My earliest memory of Amsterdam was a shopping trip with my mother. We lived only 30 kilometers from Amsterdam but everything I saw there was completely new. For the first time in my life I saw a black man. I also spotted a man from India with a turban on his head. It was like entering a different universe. I was reminded of that first visit when I saw this couple coming from a bus. […]
I am not the patient kind of photographer, but standing on a bridge in the midst of the Amsterdam Red Light District always delivers a photo opportunity that makes it worth my while. Apparently these people are celebrating something. They probably planned this days or weeks in advance, they rented or borrowed a boat, loaded it up with beverages and guess what happened? The sun was shining after days of rain. Imagine their surprise.
In the midst of the Amsterdam Red Light district is a street called Zeedijk and that is where you find most of the bars and restaurants. At the start of the Zeedijk there are two gay bars with colorful visitors, leather boys, transvestites and a lots of drag queens. Undoubtedly Amy Huiswijn (to be translated as Amy House Wine) is the Queen of the Zeedijk.
I have said it before, I just love to photograph in the rain. Life is not easy but people do not like to show their hardships when they are out for a walk. Unless… it rains. Then suddenly people feel no hesitation to express their true feelings about their day ahead, life in general etc. They slowly become who they really are. This doesn’t mean that all people show their discomforts in the rain. Some […]
Everywhere I look I see photographers and models. They do not think of themselves that way, they are ‘just’ documenting their lives. Some of the greatest photographers however were also just documenting their lives. And some of the greatest models ever did not need to put up a show. I like that world of imagery and self-reflection. What I do not like is that some of us cannot read an E-mail longer than fifteen words […]
I love where I live. It is in the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District. It used to be very unsafe here, but today the junkies and dealers have traded places with thousands of tourists. I am not saying it will stay this way forever, because we can see some deterioration going on here and there, but the city council is right on it, so we expect to see some slow improvements in the coming […]
On one hand I long for spring and on the other I like winters, snow and rain. We do not get much snow in The Netherlands lately but that is very well compensated with extra rain. Rain is ideal for street photography and so is fog. As a studio photographer I think of clouds as the softboxes I really miss when the summer sun is creating too much contrast, but at times that can be […]
I did not even notice that it was starting to rain. Once I start looking for scenes I want to photograph I get a natural high. I do not even remember if I turned around to look over my shoulder to see what was so interesting in the eyes of this couple. The natural high forces me to move on and on to look for new opportunities. It sounds a bit neurotic and stressful but […]
I do not own a lot of cameras like most photographers, but I have three. The most important one is the camera I work with in the studio. Strangely enough that camera, the Nikon 810, is just a work horse for me, I have no special affinity with it except for the fact that it delivers great images. If I treat myself to an afternoon of stressless street photography, I like to pick up the […]
Like many people who live in Amsterdam I long for sun at times, because it can be very rainy and windy at times. Mostly however the sun hides behind a thick deck of clouds. And that is exactly what makes me forget to long for sunnier days. The clouds act like the soft boxes in my studio. They create an almost shadowless light that makes it easier to do street photography. The picture above was […]
I really like the small boats some Amsterdam inhabitants keep for entertainment. The canals can be very busy with larger sightseeing ships for tourists, so it takes a bit of courage too to take your partner or your friends out on a trip over the canals. I just love to photograph these small floating households and I have been doing so for many years so expect more of these pictures to come.
In 1981 I left for New York with 50 dollars and a one way ticket, leaving behind a job as a photographer for a Dutch Magazine. I was bored with the fact that Amsterdam was getting more and more depressing, caused by clashes between squatters and police. Also the magazine was sending me out on assignments that were all quite identical. I was 27 and I wanted to see more of this world. The idea […]
Instead of going to an amusement park or some far out place – like kids do now – my mother would take me to Dam Square in Amsterdam to see the pigeon man. We bought some seeds from him and let the pigeons crawl over us in search of the seeds we had just bought. The original pigeon man of my youth also carried a Leica camera and occasionally we had our photo taken by […]
An event photographer I am not. There are too many cameras around and it is too crowded to do what I do best. There is one exception to this rule and that is Amsterdam’s event called Hartjesdagen. Hartjes is now being translated as hearts, but the original Dutch word probably meant ‘hertjes’ which is to be translated as small deer. The festivities are a revival of an old Amsterdam tradition to give temporary hunting rights […]