I’m using the quieter days over Christmas to write the first couple of posts for this new blog project in order to give you some initial stories to read. This is going to be my third post and I’m currently slightly ahead of time as my posts on my social media outlets are a bit behind. In the future I’m trying to keep up a weekly rhythm, so there will be one new behind the image story every week. Or so.
1/200, f/5.6, ISO 250, 84 mm, Lumix DMC-GX8
This lovely image was taken in Amsterdam in May 2019. I just recently rediscovered it when browsing my photos of the year for some holiday gifts. I still don’t understand Amsterdam. Even if I just saw the old city center with its old canals, it’s still baffling to me how such a charming city works as a capital of a modern society. The streets are tiny, if there are streets and not just waterways. There’s almost zero car traffic. Most of the inner city is relying on bikes as a way of transport. There’s a quite new subway in the city, but the inner city is just to close together to really benefit from the one or two new stops in the area. As a pedestrian you’re going through quite a learning curve during your first days in the city because the bike lines always have right of way. And they are fast. The many bike lanes in the city really make this the preferred way of moving.
The image was taken close to The Huis aan de Drie Grachten or The House on the Three Canals. This tiny house is surrounded by canals on three sides. Most of the houses of Amsterdam are very narrow but also very long, reaching from one canal all through to the next one. Most houses have been used as warehouses in the past. The goods were loaded on and off the ships with pulleys in the attic of these houses.
Amsterdam is an old medieval city from the outside, but very fresh and modern from within. There are also a lot of younger people in the city center going to work or even living there. So there’s this constant mixture of old window frames and a modern interior glancing through those windows. The sole plate almost becomes a time machine beaming you to the present or even the future while crossing it.
In this context and surrounded by all these old canals and timber framed houses I loved to find these little robots glancing through the dirty window and looking outside to see what’s going on. It’s pretty much how I felt as walking along those streets. It’s like a constant shift between past and future.