Helmets and uniforms

March 10, 2007

On a Saturday afternoon family outing to Amsterdam we came to Beursplein where we saw several trucks from the fire brigade arriving and some not so frantic action afterwards (they didn’t seem in a lot of a hurry). From the smell it seemed that some tires were on fire in the garage next to ‘De Bijenkorf’. Not a big deal apparently since shopping proceeded as usual inside, despite the penetrating stench. Good occasion for taking some pictures; only one turned out publishable:

fire in bijenkorf, amsterdam

Not such a remarkable event, but the uniforms and helmets reminded me of my one time aspirations as a photo journalist. On this same site (and a couple of hundred meters further on the Damrak), but 25 years ago (September 25, 1982), I took photos at a demonstration, which had something to do with Palestinians, but I don’t remember the particular occasion. (Not a lot of progress in that area in 25 years.) The police were guarding the offices of El Al. Here are some photos from that day (while the police presence might suggest otherwise, it was a quiet afternoon):

This was my first season as photographer. The film is marked number 5 in the very neat records I kept at the time of my archive with negatives. While photography was running in the family, I was especially inspired by my cousins who took great photos of the squatting riots in Amsterdam at the time. Those first months I went to quite a few demonstrations to take photos; if I find anything worthwhile I’ll post it on flickr. After a while I diverged to other topics, and my journalistic aspirations became artistic aspirations, before I ditched the whole thing and took up computer science.