Roy Kahmann, the tireless promoter of Dutch photography, squeezes it a bit. While the world-famous Photo Festival in Arles, just like Photo London and the Dutch photo fair Unseen, was cancelled due to corona, on Wednesday he opens the Fresh Eyes Photo Fair in Amsterdam‘s Gashouder Westergas. Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres is no problem. There was plenty of space. But I do need at least 2000 visitors to play even
Sometimes, he confesses, the thought creeps up on him: Where did I start? Because the risk is great. Of the 32 Dutch photo galleries in our country, only eight, to his disappointment, dared to go on an adventure with him to hold a trade fair in the middle of the corona crisis. These are the true entrepreneurs with guts, says the gallery owner, publisher and designer. The others are too afraid that they won’t get a return on their investment
He himself wants to present Europe’s 100 most promising photographers at all costs. Fresh Eyes started out as a catalogue, telephone book or sample of international talent. Americans have dominated the photography market for decades. I want to show them that Europe has at least as many top talents to offer
He incorporated four of them into his own stable: Chantal Elisabeth Ariëns, Lotte Ekkel, Sara Punt and the self-taught Joep Hijwegen. I felt obliged, now that so many shows are not going on, to create a stage for their work. After all, they too have invested in prints and frames In addition to up-and-coming photographers, there will also be a lot of vintage work to be seen by famous photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and William Klein. For this Kahmann works together with Howard Greenberg Gallery from New York.
Of course I am a stranger. We are no ordinary gallery, we do so much more: we publish GUP Magazine and books, organise photo events and soon organise an auction ourselves. Because I have a mission and that is to take Dutch photography to the next level. On the international art market we are still too low for my taste. It’s also been ten years since work by Rineke Dijkstra and Desirée Dolron was auctioned off in New York. The competition is stiff. But the quality of our photographers is great. They deserve an international stage
Fresh Eyes Photo Fair can be visited in the Gashouder Westergas from 16 to 20 September.