“For the past years I have been working with disabled children. Most of the children I work with have a mental age of a 2-year-old. Over the year I have learned to communicate with the kids in their own language. Many people don’t realize this but each disabled person has their own language. It’s a challenge but I try to learn each child’s language as best as I can. Every time it amazes me to see that despite of their limitations they still try to get their message across and even develop new skills. For example, one of the children recently sat on the toilet for a little while. Even though it might sound as if doesn’t make much of difference because the child will never be potty trained or go to the toilet independently, To them and to their parents it makes all the difference in the world.”

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 humansofamsterdam@gmail.com 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,