For Amsterdam-based collector Narda van ‘t Veer it was the love for fashion photography that kickstarted her own collection of contemporary photography. Now, van ‘t Veer is the owner of one of Amsterdam’s most eclectic photography collections, ranging from fashion to nude to portrait, with works from both emerging and established photographers.
The founder of Unit, an Amsterdam-based agency representing artists in photography, illustration amongst other mediums, means that van ‘t Veer is constantly immersed in the world of photographs, fueling her passion for photography. Here, we speak to Narda van ‘t Veer about her collection, how she lives with the work, and what role new photography fairs have on new collectors.
Tell us about your collection and how it all began.NARDA VAN 'T VEER
Through my work in the fashion industry I was immediately attracted to fashion photography, with my my first love being Guy Bourdin. The strange twist and surrealism in his photography is something that I found very interesting and it was from that point on that I focused more on the art side of photography and started to buy prints. It was never with the idea of becoming a collector.
Your collection exclusively features contemporary photography – what is it about this medium that you find so interesting?
NARDA VAN 'T VEER
It’s very important for me to have an immediate emotional connection with the image and that it has a connection to the time in which we now live.. This often comes from the many aspects with which the image was built on to which I can then directly relate to in my own life.
As well as having some big names from the contemporary photography world you also make sure to support emerging photographers. Why is this important for you?NARDA VAN 'T VEER
In the beginning when you first start buying you find security in buying the big names with whom already have a proven record. But after a while I got more secure in my choices and I found it much more interesting to buy work from emerging photographers, and I can say that many of them turned out to play an important role within the contemporary photography industry.
What do you look for when choosing a photographer to be a part of your collection?
NARDA VAN 'T VEER
I need to have an immediate emotional connection with the image. I would love to meet the photographer to hear their story and it must be an addition to my current theme within the collection.
A large portion of your collection consists of portrait photography – was this a conscious decision or did it sort of evolve over time?NARDA VAN 'T VEER
I started collecting nude portrait photography, but sometimes now I come across a totally different subject which then triggers me into buying a different themes. I always think within a series, so then I can start collecting more work of a similar theme rather than just one portrait. In the collection process it is important for me to meet – and get to know – the photographer. Therefore, I have met a lot of photographers with different kinds of subjects, with each having such an interesting story that I ultimately wanted to buy the work.
How do you make sure that you stay up-to-date with new photography?NARDA VAN 'T VEER
I’m busy living 24/7 with photography and involving myself with the photography community on many different levels that include: online media, visiting academies and galleries, portfolio reviews, an active jury member in photography contests, and attending presentations of photographers.
Narda, in addition to The Ravestijn Gallery you also run UNIT, an agency representing artists in photography, illustration, animation, art direction and film – do you find this useful when sourcing new artists to add to your collection?NARDA VAN 'T VEER
Of course this also helps; often artists like to combine their “personal” work with commercial consignments. Nowadays, a lot of commercial clients only collaborate with artists, such as LVMH, Converse etc.
This year at UNSEEN you will be opening up your private collection to the fair’s VIP’s – why did you decide to make your collection public for this limited time?NARDA VAN 'T VEER
This is not my first private opening to the public, I regularly welcome groups of art collectors and give them tours and tell them more about art photography. I really like to inspire others to become a collector.
How do you feel art fairs such as UNSEEN are changing the perception of owning art?NARDA VAN 'T VEER
UNSEEN is getting known for showcasing unseen and emerging work, and this will attract young people with an interest in new photography worldwide. You don’t see any secondary market; this makes the UNSEEN fair extra fresh and approachable – sometimes also money-wise – for the young collectors.