Vincent Mentzel is the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad’s court photographer, and this book about him is first and foremost a gigantic portrait gallery.
With very few exceptions all the images are in black and white, and this is reflected in the black cover and edges and the white paper. Mentzel’s oeuvre is presented not in chronological order but as a continuous pictorial narrative based on particular motifs. Grouping the photographs by pose, gesture and other forms of graphic match produces a filmic rhythm. The individual is subsumed into a timeless flow of images which has the effect of putting everything into perspective. Formal portraits of Dutch royals, statesmen and celebrities are mixed in with unknowns, groups and snapshots. Politicians, current affairs and far-flung countries appear cheek by jowl with the royal family, musicians and artists.
The panel were full of praise for the way the book has been put together and the precise layout that shines from every spread. And it lies open perfectly.