Exhibitions — January 27, 2022

Mark van den Brink — The Minox Files

Book presentation together with Willem van Zoetendaal

Friday 25 February, opening speech by Willem van Zoetendaal at 17.30

At the venue Fosbury & Sons, Prinsengracht 769, Amsterdam

click here to order the book via our shop —

Minox is the name of the subminiature camera, invented by Walter Zapp back in 1936 and produced to be a camera anyone could use, especially those new to photography. Shortly thereafter, following World War II, it was redesigned and entered the ranks of espionage as a spy camera. The ultralight aluminium device’s format could easily be concealed in clothing, hollow books, bags, and suitcases. It was used by intelligence operatives During the Cold War and starred in a number of movies including those about James Bond. 

Mark van den Brink is a photographer who works with such a miniature Minox camera. His 12-years-long archive Minox Files consists of 15,000 photographs. In collaboration with publisher Willem Van Zoetendaal, the book The Minox Files was created out of 350 images from that archive. During the book presentation at Fosbury & Sons, a small selection of the archive will be shown as well as a video-projection — a body of work that was never exhibited before.


Recounting near and far away travels, The Minox Files covers the years 1994-2005. The book keeps a photographic account of the photographer’s wanderings through nature and city: along rivers, in forests and mountains, and streets of Amsterdam, Paris, and New York. It gives insight into van den Brink’s cataloguing method of photographing democratically, with a poetic vision and personal feel for mystery. 

At 8 x 11 mm, the Minox has the smallest-sized negatives in analog photography, Mark van den Brink cuts the plastic film to size by hand. Because the cutting has to be done in the dark, the film is often scratched. Those imperfections are part of his art. Same as the distorted perspective, fuzzy texture, and irregularities of the prints all coalesce flawlessly with the photographer’s own way of looking at the world. 

Van den Brink does not plan his images: he recognises them when he comes upon them on location. He is seeking and observing. Van den Brink works in experimental yet unpretentious manner, in a style of poetic diary-like images. He purchased the camera thinking that he could – like a voyeur – inconspicuously photograph the world around him, even from the comfort of an easy chair. This book takes you on several rambles that break with the classic romantic vacation, including Van den Brink’s voyage down the Meuse River and walks along the decommissioned 38 km La Petite Ceinture railroad track in Paris, as well as his unforgettable meandering strolls through North Amsterdam.

Mark van den Brink (1965, Witmarsum, NL) is a Dutch photographer, based in Amsterdam. He graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 1996. Since then, he has been working on his ongoing project Minox Files. The work of Mark van den Brink has been previously exhibited at a.o. FOAM Museum, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Het Scheepvaartmuseum, Museum Hilversum, Frans Hals Museum, Maison Descartes, Kumho Museum of Art (South Korea), Daejeon Municipal Museum of Art (South Korea) and presented at international art fairs like Paris Photo and Art Rotterdam. His work is part of the collection of Fotomuseum Den Haag, Ministerie van Buitenlandse zaken, Botland collections and other private collections.


Download PRESS RELEASE (eng) here