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Having met each other on a very cold night in Amsterdam, Arthur Groeneveld and Bamboo van Kampen live and work together ever since as Arturo Bamboo. They appear to be the main subjects of their work, which they shoot exclusively on film, thus creating dreamy atmospheres and nostalgic-feeling images. At the end of October, they’ll be launching Privé, their second publication, in Berlin. The result is a newspaper-like volume of black and white intimate pictures that set new standards for what we understand as #relationshipgoals.

Everything started with Bamboo’s antique Russian camera, which the photographers used for documenting their travels. Shooting that was just for fun, but later transformed into something more serious. The couple collected beautiful shots and published their first book, Summer Diary, inspired by their travels along the Mediterranean. Bamboo and Arthur’s photography revolves around different themes but the latest depictions of female and male forms are intensely intimate and, at the same time, unapologetically sexy.

Arthur Groeneveld and Bamboo van Kampen are the Berlin-based Dutch duo who… Can you continue here?
Who live and work together ever since they met during a very cold – even the canals were frozen – night in Amsterdam. Their photography is shot on film and film only. Their subjects revolve around different themes such as intense intimacy, faraway places and now, the female and male forms.
Let’s start with your first photo book, Summer Diary, which is about natural beauty, intimacy, summer and all the feelings that come with it. Did you take the photos spontaneously or did you have a certain plan in mind?
Summer Diary came together in a quite natural way. You can almost see it as the starting point of our photography in general! It all began when Bamboo still had an antique Russian camera from her ex-boyfriend with an old film inside and we started shooting some of our travels. After several years, we had quite a collection of images shot along the Mediterranean. Instead of putting everything online, we felt that a printed book would be a nicer way of sharing and keeping those memories.
The portraits and landscapes from Summer Diary were taken along the Mediterranean coast. Where exactly have you been? Why did you choose those spots and how did they influence/inspire you? 
The last couple of years, we travelled quite a bit to work on personal as well as commercial projects. These journeys took us to legendary seaside resorts such as St. Tropez (France) and Panarea (Italy), but also to remote places so isolated that they seemed like a world on their own, such as the Italian island of Filicudi. At some point, we felt this was an interesting combination: on the one hand, we kept a pulse on what was happening in some international, cosmopolitan places with a beautiful history, and on the other hand, we experienced a ‘castaway feeling’ to more unknown, isolated places that felt like another space and time.

I have read interesting articles about your trip on the Mediterranean coast in magazines like Another, Suitcase, Purple, etc. Could you make a brief preview of your second book for our readers?
After our summery, colourful and romantic travel book, we felt it was time to show a more sexual, mysterious and even intimate side of us in the form of a large-format, black and white nude book. It might come as a surprise if you see our first publication but we live in Berlin, a city with lots of freedom on every level, whether it's art, nightlife or sex. Our upcoming series of nudes reflect all of that.
As you have already mentioned, your second book is a black and white project considerably different from Summer Diary. You chose nudity as a highlight, which is a very common way of expression among photographers. How do you think your photography stands out?
What sets this collection of images apart is the fact that we are together and both of us function as photographers and, at the same time, as subjects. That way, every shot has a very personal view from either Arthur’s or Bamboo’s perspective. Also, the fact that nude imagery (in general), as well as our interpretation, do not bother about fashion, time or place, make our photographs timeless in a certain way.
Could you tell us more about the process of making your second book? Did you stage things?
The process of making this book came to us very organically; some of our images were taken three years ago while others are from last February. Nothing was staged, we took those shots during special moments for us: intimate, raw and real.


How did the application of black and white theme work for your book?
While we love working with colour, we chose a black and white approach. This way, the naked form comes out as the main subject, there are no distractions. The contrast of black and white in combination with the visible imperfections of the film gives a certain depth and rhythm to the photographs. Some images are quite abstract and might require a second look, as sometimes it's not clear whether the subject is male or female, or which part of the body is documented. It feels more like a discovery. In other images, it is easier to relate to the situation and get the story we try to tell.
Where did you launch your first book? And what about your second one: will you be launching it any time soon?
We launched Summer Diary on the island of Hydra (Greece) in collaboration with Athens-based Kennedy Magazine. A big part of the book was shot on the island. We were then invited by our absolute favourite art director, Joachim Baan, to exhibit in this beautiful former daytime theatre in Amsterdam, which we did. As for Privé, we’ll be launching it in Berlin at the end of October. Wait for the details!
What are your plans for the future?
We are working on some exciting projects and are shooting fashion more and more.
Apart from this, this summer we have combined city life with living by the seaside to work on various projects: we spent May and June on Formentera (Spain) and August in Hydra (Greece). We always try to live between different places to stay inspired, mix slow and fast paces of life, and keep getting fresh perspectives.

Words
Nino Gabisonia

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