Roelof Bakker

Unprocessed (published 14 July 2020) is an artist’s book responding visually to research carried out for Bakker’s 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 artist’s book, Bakker engages with a George Rodger photograph, recorded at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, which he first encountered as a child growing up in the Netherlands at school over forty years ago, aged thirteen.

Bakker finally develops the photograph, looking beyond it as a static object, addressing the other participants in the photographic act, connecting the photograph to a world outside its frame, towards a future unknown at the time of exposure.

In Unprocessed, black squares framed with wide white borders – subconsciously inspired by Kazimir Malevich’s 1915 painting ‘Black Square’ – symbolise a negative yet to be developed.

Brief quotes by Bakker, Rodger and Maandag document aspects of each indvidual’s personal experience in relation to the photograph. The original George Rodger photograph has been cropped, a factual caption supplying the reader with the missing visual information, including 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.

Roelof Bakker, Unprocessed, Negative Press London, George Rodger, Sieg Maandag, Bergen-Belsen, childhood, memory, trauma

Both the EJLW article and the artist’s book propose a definitive caption to avoid the photograph being misinterpreted, which has often been the case since the photograph’s first publication on 7 May 1945 in American picture magazine, LIFE.

Read ‘A Boy’s Own Trauma: Revisiting a Photograph Recorded in a Nazi Concentration Camp First Encountered as a Child’ in European Journal of Life Writing, published 7 July 2020,

Unprocessed, published 14 July 2020, Negative Press London
28pp, 21cm x 21cm, stapled, cover uncoated stock 300gsm, pages uncoated stock 150gsm

The Spots That Never Went

Roelof Bakker

Roelof Bakker, The Spots That Never Went, package

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The Spots That Never Went is a personal reflection on the devastation of AIDS and the lasting impact on a generation, presented as a tabloid newspaper with a separate broadsheet print, both contained inside a clear archival polypropylene pocket with black dot sticker to exterior.

Roelof Bakker The Spots That Never Went, sample spread

The book is Highly Commended Finalist 2019 Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Publishing, presented by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, announced at the 2019 Melbourne Art Book Fair (15-17 March 2019). Sarah Bodman from the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), UWE Bristol, picked it as one of ten artists’ books of 2018. She writes, “It’s a brutally simple, heartbreaking thing – we need to read more books like this.”

An exhibition of new work-in-progress developed responding to the publication, took place Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 February 2020 at Cambridge Artworks, Cambridge CB4 3EF.

The Spots That Never Went
The Spots That Never Went, exhibition with performance at Cambridge Artspace, February 2020

The book was  included in the group show, Print: A Catalyst for Social Change, Bury Art Museum, Bury BL9 0DR (9 February-27 April 2019) and was selected for Salon 18, Photofusion’s annual members’ show at London SW9 8LA (7 December 2018 to 12 January 2019).

I remember a time when the police raided bars and clubs wearing decontamination suits and gloves.

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Self-published artist’s book, 28pp, tabloid newspaper (289mm x 380mm, newspaper print, 55gsm); glued-on colour print copy of Polaroid Spectra positive print (100mm x 100mm, matt photo paper, 120gsm); broadsheet newspaper, 4pp (350mm x 500mm, newspaper print 55gsm); archival crystal clear polypropylene pocket, black dot sticker, black board (A4, 300gsm).

Printed Lies

Printed Lies, Negative Press London, Roelof Bakker, Vote Leave

Printed Lies is a reproduction in book format of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign video, Which NHS will you vote for?  Assembled by Roelof Bakker, the book exposes how both explicit and implicit lies are part of the present political and public sphere of the UK.

In the book, screengrabs taken from the video show events at A&E in an NHS hospital if Britain remains ‘inside the EU’ and how it will change for the better once the UK is ‘outside the EU’ – with £350m to spend every week on the NHS. The images also subtly imply that once the UK is ‘outside the EU’, hospitals will be less busy as EU citizens will have gone.

Reviewing Printed Lies for The New European, Steve Anglesey calls the book “a devastating work” and writes, “I’m not sure I’ve read a more compelling illustration of why Leave won than Printed Lies.”

ISBN 978-0-9573828-4-8
76 pp, paperback, size 13.2 x 19.7cm

Publication date 21 November 2017

Contact info(at) for copies

How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother

Roelof Bakker

How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother Roelof Bakker Negative Press London 2016

How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother addresses the lost hopes of fallen soldiers and anyone affected by their premature death. Thirty-three postcards of photographs recorded at war cemeteries tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Belgium, England and the Netherlands, show every age from eighteen to fifty as these appear on World War I and World War II headstones.

