As a boy of twelve, Ed van Wijk was given a box camera by his grandfather and at the age of sixteen he bought a Rolleicord. At school, he gained his first experience in candid photography by taking pictures in the classroom without it being noticed.
In the first days of the war, Van Wijk photographed the destruction of Rotterdam and German planes that had crashed. He also took photographs on Crazy Tuesday (5th September 1944) and that same year he recorded the evacuation of the Marlot district in The Hague and of Wassenaar, the confiscation of bicycles, the bombing of Bezuidenhout and, finally, the Liberation.
After the war, Van Wijk took photo portraits of adults and children and also reportage photos for the Residentie Toneel, a theatre company in The Hague. His photographs appeared in the magazines Eva and Wij Vrouwen (We Women) and other publications. One of the first books of photographs to include his work was Nederland - wonder uit water (The Netherlands – miracle out of water) published by W. van Hoeve in 1954 after the example of the series De schoonheid van ons land (The beauty of our country) from the Contact publishing house. This publication was followed by a great number of books with topographic photographs.
The reputation that Ed van Wijk achieved with his photo books led to teaching appointments at various academies.