Our Work On Canvas project in collaboration with jeanmakers Denham and emerging Dutch portrait photographer Marc Haers captured the passage-of-time on the characters, in the faces and across the jeans of skilled craftspeople working in Amsterdam, the birthplace of both Grolsch and Denham. Over the course of six months we met and followed the work and lives of seven artisans, gaining insight into their inspirations and the way that their surroundings shape their craft. Last month the project came to a stunning close with a ‘real-life scale’ outdoor exhibit during UNSEEN Photo Festival at the Spaarndammerplantsoen in Amsterdam.
One might wonder whether craftsmanship still exists in today’s high-tech world. This project is an affirmation and celebration of todays’ Amsterdam artisans. Dutch artist Marc Haers photographed each artisan in their studio surrounded by their tools, wearing their daily working outfit: a pair of jeans.
In our final exhibition the series of photographs suited their surrounding well: the Spaardammerbuurt, an Amsterdam neighbourhood widely known for its world famous Amsterdam School architecture and for housing craftsmen in the early twentieth century. Haers’ inspiration for the series came partly from the tradition of social photography associated with pioneers like August Sander, Irving Penn and Lewis Hine.
The artisans featured are silver restorer Julia Leunge, steel worker Joram Barbiers, woodworker Wouter Vos, muralist and interior painter Thijs Kruithof, glass engineer Joost Nawijn, urban landscape gardener Hidde Suvaal, furniture maker Tom Van Noesel. In order to capture the progression of each subject’s creative process, Haers produced a series of double-portraits. These twin-images hide clues of their endeavor – take a look and discover their journeys here.