Joan van der Keuken, Paris mortel, 1963

Dust jacket back and front

Dust jacket back and front



Paris mortel (Mortal Paris) is the third book of Dutch photographer and filmmaker Joan van der Keuken. The selection of photographs were taken between October 1956 and August 1958. Van der Keuken’s images of Paris are precisely placed within this strong, graphic layout, which often manipulates the empty spaces for effect, as much as the photographs themselves. This combination of classic images within a strict, almost mathematical, layout is like an homage to Bauhaus. It certainly puts me in mind of Moi Ver’s Paris book from 1931, or even earlier publications from 1920s Weimar Republic.
The book is structured into six chapters with the following themes 1. Street views 2. Métro Saint-Michel  3. People  4. Night scenes 5. Children / Demonstrations 6. Pére-Lachaise cemetery. Joan van der Keuken’s decision not to include text (apart from index and credits) gives free rein to the viewer’s imagination.
The pages in french-fold (uncut) double the volume of the book. The dust jacket is made of coloured paper, making it almost impossible to repair once damaged. A very unique photography book and a great example of photography and graphic design in perfect harmony. Wonderfully printed in deep gravure.

65 photographs

3 pages index in Dutch, French, English and German

Layout by Marinus H. van Raalte

Published by Hilversum in 1963

Hard cover dust jacket

App. 22.7 x 29 cm

68 pages

Cover back and front

Cover back and front




Willem van Zoetendaal / Johan van der Keuken, Paris mortel retouché, 2013


A recent republication entitled Paris mortel retouché was published by Van Zoetendaal Publishers in 2013. The book also contains unpublished images and shows the dummy book made for the original publication in 1963.

Van Zoetendaal’s website:

Soft cover dust jacket

App. 18.5 x 26 cm

188 pages


Dust jacket back and front

Dust jacket back and front