Today I want to introduce you to an old acquaintance. I met Francesca (she still used her male name back then) late 2012. At the time I just started taking pictures for Amsterdam Characters and was therefor still working on my instinct on whom to go after for a picture, but when I spotted Francesca I was sure I had to take hers.
Francesca told me she would go to Amsterdam on a regular basis to feel free to wear her favorite women’s clothes. At home she would dress according to her gender. This experiment was all very new to her so she was hesitant when I approached her. Luckily though, she agreed on me taking her picture if I would make it unrecognizable. So I did and ‘Amsterdam Freedom’ was one of the first pictures on my tumblr blog (click here).
Now Francesca runs her own blog ‘Contessa Francesca di Parma’ with weekly uploads of herself in new outfits. It’s because of the one year anniversary of this blog that she approached me again to make a special photo series to celebrate. She allowed me to show you this selection.
‘I just moved here and my picture on your blog makes it official, right? I am an Amsterdam citizen!’
When you call yourself ‘Smile’ you must be very certain you can live up to the name. This one and only Smile can. Positive minded, he brightens up the entire Espresso Fabriek in the Westerpark on a rainy day.
Every morning, Smile will walk up to one of the canals and he will sit there for an hour, meditating whilst overlooking the water. It soothes the soul, he says. Not your profession, not your relationship nor your background will establish your identity. Only your soul will and happy people are the ones who know their soul.
Somewhere in the middle of the Waterlooplein, surrounded by market stalls with cannabis lollypops and Bob Marly shirts, there is an oasis for Amsterdam’s hipsters. This is Rasheed’s fashionable shop disguised as a marketstall. It’s an all black experience: the floor is covered with a black lino, walls of black cloths are put up and Rasheed is lying down on a black leather sofa. Totally relaxed, he waits for customers to come and be amazed by his merchandise. The bags he sells are truely amazing. They’re all his own design, produced in a factory in Morocco, Rasheed’s motherland. And they’re all black, his favorite (non) color.
This is Mister Woodstock, a hippie era fanatic. He loves this period of time and dresses accordingly. I met him on his Davy Crockett day, but it could just as well have been Jimi Hendrix day, as he varies between the two. The first represents the native americans, an important source of inspiration for the hippies, Woodstock explains. The guitar hero represents nothing other than the preeminent hippie idol he was.
Apart from clothing, Mister Woodstock integrated other elements of the sixties hippie legacy into his life. Thus, he has declared color his religion. In Holland we’ve experienced a colorful period in the sixties but lost it along the way, he tells. Now clothes and, consequently, life are grey and unanimous. Mister Woodstock calls for more color and diversity in the streets and in the lives of people.