Biography of Auke Bergsma

...The book concludes with a chapter on the most iconic and widely used Polaroid integral film format. Images such as Auke Bergsma series of figurative colour studies from 1981 have a very spontaneous, playful and fluid feel to them. This vibrant sequence creates a type of fantasy narrative by channelling a spirit of inquisitiveness and furtive excitement. ~ John Matthews, review of the book for PhotoEye Magazine

Auke dec.2014 (1024x736)

AUKE BERGSMA (9 January 1950 Putten, The Netherlands) studied at the Fotovakschool in Apeldoorn. In 1975, at the beginning of his career, Auke Bergsma worked on the series “Punk”: portraits in black and white, which was published in the French magazine 'Zoom'. He gained more international fame in the 1980s, when his work was acquired for the INTERNATIONAL POLAROID COLLECTION.

The vibrant colours of Polaroid film and the fact that it was instant film were supportive to the ideas and concepts of Auke Bergsma. Like no other, all the big names included, he used the medium in line with the time the technology was introduced: typical 1980s! His sequences are not only humoristic, but also use the idea of Polaroid in optima forma.

20x24 inch | 50x60 cm
In 1976 Polaroid introduced a 20x24 inch instant camera. Only two of these giants were available, one was located in New York, the other one in Amsterdam. Bergsma was among the first three European photographers working on this 90kg machine. At that time, 1981, the rental costs were $600 a day. Later, when the Amsterdam camera moved via Offenbach to Prague, the price raised up to $2.000 a day. The material costs of one 20x24 inch Polaroid is $200. Among the photographers following his footsteps are William Wegman, Lukas Samaras, Joyce Tenneson, Mary Ellen Mark, Elsa Dorfman, Andy Warhol, Tim Mantoani, Julian Schnabel, Ansel Adams and Chuck Close. At a 2010 Sotheby’s sale, Polaroids of the photographers mentioned were sold for prices up to $722.500.

International Polaroid Collection
In 1982, Auke Bergsma was asked to sell some of his work to the Polaroid Corporation. He remembers that they paid $900 per Polaroid, a small fortune at that time. And above all, he was ensured of recognition in the art world, because his name was forever connected to the Inter­national Polaroid Collection. Many publications followed, like the book “SELECTIONS 1” (1982, Polaroid Corporation), “THE POLAROID BOOK” (2008, Taschen) and “FROM POLAROID TO IMPOSSIBLE” (2011, Hatje Cantz).

In 1986, at the Photokina in Cologne, his work was exhibited and published in “50 years modern color photography 1936-1986”, curated by Manfred Heiting, the current director of the Helmut Newton Foundation.

Danish Museum of Photographic Art
In the early 1990s Auke Bergsma was represented by Galleri Specta in Kopenhagen. His work was purchased by the ROYAL LIBRARY OF KOPENHAGEN, THE FINNISH MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY and private collectors.

In 2006, his Polaroid dyptich “Can You Make A Living From Photography” was on the billboards of “Foto Triennale” in Odense, Denmark. This international photo festival is organised by the DANISH MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHIC ART (MUSEET FOR FOTOKUNST), which in 2007 extended their collection of Auke Bergsma’s Polaroids.

In 2007 he donated a big part of his collection of work and negatives to the Rock Art Museum in Hoek van Holland. Among these were many polaroids of Mieke, lead singer of “De Gigantjes”.

In 2012, his own Polaroid archive was transferred to a Dutch collector, who is now, in close cooperation with Auke Bergsma himself, offering it at this sale.

Currently (from 14 may 2015 - 4 January 2016) the MUSEUM BRANDTS 13 in Odense, Denmark, shows an exhibition titled ‘Adam & Eva’, in which Auke Bergsma’s ‘Adam & Eva’ (similar to lot 002-087) has a prominent role.