Crossing Europe – Photos of Busy Crosswalks in European Capital Cities

Dutch photographer Poike Stomps has put together a fascinating photo project called ‘Crossing Europe’ which shows pedestrians at crosswalks in 42 European capital cities. His photos give a glimpse of each city’s atmosphere and capture the general vibe of European life.

Besides giving a taste of Europe, Poike hopes that the project “makes you more aware how great, big, strange and special we are despite all the easy judgements we’ve developed.” After all, the simple scene of pedestrians crossing a street is familiar around the world, revealing our similarities while also highlighting our individual peculiarities.

poike

Poike Stomps

To accomplish such an ambitious project, Poike relied on the help of local assistants who guided him around the city during his brief stay. A total of 107 assistants helped him by interpreting, guiding, and holding camera gear, as well as protecting him from “traffic, fools and language difficulties.”

“They all were more then my moveable tripod, holding my bright flash,” he says. “Besides their assisting jobs, they were also good company and very helpful in showing me where the nice places were for lunch, coffee or beer. I would have never found those local cuisines otherwise.”

Luxembourg

Luxembourg – April 2011
First of the Crossing Pictures

kiev

Kiev, Ukraine

I liked my days in Kiev a lot. I found 4 different assistants within a day, all very enthusiastic and proud of their country, and they really liked hearing that the women are very beautiful here. And I can confessed easily: yes they are.

The women are always in rivalry with each other since there is such a big competition. In Ukraine, women ‘usually’ dress up to buy a loaf of bread or an ice cream, since you never know who you might meet. It could be the man of your dreams… Or maybe you’ll walk in the streets where this crazy Dutch photographer is showing us to the world!

Riga

Riga, Latvia

I had a special couple of days in Riga. On the day of arrival, I didn’t have an assistant yet, but a few hours later I already made the best shot of my days there. I really liked the process of finding assistants sometimes. It was never the same, but enthusiastic people were always involved. I’ll tell you how it went this time.

At 15.00 I arrived at my accommodation after a trip in a very luxurious but very cheap bus out of Tallinn. During my first walk in the city center, I went into a computer store where I asked someone behind the counter if he knew someone interested in photography and assisting for a photo project.

He guided me to Dmitrijs, who was really willing to help but had no time. He rang some friends, and 10 minutes later a nice girl called Martha came along to hear all about it. She had no time either, but she called a student and 2 hours later I met Edgars on the busiest spot near the train station. The result was this picture.

I made many more photos with loads of other assistants, including a really early morning shoot with Laura the flower girl, who was a my enthusiastic assistant during the last morning. She was in charge of arranging all the flowers in the shape of Latvia during the Independence Day celebration, where I found myself between the press photographers and took some really close-up shots of the president of Latvia.

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki is a city with air, space and a feeling of freedom, and the people carry out that way of living.

Thanks to Jelle, Elli and Kulmahuone who assisted me and gave me very pleasant accommodation and even a mountain bike to explore more than the city itself. Of course I also made extensive use of the Finnish sauna!

Valletta

Valletta, Malta

And so this is Valletta when it was busy, which was difficult to find since there are hardly any driving cars in the capital city, and there was only 1 traffic light and 3 zebra crossings, and those where never chaotic enough.

Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is up and down, with hills that each show a different side of the city. No signs of depression there, at least not out in the open.

Everywhere in Europe I’m amazed by friendliness. The sun was a summer-like dip into spring as well, and the Pasteis de Natam, those gorgeous custard tarts that are a Portuguese delight… So only good words for Lisbon.

Reykjavik

Reykjavik, Iceland

It is spring now, but the winter brought me such a stunning Reykjavik in the snow.

Oslo

Oslo, Norway

A Christmas in Oslo without snow but with some 15 minutes of sun.

London

London, United Kingdom

prague

Prague, Czech Republic

And this is Perfect Pretty Prague!

City number 18 in the Crossing series. This is on the corner of the Charles Bridge (Karlův most), Karlova and Křižovnická street.

Tallinn

Tallinn, Estonia in May

Budapest

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest was a pleasure! Thanks to the great assistance and guidance of Zoltan! And despite the cold, there was only a little bit of snow in the afternoon. The hunt continues.

My focus was on the people on the streets, and the Budapest Keleti train station took a minute to become my favorite place.

Stockholm

Stockholm, Sweden

You were great to us Stockholm. And off we go…
Tack så mycket.

Paris

Paris, France

Warsaw

Warsaw, Poland

This is the final chosen photo of Warsaw. No rainy shots in May. Sun suits the city more, as do the people on this street in this moment.

Nothing seems about to happen in this photo, but it was seconds before the only accident happened during the whole trip. A girl was slightly hit by a distracted car. She most likely broke her ankle because I can still hear the sound of the crack.

Her mobile phone landed in front of my feet. Of course, I stopped taking photos and helped her.

No other car crashes happened in front of my eyes while shooting on the streets, no further injuries. I still have to say European streets are safe places.

Dublin

Dublin, Ireland

How typical. Rain in Dublin!
Thanks to Bart for his great assistance.

Belgrade

Belgrade, Serbia

The Balkans have it all, and they played a huge role in European history. It is for many of us still a little bit of an unknown area of Europe. But don’t be scared of it–it is a very wonderful place and people welcome you with a least two open arms.

In this picture we see the capital city of Serbia: Belgrade. On my trip through the north side of the Balkans I visited Ljubljana, Zagreb and Sarajevo, too. All with their own stories and special encounters. I loved it there and will be back to to cover the south part of this region of Europe.

Ankara

Ankara, Turkey

Ankara, what did you do to me? Yes, it was my stupid mistake not to bring my passport with me that day so I could not show my visa.

The police pulled me off the street with 4 officers because they got 155 complaints about me taking pictures on the street. I remember this guy recording me on his iPhone, who said, “I’ll go to the police with this, what you’re doing is not allowed.”

They wanted to take me to the police office, but what finally helped was my business card from the Dutch Embassy, which I got that morning because of a small assignment. That kept me out of the cell. For some reason it was suddenly okay.

What maybe also helped was that Holland and Turkey were celebrating 400 years of diplomatic relations, and the fact that I had an assistant who spoke Turkish.

Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark

The project attracts attention more and more, not only online, but on the streets too. A Dutch HKU student yelled my name on the street, “Hey Poike, are you doing this intersection project in Europe?”
“Yes I am working on it now.”

She unfortunately had to follow her group of friends. She is not in this picture, and I do not know her name, but contact me if you can. I have a nice photo for you.

Wow, Europe is small and especially here, in this strategic geographical location in Scandinavia. A real crossroads or should I say Crossing.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

To see more of Poike’s photography, visit his website, Tumblr or Facebook page.

poike stomps




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Jay Long
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Nice, inspirational images; love the concept.

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