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Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse

Moving forward by looking back

The photo-montage work of Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse

Text: Mike von Joel | Images: Various

JO HEDWIG TEEUWISSE does not claim to be wholly original with her historic composites – other Dutch photographers work in the same vein and the young Russian, Sergey Larenkov, travelled extensively to locate the sites for his photo-fusions. But JHT brings to her recreations a certain sensitivity born out of her very real passion for the 1930’s, and a focus firmly on the ordinary people she portrays as opposed to the harshness of wartime events.

Amsterdam-based Teeuwisse has created a life where the past is her present – literally. She has deliberately recreated the late 1930’s as her day-to-day lifestyle, from clothing and the interior of her home, to her job as a historian and archivist.[1] She is a familiar sight on the streets of Amsterdam with her authentic, 30’s apparel and vintage bicycle.

‘I went to Film School and was a film/TV director and writer for a while. Everything I worked on had a historical theme...’, Jo recollects.

But it was an overridingpassion that was to completely take over her life: ‘One day I just got rid of everything modern.’

The basis of this particular project was a cache of some 300 negatives found in a flea market. Jo identified the locations and took a contemporary shot before using Photoshop to marry the two images together, and to dissolve the intervening 60+ years, which in turn will maybe make people ‘realise that the past is all around us and that things happened where they are walking, where they live, where they work’.‘

I would love to see photos like this made across the worldand then displayed on that spot so people are confronted with the past of a location there and then.’

It sounds an ideal proposition for an Augmented Reality venture.

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