This pensive pose by a Paris model comes to you courtesy of a photographer I had never heard of.
In fact, it was like an act of Congress to find anything good – in English – about Willem van de Poll (1895 – 1970). He studied photography in Vienna, and worked as a freelance press photographer throughout Europe, the Middle East, Indonesia and the Caribbean during his long career. His photographs depict life and products of the mid 20th century, with most shots being done in black and white. Thankfully I did find a Wiki page about him in Dutch.
His style was sleak and timeless, while the lighting was often impeccable.
Evidenced above, van de Poll was able to portray a softer positive side of life in an unobtrusive way. I would almost call him a street photographer, because many of his photos – part of a veritable truckload – seem to have that “on-the-fly” feel of his contemporaries Henri Cartier-Bresson and Vivian Maier; what set him apart from others of his time was a street photo style with polish, a dedication that discounted the notion that he simply leveled a camera and shot. While Cartier-Bresson and Maier are better known, and seemed to catch people at their most vulnerable moments, van de Poll seemed to catch them often at their most beautiful. His unplanned photos are as uplifting and have as much detail as the shots he set up.
I am confused on why I’ve never heard of him until now.
Below you’ll find 30 reasons to love the photography of Willem van de Poll, representing the thousands of photos he took during his lifetime. By looking through them, I think you’ll discover – like I did – a great photographer and treasure from the era that should have more notoriety.
About Willem van de Poll (in Dutch) – http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willem_van_de_Poll
Photos in Dutch National Archive – At Gahetna.nl