Jan Woolf writes, “(The work) doesn’t aestheticise war, but it does personalise it, as the artist invites us to reflect on the hopes and dreams any of us may have had at twenty two – thirty three – fifty… ”

How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother is dedicated to Canadian World War I soldier, teenager James Carter Irwin (1898-1916) and his mother Jennie Carter Irwin (1871-1925). Mrs Irwin supplied the text for the epitath that appears on her son’s headstone at Nunhead Cemetery, London, her question also the title of this book.

Hopes was exhibited at The Library, Dutch Church, London EC2N 2HA in 2016 (11 October to 18 December). Bakker paid tribute to James Carter Irwin and his mother Jennie Carter Irwin at a Remembrance Day speech in the Dutch Church on 13 November 2016. As part of Dialogues of the Dead, a day of explorations of life writing and death on 24 May 2018 at King’s College, London, Bakker delivered a paper about the background to How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother.

Exhibition view

Exhibition view, How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother, at Dutch Centre, London EC2N 2HA

‘Age 18’ (Brompton Cemetery, London)
‘Age 18’ (Brompton Cemetery, London)

Hand-finished artist’s book, fold out sleeve, thirty-three postcards, bound-in leaflet, black elastic band
Size 148.5 x 105 x 18m, £20
Publication date 31 July 2016


In Camera

In Camera David Gledhill Nicholas Royle

Nicholas Royle (text) and David Gledhill (paintings)

East Germany, the Cold War. A doctor’s daughter experiments with her father’s camera and eavesdrops on his consultations.

In this collaborative publication mixing paintings and fiction, David Gledhill and Nicholas Royle explore ideas around photography, surveillance and observation from the perspective of a young girl during the Stasi period, the visual aspect of the work investigating the boundaries of photography and painting.

The project began when David Gledhill obtained a 1950s East German family album from a Frankfurt flea market and subsequently turned these domestic snapshots into large-scale oil paintings. He then invited Nicholas Royle to collaborate and contribute fiction inspired by the family album paintings. This small book of text and paintings is therefore also a book about photography. What fascinates Gledhill about photography is the motivation behind it, “the most a photograph can tell you is that someone wanted to take it, and for me that’s where a lot of the intrigue comes in.” See

Michael Caines writing on the Times Literary Supplement blog (30 April 2016), called the book “an eccentric form of ekphrasis.”

David Gledhill In Camera
‘Smile, please!’ said T from behind me and Father’s face split into a huge grin. © David Gledhill 2016

ISBN 978-0-9573828-3-1
Trim size 148.5 mm x 210 mm
Paperback, PUR bound, with 23 colour paintings
Extent 48 pp
Negative Press London, 10 May 2016


Placing Stones

Placing Stones Martin Crawley

Martin Crawley (author, drawings), John Douglas Millar (afterword)

Placing Stones is a book about friendship and remembrance. In the first publication by London-born artist Martin Crawley, haunting words complement gentle pencil drawings of stones, reproduced here at their physical size. Writer/poet John Douglas Millar contributes a moving afterword.

Adrian Slatcher reviewed Placing Stones for Sabotage Reviews on 4 August 2015.

He writes, “I’m no geologist, but the drawings evoke that sense of discovery you might get from finding an unusual stone on a distant beach or a mountain walk, and in tandem with the elegant verses which seem to be personal memorials, Crawley has created a highly satisfying object that though personal to the artist/poet is surely also intriguing to the accidental reader; a bit like the wanderer who comes across a dedication in an overgrown churchyard.”

Placing Stones from the Negative Press Shop at

ISBN 978-0-9573828-2-4
Trim size 120 mm x 180 mm
Paperback, PUR bound, with 15 drawings
Extent 40 pp
Negative Press London, 17 February 2015

Contact info(at) for copies

Placing Stones Tate Modern bookshop

Strong Room

Roelof Bakker (photographer), Jane Wildgoose (author)

Strong Room Roelof Bakker Jane Wildgoose Negative Press London

Strong Room is a collaboration between London-based artists Roelof Bakker and Jane Wildgoose. Photographs of traces of past human activity are used as inspiration for writing about the loss of the tangible experience and the lack of physical presence in the digital world. The historical and academic importance of paper-based archives are explored as well as their potential to prompt the imagination and evoke memories.

Daniel Jewesbury reviewing Strong Room for Source Photographic Review (issue 78), April 2014, states:

“The book captures the passing into irrelevance, or historical curiosity, of the world model, and its simplicity is the key to its power.”

Strong Room has been acquired by Chelsea College of Arts Library (London, UK), MoMA Library (New York, USA), Brooklyn Museum (New York, USA), Yale Centre for British Art (Newhaven, USA) and Sydney College of the Arts Library (Sydney, Australia) and is part of the collection of the Library Project, Photo Ireland (Dublin, Ireland).

Strong Room was included in Kaleid 2014, an exhibition of fifty new European artists’ books (Saturday 19 July, Art Academy, London SE1); and in F Book Show, an exhibition of new photography books from the UK (26 March to 13 April 2014, 72 Gallery, Tokyo, Japan) organised by Brighton-based Photobookshow. Bakker and Wildgoose contributed the article, ‘Strong Room: Material Memories and the Digital Record’ for the European Journal of Life Writing, Vol 7 (2018).

Photographs from the Strong Room series won First Prize (Gold) at the London Photographic Association Still Life 5 competition.

ISBN 978-0-9573828-1-7
Saddle-stitched paperback with 28 colour photographs, foldback clip
Trim size 210 x 148.5 mm
Extent 48 pp
Negative Press London, 21 January 2014


Strong Room Roelof Bakker Jane Wildgoose Negative Press London
‘Strong room (2)’ and ‘Council chamber (1)’ from Strong Room
‘Council chamber (4)’ and ‘Maintenance room (4)’ from Strong Room
‘Council chamber (4)’ and ‘Maintenance room (4)’ from Strong Room


Still: Short Stories Inspired By Photographs Of Vacated Spaces is the first print publication by Negative Press London.

Edited by Roelof Bakker

Still Negative Press London Roelof Bakker

Still combines twenty-six short stories with the photographs that were the inspiration.

Writers from across the world, were invited by photographer Roelof Bakker to select a photograph from Still, a project exploring vacated interior spaces at Hornsey Town Hall in north London, and to write a story taking the chosen photograph to a new place with a fresh meaning – away from the original physical setting.

Contributing writers are Richard Beard, Andrew Blackman, SJ Butler, Myriam Frey, SL Grey, Tania Hershman, James Higgerson, Justin Hill, Nicholas Hogg, Ava Homa, Aamer Hussein, Nina Killham, Deborah Klaassen, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Claire Massey, Jan Van Mersbergen, Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende, James Miller, Mark Piggott, Mary Rechner, David Rose, Nicholas Royle, Preeta Samarasan, Jan Woolf, Evie Wyld and Xu Xi.

Bookshop Foyles on London’s Charing Cross Road hosted an exhibition of photographs from Still featuring excerpts of related stories (18 September to 30 October 2012).

A Negative Press London/Foyles short story competition was won by Yorkshire writer AJ Ashworth.

Still was runner-up for Best Mixed Anthology at the Saboteur Awards 2013.

‘My Wife, the Hyena’ by Nina Killham is included in the annual anthology The Best British Short Stories 2013 (Salt Publishing).


Sara Baume, The Short Review, 13 November 2013:

‘Perhaps for the first time in my life, I just didn’t have the heart to scribble notes or fold the page’s corners down; Still is simply too attractive and unique a book.’

Sunil Chauhan, literary magazine Wasafiri, issue 76, November 2013:

‘Sharing a tartness of tone, these tales are quizzical, haunting, occasionally abrupt but mostly as teasing as the accompanying images, often concluding with a lingering shot of pain.’

Adrian Slatcher, Sabotage Reviews, 15 April 2013:

Still works as whole, with the stories never overwhelming the images but offering a meta-narrative to the whole project… The book itself is a beautiful paperback, clear white paper, great reproductions of the photographs, and a clean design that encourages repeated browsing.’


Still Tate Modern Negative Press London William Klein Daido Moriyama bookshop Roelof Bakker
Still on sale at Tate Modern, during the William Klein + Daido Moriyama exhibition

ISBN 978-0-9573828-0-0
Paperback with 26 colour photographs
Trim size 210 x 148.5 mm
Extent 190 pp
Negative Press London, 26 September 2012

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