It’s hard to tell what makes for a hit book. Happily, Selling Polaroids in the Bars of Amsterdam, 1980, featuring photographs that Bettie Ringma (1944–2018) and I took forty years ago, seems to have all the necessary ingredients.
I would like to think that the book’s success reflects the high quality of the portraits, and the enduring appeal of SX-70 Polaroid prints. But clearly there is more at play. Is it nostalgia for the 1980s? Amsterdam’s pride in its bars and its renowned Red Light District? The remarkable cast of characters? Or, is it simply the appeal of a photography book that is also the story of a year in the life of two young bohemians? Undoubtedly, all of these factors contributed to the deluge of press attention that accompanied the book’s release last week at the Amsterdam City Archives.
You can learn more about Selling Polaroids in the Bars of Amsterdam, 1980 in two articles in English: Miss Rosen’s (Sara Rosen) in i-D, and another by Christian House in The New European. Copies of the book can be purchased directly from the book’s publisher Lecturis. For international distribution bookstores can contact Idea Books Amsterdam.