Photo of the Week: Amsterdam

Quartier Putain, Red Light District, Amsterdam

Amsterdam – it’s a strange place. On the one hand I absolutely enjoyed wandering its canals and quaint historic streets. But I was put off this Dutch city by its red light district. It was seedy, creepy and made me feel quite uncomfortable. Perhaps more so than I have ever felt in Europe. But I’m certainly glad that I’ve been there myself to make up my own mind.

Despite the best attempts of the weather, we still had a great time. It rained on us for about three quarters of time we were there non-stop. So unusually for me the majority of my shots were taken indoors. On Saturday there was a small break in the downpour and I managed to get my camera out. I’m still a bit nervous with my NEX 6 in the rain, and I don’t like the hassle of having to make sure the lens is clear of raindrops. If anybody has any tips for shooting in the rain please let me know! These are four of the best shots I got over the weekend. Which is your favourite: A, B, C, or D?

Photo A

Photo B

Photo C

Photo D

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15 thoughts on “Photo of the Week: Amsterdam

  1. Cindi

    I like them all – but Photo B “Canal House, Amsterdam” is my favorite. Symmetrical, yet the reflections in the glass aren’t mirror images so it’s not “perfect.” And the detail above the door at the top of the stairs is fascinating – my eye is drawn up to it. Great perspective!

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks for the critique Cindi! I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I liked about this one, but I think you’re spot on with the reflections. They really add something to the image.

      Reply
  2. nylonliving

    A. It has an urban grittiness (especially shot in black and white) and although French is usually used to denote class and sophistication, in this case, not so much. love the juxtaposition.

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Shobha. Indeed, it’s not the most pleasantly named cafe I’ve ever seen! The red light district in Amsterdam really is full of juxtapositions, namely the places of worships sitting just metres away from the brothels. It’s incredibly unusual! And a bit discomforting.

      Reply
  3. Niccolea

    Great shots! I think if pressed to choose a favorite, I would go with photo C because of the richness of the contrasting colors and the warmth of the tones in spite of the relative darkness of the shot; plus it has a great complexity of composition with all the lines of the architecture (which may be what put others off from this shot, but I love the way it looks for my preferred aesthetic). Thanks for sharing them!

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks for the great critique Niccolea! I agree it is perhaps a little bit busy, but I’m glad you liked it. The complexity of the old architecture is fascinating, grand churches like this never fail to impress me.

      Reply
  4. klsprout

    I love the symmetry of shot B, but I’m completely taken with shot A! Not only does the copper vat look great, but I also love the stained glass in the background!

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks! The lighting in that room was fantastic, and I loved the stained glass too. It seemed completely out of place in a building that was used for making beer!

      Reply
  5. i*Kan

    My fav is the one of the Canal House. I found the redlight area disconcerting too… Seeing the women in the windows, displayed like objects. But I respect the fact that it is all legal – hence safer for the girls… And something they have chosen to do, rather than forced exploitation by someone else.

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Kan. I know that legalisation should make it safer for the women with more regulation and better working conditions. But it seems to be up for debate whether it has a positive or negative impact on human trafficking. I think unfortunately it’s really hard to know whether the net effect is good or bad for people working in the industry.

      Reply
  6. twoblackdoggies

    Amsterdam is a city I really enjoyed exploring, although the first time I was there (many years ago) I didn’t really like it and never wanted to return – so glad that I did. We spent very little time in the red light district, the weather was miserable half the time so I didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked. Your images are beautiful, I love the variation you have from the black and white formal symmetry to the warmth of the copper and cathedral ceiling.

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Sam, that’s great you managed to get back for a second time and explore. I’m glad you enjoyed the shots! The weather was miserable for much of our visit too, I’d like to go back and see some sunshine! However I did feel that is was one of those places that still had its charms even in the rain.

      Reply

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