Man Next Door

My neighbour Kid was 42 when he died. He regularly swept our shared porch, put out the rubbish and kept an eye on things when I was away. As Kid couldn’t read well, I helped him with his post. He borrowed my phone whenever he didn’t have any credit on his own. Sometimes I wouldn’t see him for a while because he was serving a prison sentence for some minor misdemeanour.

Kid had a turbulent life: he was banned from seeing his son and struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. Many people found his bellowing voice and coarse speech intimidating. In the last year of his life, he spent more and more time with drifters and junkies, begging on the street for change. His body was found, floating between two boats in an Utrecht canal.

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Police dispatched to Laan van Chartroise in connection with reported water damage. Accompanied to the location by fire brigade and forced open front door of upstairs neighbours.

—File PL -0977 26582

Kid talks about water damage to his home and the death of his beloved bell pythons.
February 2012

Police called to Café de Luifel in connection with an intoxicated man who was shouting at customers. When police arrived, the man also started shouting at them.

—File PL -0910 21070

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View from the back of Kid’s house.
June - December 2010

Report received of a man who had become unwell. When officers arrived, the man was lying face down on the ground and was barely responsive.

—File PL -0910 20935

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Photo’s of Kid’s son in his living room.
2007 - 2012

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Gardening books, knives and fishing gear.
October 2006

Report received of a noisy neighbour. Household items had been thrown outside and residents heard shouting. On arrival, everything was quiet in and around the house.

—File PL -0977 23422

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Kid fixes a moped in his corridor.
May 2007

Officer dispatched to Laan van Chartroise in connection with a person who had become unwell. Individual in question was lying on the ground by the front door but was trying to get up when officer arrived.

—File PL -0977 24765

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Brought home by police on an early Sunday morning.
March 2008

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Residents called the police after seeing a confused man walking barefoot.
March 2008

Officers on Neude saw a man making a nuisance of himself. He was trying to hug people and/or speak to them. He also appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, possibly in combination with drugs.

—File PL -0910 21027

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Demolition of adjacent block of houses.
June 2009

A man was reported to be pushing an ING cash machine repeatedly. Enforcement officers were found already at the scene. Individual in question said he was waiting for his money and thought it would be deposited today.

—File PL -0977 21001

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Kid’s family album.

Report received from security guard at Coffeeshop Bordeaux on Voorstraat that passers-by were being hassled by a man asking them to buy weed for him.

—File PL -0910 29836

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Kid had trouble reading but loved comic books like Tom and Jerry.
December 2007

Officers encountered suspect on Neude. He was arguing with a homeless man. Homeless man claimed that suspect had stolen his shoes. Suspect confirmed this.

—File PL -0910 21323

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Little rat bought at the local pet store.
July 2008

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Once every four to six weeks the pythons are fed a rat.
June, 2010

Report received of a homeless man who had become unwell. Went to reported location. Suspect had used a combination of drugs and alcohol, causing his blood sugar level to drop dramatically.

—File PL -0910 20944

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Kid often told a story that he slept with his two pythons under his pillow.
July, 2008

Report received of several homeless people in front of the city hall shouting at passers-by. On arrival, we saw five people sitting on a bench who were behaving calmly and had no alcohol with them.

—File PL -0910 23996

Kid talks about his king pythons and damage to his home as a result of epileptic seizures.
December 2011

Call received from Coffeeshop Bordeaux that drug addict wearing a red hat was causing a disturbance.

—File PL -0910 29846

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An ordinary Monday with friends, snakes, pizza and a giant spliff.
December 2007

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Kid often let his king pythons snuggle around freely in his living room.
February 2008

Police saw suspect loitering in the doorway of the old post office. He was given a fine under Article 2.29 of the General Municipal Ordinance (anti-social behaviour in a public place).

—File PL -0910 20970

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Kid was a big fan of reggae music, especially Bob Marley.
March 2008

Report received of a smashed window in a house on Laan van Chartroise. It turned out that the resident, who also reported the damage, had smashed the window himself because his key would not work.

—File PL -0977 20986

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Kid’s administration and finance were under supervision of government institutions.
August 2007

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Annual Christmas decoration.
December 2007

During night shift, cycled through central Utrecht and issued fines to loitering drug addicts.

—File PL -0910 26575

Kid talks about his sons, both of whom do not live with him.
February 2012

Officers called to Diakonessenhuis Hospital in connection with a discharged patient who would not leave. He was therefore arrested and escorted off the property.

—File PL -0835 20960

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Bedroom of Kid’s son remained unchanged for years after he left.
February 2009

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Tattoo birthdate and constellation of his son.
June 2010

Man addressed on the street after bystanders reported he had had an epileptic fit. Individual was barely responsive.

—File PL -0910 25456

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One of the last portraits I took from Kid, about a year before his death.
January 2012

Credits

Film clips are from the movie Willem & Kid made by Het Filmfort / NGN productions.

Texts are based on police reports, documented during Kid’s last year of life.

Family pictures are from Kid’s photo album.

Concept and photographs by Rob Hornstra.

“The aspect of confronting a cultural ‘elite’ with the working-class is an essential element of this project.”

—British Journal of Photography, 2017

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Book

Texts based on reports by the Utrecht Police Department. Family photos from
Kid’s personal album. Design by Sybren Kuiper.

Man Next Door examines the stigmatisation of the working class while offering a rare insight into the life of a working-class Utrecht boy – a life told through Hornstra’s photographs, Kid’s family snapshots and excerpts from police reports. What emerges is a bewildering picture of Kid’s many personalities, inevitably raising the question: how well do you know the person who lives next door?

Utrecht: self-published, 2017. English, hardbound with photo-illustrated boards, 96 pp, 54 color photographs, 24.2 x 29.1 cm (9 1/2 x 11 1/2 in).

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Limited Editions

The aim of the Family and Friends Edition was to finance 60 free copies for Kid’s friends and family. To achieve this goal, sixty numbered copies with a special photo-illustrated dust jacket were offered in my online shop on July 13, 2017 for € 70.00 each. My gratitude goes out to all sixty buyers who have ensured - within two days - that the goal was achieved.

The Special Edition of Man Next Door consists of a signed copy of the book (with Family Friends Edition dust jacket) plus a handmade analogue c-print of the same size in a custom made cardboard slipcase (24.5 x 30.2 x 2.0 cm). More information here.

Please note that the image of the Special Edition is a mock-up.

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Family and Friends Edition (2017)

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Special Edition (2017)

Exhibition

The upcoming exhibition Man Next Door is currently in the design and production phase. It will consist of framed photo works, texts based on police reports, film fragments and collected paraphernalia. The exhibition will not only be an end point, but also the starting point of a new project in which photographers Robin de Puy and Rob Hornstra will portray the social network around Kid - the main character in Man Next Door. Therefore, a temporary photo studio will be installed adjacent to the exhibition in the Centraal Museum.

Man Next Door is on display at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht from 2 December 2017 until 4 March 2018.

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Bonus feature by VICE made in Ondiep (2011)

“Kid is de buurman van fotograaf Rob Hornstra. Hij heeft het niet altijd even gemakkelijk met het leven. Het leven met hem trouwens ook niet. Hornstra legde Kids leven de afgelopen jaren vast.”

—Pieter Klok, Volkskrant Magazine, 2008

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Volkskrant Magazine, October 2008