Approaching Humans on the streets of Amsterdam and asking them for their photograph and story can be challenging and sometimes even scary. I still remember the first day I went out on the streets. I was not really familiar with my camera and had no idea how I was going to approach people. Over the past year I have received many emails asking me how I go about it. And indeed since that first day I have stopped at least a 1000 humans on the streets, taken their photograph, made them tell me their story. I have tried to explain how it worked but I think if you are really curious you ’d better experience it yourself.

That is why I would like to challenge you to go out in your own neighborhood and do it yourself. Ask a stranger for his/her photograph and story. You can send your photo and story to and on the 5th of May I will post 5 of the best portraits in an album on the page. The winners will receive a set of Humans of Amsterdam postcards. In order to participate you don’t need a professional camera. The photo can even be taken with a mobile phone. Neither do you need to be from Amsterdam to participate. Great humans and stories can be found all over the world.

If you need some support, here are some of my (golden) tips:

– Approach people in a friendly way and explain why you would like to take their photograph
– If somebody doesn’t want to be photographed, no hard feelings. Stay kind and don’t take offence, it has nothing to do with you.
– Ask specific questions, that is how the story becomes personal.
– Make use of the environment. Each city has typical characteristics like for example beautiful streets, cool walls etc. all of which you can include in your photographs.

I am looking forward to see your response.

Good luck,

“I work as a security guard for an international airline company. Whenever customers are late for their flights I must tell them to reschedule. Something they have to pay for. It´s hard to be the messenger of bad news. A couple times I even cried afterwards.
One day a politician came, not only was he late for his flight, he also carried too much luggage. Because of him being a politician, the company decided to reschedule his flight for free and even offered him a first class ticket. Only a few minutes before that incident I had to send away a woman with a tumor in her face . She also had too much luggage but showed me papers from the hospital saying she was allowed to bring extra weight. When I went to my manager he told me that there was no such arrangement with the airline company and so she had to pay for it.
In the beginning my manager used to be very sensitive to such delicate situations but I have seen him change over the years. That´s why I want to quit this job because I am afraid the same thing will happen to me.”

“If you could be the king for one day, what would you do?”
“Then I wish I had superpowers so I could see my mother again to give her a big hug.”

“Do you have a word of advice for the new King and Queen?”
“To be honest I don’t give a damn about the monarchy, I just want to party and wear orange clothing!”

“Hurry up, I have a date!”