The are collectors and then there are COLLECTORS! Ruud Hoff Has been a dear friend for many years. Although I do not everyone in the world that collects Kodak, I do know that Ruud is on the top of anyones list. Here is a recent article on Ruud and following a less than perfect translation. I will try to post more pictures of his awesome collection!



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In Front of, and Behind the Lens

In Amsterdam he had more space in his house, but after a hectic live as an internationally operating photojournalist, Ruud Hoff found tranquility and green in Sexbierum, a small town in the North of the Netherlands. And after retiring also time for his special hobbies.

By HANS WILLEMS

PHOTOS WIETZE LANDMAN

Kinkerbuurt, Jordaan, Prinsengracht, Oud-Zuid in Amsterdam, to Sexbierum. The living career of photojournalist Ruud Hoff (72) took an unexpected turn 12 years ago. Love lured the press photographer over the Afsluitdijk, some 125 kilometers to the North. “But not only the love, I had had it with Amsterdam. “The city is poorly managed by the city council and therefore difficult to live in for those who knew the Amsterdam-way of years before. By car you can almost go nowhere and parking is one of the most expensive in the world. No, I was ready for something else.''

He changed remarkably fast from a city boy into avillage boy. As Treasurer of the village council, webmaster of the local website and editor of village journal 'Silhouette' he knows all the ins and outs of Sexbierum and ancillary village Pietersbierum. Or not?  I am now integrated, but you still feel a bit of an outsider. People who live their entire lives here, know so much from each other, I will never catch up with that.''

Nevertheless, he feels at home on its central place in the village. With girlfriend Dian Webbink, coming from Harlingen and worked as manager of training in the hospital MCL in Leeuwarden, they live in the former rectory, a stately building that the ecclesiastical commune sold at a given moment because it was too expensive mto maintain. It is built in the style of the Amsterdam School, so that immediately created a band.'

With expert assistance from his brother Herman, architect and recently also inhabitant of Friesland, the house dating from the 1920s is beautifully restyled. The study room which used to be the Reverends study is joined with the large living room,so that a wonderful, light spacy room with free sight on the exuberant Green Garden.

Hoff: the rectory garden is so big that the rear portion was used by a few elders. Four years ago the last one stopped and we got the whole area again for ourselves. It is a lot of work to keep the garden, it grows harder than I can weed and prune.

Tropical

For an Amsterdam grocery son has Ruud Hoff remarkably green fingers. He is proud of the fruit trees he planted and the greenhouse, where he grows orchids and other tropical exotics. Actually, the greenhouse is full of souvenirs , because many plants he took of distant trips that he made private or as ANP-photographer. From Bali, papaya, from Thailand orchids, lemongrass of Cyprus. "Even a coffee plant who gave Douwe Egberts ever away at a promotion."

Almost 35 years he was employed by ANP , the national news agency  He began there as an assistant in the dark room, but was soon asked in the weekend to make pictures at football matches. A reorganization offered him the chance of early retirement at the age of 56. Younger colleagues could therefore continue to work for the agency and I had seen and done enough. When you're shooting for the twentieth time the same assignment, you've seen it and start repeating yourself.''

That sounds ungrateful, but that is not the case. Hoff’s work was rewarded with several prices including prices in the Silver Camera contest and a first price in the category “ Features “ in World Press Photo. The ANP was a fantastic employer. I traveled the world over, including State visits of the Queen, with Prime ministers, soccer tournaments and Olympic Games. I was in Suriname alone ten times, including the Declaration of independence. ''

Among the many highlights is definitely the pictures he made of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the bridal suite of the Hilton., Hi, how are you today, 'Ruud', Lennon said at last. '

His work did not add to a good private and all that travel made a difference. Relationships, came and went, confesses Hoff., Shit happens, he says, ''with a helpless gesture. , A family man I never will be.'' Until his luck he has   a daughter from one of those temporary connections.,, It was always two weekends work, one weekend free. So even for the fatherhood I had little space to my regret. But fortunately we have a good bond.''

Now he is happy with his Frisian already since 16 years. It is that she still has a full-time job, otherwise he would also like to share more of his travels with her. Southeast Asia is my favorite destination. I love the tropical nature, the heat, the food and the people. ''

Bummer

The fascination for photography dates by Hoff of his fourteenth when his photo was taken at the celebration of Bummer, a folklore festival in North Holland where street boys go brothering sleeping people in the streets. The picture was published three years in succession in different newspapers. That seemed to me a wonderful job. '' After Highschool he managed to get a job at a photo shop, at the Rokin in Amsterdam. My first work was cutting the rims of amature holiday photos,''

“Curiosity and vision is the main talent for a photo journalist. That’s what it starts with. Then you should be good at translating what you see into an image, and that is a combination of vision and technique. I've experienced everything in my career from film to digital. While it took me 7 minutes to wire a photo it takes now seconds to get a picture to the news desk.  

Ruud Hoff went in all developments. ,,It all had his beautiful sides. You had to transform the bathroom of your hotel to develope and print your pictures. And once in Jakarta, my developer stayed too hot, so I have solved it by buying a chunk of ice on the corner of the street from an ice cream vendor.''

Although ANP photographers did not have special fields, Ruud Hoff especially got a name as photographer of the Royal Family. ,, I have done many State visits and then there at a given moment, a kind of trust with the Royal family developes. For years I have made the Christmas card c for Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus. After my retirement from the ANP I worked five years for the National Information Service and the Royal family. One of the most beautiful assignment  was the album that I photographed of the celebrations of  Queen Beatrix 60th birthday.''

Kodak

Travelling for his work Ruud Hoff used waiting times and nonworking days for his biggest hobby, collecting cameras and other material of Kodak. His house contains the largest private collection in the world of the famous American company. Only Kodak itself in Rochester has more. Admiration for founder George Eastman was Hoffs main reason to start on Kodak.  

Of the first iconic camera from 1888 'You press the button, we do the rest ' was the advertising slogan) until the last apparatus befor the digitization, Ruud Hoff has them all, and often multiple copies. He knows also a lot of the pre Kodak photographic history. He has for instance a photographers travel chest with camera and chemical that originates from 1858.

Also from the pre-photo era he owns valuable examples such as peepshows, magic lanterns and other optical toys. Occasionally he lends to museums and visitors from abroad come to the collection to admire, to Sexbierum lured by what Hoff shows on his website. I visit fairs at home and abroad, and also search regularly  flea markets and on the internet. There is a lively trade in photo memorabilia, I sell also surplus or upgraded examples.

Taking pictures he will continue to do . Mick Jagger, Nelson Mandela and Queen Beatrix he won't get anymore for the lens. But he will be very active in his part of Holland. Sexbierum owes to his work one of the most beautiful and most vibrant villages websites in Friesland. And also the colorful village journal Silhouette takes up a lot of time.