Yevgeny Khaldey

Last sunday afternoon I went to the Joods Historisch Museum here in Amsterdam to see the exhibition on Yevgeny Khaldey. A few years ago I had never heard of him. It was only after I got involved in (Russian) rangefinders that I noticed a book about him and his photographs. It's a shame this man never really was able to get the worldwide recognition he deserves. Arguably, his best work he shot during WW2. He shot from Murmansk to the Crimea and from Moscow to Berlin, recording the Russian war efforts, the devastation, the destruction and the loss of life but also the heroism and joy of life of the people, the soldiers and the survivors.

The photos are, of course, the main attraction of the exhibition but I was very pleased to see the accompanying documentary "Yevgeny Khaldey, photographer under Stalin". All in all, this is an exhibition that any rangefinder enthousiast should see.

After visiting the Yevgeny Khaldey exhibition I walked to the Oude Kerk to see the World Press Photo 2005 exhibition. On my way there I walked over the sunday market at the foot of the Waag. On this market, where nick-nacks, pot smoking paraphernalia, South-American sweaters and T-shirts are sold to tourists, I saw a few cameras for sale, though no rangefinders. Interestingly, there was a stall where they were selling glass plate negatives and magic lantern pictures. Magic lanterns seem to be known better than glass plate negatives. I overheard a young woman (25+ or so) talking on her mobile phone to her boyfriend or housemate saying that the magic lantern pictures looked great. "....They also have these small, glass plates with photos on them.... Weird!" She had picked one up to see what it was but put it down confused and didn't give it any more thought.

From the Waag it's only a short walk to the Oude Kerk. I never made it inside to see the exhibtion; it was too crowded! There was a queue outside the building and I had no interest in waiting until I could go in, probably to find a crowded exhibition room anyway. To be fair, the last two or three WPP exhibitions I saw weren't really that good. I find that many photos are rather mediocre; gripping but mediocre. Sometimes I'm wondering what the criteria are for awarding these awards....


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