Interior: Bar

For a change of pace, and in order to hone my eye for formatting photos, I decided to step away from people photography for a bit and embark on something which I have never really attempted before: photographing interiors. By this I was inspired by some of the photos I took inside some of Sevilla’s historic buildings. The challenge is to capture the elegance and beauty of a room while working within a confined space.

These images are from my first attempt. I shot them in a club here in Berlin which was empty at the time, a club in a historic 19th century building that used to house craftspeople’s workshops. It’s a first attempt, more to follow…

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The Singer On the Couch….

I recently uploaded the second part of the street photography project I have been pursuing this summer (read the blog entry here). After the initial set of colour images, I now put uploaded a collection of photos in black and white which I entitled ‘The Singer On the Couch and Other Berlin Tales’.


On any given day, I decide before heading out whether I will shoot in colour or

in black & white. I seldom mix and match during an outing, the reason being that I find it takes a certain mindset for either option (the same for choosing between shooting in analog or digital). While in winter I generally use black and white, in summer I like to vary. I love shooting in colour, but shooting in black and white in sunny weather has its own rewards as you get to play with light and shadows and stark contrasts. Some of the images in the set hark back to last winter, but the majority was shot this summer. They reflect the joys of summer, the feeling of being alive that people exude during this all too brief season in our part of the world. Sometimes the scenes are serene, sometimes playful, sometimes even silly; but always joyful – something which I find black and white photos are able to bring better to the forefront than colour photographs do, possibly because colours tend to distract or infuse emotions of their own.


Again, I tried to select photos that go beyond being more snapshots, taking into account factors like framing, grouping, use of light and darkness, but also context, which for me is as important as the subject being photographed. 


I used three cameras for this project, the inobtrusive and reliable Fujifilm X30, thr more flexible Fujifilm X-T10 with a zoom lens as well as 27mm and 35mm lens, the latter having become my favourite lens. I also used the Leica X2 for a few shots, but mainly I keep that camera for the colour sessions. 


Links:
– The Singer on the Couch and Other Tales of Berlin (Black and White Street Photography)

Urban Geometry: Perspectives and Planes


Last summer, I put together a series of Polaroid photos which focused on the geometry of Berlin’s (post-)modern architecture. Throughout this winter, I undertook a similar project with the Fujifilm X30 camera, again capturing 20th and 21st century architecture in Berlin, the result of which I recently uploaded in a new set entitled Urban Geometry: Perspectives and Planes.


Although they have a common theme, the two sets are still very much different. These differences are defined by the medium (analog instant vs. digital), by the format (square vs. mostly 16:9 ratio) and most importantly, by the respective camera’s lens and the approach that it allows. Using the Polaroid SX-70, I worked with the camera’s fixed lense to focus on excerpts of buildings. The X30’s zoom range, however, allowed me to capture buildings in their entirety, or even sets of buildings as depicted in the photo above. It also allowed me to zoom in on particular details if required. This, coupled with the chosen 16:9 ratio,  led the focus away from  the representation of the geometrical shapes of things. Instead, what came to the foreground were the lines, be they frames, pillars, beams or decorative patterns, horizontal or perpendicular or anything in between. 

Now I’ve said this elsewhere, but Berlin’s architecture is basically an angular,

rectangular one, and you are hard pressed to find other shapes and forms – but they do exist. There are some great Bauhaus buildings around which make much use of curves (such as the Shell House), and even in the past years, some architects have managed to slip unusual designs by the stern gaze of  Berlin’s conservative building authorities who so love their rectangular designs and orderly structures. The federal government buildings near the central train station consist of a weird amalgam of geometrical shapes of all sorts. And close by, in the model “Hansaviertel” neighbourhood, whose buildings date back to the 1950s, renowned architects such as Oscar Niemeyer forfitted traditional shapes and arrangements for more daring ones. In other words, the buildings I photographed for this project oftentimes go beyond the rectangular and angular.  

The buildings I concentrated on mostly date from the last 70 years. This includes public and office buildings as well as private housings and a couple of industrial buildings (one of which dates back to the late 19th century). The pictures feature buildings by architects such as Mies van der Rohe, Renzo Piano, Oscar Niemeyer, Walter Gropius, Hans Kollhoff and Hans Scharoun.

All photos are in black and white, and as mentioned above, have been taken with the Fujifilm X30 camera.

Links:

Wide-Angle Urban Poetry, Vol. 2: London & Brighton


For the second year running I spent New Year’s in Brighton, and same as last year I followed that vacation up with a stay in London. And same as last year, I brought back a number of photographs.

Last year I had taken the analog Lomo Belair panoramic camera with me. This year I decided to go digital and took the Fujifilm X30. I took it primarily because I was expecting bad weather and low light, which normally hampers the use of lo-fi analog cameras. However, luckily bad weather wasn’t the norm, so that I ended up with a number of splendid colour photographs as well as black and white ones.

I’m particularly happy with many of the photos which I brought back from

London, especially the ones which I shot in and around the Barbican. I visited the Barbican Centre to see an exhibition, Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age; a show which I thought quite brilliant, both for the theme and for the large number of exceptional photos on display. At the same time, the Barbican complex is in itself a highly photogenic urban jungle, bordering on the ever growing architectural frenzy (some would say mess) that is London’s East End. Certainly it was no coincidence that the Barbican was putting on a show with this kind of theme, and so it was not necessarily a coincidence either that I ended up with a number of shots reflecting the theme of the show. 


The photographs which I took this year with the Fujifilm X30 in many ways compliment the panoramic pictures which I took last year with the Belair camera, so I combined the two in a common set, adding also a number of Polaroids which fit the theme of urban panoramas, as well as a couple of ‘Holgaramas’ from 2008, and a collage which I did in 2004 of Saint Paul’s as seen from the Tate Modern. Altogether they also illustrate how fast London’s skyline keeps changing, for better and for worse. Additionally, the photos illustrate another facet of London which I always found fascinating: here, the various epochs of London’s long history do not so much co-exist side by side, but seem to pile up on top of each other. The picture above is a good example as it shows tiers of buildings from various centuries, combining the medieval church of St Giles-without-Cripplegate with buildings from the 19th, 20th and 21st century high rises into a very crowded skyline.

Links: