Arthur Groeneveld and Bamboo Kampen, are partners in both work and life. The creative couple known as Arturo Bamboo recently held their first book launch and exhibition, documenting their intimate travels across Europe in Hydra. We caught up with them on their return from the small Greek Island to talk black and white nudes, expired film, and nostalgia
Œ: So you’ve just returned from Hydra, tell us about the exhibition?
Bamboo: The exhibition actually turned out really well, some interesting people came and it was very intimate. We launched our photography book with accompanying prints to created a collage outside. The launch was held in a small town so we used outdoor alleys to make an installation for passersby to explore. The book is like a summer diary, we wanted people to travel through our stories.
Œ: Will this be one of many exhibitions?
Bamboo: Yes, we are in the process of working with some curators from Amsterdam, who want to organize something together.
Œ: How long had this been in the making? What drove you both to create a book and exhibit the images?
Arthur: We had compiled so many photos over the last couple of years, we didn’t want to shoot everything and then it disappear online. It feels so much easier to express ourselves on paper. Last year we really told ourselves, okay, winters are dark and cold in Berlin, let’s stay with these warm summery vibes, wake ourselves up and finish this project together. We had two big goals, one was the picture book and the other was the beach brand ‘Bamboo’.
Œ: Did the beach brand concept come hand in hand with the completion of the photo book? Or was it something that developed organically as you were documenting your travels?
Bamboo: We started with photography, as we were travelling around Europe certain beach essentials were really hard to find, nice affordable things such as a flattering bathing suit for €100 that’s perfect! For the moment, we’ve started with huge oversized beach bags, our first handmade product.
Arthur: We’ve always had this love for vintage beach wear. We have such a big collection, the book functions as a catalogue or lookbook. Photography is key and where our heart is. But it’s really nice to have this project running alongside.
Œ: Your ideal holiday seems to represent sea, sand, and vintage beachwear. Do you see the appeal in residing in a cooler climate for a getaway, swapping the vintage swimsuits for ski wear?
Arthur: Yes definitely! We went to Iceland last November.
Bamboo: We took a lot of Sunspel thermal clothing with us while we were shooting a beautiful road trip story.
Arthur: We want to do a Winter book of sorts, to accompany the Summer book we’ve just released.
Œ: What made you choose landlocked Berlin as a base if you’re constantly exploring these beautiful coastlines?
Arthur: We moved here four and a half years ago from Amsterdam. We came to Berlin often and had friends here. Whilst travelling we do question our motives on residing here in Berlin, but predominantly it’s a base for us.
Bamboo: It’s easy to live and travel from Berlin.
Arthur: We also have a big part of our lives here. Berlin opened our eyes to freedom, we got inspired by the people we met and the whole life style. It’s also about the extreme highs and the extreme lows. On one hand, we can be in Berghain until Monday morning, on the other, it can be just the two of us alone on a weird Italian island.
Bamboo: We like to have both sides. We enjoy the city scene, however we also need time to be completely immersed in nature.
Œ: Your next publication is set to be an intimate black and white magazine of nudes, can you tell us more?
Arthur: Yes, much darker, we feel it fits in a lot better with this Berlin scene. A concept that developed from the cities mood.
Bamboo: A bigger format than our Summer picture book, cheaper paper to create more prints. Artwork that people can immediately use like a poster.
Œ: In what way is living and working together challenging?
Bamboo: Most of the time we learn a lot from each other having two different perspectives. A companion to travel with is great, imagine having to do that by yourself! Together we have so much fun.
Arthur: It’s a luxury, finalising decisions are easier with two people, especially as a couple, you aren’t afraid of holding back your opinion, and we fully trust and respect each other. We also have our own individual projects that running alongside so we don’t drive each other crazy.
Œ: You have a preference for analog photography, especially expired film, how do you source your film?
Bamboo: We have some contacts, but it’s getting harder. Sometimes we get our film from local flea markets and it’s perfectly beautiful.
Arthur: You don’t see it before developing. It would be easier to only shoot black and white as grain that comes with developing fits our vintage aesthetic well, but incorporating color into our pictures is also important.
Bamboo: Once we had this film that was covered in holes, it was really crazy but for us it was perfect.
Œ: You’re dreamlike aesthetic has a very strong stylistic signature, was this inspired by anyone in particular? Or was it just a mood or memory you were trying to convey?
Arthur: The overall style comes from everything we have seen so far in our lives. For example, Bamboo’s Mum is super inspirational. If you see the Mother’s house you see a story.
Arthur: The used and the imperfect.
Bamboo: Nostalgic. My Mother has a great collection of vintage clothing and furniture. The objects and atmosphere I grew up with reflect the colors and moods you’re subjected to in our photographs. It materialises our personal taste and aesthetic; nostalgic soft colors.