Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Urban paradigm. Few cities in the world mange diversity and transformation better then Amsterdam. Architecture, economy, culture, history, tourists, politics, conflict, religion, identity all are shaping the city and it manages to survive and thrive. Where many others succumbed to the assault of modernity and trivialisation Amsterdam seems to flourish. Evidently clichés do apply. But home to the European emblematic 'Red Light District' and hundreds of 'Coffee Shops' it manages to stay completely free of vulgarity. It may be related to the typically protestant morals but somehow it stays immune to the throngs of tourists in search of some type or another of high. It is not indifferent, it just seems very well adapted. Or adjusted may be a better word. I like its diverse people and the youthful atmosphere. A weekend in Amsterdam always offers some kind of discovery and it is always a photography paradise. Last time there I went down with Ioana I only had the old D70 and a 35mm f2 Nikon lens (50 on digital). This is a fixed focal vie of Amsterdam in a hurry.
In the city of Van Gogh one has to paint. Even the temporary boarding of a store under construction shows this artsy orientation. In all earnest the arts are alive and kicking in Amsterdam with a myriad of exhibitions and art happenings that keep it highly relevant and contemporary. While taking an early afternoon coffee I was watching amusedly clips that were part of an exhibition on contemporary Iranian media. Very good and strikingly in tone. Yet another sign of globalisation and also of the mismatched and incomplete image the politically oriented press gives of non-European countries.
Rarely do Amsterdamers change their mean of transport. If not a bike then a motorcycle! Fewer then in other European city, in Amsterdam it seams they also take upon the rule of nothing is old enough to be thrown away. This is a BMW form the 60's. Good knows how old the vespasiane in the background is.
It is probably a very cliché thing to photograph bikes in Amsterdam but who can resist it. I found that almost all the pictures I took regardless the place and the hour of day had a bike in the frame. Train station, canal, museum, cheeky store window, good looking girl, all have a bike showing. It reminds me of my childhood city. Arad, in the 70's and 80's was very much a bicycle city. Everybody had one and my highschool had several lots for them as most students came to school by bike. Brussels weather and my job requirements make it almost impossible to ride as I would love to be able as I was in Boston to use a bicycle as may main transportation.
One step at a time. Shines and timidity in front of this unknown and welcoming universe. A Chinese man enters the Museum Store on Museumplain in Amsterdam. Part of group from central Asia close to the Gobi desert these are not the people from the east coast or southern China. People from Sanghai, Guangzhou, even Beijing or Chongqing are seasoned travellers, this group however was not the usual kind. Dressed in their best cloth they all looked uncertain and unconvinced. Laughing to gain courage and chain smoking they obviously enjoyed this wired day with sunshine and heavy snow, clouds and wind all in the span of an hour.