Jacob Olie

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Jacob Olie (1834 — 1905) was Nederlands photographer.

Jacob Olie was born on 17 October 1834 in Amsterdam, from a long line of raftsmen and whalers. Trained as a carpenter and an architectural draughtsman, he taught drawing at the first technical school in Amsterdam from 1861 on, and in 1868 became its headmaster. As a member of the leading architectural societies in the Netherlands, he studied zealously architectural and art history and played an active role in the debates on architectural theory and the concepts of form. He practised and demonstrated his skills in drawing and design in many competitions. In 1861 Olie started to photograph with a daguerreotype-model camera which he had built himself, using wet-collodion plates. The next four years he portrayed the dockland and industrial area where he was born and still lived, choosing unusual subject matter. He also made many portraits of his family, friends and acquaintances, and used their homes in the city center to set up his darkroom equipment and pho- tograph the views from their windows which in some cases can be fitted together to large panoramas. Pres- sure of work forced him to abandon his pursuit. After his retirement in 1890 Olie took up photograpy again, this time on industrial dry-gelatine plates. Until the age of 70, Olie worked at fever pitch, producing some 3600 photographs of Amsterdam, outlying areas, and the wide surroundings. He was particularly interested in the transformation of the capital into a modern city, focussing on new architecture as an organic part of the urban context. He never exhibited his photographs, but projected them as lantern slides to a wide audience. Jacob Olie died in Amsterdam on 25 April 1905. His rich legacy is kept at the Amsterdam city archives [1].

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