Chase Travels with Vivian Hertz: “This is also Miami”
As a teenager Vivian Hertz started photographing after he got his first camera as a present from his grandfather. At first he documented the skaters around him, but then he found his way into the Brussels graffiti and hip hop scene. Nowadays the freelance photographer's focusses on portraits, streetlife and subcultures in the streets of Antwerp, Brussels, London, New York and even Miami.
Thanks to television shows such as “Baywatch” and the popular catchy song by Will Smith named after the place, there is this idea that Miami exclusively exists of beautiful beaches with lots of palm trees, a vivid surf and skate culture and lots of bikini babes. But in his photo series called “This is also Miami”, Vivian captured an other side of the famous seaside city in the state of Florida.
In this Chase Travels story we'll show you what it’s really like in Miami, through Vivian’s lens.
Written by Chess Teugels, pictures by Vivian Hertz
Why did you travel to Miami twice and did you experience the city differently with every visit?
Actually I travelled to Miami to visit a friend, but to take photographs as well of course. The second time I went there, I shot several photoseries. During my stay, I spent a lot of time with Latinos and Afro-Americans, but also with white people - many of them settled themselves in Miami. Those different contacts made me look at the city through different points of view and see certain distinctions more clearly, such as the ghetto versus the privileged.
You shot two different photo series in Miami: One focussing on Afro-Americans and the other on Latinos with their love for oldtimer cars. Why these particular communities?
I focused on these groups, because they are two of the most interesting communities over there in my opinion. They each have their own powerful (street) culture, that everybody copies all around the world. But the Haitian culture in Miami for example would have also been very interesting to photograph. Maybe next time.
The local street culture is prominent in many of your pictures and many people seem to love to pose in front of your camera. How did they receive you there as a photographer?
They received me with open arms. We were shaking hands, talking and joking with each other. They were very open most of the time. It's not everyday that a European is interested in life over there.
You also took several risky photographs, like the one in front of a well guarded house. In those moments, is it your instinct to capture the moment, despite the possible danger?
It is actually not too risky when you are accompanied by the right guy who is respected by everyone. If you follow his instructions and you're friendly to everybody, it's okay really .
What is one of your favourite photographs from Miami and can you tell us something about it?
Possibly the portraits of "Hound Da God", the rapper with gold teeth and the cap. Because there is no one else like him. He's a good, smart and interesting guy, despite the fact that he could come across as frightening at first sight. He is actually deeply involved in helping his community and is constantly trying to open new doors for them. Together we talked about his community in Miami Overtown, his life as a marine and his concerts all over the US.
What catches our eye are the tattoos in your photographs. As a lifelong observer of street cultures worldwide, could you tell us what the difference is between the tattoo culture in Miami and European tattoos?
Oh, but I'm not an expert when it comes to tattoos. However, I feel like everything is globalised today. What I did notice is that they often have tattoos of friends and family that passed away, which is less common here in Europe. Tattoos are also way more mainstream and fashionable in the hip hop culture in the United States. The tattoo culture is very present everywhere in the big American cities. But like I said, I'm no expert.
Basically, I'm just documenting the street culture that ‘we’ copy all around the world.
If you like what you see and want to see more, make sure to follow Vivian Hertz on instagram!
All new articles
New hip-hop festival in Tongeren: Hip Hub HoorayHip Hub Hooray is a new hip-hop festival in Tongeren. Sven Gatz, the Flemish Minister of Culture, Youth, Media and Brussel, announced the festival yesterday. Hip Hub Hooray is a collaboration between the Flemish and the French Community, the province of Limburg and Sabam for Culture.
Waarom Kortrijk Fun-K-Town is
Meer dan tien jaar geleden zetten de West-Vlamingen van Massive Sound Kortrijk als K-Town op de kaart in het Belgische dancehallcircuit. Tegenwoordig kunnen we die bijnaam uitbreiden naar Fun-K-Town en daar zijn verscheidene redenen voor te bedenken. Tekst: Wouter Verheecke - Foto's: Thanh Rootdivision Cultureel...
