Artist: Ad Windig (1912-1996)
Ober-Iberg, Schwitzerland, 1948
Baryte silverprint, size 20x25cm, vintage, stamped verso: ‘foto Ad Windig, O.Z.Achterburgwal 102, Amsterdam’. Provenance: print from archive of the photographer in the possession of his heirs.
Ad Windig (1912 – 1996) is born in Heemstede. At the age of thirteen he gets a Ernemann record camera as a gift. After the HBS in Amsterdam, he will work at the insurance office of his father. When he visits the exhibition Foto ’37 in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Windig decides to become a photographer. He will take photography lessons with Emmy Andriesse and Carel Blazer.
During the Second World War he ends up in the artist’s movement and is a member of ‘De Ondergedoken Camera’. With a camera concealed in his jacket, he makes illegal pictures from the height of his stomach. He is captured three times. The third time he escapes, just before the liberation, through a toilet window.
After the war he leaves for the Ruhr area to photograph the post-war life there. In this period he works for the newspaper De Waarheid.
In the fifties Windig worked with Carel Blazer. They travel with a white jeep to agricultural fairs and other manifestations and photograph the stands and the people. Companies are approached in the same way. Business photography is a good source of income and the images later illustrate beautiful jubilee books. The purpose of photography is for him the publication: making books, assignments and advertising printed matter; another (artistic) use has no value for him.
Ad Windig is – wrongly – always something in the background. His modesty determines the character of his photographs, in which stillness and humor come to the fore. He is the photographer of the understatement – and not of the big gesture.
His subjects range from portraits to company reports and from landscapes to still lifes. Publications by his hand include ‘Uit de werkplaatsen der beeldhouwers’ (From the workshops of the Sculptors), 1942, ‘Amsterdam tijdens den hongerwinter’ (Amsterdam during the hunger winter), 1947, ‘Verwoesting en Wederopbouw – Revival in the Netherlands‘, 1948 and a retrospective book ‘Photography/fotografie/Ad Windig’, 1989
The first Oeuvre prize of the Fund for visual Arts, Design and Architecture has been presented to him in 1992.