Indonesia independent - Photographs 1947-1953 > Biography Charles Breijer (1914)

Charles Breijer saw photography and film as journalistic means par excellence. He was not interested in 'nice pictures' but rather in the transfer of information. Nevertheless, his photographs clearly show the influence of the New Photography. The Russian film and Joris Ivens' work were important sources of inspiration for Breijer's image language.

In 1937, Breijer started his career as a professional photographer at publishing house De Arbeiderspers. He made, amongst others, photo reports for Wij. Ons werk ons leven, a journal with a modern design, with lots of room for photography and photomontages. At De Arbeiderspers, Breijer became friends with Cas Oorthuys, who encouraged him to experiment and taught him a lot.

Immediately after the German invasion the press became subject to strict censorship. Photographers were forced to become members of the Verbond van Nederlandsche Journalisten (Union of Dutch Journalists), which was supervised by the Bureau Fotopers (Photo Press Office). Breijer did register to be able to continue to work as a photographer and as a front for his underground activities. Already in the early years of the Occupation, he used his press card to capture aspects of daily life that were not acceptable to the occupier. He was one of the few people, for instance, who photographed the closing-off of the Jewish Quarter in Amsterdam. In the course of 1944 he met Fritz Kahlenberg and got involved with De Ondergedoken Camera (The Hidden Camera), a group of photographers in Amsterdam who photographed the last year of the occupation. He made no less than 260 photo's, partly from a bicycle saddlebag in which he hid his camera. Compared with the photographs by the other members of De Ondergedoken Camera, Charles Breijer's illegal pictures are important mainly because they show various aspects of the armed resistance.

In 1947, Breijer left for Indonesia as a would-be cameraman and stayed on until 1953. After returning to the Netherlands, Breijer focused mainly on filming and hardly occupied himself with photography anymore.

Examples from this collection Indonesia independent - Photographs 1947-1953

View all images of this collection