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
Bird over zijn debuutalbum ‘Vogelvlucht’: “Blij dat ik zo lang gewacht heb om dit te droppen”
Toen Bird in 2014 'Klootzak met karakter' uitbracht onder SG Records, was dat onmiddelijk een schot in de roos. Ondertussen mogen we deze plaat als een Vlaamse rapklassieker beschouwen waarvan de teller al op bijna 200.000 plays staat, en het bezorgde hem de award van beste nieuwkomer op de Vlaamse Rap Awards....
Our 11 favourite Belgian hip hop tracks of 2017
This list is compiled by two members of the Chase music team. Raf Cyran, music producer, beatmaker and record label owner, and Mitchell Galle, owner of the Vlaams hip hop talent group, rapper and community manager for Red Bull Bekvechten, bring you their favourite Belgian tracks of the year. ...
Boeken drops video for ‘Wolven’ exclusively on Chase
Antwerp-based rapper Boeken is mostly known for his work at StraatWaarde and as co-founder of S.G. Records. He’s also a devoted freestyle MC, who recently took second place at the Red Bull Beckvechten battle. In 2014 he started collaborating with NoMoBS and...
DJ IDFX verzamelt West-Vlaamse ‘Kletsers & Klassiks’ op zijn nieuwe mixtape
David Carton – beter bekend als DJ IDFX – stichtte zo’n twintig jaar geleden samen met mc Herbie de West-Vlaamse hiphop-/reggaeband Pure Blend op. Sinds 2014 staat de groep op non-actief, maar IDFX laat nog dikwijls van zich horen. Tegenwoordig kennen we de Roeselarenaar vooral als admin van...
5 reasons why you should check out Brussels Jazz Festival 2018
From the 11th till the 20th of January, Flagey organises the fourth edition of Brussels Jazz Festival! Every year in January, this festival strikes down in one of the nicest districts of Brussels. You can enjoy 10 days of non-stop jazz. National and international top musicians and artists offer us...
Meet Freddie King, Antwerp-based rapper with the best barber in town.
Fredddie King is an Antwerp-based rapper. He recently released his first EP 'Strakke Plan' so we decided to have a talk with him at his favourite barbershop, Barber Philip. Freddie King will soon announce his tour in the Flemish region of Belgium. Keep an eye on this young...
There’s a new kid on the block: Jewels presents - KRT
The word is out! Jules Thys, hier in Litburg beter bekend als Jewels, zegt vaarwel aan Grensloos en lanceert een gloednieuw hiphopconcept. Karaat, of kortweg KRT, zal op donderdag 3 maart doorgaan in de Muziekodroom in Hasselt. Jewels, Eagl, Grover, Dvtch Norris en Onze Zaak. Dat zijn de...
Schrijf je nu in voor de tweede editie van Red Bull Bekvechten!
Red Bull Bekvechten is back met een tweede editie! Harder, sneller en nog gevaarlijker! Red Bull en Chase slaan opnieuw de handen in elkaar en presenteren samen met trots deze nieuwe editie. Na de succesvolle, eerste editie met meer dan 400 toeschouwers in een nokvol gevulde De Studio kon een...
#BelgiansDoItBetter: Knitwear by Emely Van Impe
Here's an idea: instead of spending all those NY's moneys at high street shops, invest in a piece by a Belgian designer. Our pick? Emely Van Impe's scarves and sweaters, which will keep you warm and cosy while stripe-ing a perfect pose. We caught up...
5 Belgian Artists to Watch in 2018
As the new year takes off everybody is traditionally preoccupied with new year's resolutions and/or diet programs. Instead of a diet program, that you probably won't follow through anyway, we've got some nice artists for you to follow! Here are five artist to keep an...
Will “Jizz Jazz” Be The Next Big Thing of 2018?
The (rather ambiguous) term 'Jizz Jazz' was coined by Mac DeMarco. He actually named his home studio in Brooklyn 'Jizz Jazz Studios'. Nowadays, you just can’t classify a song as simply Indie Pop Rock. There are way too many subgenres. One of such, in the...
5 new Belgian Hip-Hop tracks you don’t want to miss
We hope you had an amazing Christmas, we know we did! However, we still have some presents for you to unwrap that didn't make it under your christmas tree. 5 new amazing sounds that have: 'Belgium is the bombdiggity' written all over them. Freddie King - ...
Street Heart Hard Times sweaters bezorgen daklozen warme kerst
Door een sweater te kopen met een hip ontwerp erop, kan jij een dakloze (of zelfs twee) een warmere kerst bezorgen. Van een win-winsituatie gesproken! Dit hartverwarmende initiatief wordt deze winter verwezenlijkt door Street Heart Hard Times, of kortweg 'SHHT'. Voor deze allereerste editie ontwierpen wel negen Belgische street...