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.
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.
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