Amsterdam - The City Proper
About twenty years ago I moved out of Amsterdam. When I still lived there, I never really looked at it. The city was like an everyday object, just like your couch, your fridge or the coat you're wearing.
Now I live in a small town; the people here still call it a village. And when I go to Amsterdam, I go to the city. Going to the city is an adventure; you plunge into a sea of people, bikes and buildings, trying not to drown in this audiovisual chaos that you can't seem to escape.
This experience inspired me to create a photographic portrait of Amsterdam's inner city and its surroundings; a portrait of the city proper.
Amsterdam has been depicted by countless artists during the last five centuries. Most of them kept a certain distance and let the architecture play the leading role. The lines of perspective directed them to their vantage points. People in these pictures acted like extras in a movie who never stand in the way and appear at the right place at the right moment. I, however, had to move through crowded streets, with people everywhere around me, moving erratically and constantly blocking my view. But it is this aspect of constant motion that makes the city an organic, living entity. In a real city everything is coinciding, people who may or may not know each other and are there for many different reasons, between buildings who stand tall, unstirred and immortal, with spaces in between like stages in a theatre, where things occur with or without purpose, where people encounter, meet or ignore each other.
A city is a giant coincidence of circumstances and events, mysteries and allusions to an answer, chaos and order.
A portrait of the city proper must let the mysteries be mysteries. Looking for answers is useless; one can only be amazed about the coincidence of so many innumerable circumstances and events.