Arjan de Nooy

Arjan de Nooy (Goes, 1965) studied chemistry and photography. The artist is mainly known for his book-making and museum shows, often together with Anne Geene. They made several award-winning books like Ornithology and The Universal Photographer which resulted in a museum exhibition at Kunstmuseum Den Haag. Other exhibitions of Arjan de Nooy include a.o. Het Nederlands Fotomuseum, Fotomuseum Den Haag, Natural History Museum, Van Goghhuis, Museum Jan Cunen, Marres, le Centquatre-Paris and Biënnale Drenthe. De Nooy’s work is part of the collection at a.o. Kunstmuseum Den Haag.

Arjan de Nooy works both with his own photographs as well as with found material. The stories he constructs give the photographs an artificial context and thereby give them their meanings. An ongoing project is a fictional history of Dutch photography that presents oeuvres and biographies of completely unknown, but nonetheless important photographers. Parts of this project can be found on and in the publications De facto (2009), Haarscherp (2012) and Party Photographer (2014).

is a body of work based on the eponymous book. The title refers both to the study of the medium as well as to the logic of photography games. This work aims to be a photographic overview with alternative theories based on the history and theory of the medium. Photology includes De Nooy’s own photography, collage, found footage, re-photographed images, postcards and other appropriated material.

The Universal Photographer 
This monograph, made in collaboration with Anne Geene, 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. Numerous features of other photographers, philosophers, scientists and collectors can be recognized in the fictional photographer U. Like them, U. had a tendency to copy, collect, combine and study. And, like them, he lacked common sense. 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.

This book, made in collaboration with Anne Geene, 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. 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.

Click here for a CV