Interview door Ritika Mehra

Naomi Heidinga is the lady behind the lens bringing stories to life. She is the person that brings people together and connects with her subjects no matter the topic or personality but who is she?

Recently, Naomi did an exposition in Uithoorn – “Dit zijn wij Uithoorn!”. A project that showcases 22 residents of Uithoorn in a duo-portrait. The exposition was centred around strangers having an open and honest conversation where stories and opinions were shared. According to Naomi – “People opened up to one another even though had conflicting ideas.”

Even though Amstelveen and Uithoorn lie side by side, according to Naomi there is a distinct difference between the two cities. While both cities oose with diversity there is a stark difference. Her hope is to portray that diversity in Uithoorn and help it be a buzzing city that it deserves to be.

“As a journalist and photographer you need to be able to connect to people and make them feel special.”
If you have ever had the privilege of working with Naomi then you will agree that she does exactly that. Every project she executes connects people and the community. Naomi strongly believes “people should talk to each other more, it brings them together”.

“As a journalist you get the opportunity to see the most beautiful parts of people.” While Naomi has interviewed many people, her truly favourite conversations have been with Nora Valk. “She is a strong woman, She is full of life. Even though she is quite old, she is still adapting and changing.” As per Naomi, people are creatures of habit and don’t dare to step out of their bubble to take action. “We are adaptive out of necessity and convenience.”

While Amstelveen is described as an international and green city only together we can work on improving it and being proud of our surroundings. It’s a rich city with a great amount of facilities for children to grow. However, Naomi hopes that people would step out of their comfort zone and adapt to their evolving environment. While we are set in living in our own bubble, we rarely take the time to look right and left. How often do we take the initiative to learn from others and grow ourselves?
“I would hope that people connect with each other and look past the differences. Focus on the similarities rather than the differences.” When she looks around her surroundings she notices that there is sometimes a lack of representation of all aspects of society. The gaps that we have in the community are big and hidden. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing as Naomi sees there is a possibility of change while experiencing that opportunities and relationships develop when you least expect it.

While the past year has had its ups and downs, Naomi has truly been grateful for the various opportunities she has received. She was able to spend time with some wonderfully inspiring people. During these past years she has discovered a new side to herself. She realized she is a lot stronger than she initially thought.

Who is Naomi Heidinga though?
She is curious, gets easily bored, enjoys trying new things and is kind. She believes in bringing people together, making sure everyone has a voice. Her hope for the future is that we showcase the real diversity of the cities. Naomi is the true connector of the community behind and in front of the lens.  

Ritika Mehra