Wojo is an Amsterdam based street art photographer who took his hobby to a next level and is now shooting pictures every day. He doesn’t fear a difficult spot to photograph, as long a he can capture as much as possible. I spoke to him to find out what moves him, inspires him and how it is to capture the street almost every day for already more than 10 years.
How it started
I started years ago by making pictures on the street. In the beginning the street art functioned mainly as the background in my photographs as I always captured people. Since about 5 years ago I decided to leave out the people and focus on graffiti and street art. I created the mission to capture all the street art and graffiti in and around Amsterdam. I want to make street art accessible for everyone by collecting it on my flickr page. Street art can be provisional. But because I make pictures of everything, it remains. I captured over 57.000 pieces, tags and murals.
For me, all street art matters. And I think graffiti is street art too. It doesn’t matter if I or someone else thinks and artwork is nice or plain. It’s important look at the world with an open mind. Besides that, your opinion on what you like can change over the years. People often think about graffiti as vandalism, but if you take the time to have a closer look, you’ll see the beauty of it. That’s why I never show the mess and junk that’s sometimes around a graffiti or street art piece. I want people to see the beauty of the artwork. I also think it’s a shame that there’s barely any graffiti in the center of Amsterdam. I think that’s due to the municipality’s policy. They want to attract tourists to the city but forget that an important part of a cities character is the creativity you can find on the streets.
I always like Flevopark and the NDSM area. There’s also a place where freight trains are being stabled, it’s a bit illegal to go there which I like. I prefer to go to places where only something happens every now and then. Going to the same spots every day isn’t really a challenge of course. I enjoy the summers when I spent hours and hours on my bike, hunting for a new piece. When you catch a piece by surprise, that really gives a kick.
I enjoy taking pictures of places that are difficult to reach. I photograph a lot from trains, it’s not always easy as you have to keep in mind that the light needs to be good, the windows can’t be to dirty. But in the last couple of years I became better in doing so and now I’m pretty good at it. I also like to make pictures of art next to the railways by for example climbing over a fence. That’s a real challenge, but the feeling to have a picture no one else has is amazing. It did cause me some troubles sometimes, though!
Around the world
Two years ago I went to Bangkok for 2 months. In those 2 months I wanted to capture as much graffiti as possible. It’s a very nice way to get to know a city, a very different way. Now as I’m getting older I can’t go backpacking anymore.
I’m soon leaving to Nepal (edit: the interview is taken a while ago. When published Wojo will be returned) for three months. I want to take more pictures of people again, I prefer that at the moment. I’m planning to stay in just three places. Nepal has a beautiful culture with beautifull, very photogenic people. I would love to make pictures of them. For me it’s very interesting to capture people and different cultures.
On Wojo’s flickr page you can find al his pictures from Nepal, as well as his street art pictures.