After Images, the photos that were never taken. 2002 -2012

What happens when an important moment cannot be recorded? When a photographer did not bring his or camera. When the machine refused to function, or contained no film, or the batteries were dead? To what degree does this missed opportunity influence our thinking, our imagination? How does the perceived image impact our memory? And can these fluid, never recorded after images inspire new thoughts and stories?
After Images is a project about photos that were never taken. 29 ‘image makers’ tell the story of the photo they were unable to take and how that image can go on haunting them.
After Images is about the ambivalent relationship between the image and the photographer, but also about language and the absence of images in the image culture.
The project is about photography, but without photos.
Initially conceived as a book in 2002, After Images has now taken the form of audio table, permanently installed in the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Visitors of the Fotomuseum can sit at the table and listen to the stories, written and spoken by many photographers and artists; stories about images that the photographer let go by. They describe the scenes and explain why the photographer was either unable or unwilling to record that specific image.
Ideas should travel. That is why this table was built in such a way that it can travel. To other venues, such as museums, biennales, festivals and media events. The table can then be filled with stories in the language of the country where it is. The aim is to take this compact table to other parts of the world that maybe have a different relationship with – especially photographic – images.
This site will present all the stories gathered by the table; they will appear here in their original language, after each journey.
Representatives of exhibitions spaces who are interested in the subject and would like to contribute to the project, will find additional information under the heading ‘Participation’. If you have any questions, please contact Frits Gierstberg, Head of Exhibitions at he Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam (