Dennis Duijnhouwer is a lifestyle analogue photographer based in Amsterdam. He works with his camera almost every day and his focus is always on catching moments of what he considers to be out-of-the-ordinary reality. Current obsessions include animal prints, 2Pac, fake flowers, bad graffiti and gabber music.
What first drew you to Amsterdam?
“As a kid, coming from a small town, visiting family in Amsterdam was always a thrilling experience. When I first started carrying a camera with me after moving here, I was definitely inspired by the photographers who documented Amsterdam’s halcyon days, such as Ed van der Elsken. The city still has that spirit, you’ve just gotta look a lot harder to find it.”
Photography is obviously a big part of your life. The pictures in your portfolio portray a large variety of people with different looks and personalities in many different contexts. Is being different what appeals to you?
“I just want to have a rich, colourful and adventure-filled existence. Photography is a way for me to be rooted in reality and be caught in a dream at the same time. It’s easy to hate with photography, much harder to love.”
Your images have a real vibrancy; colour just bounces off them. Is that intentional?
“I generally find this world to be a cruel, harsh and grey place, so I’m really drawn to anything that is not that.”
What inspires you most in your work?
“Anything really. Mostly my friends – they are quite an amazing cast of inspired, outspoken and fantastic weirdos. And, of course, definitely music. Music is the best!”
Why is photography so important to you?
It allows me to interact with the world in a very different way compared with when I don’t have a camera on me. I’m usually a little shy. I like all the possibilities of adventures that lie just around the corner when I’m photographing.”
You describe your city as being small, chaotic and beautiful. Amsterdam is also, of course, well known for being outspoken concerning the subjects of drugs and prostitution. Does that influence your work at all?
“When I was younger I romanticised the red-light district in Amsterdam, but today I’m really sort of saddened about it. It’s human misery for sale and on display. With that said, prostitution will always be a part of this world. I’m just not sure how we, as a society, should go about changing it.”
Dennis performs as Right On Moutain on Red light Radio
Words by Rebekka Aldén.
Photos by Dennis Duijnhouwer.