Warsaw, Brzeskastreet: The backside of the emerging district of Praga. People who have lived here for generations are burdened by rising rents, demolition, speculation and a disinterested government. Their new neighbours are junkies and homeless. The courtyards and the market are the common domain of these groups. And of Kacper and Julia, teenagers who do their best to just grow up, rapping and breakdancing. What will their changes be to escape this environment? I have tried to view the neighbourhood through the eyes of Kacper and Julia, but the story is not about them.
Bushwick, Brooklyn New York City.
The originally industrial- and poor neighborhood is being invaded by free spirited kind of people and artists. They are settling their workshops in the old buildings. The neighborhoods where they used to live have become so popular with yuppies and hipsters, that rents have skyrocketed. Most of them could not afford the rents anymore and were forced to look for alternative space to live and work, transfering Bushwick in a colorful, vibrant neighborhood.
Strolling through NYC the scene suddenly changes. Baseball caps and shorts disappear from view. Black coats, black hats, beards and ringlets take their place. The Jewish orthodox community in Brooklyn, New York is growing. The Jewish quarter expands into the adjacent neighborhoods. It expands, but it doesn’t seem to reach out. The community seems to set itself apart, to stick to their own kind, their own customs, traditions, values and clothing styles.But the children playing on the pavements are only footsteps away from the twenty-first century America. One keeps wondering how easy or how difficult it’s going to be for them when they grow up to make a different choice, to turn around and step into the twenty first century, into the country the community seems to have turned its back to, America, the Land of the Free.
In Groningen (the Netherlands) in recent years a number of relatively small action groups have emerged, who stand up for the residents of the area affected by earthquakes, caused by gas production by NAM. Shocking Groningen is one of them and John Lanting is the pioneer in this action group. I made a portrait of John Lanting and his group. Do they have a chance to get their demands met, or is it a battle of David against Goliath?
(Almelo, The Netherlands 1967)
I am a Dutch photographer driven by questions of fairness and righteousness. I am fascinated by the influence of the locations where people grow up, live and work. These locations are rarely neutral. But how do they influence people’s chances of succeeding in life? And are people really able to choose their surroundings? Or do they just find themselves there?