Arjan de Nooy

Arjan de Nooy (Goes, 1965) studied chemistry and photography. He works both with his own photographs as well as with found material. The stories he constructs give the photographs an artificial context and therefore give them their meanings. An ongoing project is a fictional history of  Dutch photography, in which both oeuvres and biographies of fictional photographers are presented as contemplative texts. Parts of this project can be found on and in the publications De facto (2009), Haarscherp (2012) and Party Photographer (2014).

About The Universal Photographer 
A monograph about the universal photographer U. made in collaboration with Anne Geene.

This monograph offers an introduction to the life, work and opinions of the universal photographer U. (1955 – 2016), a man who produced more pictures of more different subjects in more different styles than any other photographer to date. In U., numerous features of other photographers, philosophers, scientists and collectors can be recognized, but closest to his character may well be the protagonists of Flaubert’s novel Bouvard and Pécuchet. Like them, U. had a tendency to copy, collect, combine and study, and, like them, he lacked common sense. This resulted in remarkable methods, peculiar preferences and naïve solutions to self-made problems.

Besides being a monograph of U., The Universal Photographer reflects Geene & De Nooy’s view on the art of photography, characterised by relativism and even absurdism, but most of all it is a celebration of photography. Its primary quality – to copy – is taken to extremes through U.’s straightforward approach. Reading the history of photography as photos of photos of photos, U.’s work may well be an invitation for even more photos. In the words of Bouvard and  Pécuchet: “No reflexion! Let’s copy!”

About Ornithology
A book about Science-Birds-Photography. This project is a collaboration with Anne Geene. This book won the Golden Letter for ‘Best Book Design from all over the World’. Ornithology refers to the scientific study of birds, including their physiology, classification, ecology, and behaviour. Due to their visibility and often colourful appearance, birds are a popular object in both science and the visual arts – photography in particular. With their pseudo-scientific approach hunter-collectors Geene and De Nooy defy the borders between these disciplines. Their classification of bird pictures exhibits the humorous outcome of creative and associative thinking, with every section of Ornithology opening new perspectives on birds.

Geene and De Nooy manifest themselves as rare birds in the world of bird photography, dominated as it is, by people with the ‘classic’ aesthetic view. Many of the subjects they shot are dead, but some are representations. Some appear as building materials, some merely as their droppings. Ornithology may be seen both as a photographer’s study of birds and as an ornithologist’s photographic research.

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