In 2004, Dutch photographer Rob Hornstra moved to the Ondiep district in Utrecht, where he regularly photographed his now deceased neighbor: Kid. This resulted in the project Man Next Door.The first time that Hornstra meets Kid is during his move in 2004. Kid appeared at his doorstep, shirtless, questioning what Hornstra was doing there.
From that moment on, Kid regularly keeps an eye out for his neighbor while Hornstra is abroad on projects. In return, Hornstra also helps his neighbor out: Kid often runs out of phone credit and is able to borrow Hornstra’s phone on several occasions. Hornstra also helps him out with his mail as Kid has reading difficulties. As Kid is diabetic and heavily dependent on alcohol and other substances, domestic life runs silent in Kids house when his wife and his then eight year old son flee to a domestic abuse shelter. During good periods in his life, Kid is at home. This is the place where Hornstra photographs him. When things take a turn for the worse, Kid is wandering about the city center of Utrecht. The photographer doesn’t see Kid as much anymore in the last year of his life. Then, the news reaches him that Kids body has been found between two boats at the Utrecht canals. He was 42 years old.
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?