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Laura Samsom about Willem Wernsen

Laura Samsom, photographer, April 13, 2013.
Letter, written for the opening of the exhibition ‘People of Paris’ in Galerie Pitt & Co, Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

In 2011 I worked with Rommert Boonstra as jury members for the Fotobond, the umbrella organisation for amateur photographers. We made the selection for the annual National Photo Salon, the pride of the Fotobond. Many photographers participated.

Our selection was exhibited in the National Photo Museum. There, for the first time, I met Willem Wernsen.
I complemented him with his photography and his answer was that he would like to send me his photo books. Actually I was surprized that he – as an amateur – made two photo books and when I received the books, I was astounded … WOW!!!

I was impressed by his work, the beautiful “clair-obscure” makes every photo even more intense. All in the tradition of great black and white photographers, like Ed van der Elsken.

I mailed him “your photos still sizzle on my mind … have you ever considered to join GFK, The Dutch organisation of professional photographers?” There is always the balloting committee before being accepted as a member of GFK, but as I wrote him, it will be a honour for GFK to accept you as a member and I will fervently recommend you. There was a minor protest … some members claimed the professional status. But to me, Willem was “hors concours”.
Sometimes quality is all that matters, rules are there to be broken, and without further protests Willem was accepted.

His passion for photography is always present, even in difficult circumstances. The heart of a true artist.
I do hope to see many more beautiful photos by Willem Wernsen.