Documenting the ‘afterparty’ culture of young Europeans

Documenting the ‘afterparty’ culture of young Europeans

Weekend warriors — In her latest book, photographer Gioia de Bruijn gets to grips with the hedonism and sexual freedom of underground Amsterdam, Berlin, and London.

Gioia de Bruijn first started partying when she was 17 years old. The photographer had just moved to Amsterdam for university, and – like many students before her – had swiftly started to get acquainted with the hedonistic hotspots her new hometown had to offer.

After that, she packed up and headed to London to study at the Camberwell College of Art, before then moving briefly to Berlin. During this time, de Bruijn kept roots in all three cities, travelling between them to visit friends, socialise, and document the “festival and afterparty” culture of the local student scene. It was, according to her, a time of “letting go”, “getting high” and “sexual realism.”

These uninhibited adventures resulted in Weekend Warriors – a raw and intimate photography project shot between 2008 and 2014. The imagery, which is mostly short in black and white, was initially meant to be a private collection shared between de Bruijn’s friends – a way of “remembering on Tuesday what had happened on Sunday.” However, she has now chosen to publish them in a new book.

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De Bruijn, now 32, made the series public as a way of paying tribute to the underground hedonism of the late ’00s – although she’s quick to stress that her life is very different now. “I partied enough for three lifetimes, and all good things come to an end,” the photographer tells Huck. “The scene evolved, I evolved, and at one point I would look around the club and realise there were a lot of 18-year-olds. When I was 18, I would look around and see 30-year-olds and think, don’t you people want to grow up and have a life? I never wanted to still be hanging around in a club or at an after party every weekend at 30. Then one day, when I was 28, I realised I would be that person if things didn’t change.”

Does she ever miss it? “Lucky for me by then there wasn’t much left to discover and parties were bringing me less and less joy,” De Bruijn explains. “It sort of phased out of my life naturally, and now – three years later – I’m married and I have a kid. I think its good to make way for a new generation.”

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Gioia de Bruijn’s Weekend Warriors is available now from Kehrer.

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