Happiness Is Easy

26/05/2011 11:14 by Amsterdamize

Last week I was on my way to Foam, the photography museum on Keizersgracht, to go on a guided tour of the exhibition 'Set Amsterdam' by Dana Lixenberg. I had 10 minutes to spare, so figured I could shoot a few pics of people on bikes & how they were dealing with the rain and heavy winds that had come upon us. Dealing With Rain Dealing With Rain Dealing With Rain Dealing With Rain Dealing With Rain Dealing With Rain Dealing With Rain Dealing With Rain Dealing With Rain Dealing With Rain
The tour was supposed to be led by Paul Marbus, location scout for the popular Dutch tv series 'A'dam & E.V.A' (Adam & Eva / Amsterdam & And Many Others), but he called in sick and the tour topic changed to 'Antiphotojournalism'. I had been looking forward to hearing more about the visual backgrounds of this show, as its main character is the city of Amsterdam, so this was quite a bummer. Here's the trailer for 'A'dam & E.V.A.':

Every day our lives cross that of dozens, maybe hundreds of others, other people we don't know: incidently passing by, people from the same neighborhood, shop keepers, complete strangers, a voice at the other end of the line, young, old, closeby or at a distance. Our existence continuously touches that of others. Often there's nothing particular that happens; we just happen to be close, at the same time and at the same place, to then disappear from each other's lives forever.

The series' season ended a month ago, I had never watched it on tv, so I resorted to the internet archives. I was blown away. So clever, so nice, so compelling and so true to form. The reason I got to this show was that Marco (the author of Muenchenierung) and I did a presentation about marketing (cycling) at the Agora Symposium, and he'd picked this video as a prime example of co-promotion. (Marco was also the one who tipped me about the photography tour). Back to Foam: 'Antiphotojournalism' was very impressive, moving and interesting as a viewing excercise (being the news buff that I am), but it was not what I came for. Dana's photos of humanless interiors in Amsterdam were beautiful and I was able to put them in the right context, but Paul's presence was needed. All in all, I was glad I went.

Before exiting the building I bought the spring issue of Foam magazine, themed 'Happy'. Its feature article starts with:

What is the fundamental nature of happiness? Is it a mood, an emotion, or simply a series of agreeable events? Are there different kinds of happiness and what characterizes a pleasant and satisfying life? And, of course, how can we achieve a state of supreme happiness? Perplexing questions indeed.

It explores the cultural and economical aspects that so popularly define 'hapiness', states different surveys and looks at the question through the prisms of different photographers, sprinkled with famous quotes on the subject:


To be truly happy and contented, you must let go of what it means to be happy or content. - Confucius.
Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. - Albert Schweitzer.
But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads? - Albert Camus.

For me it is easy. My two-wheeled friend lifts more obstacles between myself & happiness than I can count. I just have to remind myself of it occasionally. Dealing With Rain
Then I read this...

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