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PEOPLEText: Ania Markham

Amsterdam is often described as a small town rather than a big city and this ring trues when you start recognizing faces at various events. Photographer Josie Sykes (31) is one of those people I was introduced to and then started bumping into regularly. Luckily we’ve always had stuff to talk about and even better, I really like Josie’s work which has been featured in Dazed & Confused, The Face, Pulp, Stick, Blvd, de Volkskrant Magazine and most recently, Rails.

Photo: Mark Visser

Finally using Shift as an excuse to meet up and have a proper chat, I headed over to the old school building near the Westerpark where Josie’s office is located. It’s a rambling old building with loads of stairwells and corridors and filled to the brim with a wide variety of creative people and their businesses.

Originally from Brighton (UK), Josie has been living in Amsterdam since the mid-90’s having graduated from University of Westminster in Interactive Design and Media, where she focused on design, film, video and photography. A pioneering course, her fellow graduates quickly started making an impression on the London creative scene but Josie’s fascination with the Dutch design scene led her to Amsterdam.

She was also heavily impressed by Digitale Stad Amsterdam, a social project launched in 1994 which spread the message of free internet access – this at a time when most people had not even heard of the internet, let alone had their own access. Her first 3 months were spent living on a campsite in north Amsterdam until a friend of a friend took pity when it started getting cold, and charitably offered her their sofa to sleep on till she found somewhere to rent.

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Chih-Yang Chen