Molenbeek: 5 reasons why you should visitBrussels is known for its flourishing hip-hop scene. Icons like Damso, Roméo Elvis & Le Motel and Zwanger Guy all sprouted from this city. Especially the commune Molenbeek (read: VK concerts) is the place to be for hip-hop gigs. Unfortunately, its reputation took a big hit from the media after the terrorist attacks in 2016. In that same year we launched our Chase team in Brussels and quickly discovered some gems Molenbeek has hidden under its cobblestones. Keep on reading to discover what you have been missing out on all along.
5 redenen om het Rotterdamse Motel Mozaïque festival te checken
De zegswijze ‘Het mooiste aan Amsterdam is de trein naar Rotterdam’ klinkt je misschien nog niet bekend in de oren maar wij bevestigen graag dat Rotterdam zeker niet moet onderdoen voor zijn bekendere tegenpool. De hippe metropool straalt gezelligheid uit met een dosis Hollandse directheid. Net die gezelligheid probeert het...
SUSOBRINO - Winner Of The Champion Sound Beat Battle 2018
We had a talk with Susobrino, winner of the Champion Sound Beat Battle 2018. He's a talented young producer who's inspired by ethnic music from around the world. He's also a field recorder who uses his own recorded sounds to create his own beats. Interview by Ingmar Doumen....
Safi stelt track per track zijn debuutplaat ‘Bewust’ voor
Mechelaar Safi bracht enkele weken geleden zijn eerste solo album 'Bewust' uit. Na drie albums met Safi & Spreej gingen de rappers elk hun eigen weg. Met 'Bewust' dropt Safi een zeer persoonlijke plaat waarop hij een bijzonder turbulente en zware periode van zich afschrijft. Ook laat hij ons kennismaken...
Chase starts social storytelling agency Chase Creative
Lately, we got more and more questions from brands who wanted to work with us to promote their events, products, and artists. So we decided to start our own social storytelling agency called Chase Creative. With Chase Creative, we specialize in social content, social media management and social...
Join the Belgian hip-hop Facebook group
Together with Tarmac we just launched the Belgian hip-hop Facebook group. Hip-hop in our country has been doing good these past years but we noticed our scene is still pretty much divided due to the language differences. By now most hip-hop fans in Flanders are well aware...
Miss Angel, “voor ik het wist stond mijn eerste nummer op Youtube, crazy”
Uit het niets dropte Miss Angel drie weken geleden haar eerste clip Ghetto Supahstar. Ondertussen haalde de clip 3000 views. Bij Chase waren we onmiddellijk fan en we namen de clip op in onze wekelijks Belgian Hip-Hop lijst. Ook MNM en Studio Brussel besteedden er aandacht aan....
Lowup: The Brussels Collective You Need To Know About
Meet Lowup records, a Brussels collective that has been around for ten years and is hopefully here to stay for another ten! From illegal parties to raves at Beurschouwburg and Recyclart. They became a fixture in Brussels with their own label, visual identity, weekly radioshows and memorable parties....
Why You Should Invest in EUphoria, a New Film by Black speaks Back
Black speaks Back, a Belgian-Dutch non-profit organisation focusing on the empowerment of youth with African roots, is producing its very first Afrofuturistic musical film in Brussels but they need your help! Here's why you should consider investing in this innovative project: Black speaks Back have...
New Chase talent wanted in Ghent & East Flanders
At Chase we're always looking for fresh talent to come and join our current team. We are looking for bloggers (Dutch and/or English), final editors, photographers, videographers, video producers, graphic designers, social media wizards and much, much more....
6 new Belgian Hip-Hop tracks you don’t want to miss
We are back with a fresh new batch of Belgian hip-hop tunes. Below you can find the latest tracks by Pasi, Miss Angel, Scottie, Phasm, Luie Louis and Ben & Syre! Pasi - Visioenen (feat. Tiewai) Pasi is having some visions. He recruited Tiewai to lay...