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European RoyalsThe Netherlands

Queen Máxima visits the Fotomuseum


Queen Máxima visited the Netherlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam on Tuesday to view several exhibitions and learn more about the facilities.

One of the exhibitions she saw, during the tour given by Fotomuseum director Birgit Donker, was Shadows by Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar, the second in a trilogy of exhibits dedicated to a single image.

In this exhibition, the image is inspired by the work of Koen Wessing, a Dutch photographer who captured a photo of farmers carrying a corpse during the Somoza regime in 1978.

“Wessing decided to follow the group and photographed subsequent events at very close range: the car journey, the arrival at the man’s home, the laying out of the corpse – and the moment when the dead man’s two daughters arrived at the house, convulsed by grief,” according to the Fotomsueum’s official website.

Wessing’s book, Chili, September 1973, is the inspiration for Jaar’s exhibition. The images showcased feature no accompanying text, similar to how the book was just a visual representation of the horrors of the military coup.

Jaar said about the exhibition that, “We have become numb to images and they do not seem to affect us anymore. So here I am trying to focus on a single image, and it is an invitation for people to see, to actually see them.”

The first exhibition in his trilogy – The Sound of Silence – was displayed at the Fotomuseum in 2013.

During her tour of the exhibition, Queen Máxima was heard commenting that it was surprising for a photographer to have been given such access during the Chilean regime, and that “Maybe they wanted to show it.”

Queen Máxima visited the other exhibitions currently on display, which includes Robert F. Kennedy’s Funeral Train: The People’s View; and The Collection Illuminated by Bertien van Manen.

Queen Máxima then visited the restoration studio, where the team has been working to restore over 42,000 slides from Ed van der Elsken. Her Majesty learned how the team works to restore the photographs, including stripping them from fungi in a process that is now used around the world.

Finally, Queen Máxima learned how the Fotomuseum is digitising their collection to preserve the works for future generations, not through scanning but through photographing because it’s quicker and the museum has only digitised four per cent of their collection.

As she left, Queen Máxima was heard saying that she loves photography, though she’s more adept at iPhone photography than traditional photography.

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.