Last weekend I made my way to Amsterdam to explore some of the city and pay a visit to Unseen Photo Fair 2016. Although it seems pretty common for young British adults to pay a visit to Amsterdam for a weekend away partying, this was my first time in Amsterdam. I was particularly curious to see the city as initially, I was meant to be studying something entirely different there for a year.
I had no idea what Amsterdam had in hold for me, as I had heard a range of things about it. People from outside of Holland say its amazing, paying particular emphasis on the nightlife which Amsterdam is famed for. Dutch people I have spoke to don’t quite seem to love it as much as everyone else. They feel about it the way Londoners tend to feel about Oxford Street, particular the area around Oxford Circus tube station.
Of course, I found Amsterdam exciting and full of things to do and see. However, it had not lived up to the hype. Maybe I am biased to Groningen? Probably. After experiencing a city that is typically Dutch and not full of tourists I found Amsterdam resembled more of London than Groningen. Leaning towards the touristy side rather than Dutch. However as I was there primarily for Unseen, I did not get to explore much of the city and stuck around the central part, which is definitely a tourist trap, rather than exploring as much as I could have. I am certainly not writing Amsterdam off, and I would for sure go back there. However for me, Groningen is a scaled down, mostly tourist free, prettier version of Amsterdam which I adore.
Unseen! My main reason for visiting. Ironically, I took no photographs there (other than of works I was particularly fond of or books I want) as I was so immersed in all the new exciting photo books on offer and being inspired by works. It was amazing though, featuring a range of international galleries and artists with varying projects. Some artists exhibited that stood out to me were Takashi Kawashima, Kevin Cooley, and Maija Tammi. All of which I would recommend to lovers of photography, so check them out! After a lot of deliberation about what photo book I would buy as there was so many to choose from, I picked War Porn by Christoph Bangert. It is not for everyone, but for people interested in photojournalism and war photography it is definitely one to look at. Looking at the removal of censorship around war images and showing a hard hitting raw perspective, it is certainly an eye opening book. I was also informed when purchasing this, there is another book by Bangert which acts as a follow up or part two to War Porn.
Thats all for tonight guys! But I will be back with more posts! Not only is my autumn finally arriving with Halloween imminent (yay!), I am off on a trip around Scandinavia at the end of next week which will result in plenty of blog posts following! I also plan on sharing a bit about my art practice very soon! It is something I am particularly excited about.