Portraits, Continued

I’ve been doing some more portrait work these past couple of weeks, both indoors and out, trying to do a mixture of both formal and informal settings.

Cameras: Fujifilm X-T20 and X-E2, with 35mm and 27mm lenses.

For more recent portraits, [click here].

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Eduardo
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Flower Power Grlll (Karen)
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Flower Power Grrrl
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Patrick in the Park
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Katharina & Domenic (Fun Fair Fun)
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Patrick in the Park

People in the Park

Summer’s Here
And the Time is Right
For Drinking in the Park”

(With my apologies to Bruce Springsteen)

It’s that time of year again where people love to hang out in the city parks to drink, daydream or frolick. It’s always a good time to shoot photos, not just the candid ones: the more relaxed people are, the sooner they agree to have their photo taken, when you ask nicely. And sometimes you also end up having good conversations, as I did with both Piet and Daniel depicted below.

Piet in Görlitzer Park
Daniel in Görlitzer Park
Spread Your Wings And Fly – Skater in Gleisdreieck Park
Walli in Gleisdreieck Park
A Skater’s Life. Gleisdreieck Park
Dreaming in Gleisdreieck Park
Görlitzer Park

Cameras: Fujifilm X-T20 and X-E2

For more portraits and street photography, [click here]

© 2017 gheedon

 

My Year 2016 in Pictures

(Note: this is an updated version of a posting I put up on 26 December. Turns out that that was a bit premature for a full round-up of the year)

It’s that time of year again to look back and see what the year has been like. Like many out there, I feel that 2016 has been absolutely disastrous. It started with the death of David Bowie and just got worse. I thought it had reached its lowest point with the election of Donald Trump (a day I think the world will regret for a long time to come), but of course other low points followed: the atrocities committed in Aleppo, the terrorist attacks around the world, including the recent one here in Berlin.

With the world going crazy, in a negative sense, it became important for me to create a space where I connected with people – with new people. Photography allowed me to do that. It started with my intention to capture more portraits of the people around me, my friends; and then on to street portraits, i.e. portraits of strangers that I’d ask on the street. This curiosity also led me to get acquainted with street musicians here in Berlin, which in turn led me to hooking up with a larger circle of people who lead a free-spirited life outside what are deemed social norms. I called them the “Südstern gang”; Südstern being the square in Berlin where we’d meet on an almost daily basis during the late summer months and well into autumn. Describing these experiences (not all of them positive) warrants an article in itself, not one I’m ready to write just yet. Let’s just say for now that it allowed me to experience different life choices, witnessing both the freedoms and the problems that these choices bring with them. With the onset of bad weather, the group dispersed, but the experience resulted in two friendships, one good and one flawed (the flawed one marred by trying to cope with a drug addict, and all the negativity this entails).

On top of these Berlin based experiences, I also took a few trips. Initially just a few short ones, the highlights certainly being Bologna in March and Oslo in early May; however, I’m currently on a three week trip around Morocco, and two of the images taken on this trip conclude the selection, with one image actually having been taken today, on the last day of the year 2016.

Below then are a selection of image for each month, summarizing best what the month stood for. I picked solely people photos, portraits or street photographs, but they also reflect the place and the time of year they were taken in.

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All photos, except two, were taken using the two Fujifilm cameras, the X-T10 and the X-E2, which have definitely become my cameras of choice, especially the X-T10. Being small and unobtrusive, yet providing high quality images even in low light, they played an important part in my life this year.

Streets of Berlin: Candid Street Photography



This year, one particular focus of my photography was street portraiture, i.e.
posed portraits of people encountered in the street. Apart from this, I did continue to capture candid pictures of people throughout Berlin. While 2016 is not quite over yet, I have recently posted a selection of this year’s best such images: Streets of Berlin 2016.

The set is a combination of different styles of street photography. When capturing people on the street, I usually approach them closely enough to capture emotions and expressions, but I also try to include context and background. Depending on the setting, though, it’s also fun to take a step back and let the scenery take center sage, so to speak, such as in the image depicted below.

