an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum. 

Chris de Ruig used a Leica and stuck with just two lenses, a 50 and an 80 mm. He later changed to a Nikon. The two Printikon photographers jointly purchased a studio camera to carry out larger assignments, but, like the Jordan book deal these didn’t transpire either. The Printikon photo agency and De Ruig’s collaboration with Oscar van Alphen came to an end. De Ruig returned to his original profession of publishing.

He died in 2013. 

The images he shot for the book that never was are chock full of authenticity, atmosphere and have an aesthetic reminiscient of classic photography.

Singer for café Nooyer, Westerstraat 65, in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958
Jordaan festival on the Lindengracht. Boy at a merry-go-round. c.1956-1958.
Billiards player in café Nooyer in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Jordan at night. Lindengracht 95-99. c. 1956-1958.
Jordaan festival on the Lindengracht. Two girls eating chips. c.1956-1958.
Singer in café Nooyer in the Jordaan. 1956-1958. c.1956-1958.
Jordan at night. Rozengracht 112-148. c.1956-1958.
Regular guest at a juxebox in a café in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Billiards player in a cafe in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Four women in a cafe in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Regular guest at a table in a café in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Regular guest at a table in a café in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Young family with kitchen-in-cupboard in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Young family with kitchen-in-cupboard in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Young family with kitchen-in-cupboard in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Two girls standing in front of a house window in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
J. Horn & Zn., Bed. Leliestraat 107.
Making and repairing mattresses. c.1956-1958.
J. Horn & Zn., Bed maker. Nieuwe Leliestraat 107. Making and repairing mattresses. c.1956-1958.
Pet shop in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Hoop competition on the Noordermarkt. c.1956-1958.
Couple talking in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Public in café Nooyer in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Waterlooplein market. c.1956-1958.
Man and a car in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Waterlooplein after the market. c.1956-1958.
A bitch with young in a cage in the Jordaan.
Second Leliedwarsstraat. c.1956-1958.
Second-hand shop in the Jordaan.
c.1956-1958.
Waterlooplein after the market. c.1956-1958.
Spectator at the Resistance commemoration
on the Noordermarkt. c.1956-1958.
Second-hand shop in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Waterlooplein after the market. c.1956-1958.
Market on the Lindengracht. c.1956-1958.
Waterlooplein after the market. c.1956-1958.
Interior of an eel smokehouse in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Interior of an eel smokehouse in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Portrait of an old man in a cap. c.1956-1958.
Portrait of a man with stubble in overalls. c.1956-1958.
Jordaan festival on the Lindengracht. Lot-drawing people at a gambling tent with owner. c.1956-1958.
Crowds of people at the Jordaan Festival on the Lindengracht. c.1956-1958.
Klaverjassen in the living room above a store. c.1956-1958.
Klaverjassen in the living room above a store. c.1956-1958.
Billiards in a café in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Woman with dog on a vacant lot in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Farrier in the Jordaan. Horse being shod with horseshoes. c.1956-1958.
Candy store in the Jordaan. c.1956-1958.
Boy behind a window in a private house. c.1956-1958.
Welder at work at the KNSM on the levantkade. c.1956-1958.
Two girls and a man in front of their house in the Anjeliersstraat. c.1956-1958.
Audience at a parade with a calesse and two palfreniers. c.1956-1958.

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Johan Conrad Greive.