When I was walking to my metro stop, experiencing the streets of Amsterdam by night, I couldn’t shake this strange sensation. Have you ever watched Studio Ghibli’s ‘Spirited Away’? I first watched it when I was a 10-year-old girl, and it never ever left my mind. I recently rewatched it again with my family, and it was still as enchanting as I remembered. I had always considered it to be my all-time favourite film, and I was slightly afraid that it wouldn’t live up to my memories. But it did. At 25, I realised how important that childhood moment was, absorbing those implausible images that somehow made sense. In hindsight, it was a vital moment that taught me about the magic of the illogical, the capacity of the unseen and how the power of interpretation is always rooted in imagination.
A different city under the stars
Turns out that my favourite part has remained the same. It’s the part where the sunset kills the lights and the spirit world emerges from the shadows. Night time turns out to be a kind of parallel universe to the daytime, where life doesn’t have to listen to the same old rules. All along, it was there below the surface, but my vision couldn’t always find the right filter.
The night is a parallel universe to the daytime, where life doesn’t listen to the same old rules. It was there all along, but maybe my vision couldn’t find the right filter.
Sometimes, I swear I see little glimpses of this hidden realm when I wander the streets of Amsterdam by night (and no, I wasn’t high). Isn’t it amazing how the same city feels so different in the night? I didn’t have my usual camera with me, only my phone. But sometimes that works better anyway, when the images are slightly blurry, the edges are fuzzy, and the lights are elastic. Don’t worry, I know none of it’s real. Then again, isn’t that exactly the point?