Photo series at ‘Extravagant’ presented by BNO and IMG LAB at the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam January 2017.

Dutch Design is usually not synonymous with excessive extravagances. But a bit exaggerated and a bit strange is actually pretty tasty.

This series of photographs are Darren Smith’s first glimpses of the Amsterdam LGBT community and through that red light sanctuary, they intensify that position of a voyeur, as an outsider looking in. The women  photographed represent a full spectrum of experiences and personalities, from those that have dressed in drag for the first time, to the seasoned club veterans. The camera is able to strip these women bare, to look past the glamour to reveal more of who they truly are.

They are placed in an entirely new context, which carries with it everything Amsterdam’s red lights represent, but equally, allowing subjects the freedom to explore their own secret ambitions and desires as if they were a Cinderella of De Wallen for one night.

2018© Darren Smith  — Amsterdam