Get your portrait taken by the Nostalgic Party photographer

Get your portrait taken by the Nostalgic Party photographer

Apr 2, 2014 |  by  |  Art, Photos, Spots
About the author
Minne: Is aware of the fact that she has a weird name. Likes breakfast at 6pm, treasure hunts, big cities and lemons. Loves music and Club Mate. Doesn't feel people who say 'Carpe Diem', but will never admit this in public.

In a time where selfies rule your Facebook feed and every self respecting party has a photographer sneaking around the dance floor, you’d almost forget that a photo is something you can actually hold in your hands. “That’s a pity,” says Almos Karoly. You might know The Nostalgic Party photographer from the Nieuwmarkt, where he’s been capturing tourists, lovers and eccentric creatures in front of his El Minutero camera for decades. Now Amsterdam’s favourite hippie opened his own little studio, and would like to invite everyone for an old school photo-shoot.

Mystic vibe

Entering Karoly’s studio is like entering another world. It’s small, it’s dark, it smells like patchouli and there are so many objects crammed in one room, it’s hard to decide what to look at. “You’re probably wondering if you’re getting out here alive?” Karoly asks. Indeed. It’s hard to decide if this is a great murder scene on Baantjer, or a décor for thousand and one nights. But the sweet tea he offers soothes any worries you might have. “I like to create a mystic vibe in my studio. There is no room for fantasy in The Netherlands. Where is the erotic tension between Dutch men and women?” But that’s another story. One that Karoly certainly likes to talk about. But he agrees to stick to photography (for now).

Box photography is real craftmanship.



“I was born in Hungary and moved to Amsterdam when I was a child. Nieuwmarkt was a rough neighbourhood back then. Junkies were ruling the streets.” In his twenties, Karoly roamed the streets of Amsterdam at night with his hundred year old camera. “I’d go to bars and make nostalgic pictures of friends, lovers and bartenders.” But don’t make the mistake of comparing him to the polaroid guys nowadays: “That’s a completely different thing. Those guys have to press one button. Box photographing is complicated, it’s real craftsmanship. That’s why I’m the only one who still works this way in the Netherlands. Many give up after a few years because it’s too much of a hassle.”

Digital photography is death.


For the last thirty years Karoly travelled all around Europe. In an old van he toured fairs and carnivals with his self-made camera. “I use this technique because I like to be original. I like doing something that nobody else can. Or wants to. It’s extremely difficult. But when it works out, you feel extreme happiness washing over you.” In a way it’s sort of masochistic, since it’s a technique that fails a lot. “Failure is what people are looking for nowadays. Digital photography is death. It’s always perfect, you don’t achieve anything special, you get the result immediately.” Fooling around with the camera is what Karoly likes best.


No polaroid, no selfie, no digital likes


Two cups of tea and a whiskey later, it’s picture time. Karoly:“You can take off your clothes there in the back.” Awkward silence. He laughs. “I’m joking. Maybe next time.” He gets behind his box and hides himself under a black cloth. “3, 2, 1. Smile!” And with a flash, it’s done. You might feel like having a sneak peak, but that’s not the way it went down a hundred years ago. This is it, one shot is all you get. “The beautiful thing is; the box is also the dark room” Karoly says when he dries the picture using a van. No polaroid, no selfie, no digital likes: just a nostalgic black and white picture, like people put on the wall back in the days. And it’s kind of nice for a change.

Karoly’s Studio

When: Anytime. Just call or send Karoly an e-mail.
Where: Koningsstraat 8hs
Cost: 29 euro’s a portrait
More info: Website / Facebook

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