Raak mij aan! Touch me!

A retrospective exhibition on photographer Chas Gerretsen, originally from Groningen.

His name may not immediately ring a bell, but his photographs of the Vietnam War, the coup in Chile and Hollywood celebrities like Dennis Hopper, Marlon Brando and John Travolta are world-famous. Being in the right place at the right time typifies Chas Gerretsen. For instance, he wandered through Southeast Asia at the time of the Vietnam War, was in Chile at the time General Pinochet seized power and on the set of Coppola's masterful Vietnam film Apocalypse Now.

The Chas Gerretsen exhibition consists of four chapters corresponding to important periods in Chas's photographic life: Vietnam and Southeast Asia, Chile and South America, Apocalypse Now and Hollywood. Chas Gerretsen's oeuvre consisting mainly of journalistic and war photography touches on important themes: is there such a thing as objective journalism? Should you take a stand as a photographer? Can a photograph be guilty? The war in Vietnam, the coup in Chile but also celebrities like John Travolta and Dennis Hopper are part of Gerretsen's photographic career. 

From Vietnam to Hollywood

"All my life I chased the dreams of my youth, I walked into Vietnam to see a war, it was never like the Hollywood films, Later I ended up on the set of Apocalypse Now - a war photographer shooting a war film. It came full circle: from real to reel."

Chas Gerretsen (1943) is an exceptional photographer, this is well reflected in the exhibition. He left Groningen when he was eighteen, roamed through Europe and Australia and then ended up in Southeast Asia. He worked as a war photographer in Vietnam in the late 1960s and was there when the 1973 coup d'├ętat in Chile against President Salvador Allende took place. Chas Gerretsen was the only Dutchman to receive the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal Award for exceptional courage as a photojournalist. Later, Chas Gerretsen settled in Hollywood where he photographed stars such as John Travolta. He was also a photographer on the set of the film Apocalypse Now, Francis Coppola's masterpiece. In this film, Dennis Hopper plays a war photographer based on Chas Gerretsen.

Dutch Photo Museum

Chas Gerretsen's photo archive is part of the collection of the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue were developed by guest curator Iris Sikking on behalf of the Nederlands Fotomuseum.

Access and tickets

The exhibition can be visited from October 7 2023 to March 17 2024 from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. During holidays, the exhibition will also be open on Mondays.

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03 March 2024

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07 March 2024

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10 March 2024

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17 March 2024

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