Scroll down
Jump to top
Go back

Random meetings with strangers

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

In 2018 I started a portrait project.
I randomly asked people I saw in public places in Amsterdam if I could photograph them. If they agreed we set-up a time and a location and we came together on a specific place in Amsterdam. I liked the fact that I did not know them and they did not know me. I just had an idea based on first impression. And that idea was sometimes completely different than there impression on me during the shoot. I also asked them to tell me a bit about themselves, like what their biggest dream was, or what they are most scared of. Joel was the first one I photographed, I saw him dancing in a park during a festival. When we met he seemed shy in the beginning. I set up the lights in a very urban location under the tram tracks. He brought his Soundsystem and once he started dancing he was on fire. I had no idea I met someone who was on the finals of a Dutch talent show 'So think you can dance Junior.'

Another person I met in the same park was Daniel. He looked Moroccan to me, but was Brazilian.
When I asked him what his dream was he said: To give my little child a happy life.
As a young boy he himself played outside in the favelas in Brazil. His family there was poor but tried to do their best for their children. An organization that links adopted children to European citizens decided they should be adopted. Daniel has the feeling this was not his mother choice, but they were separated by force.
His family here has been taking good care of them, but Daniel did get into some trouble and dropped out of school.
He now works as a construction builder and does a lot of voluntary work.

And Degan, alias Anna de Groot I discovered through Instagram. I was impressed by her paintings and asked if I could visit her at her studio.

What led me to start taking photos of people I do not know, is pure and free curiosity. There is this intuitive feeling that pulls me to just talk to a stranger, test my own prejudice (bias). There are always these biased thoughts for an instant when noticing the other, the unknown. Based on the way someone is dressed, and body language, the general l looks I might have my prejudice (my thoughts) ready before I even am aware of it myself. I think this is always a thing that fascinates me: How do people show themselves to the world. (there is the tendency to categorize them) They, in my brain at least, are sometimes without being aware of it categorized as part of a group. Generalization/ prejudice is such a fascinating thing and I love it when I am completely wrong. As a photographer I look, I have thoughts and then I talk. I personally always want to invite myself to be open and unprejudiced and find the individual 'voice/ unique character'/ unique way of being' of the other.