in T'interwebs

A day in Amsterdam with Mr Worley

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Just over a week ago I managed to spend a day in Amsterdam, having extended my stay at the inaugural European eCommerce Forum (of which, more anon).

After what seemed like weeks of rain and hail the Saturday was a glorious, warm Spring day.

Ian Worley had spoken at the conference – a really good session on ethnographic research aka watching your customers and responding to their needs – and he’d stayed over too. We therefore hit the streets for a 7-hour walk, with the focus on architecture (as you’d expect, given that Ian’s an architect by training and Amsterdam is a design/architecture dream city: dense, varied, compact and photogenic). I was still suffering from my “all manhole covers are ART” affliction, so spent most of my time peering floor-wards or fiddling with the exposure control to try and capture the first feeling of hot, bright sun on these winter-wearied eyes.

The photos are in the Amsterdam 2008 photoset on my Flickr account.

Conversation went from the Founding Fathers and their true intentions, to London Mayoral campaigns, raising kids, ecommerce, gadgets and bbq techniques – interrupted only by cravings for beer and peering at maps.

Amsterdam must surely be one of the most civilised and livable capital city centres in the world.

A discovery on this visit was the FOAM photo gallery. What a wonderful place. A lateral conversion over four floors, facing onto the canal, garden gallery, compact but selective bookshop plus print sales. Saw a great exhibition by Daniel and Geo Fuchs on “Secret Rooms” of the STASI. Jessica Dimmock’s “The Ninth Floor” [book] was a moving and rounded documentary of drug users in New York, taken with integrity and a rounded engagement with her subjects. It avoided most of the sunday-supplement heroine chic images and the exhibition ended – as she describes in the accompanying text – as she lost documentary objectivity at the plight of her (now) friends. Thought-provoking, and a reminder both of the power of photography and the value of a good showing space.

FOAM gallery in Amsterdam.

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