Because I live in Amsterdam, my special days out – especially in the tourist season – are often further afield. Yesterday, it was a visit to Leiden, a university town about 40 minutes south of Amsterdam.
At the Museum van Volkenkunde in Leiden there is a photography exhibition by Jimmy Nelson of indigenous people from all over the globe. Nelson describes himself as a Shell child. His father worked for Shell and the Nelson family ricocheted around the world from secondment to secondment. Nelson went to boarding school in the UK from the age of seven but he felt, like so many expat children, rootless. His sense of belonging is something he finds within the human connection he experiences with his subjects. Each photo is planned meticulously, the photographer showing each group or individual at their best. There are no unguarded moments in his pictures. The only element I felt was missing was the vulnerability of indigenous peoples. Perhaps this can be explained by Nelson’s years working in the advertising world, but that aside, this record of the variation and beauty of the different peoples around the world is truly awe-inspiring.
Exhibition runs till 7 September 2014. Don’t miss it! And while you’re in Leiden, if it’s a sunny day, go to the Hortus Botanicus too. One of my favourite special places in the Netherlands.