Life Writing & Death: Dialogues of the Dead

A Boy’s Own Trauma: Revisiting a Photograph Recorded in a Nazi Concentration Camp First Encountered as a Child


  • Roelof Bakker King's College London



Holocaust, trauma, photograph, memory, analysis


Photographer Roelof Bakker revisits a George Rodger photograph recorded in a Nazi concentration camp, Bakker first encountered as a child growing up in the Netherlands forty years ago. Finally developing this image, which registered in his mind yet remained unprocessed, Bakker actively engages with the photograph as a photographer, investigator and spectator, but also as a human being, integrating thought and feeling into an ethical and responsible process of analysis. Responding to critical texts by Ariella Azoulay, Ulrich Baer, Susie Linfield, Werner Sollors, and others, Bakker looks beyond the photograph as a static object, addressing the other participants in the photographic act, including the photographer’s subject Sieg Maandag, and connecting the photograph to a world outside its frame, towards a future unknown at the time of exposure.

Author Biography

Roelof Bakker, King's College London

Roelof Bakker (Leeuwarden, Netherlands) has lived in the UK since 1984 and is based in Cambridge, where he graduated in 2019 with a Masters Degree in Fine Art at Cambridge School of Art. He is a photographer and the publisher of Negative Press London. His practice addresses the ever-increasing speed and momentum of contemporary life and the often tragic disposability of memory and the material. Negative Press publications include The Spots That Never Went (2018, Highly Commended Finalist of the 2019 Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Publishing, presented by the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia), How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother (2016), Strong Room (2014) with artist/writer Jane Wildgoose, and Still (2012), a collaboration with twenty-six international writers. Email:,,





Life Writing & Death: Dialogues of the Dead