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Amsterdam 2020

It was 1983 when the Amsterdam photographer/filmmaker Ed van der Elsken drove his Austin ‘Mini Moke’ through an empty Amsterdam. He had to get up very early to find an empty city, it must have been about five o’clock, in the summer of course. He had screwed the camera to the roof.
He speeded up the movie and edited the sound of the flutist Harry Kaplan underneath. He had met him while he was playing on the street, on the Damrak, as it seems. It was the intro to his now-famous film ‘My Amsterdam’.

I was 20 years old at the time and not yet a photographer, that came a few years later, but Ed was always a hero to me. I knew his books ‘Sweet Life’ and ‘Eye love you’ from front to back and from back to front. So Ed was not only a photographer but also an approachable filmmaker, a pretty special combination, especially before that time, Johan van der Keuken, there was another one.
Very often I looked at Ed’s accelerated empty streets and thought this is an Amsterdam that will never come back, so empty.

But today this Amsterdam is there again, the reason is less fun: Covid19, but it makes Amsterdam so incredibly beautiful.
A tribute to Ed and Amsterdam with the same flutist who flutes again.

Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR, April 2020

door Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR


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