Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
From Owls to Vultures
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Preview time: I will happily and instantaneously give up my anticyclical behavior once the global economy is on the rise again. I will stop leaning back and being easily content with the assignments that come in and instead try to give the whole enterprise more direction. Because leaning back is decadent, leads to more repetition than you want (and might not work forever). I will do more personal projects again (one starting this Saturday). I will blog more often (haha).
Happy new year to all of you!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
The Privacy Paradox
Monday, March 2, 2009
Picturing the Crisis
For momentary lack of iconic imagery of the current crisis (this year's WPP-winner does not fully qualify), everybody looks back at Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother", the dominant picture of the Great Depression. The 1936 portrait of Florence Owens Thompson and her children has near mythical status which is not impaired by the fact that it was (if only slightly) retouched and that Thompson many years later was quoted as saying: "I wish she (Lange) hadn't taken my picture. I can't get a penny out of it. She didn't ask my name. She said she wouldn't sell the pictures. She said she'd send me a copy. She never did." Obviously it is an essential ingredient of iconic images to be disputed. One of Thompson's grandsons seems to have come to terms with Lange's alleged transgression: he sells T-shirts with his grandmother's famous portrait on them.
So much for picturing the crisis over there. Over here however we don't have as much easiness and routine in producing iconic images. Moreover the surfaces have not yet changed as much as they have over there. Let's hope it stays that way (even if it makes documenting the crisis more challenging).
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Bright Side
Friday, January 30, 2009
Start of Year Rant
Nothing wrong with that image. It is just not what you would expect to be the best of the best in one year's photojournalistic output. Yet it is a good indicator of the mediocrity of press photography in Germany (same is true for Austria). I only have guesses as to where that mediocrity originates from, so could someone please offer some profound analysis?!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
End of Year Praise
It's about empowerment. Just as we accept the fact that we will most probably never walk on water, we knew that low light situations had some implications for photography (grain, noise, blur or tripod, flash etc). Romanticizing part of it (grain, blur) helped overlook the limitation it meant. Then came Nikon and introduced a full frame sensor on which the pixels sit so comfortably that they allow you to shoot at ISO 1600 and even 3200 without feeling guilty. Admittedly that's yesterday's news. Still it is so fantastic and in my opinion it has not yet received the appreciation it deserves.
So darkness does not have to be a limitation. Remember that in 2009!
Monday, November 3, 2008
No Visual Arts Week
Friday, October 3, 2008
On Air II
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I want to share some new clips I'm quite proud of: a cover story on Hamburg and it's river Elbe in the July issue of GEO Saison. Must admit that the city which I left some three month ago (read below) really looks beautiful - even if a skeptic like me shoots it. While I write this I drink a bottle of Hamburg beer - what's wrong with me? (Click on the image to see all 22 pages)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Give me a C
A: assignments with a high amount of creative freedomAnd there are also three types of reward (very simply put):
B: assignments with a negligible amount of creative freedom
C: self assignments
1: financially profitableLately I've been occupied a lot with B1 and A2 projects (well, there have also been some B2s...) while there have not been any C1s, C2s or C3s at all. That's ok with me for some time. But I'm starting to miss something.
2: financially ok
3: no immediate dough but food for the ego
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
That's what my eyes see nowadays when they are tired from staring at the monitor and take a look out of the window. Quite some change from the squirrel and bird infested scenery that was the backdrop of my Hamburg office. Have been busy with moving out and moving in and doing some paid work en passant which meant even less activity on this blog lately. I promise to improve (anyone out there who still believes me?).
Friday, March 7, 2008
Dial a cliché
So far I've only shot 10 subjects on that list, still so much to do...
Thursday, March 6, 2008
A New Career in a New Town
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Thursday, January 31, 2008
What the Duck
Monday, January 7, 2008
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
By clicking on the image above (or here) you can see my sound and vision encounter with Tokyo. Unlike the multimedia piece on Istanbul I did earlier this year I did not gather audio this time. Well, actually I did, but the tiny recording thingy for my iPod was not really up to the task (don't say they didn't warn you...). That's why I created some audio myself. Tell me what you think - I am not so sure about it.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Back from exploring the surfaces of parallel planet Japan. Very tidy surfaces, yet quite intransparent. While I did not understand too much, two weeks in Tokyo sufficed to acquire some habits which are of no real use in my life back home (like the impulse to bow, to say thank you once too often, the tendency to stand on the left side of escalators or to expect that toilet seats are heated).
More images and thoughts soon.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Mind and Beyond (On My Way to Tokyo)
Tomorrow my mental image of Tokyo will meet the real place for the first time. Let's see how the two will get along.
Talking about the human mind: Just finished Murakami's "Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World". One of the best books I have read this year.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
From Now On ...
