Johannes van Dam is currently living out his dream, performing famously in his role as the number one restaurant reviewer in Amsterdam. He works for the newspaper “Het Parool” and is currently spending his Sunday morning at a his local coffee shop reading his own review in the newspaper, smiling ruefully.
He is happy to talk to me and motions out at the rainy street. “This was a canal about 30 years ago,” he nods, looking over his glasses. “Then we build road because we not need that canal anymore.”
He shakes the newspaper and backhand slaps his review in a gesture of disbelief. He utters some Dutch explicative while laughing, and then stabs at his column with his finger. “This is a good review my friend!”
I often use an outrageous photographer persona when trying to gain access to places I am not allowed, and that persona is super-bad-British-accent Benevius Throckmorton the Fourth, the National Geographic photographer who is too aloof to carry proper documentation and too aghast to understand why anyone would ask for such a thing.
You would be amazed that this persona has worked 100% of the time, and I get to take my camera into places where photographers are not normally allowed. The best place I infiltrated was the impervious Altar of the Duomo in Milan.
Below is a famous restaurant in Amsterdam that Benevius was allowed to photograph. This first picture is taken in an underground area where they keep all sorts of mysterious wines and meads that have been fermenting since the Renaissance. The second picture has some original Rembrandt sketches right above your dinner table.