World War Two Today. Photography by Roger Cremers
An interview with Roger Cremers >
Wave of commotion
Everywhere in Europe younger generations are looking for new ways to remember the Second World War. 70 years after the end of the Second World War, the borders between commemorating and experience, remembrance and entertainment often fade away. In 2008, Dutch photographer Roger Cremers noticed this development and captured it on camera. His pictures caused a wave of commotion, both nationally and internationally. For the first time in the Netherlands, the Dutch Resistance Museum organizes an exhibition showing the work of World Press Photo winner Cremers.
The further the Second World War lies behind us, the more intense it seems to be experienced. New initiatives to commemorate the Second World War grow throughout the whole of Europe. Commemoration changes through time; it becomes both more abstract and personal. Cremers travelled through Europe and captured this phenomenon on camera. He photographed re-enactments, groups of tourists visiting former concentration camps, excavating sites of victims of the battle of Stalingrad and commemorations of veterans.
Sacred spot or desecration
Cremers’ photo series was partly exhibited in the prestigious Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy and Sunday Times Magazine praised the way how Cremers had captured the “sometimes awkward presence” of tourists in Auschwitz. Arnon Grunberg, a Dutch author, wrote about the pictures; ‘The tension in almost all of Cremers’ photographs, is the tension between the sacred spot and the visitors to that spot who (unintentionally) desecrate it, leaving the viewer again and again in a state of indecision: is he looking at the sacred spot, or at its desecration?’
In 2009, Roger Cremers (1972) won the first prize in the category ‘Arts and Entertainment’ of the World Press Photo Awards and he recently won the third prize in the category ‘News abroad’ of the Dutch photography award, Zilveren Camera 2015, for his photo series ‘Streets after Bataclan’. These series covered the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015.
The exhibition and the book are made possible by: vfonds, Stichting Democratie en Media, The Art of Impact, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Fonds Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten and Fonds Anna Cornelis.