Artist’s book, 2020

‘A Boy’s Own Trauma: Revisiting a Photograph Recorded in a Nazi Concentration Camp First Encountered as a Child’ 

Article, European Journal of Lifewriting, 2020

Unprocessed (Negative Press London, 2020) responds visually to research I carried out for my peer-reviewed article ‘A Boy’s Own Trauma: Revisiting a Photograph Recorded in a Nazi Concentration Camp First Encountered as a Child’, published in European Journal of Life Writing, Vol 9, July 2020, University of Groningen Press, Groningen, Netherlands.

In both the article and the book, I engage with a George Rodger photograph I first encountered as a child at school in the Netherlands over forty years ago. In the article, I finally develop this photograph, which registered in my mind yet remained unprocessed and actively engage with it as a photographer, investigator and spectator, but also as a human being, integrating thought and feeling into an ethical and responsible process of analysis, connecting the photograph to a world outside its frame, towards a future unknown at the time of exposure.

In the book, black squares symbolise a medium-format square negative yet to be developed. The book explores ways of presenting and discussing unimaginable horror without showing it. The George Rodger photograph is presented in a cropped version, a caption supplying the reader with the missing visual information, as well as giving the name and identity of the boy in the photograph: Sieg Maandag, a seven-year old Dutch Jewish boy, a victim and survivor of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. 

Brief quotes by myself, Rodger and Maandag document aspects of each individual’s personal experience in relation to the photograph. I propose a definitive caption to avoid the photograph being misinterpreted, which has often been the case since the photograph’s first publication in 1945.

Unprocessed was included in Prima Facia, curator Amir Brito Cador, 8 July to 31 August 2021, Bower Ashton Library, UWE, Bristol; previously in BABE (Bristol Artists Book Event) 2021, Arnolfini, Bristol; and ‘Why Publish?’, Bower Ashton Library, UWE, Bristol, 2020

Read A Boy’s Own Trauma at

Unprocessed (28pp, 21cm x 21cm, stapled, Negative Press London), availablefrom the Negative Press shop

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Roelof Bakker, all rights reserved, 2024