People sometimes ask me if I prefer to shoot in colour or in black and white. My answer: if there is colour, I prefer colour; else black and white. What this means is: I do love working with colours, so if the colours in a scene are right, I capture them. It’s one of the reasons why I love photographing in places like India or Italy: the colours are just gorgeous. But in settings where the colours are drab, distracting, or just not interesting, I go for black and white. Black and white also seems to add intimacy to a portrait. Sometimes, though, the distinction isn’t that rational, and I go with my mood. However, I usually decide how to shoot beforehand – I very rarely change colour to b&w in post-production. About two thirds of the photos in this set are in colour and the rest are monochrome.

Most of the photos were taken with my two Fuji cameras, the X-T10 and the X-E2; which have become my cameras of choice over the past year. However, there are also a couple of iPhone photos inclouded in the set. As the saying goes, the best camera is always the one you carry with you….

Streets of Berlin: Candid Street Photography 2016

More links:

Wearing Enigmas…

I have a distinct fondness for tattoos and when I saw this lady sitting in the doorstep of a tatto parlour in Berlin-Kreuzberg, I just had to ask if I could take her photo….

Wearing Enigmas. Camera: Fujifilm X-E2

Südstern continued…

As I keep hanging out around this particular subway station in Berlin, here are a couple more shots of the people who enjoy hanging out there as well….

Ko
Olga and Creed
Riscy (photo by Chris)

Meanwhile back at Südstern

Several of the musicians that ply their trade in Berlin’s subway system tend to hang out at the Südstern subway station, including rapper Chris aka Kool Kasai and didgeridoo player/ drummer Oliver aka QuasiMono of whom I posted a video the other day. Here are a few more pics from Saturday night.


Christina from Lithuania and Antonio from Italy, a couple who recently moved from London to Berlin and are currently caught in Germany’s intractable bureaucracy while trying to get registered, find a flat and find a job – all at the same time. Antonio is a chef and sings and plays the guitar in a gothic metal band. Christina used to run a gothic shop in Camden.


Oliver and his didgeridoo


Chris and a member of the Polish band Illegal Boys. On Saturday they were performing together on the U7 line, to great acclaim.


Oliver and Friedrich. Friedrich doesn’t play an instrument per say, but he keeps trying out the various instruments of the other performers, and it sounds promising…

Camera: Fujifilm X-E2 with 35mm1.4 lens.

Meanwhile, back at Hermannplatz (continued)…


I met these two gentlemen on Berlin’s Hermannplatz (one of my favourite hang-outs, as I wrote last week) on a recent Sunday morning. They were visiting Berlin and basically just hanging out. They were in the middle of discussing the meaning of life when I asked them to pose. One was reluctant, the other one wasn’t, but then they both did. I later emailed them the photos I took and they replied that “I had captured them spot-on.” Good 😊 

Camera: Fujifilm X-E2 / 27mm lens

More street portraits here

Meanwhile, back at Hermannplatz…


One of my favourite hang-outs in Berlin is Hermannplatz, a square at the intersection of Neukoelln and Kreuzberg, two traditionally low-income parts of Berlin who have been heavily gentrified in the last few years. It’s a fascinating place where many of the cultures that make up modern Berlin meet: the hipsters from all over the Western world, kids whose parents or grand-parents once came  from Turkey and Lebanon, newly arrived refugees from Syria, Africa and other places. I wrote about this intersection of cultures in a lengthier article last year, after having photographed in the square all of that summer and fall. Now with summer here, it’s again a good place to hang out, to meet people and to photograph.

The gentleman with the beard pictured above is a street musician who plays the guitar and other instruments, mostly in Berlin’s underground. He seems to have quite a reputation (he told me his name so I can check his videos on YouTube, but I managed to forget it…), and the other two guys were busy taking selfies with him when I asked if I could photograph them. As you can tell, they were happy to oblige. The encounter was centred on the musician, who told me all about his music; and I did not get to ask the other two guys about their background. But if you look at the scars on their faces, I am sure there is much history there as well… I guess, that’s for another day then. I’m sure we’ll meet again. On Hermannplatz.

To view more of my street photography, click here .
To view more street photography from Hermannplatz and Neukoelln, click here.

The photos above were taken with a Fujifilm X-E2 and a 27mm lens.