As of October 16th the Nederlands Fotomuseum presents: Starring Chas Gerretsen, the first retrospective exhibition of the work of Dutch photographer Chas Gerretsen. Since the beginning of the 1990s, Gerretsen’s archive has been stored at the Nederlands Fotomuseum’s facilities. In addition to his famous photographs, the exhibition will feature an extensive selection of previously unseen work. Chas Gerretsen’s oeuvre touches on important themes: is there such a thing as objective journalism? Are photographers allowed to take a stand on a topic? Can a photograph be guilty of something? The war in Vietnam, the coup in Chile but also images of celebrities like John Travolta and Dennis Hopper all are part of Gerretsen’s career as a photographer.
This exhibition portrays Gerretsen his versatility. He worked as a war photographer in Vietnam and was in Chile during the coup in 1973 coup against President Salvador Allende. Chas Gerretsen was the only Dutchman to receive the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal for exceptional bravery. Chas Gerretsen later settled in Hollywood where he photographed celebrities like John Travolta. He also was the photographer on the set of the film Apocalypse Now, Francis Coppola's masterpiece. In this film Dennis Hopper plays a war photographer, based on the story of Chas Gerretsen. In 1989 Chas Gerretsen ended his career as a photographer. Since then he has sailed the world on his boat.
Dennis Hopper during the filming of 'Apocalypse Now', Philippines (1976) © Chas Gerretsen /Nederlands Fotomuseum
Since 2019, Chas Gerretsen has been posting the photos that the museum has digitised on social media. Many Chileans follow what he publishes, because the photos he took in 1973 are so exceptional. Some Chileans hope to recognize lost relatives or friends in the photos. Chas Gerretsen can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For this exhibition guest curator Iris Sikking made a selection of over 200 photos and objects from Chas Gerretsen his archive, after which she composed them into a story and placed them in a contemporary context. The exhibition offers the visitor a compelling image of this unique photographer.
The Nederlands Fotomuseum is publishing the book Starring Chas Gerretsen which include all the photos from the exhibition and archived material. Birgit Donker, director of the Nederlands Fotomuseum, wrote the preface and there are also several fascinating essays to read, including an essay by the curator Iris Sikking and four guest authors, which include curators from the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos in Chile. This book is the second monograph in the new Collection series of the Nederlands Fotomuseum published by Lecturis.
In de hoofdrol Chas Gerretsen (Dutch) ISBN 978 94 6226 409 0
Starring Chas Gerretsen (English) ISBN 978 94 6226 406 9 | € 35,-
Boom Uitgevers, ISBN 9789024434473 | € 24,50The photo book: Apocalypse Now, The Lost Photo Archive is about Chas Gerretsen's work during the famous 1979 film.
Prestel Publishing, ISBN 978-3791388083 | € 44,90