Erwin Olaf - 40 years of photography

Erwin Olaf – 40 years of photography

Erwin Olaf – 40 years of photography

The fortieth anniversary of the famous Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf is celebrated extensively this year. PostNL also contributes with the issue of “Erwin Olaf 40 years of photography”. These stamps were presented during the premiere of the documentary about his life. The ten stamps feature five iconic photos spanning Olaf’s career. 


On June 23, Erwin Olaf received the stamps in the DeLaMar theater, during the premiere of the documentary about his life. Stephan van den Eijnden, who was allowed to hand over these stamps, thought it was a great honor: “Erwin Olaf’s work is beautiful and his photos are striking. I am therefore very proud that his most iconic photos that give such a beautiful picture of his development are now also allowed on stamps. ”


Erwin Olaf (1959, Hilversum) is best known for his photos of often monumental tableaus, in which he is both director and photographer. Olaf also makes video clips, short documentaries and installations. In 2013 Olaf designed the statue for the new euro coin with King Willem-Alexander. In 2017 and 2018, he photographed high-profile portraits of the royal family.

Perfect world with a crack

The stamp sheet “Erwin Olaf 40 years of photography” contains five iconic photos of his hand. The five are “Pearls” (1986), “Julius Caesar, † 44 BC” (2000), “Nadia” (2002), “Portrait # 5” (2005) and “Portrait of Alex” (2018). All pictures are unmistakably Erwin Olaf, who wants to “show a perfect world with a crack in it”. Some parts of the stamp sheet are screen printed with UV varnish (spot varnish). The stamps were designed by graphic designer Rienus Gundel Franciscus from Amsterdam.

Cross section

In the last year of his education at the School of Journalism in Utrecht, Olaf was given a camera by teacher Dirk van der Spek. “The moment I grabbed that camera I knew what luck was,” said Olaf. “The stamps show a cross-section of my life and career since then.”

Sober and contemplative

Olaf’s early work with themes such as power, eroticism and appearance still has the character of reportage photography. Later he manipulates reality. Olaf: “You can see in the photos on the stamps how I slowly change from an angry young man to a visual artist who looks more thoughtfully and contemplatively at the world. These are five very important photos for me. And I think it is a crowning achievement that I can now show them on stamps. ”


In 2019, various exhibitions will be held on the occasion of Olaf’s sixtieth birthday and his fortieth anniversary as a photographer. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Fotomuseum Den Haag, the Shanghai Center of Photography and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, among others, pay attention to his work.

Official Catalogue Numbers


Jul 01 2019
The Netherlands


The Netherlands

Issuing entity


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