Erwin Olaf in Kunstmuseum Den Haag

Throwback to mid-June 2019 when I spent half a day in the Kunstmuseum Den Haag ( enjoying the great retrospective on Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf (@studioerwinolaf) and scouting for a visitor in bright yellow clothes to photograph (candidly) in front of a work from his series “Hope”.

This shot was taken moments beforehand, however, when the relief of somebody you’ve been waiting for to enter the room walks in and the anticipation of her moving slowly towards the artwork you want to use as a backdrop grows. Having gotten “the” shot of the day, I forgot about this one. Until now.

The work in the background is “Irene” (2007) from the “Grief” series. I absolutely love this series of photographs, as I do its sister-series “Hope”. The set dressing, interior-design, wardrobes are all so perfectly sixties. The scenes that Olaf capture become surreal in their perfection, which forms a stark contrast with the essence of grief: the most real emotion imaginable.