“I take pictures because they’re a moment that I want to remember,” says photographer Gioia de Bruijn. “A lot of the time, art is, at that point, not the motivation for taking a photo. It didn't start as art – the art part came later.” Growing up on the small island of Curacao in the southern Caribbean, de Bruijn was never without a camera. With an upbringing more liberal than most and a family who, she tells us, are ‘super tight’, she says, “I was always trying to push the limits and because I was usually pretty honest about what I was up to, my parents let me do a lot of stuff that other kids my age might not be allowed to have done. My friends and I were usually getting into pretty photogenic situations which I wanted to be able to look back on one day, so I always had disposable cameras.”
After dropping out of a psychobiology degree that she had moved to Amsterdam to study, she hit the European festival circuit. "I spent a few months going to every festival, every party, every afterparty I could find, and I took a lot of pictures,” she says. “Those ended up being the pictues I got into art school with. I guess I was just seeing so much love and free spirited craziness around me that I wanted to be able to remember it forever.” Heading to London from Amsterdam, de Bruijn found focus in her studies, but still made the trip back to the Netherlands every two weeks to catch up with friends, her now ex-boyfriend Guido, and, of course, to shoot more photos.
Here, she shares her shots from “Weekend Warriors”, a collection of images of her and her friends practising, as she calls it, ‘weekend-time optimisation’. “I am always framing things in my head – I see everything as a potential photo,” she says. Now back in Amsterdam, de Bruijn’s work will be on show at the city’s Unseen Photo Fair next month, where viewers can expect to see some of her favourite things to shoot: “Buildings, power lines, high-up places, America, my dad, Guido – who is still my muse – and whoever I’m sleeping with at the time (laughs). Okay, I guess Freud would have a field day on that one…”
de Bruijn’s show will be on display at Amsterdam’s Unseen Fair, taking place between 18-20 September, 2015