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Open Access Dutch Face-ism. Portrait Photography and Völkisch Nationalism in the Netherlands

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Dutch Face-ism. Portrait Photography and Völkisch Nationalism in the Netherlands

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This article takes its cue from an essay by Gerhard Richter on Walter Benjamin and the fascist aestheticization of politics. It examines the portrait photography of Dutch photographer W.F. Van Heemskerck Düker, who was a true believer in the ideology of a Greater Germany. He published a number of illustrated books on the Dutch Heimat and worked together with German photographers Erna Lendvai-Dircksen and Erich Retzlaff. When considering what type of photography was best suited to capture the photographic aesthetics of the fascist nation, the article argues that within the paradigm of the Greater German Heimat we find not so much a form of anthropometric photography, as exemplified by the work of Hans F.K. Günther, as a genre of Heimat portraits that was better equipped to satisfy the need to unify two crucial structural oppositions in fascist ideology, namely mass versus individuality, and physical appearance versus inner soul.

Affiliations: 1: NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Herengracht 380, 1016 CJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands, r.ensel@niod.knaw.nl ; 2: NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies Herengracht 380, 1016 CJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands, r.ensel@niod.knaw.nl

10.1163/22116257-00201009
/content/journals/10.1163/22116257-00201009
dcterms_title,pub_keyword,dcterms_description,pub_author
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This article takes its cue from an essay by Gerhard Richter on Walter Benjamin and the fascist aestheticization of politics. It examines the portrait photography of Dutch photographer W.F. Van Heemskerck Düker, who was a true believer in the ideology of a Greater Germany. He published a number of illustrated books on the Dutch Heimat and worked together with German photographers Erna Lendvai-Dircksen and Erich Retzlaff. When considering what type of photography was best suited to capture the photographic aesthetics of the fascist nation, the article argues that within the paradigm of the Greater German Heimat we find not so much a form of anthropometric photography, as exemplified by the work of Hans F.K. Günther, as a genre of Heimat portraits that was better equipped to satisfy the need to unify two crucial structural oppositions in fascist ideology, namely mass versus individuality, and physical appearance versus inner soul.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22116257-00201009
2013-01-01
2016-12-08

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