September 30, 2014
Despite Paris or Milan being the more obvious choice for fashion lovers, Fashion photographer Cath Conroy says that “right here, in Amsterdam, there is a movement that is capturing the world”. After 5 years exploring and living the magic of this city, what she has learnt from it is that “conventionality doesn’t get us anywhere. You have to embrace your authenticity and do what you have to do to get the shot”.
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” T.S EliotIt is profoundly true. When something becomes so familiar, we risk not seeing it for what it is.As a fashion photographer, I have to find connection in the everyday as I view the world through my lens. When I step back from fashion, I turn my attention to my adopted city that forms the back drop of our lives.For the typical Antipodean, London is the natural choice however I wanted to step outside of the familiar and to absorb the nuances of a different culture, a different pace. I felt it was particularly important for my artistic vision to embrace the new and to find a different angle from which to view my life and work.The buzz that is Amsterdam was enigmatic and with my first visit, I felt a childlike fascination in the sense of seeing something for the first time. Taking my first evening stroll along the Prinsengracht, I was so surprised by the fact that the curtains were wide open. What were the inhabitants trying to say? We have nothing to hide? We are transparent in nature? It was the first of many clues into the Dutch culture, a culture that I have come to appreciate in so many ways.I have had 5 years to explore and am beginning to feel a sense of belonging despite the fact that I am still a foreigner. This is part of the magic of Amsterdam. A city with an uncanny sense of familiar, a feeling of a village that wears the mask of a city.For the fashion lovers, the more obvious choice would be Paris or Milan but right here, in Amsterdam, there is a movement that is capturing the world. By nature, the Dutch are open and relaxed and they are embracing the street wear culture simply because it’s more representative of comfort and who they are. Riding across town on a bicycle is certainly easier in jeans than it is in a suit!As a fashion photographer, I love the challenge of capturing this tenacity and attitude. In my approach, I consider myself to be a disruptive which I am inherently proud of. What Amsterdam has taught me is that conventionality doesn’t get us anywhere. You have to embrace your authenticity and do what you have to do to get the shot. In doing so, I am starting to capture this spirit of Amsterdam in my work. I am really beginning to feel like I get it and that I am seeing something special that many may simply miss in the everyday familiarity of their lives.