The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has the very fluid theme of Liquid, which is right up my alley, as the Netherlands is all about water!
Staying with the Dutch theme from my prior post in this WPC theme, I’m focusing on the city where I was born: Rotterdam. Rotterdam is very much a port city in its character, as trade is the life-blood of its economy; it is the largest port in Europe.
A key part of the success of the port of Rotterdam is the digging of the Nieuwe Waterweg. In the first half of the 19th century the port activities moved from the centre westward towards the North Sea. To improve the connection to the North Sea, the Nieuwe Waterweg (“New Waterway”), a large canal, was designed to connect the Rhine and Meuse rivers to the sea. The Nieuwe Waterweg was designed to be partly dug, then to further deepen the canal bed by the natural flow of the water. Ultimately however, the last part had to be dug by manual labour as well. Nevertheless, Rotterdam from then on had a direct connection between the sea and harbor areas with sufficient depth. The Nieuwe Waterweg has since been deepened several times. It was ready in 1872 and all sorts of industrial activity formed on the banks of this canal.
In this image, we see the Meuse river in the center of Rotterdam, with a water taxi speeding along. Most of the ports are downstream from this location, which is to the right in the image. Each of the port areas specialize in certain cargo types, such as containers, crude oil, refined fuels, bulk supplies, etc.
If you get the chance to visit Rotterdam, I recommend that you take a harbor tour with one of the Speedo ships; these tours are both enjoyable and informative!
A Fresh Perspective
Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment.
Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael.
My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals.
My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation.
This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections.
Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client.
And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!
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6 thoughts on “The Port of Rotterdam”
Interesting and informative reading for us who never visited Rotterdam. I could never have guessed from where the picture was taken, thanks for sharing 😀
Glad you enjoyed it, Anita. It’s a great town!
Looks lovely Frank. Anita.
Thank you very much, Anita!
From the angle of this photo I get a felt sense of the ground being right at sea level, and even lower! Much appreciation for the giant sea wall!
Thank you very much!