George Hendrik Breitner was born in the Netherlands in 1857, and developed a talent for painting by the time he was in his twenties.
After encountering Impressionism during a stint in Paris, he became a leading figure of Amsterdam Impressionism, often sketching scenes of everyday life on the streets alongside his contemporary, Vincent Van Gogh (whose paintings Breitner later described as “coarse and distasteful”).
In the 1890s, he added photography to his repertoire, finding it to be a useful tool for capturing fleeting conditions and scenes for later reference.
Like his paintings, Breitner’s photos are concerned less with sharpness and fidelity than with motion and atmosphere.
The haphazard snaps never seem still, recording huddled and hurried pedestrians in the rain, the play of light on cobblestones, and the endless rush of working people from one task to another.