Paris, 14 July 1958, a cloudy and windy day. In a narrow street on the Île St.-Louis a small band have assembled on a stage to celebrate the national day of celebration. Elderly couples wander past, children hang about, girls parade with pointy chests and little scarves wound tightly round their necks. From time to time people dance. A twenty-year-old film student from Holland takes a series of photographs. The last of these is destined to become famous, appearing in no fewer than six of Johan van der Keuken’s photobooks.
In 2010 the time came to put the whole series on display. The vehicle was a book of twenty-five photos of that cloudy and windy day, the six books with the famous photo, the seven strips of film that started it all, and a postscript by van der Keuken’s widow Noshka van der Lely. Thanks to the Japanese style of binding, these relatively sparse contents acquire sufficient volume without becoming needlessly heavy.
Not all panel members were taken with the way one of the three photos that van der Keuken took that same evening had been turned into a decorative wrapper for the book. On the other hand the execution of the interior with the photos printed in two shades of black and two of grey on pleasant paper stock is nothing short of exemplary. Might there really, on that day, have been the sound of a musette?