The magnifying glass and pocket watch are the first things we notice in this close-up photographic self-portrait by designer Paul Schuitema. They allude to the precision of the equipment created by one of Schuitema’s clients in the period 1927–31: N.V. Mij. Van Berkels Patent. He designed all the company’s publicity. Photography as a visual element in advertising was new at the time. In Schuitema’s view – and that of his fellow photographers worldwide – the mechanical character of photography was a perfect match for the machine production of their era and photographs could convey a message more quickly and directly than words. The textual reference to Van Berkel in this photograph therefore has very much a subsidiary role. In 1931, he incorporated the photograph in a poster for “Internationaal reclame drukwerk” (International Advertisement Printing), an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, which presented the contemporary avant-garde in this field. Schuitema was able to share his convictions not only through his own work, but also through art education.
© Paul Schuitema/Nederlands Fotomuseum/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Makers

Translated title

Self Portrait

Collection

Photos

Production date

ca. 1929

Library

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Material

gelatin silver print

Object number

FA 1343