Book review: "Emmy Andriesse: Hidden Lens" by Louise Baring


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The Independent Culture

Emmy Andriesse is one of the most important 20th century women photographers, best known for her poignant portrayal of the Amsterdam “hunger winter” in 1944-1945. These images are now emblematic of civilian suffering during the Second World War. Yet Andriesse did not focus only on humanitarian reportage, but turned her lens to fashion photography, as well as arts-based imagery, cityscapes, landscapes and portraits.

Andriesse died young but left behind 14,000 negatives and contact prints spanning her 17-year career. Many of these images have never been previously published until this first monograph.

Born into a liberal Dutch Jewish family in 1914, she trained at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. After the Germans invaded in 1940, she was forced to give up work, wear the yellow star and, in 1943, she went into hiding. She joined the “artists’ resistance” – risky work as the penalty was death – and ventured out to document the “hunger winter”, in which about 22,000 died.

Andriesse survived the war but then developed cancer and died in 1953.