Sarah Van Rij & David Van Der Leeuw: Metropolitan Melancholia

Metropolitan Melancholia delves into the intricate interplay of the modern urban environment, bearing the weight of its intricate past. Cities, with their allure and repulsion, captivate those who are drawn to them. We imprint our presence on these cities, even if it’s just a fleeting shadow, just as they etch their influence upon us. However, what transpires when reality shatters our romanticized visions, or when solitude takes root amidst the urban sprawl? Can new dreams emerge under the influence of the past, or are we destined to repeat familiar patterns?
Photographing New York from 2019 to 2022, long-term partners in life, work, and love – David van der Leeuw and Sarah van Rij – brought their distinct perspectives to this iconic cityscape, arguably one of the most visually documented metropolises globally. Together and individually, they roamed its streets, absorbing its contours, tracing the paths trodden by countless artists, writers, and filmmakers before them. For both, the camera served as a means to grasp the contradictions of New York, to succumb to its allure, and to contemplate its confining nature.
Their surreal and painterly abstract images envelop city dwellers within architectural compositions of light and shadow, where cinematic fragments converge with fragmented depictions of everyday life. Metropolitan Melancholia isn’t a one-sided love letter; instead, it unravels two poetic dialogues with the city.

A self-portrait of Sarah Van Rij
A self-portrait of David Van Der Leeuw

About the Author

Dutch photographer Sarah van Rij is a photographer with an incredible eye for detail, framing and contrast, spontaneously composing her images in camera. She is known for her street and narrative photography, which has attracted both fashion and editorial clients alike. Drawing influence from other artistic fields from painting to cinema she has developed a clear visual signature. Her unique framing, saturated colour and varied depth of field, constantly sees her lifting the seemingly mundane and ordinary into something magical, telling entire stories within a single frame, often with only the faintest traces of human form. Her editorial work has been published by i-D Magazine, M le Monde, The New York Times & ZEIT Magazine. Her clients include Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel and Hermès. In 2012 she met and fell in love with fellow photographer David van der Leeuw, sharing the same aesthetic, they have increasingly been working together on different projects, sharing the role equally. Their clients include Tod’s, Jacquemus, Vogue Italia, Vogue NL and Vanity Fair. The last year has seen them venture into film making and they are working on a series of short films together. They are currently living between Amsterdam and Paris.

David van der Leeuw (1989) is an autodidact photographer based between Amsterdam & Paris. While the core of his work consists of constantly creating personal work he also translates his view in assignment for both editorial & fashion clients and is increasingly working together with his love, Sarah van Rij.
Clients include: Jacquemus, Tod’s, British Journal of Photography, The Atlantic, Cassina, Vogue Magazine, M Le Monde Magazine, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazine, Hennessy, Vanity Fair, Volkskrant Magazine, CLO Studio, Opium Club, Pīferi, W1D1 & See All This Magazine

Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Kominek Books Berlin (October, 2023)
Language: English
Design: Matt Willey
Size: 10.03 x 7.68 inches
ISBN-13: 978-3982454252

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