Living in Amsterdam, there is not a particular street I like or interests me, its the complete atmosphere of the old city centre. The canals all breathe the same atmosphere. Present covid-calmness, streets without the millions of tourists occupying the city, enhance the special Amsterdam mood and bring back the cities beauty and nostalgia.

As ever, I set my camera to preview and shoot jpg in monochrome, the raw files are of course in colour. To depict the nostalgia and the moment, colour distracts, as noise in the message. The essence of the image, the forms and gestures, seem reduced by the use of colour. The city becomes a modernity, another shout for attention when colour is used.

Monochrome provides a certain alienation as well, in place and in time. Away from reality. Therefore it enhances the imagination, away from the viewers own reality and therefore away from his own observation. In colour, it becomes an image of recognition and if not, it needs to be extremely intense to get any attention, either by the use of flash, humour or other intensifying mechanisms. As if monochrome brings a certain calmness into the image, time to look, time to think, see the normal in a special, external, contemplating form, never shout, never scream, as an abstraction almost.

Indeed, not sure this goes for all genres, but to me, it does with “street photography”. Possibly some personal nostalgia plays a role here too. For some reason, if find monochrome increasingly determinative for still photography. Where colour becomes the method for film, social media and its blatant volatility, the calm, the impact the pace of monochrome defines the uniqueness and character of still photography.

My opinion must be clear by now. For street photography in the old Amsterdam area, I hardly ever get a full series suitable in colour, at its best a single image and even so, very scaresely. I think my strength is in observing the little quick moments, not the big aesthetics or people as accessories in rays of light, neither the use of juxtaposition and I’m not the person to use flash at close distance, I’m too big, too bold, too intrusive for that style. It’s useless to have an aggressive discussion with your subjects at every image.

Monochrome Series

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Colour Series

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