When I started this blog half a year ago one of my motivations was to overcome the ignorance towards that medium which is common among German speaking photographers. Just a couple of days ago Jörg Colberg (the king of photography blogs whose doctorate in astrophysics might have helped him find a way to live 48-hour days) once again deplored that fact ("No interaction, please, we're German!"). Well, actually I am not German, my Hanseatic neighbors even doubt that my Austrian slang has anything in common with the language of Goethe and Schiller. Nevertheless we Austrians aren't so entirely different from the Germans regarding the reluctance to share one's own experience or someone else's happiness, while sharing is key to creating meaningful blogs. (Will I be excused for propagating national stereotypes by including myself? Guess not...).
That is to say I still have to grow into my role as a blogger. Please stay tuned!
Labels: about blogging
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Hamburg. Strikes seem to follow me. Today and tomorrow the railway strike will also affect Hamburg's S-Bahn. I fear that this will have the converse effect of the strike in Paris - the town of my temporary residence will seem even bigger than it actually is. Though I wished there was more Paris and less Hamburg on this planet...
Gdansk. Yet other strikes precede me. While in that Polish city some months ago I spent a fair amount of time and film on the shipyard which was the stage for one of the most momentous walkouts in recent history. A pity GEO Saison did not choose any of those shipyard pictures for the Gdansk feature in their new edition which hit my letter box yesterday. I will easily forgive them though cause I very much like how they treated the rest of my pictures (click on image below).
Monday, October 8, 2007
The Pursuit Of Cool
No doubt I was in (hopeless) pursuit of cool when I bought it (further reading: "The Rebel Sell", a highly polemic and at times superficial but nevertheless enlightening book). But who knows what that purchase might lead to. Eleven years ago I got my first SLR (I was 26 then). Only six years and some 20 rolls of film later I decided to give up journalism and start a career in photography which has fed me ever since (well, not exactly ever since, but for the last four years). So watch out for an aspiring 47-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist in 2017! (Did I just write singer???)
Monday, September 17, 2007
What about you? Anyone out there with a similar handicap?
Sunday, August 19, 2007
"i cannot feel the left part of the brain"
"i cannot feel the left part of the brain"
"people shooting each other"
"how to say left right in german"
"how many language can karl lagerfield speck"
"turn on left side when pregnant"
"are dogs left or right handed"
"left of right, and right of left, but below above, and above below.. so where the hell am I?"
"pictures of pimples on nose"
Sorry, could not help any of you. But let me make a humble attempt to accommodate the public demand:
Labels: about blogging
Thursday, July 26, 2007
So much for the very dark side of Photoshop. Indignation aside I have to admit something: Time and again I also perform some minor digital surgery. I remove the occasional pimple or put some Photoshop powder on shiny noses and don't feel bad about it. At least pimples are only temporary phenomena and removing them makes the photographed person feel better. Of course I would never retouch a pimple/shiny nose that is evidence for stress, anxiety etc. if documentation is the purpose of my picturetaking ...
While I feel completely justified in the result of this digital intervention I am not so sure about the process itself. Looking at someone else's face on the screen at 100 percent magnification amounts to an intrusion into privacy. You get acquainted with impressive packs of pores which even the husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend of that person never noticed because pores are not what we usually lay our eyes on. You can explore the nature of wrinkles, the length of nasal hair etc., discoveries which are usually made by that person's mirror only. Looking too closely feels out of bounds and tender at the same time (just as this last sentence sounds irrelevant and perverse at the same time).
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
The profane act of using my Nikon as a stopwatch for a long time exposure of my Hasselblad aroused my well hidden romantic core. It happened in St. Petersburg last week. Me standing on a bridge, Nikon dangling from my neck, opening its shutter for four seconds just to tell me and Hasselblad how long four seconds are. While I usually delete pictures resulting from that process right away, I somewhat liked that unintentional image of a canal for its fluffiness and airiness. Which made me want to reproduce that effect again and again every time I met a waterway. The resulting series (which can be seen when clicking on the image above) is neither representative for my work nor for the impression St. Petersburg made on me (loud&dusty). Still it gives a hint at how the city could feel like if for example cars were not accelerating every time you set your foot on a zebra crossing. Et cetera.
Less watery images to come.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Holy Warriors on tour
Writing this post I have the dim feeling that there are way to many Schwelle-related entries in this blog. That was not exactly my intention when I started this three month ago. I just don't get it how others find enough time and strength to churn out resourceful and meaty posts. I need 8 hours of sleep! Occasionally.
Monday, June 4, 2007
I am fed up with violence, platitudinous phrases, naiveté, complicity - and all those photographers (including me) who are looking for stereotypes. Ergo Saturday was my last trip to G8-Land. The slideshow which I compiled (it can be seen when clicking on the picture above) is still too affirmative for my taste. Might change that later.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Why is it that I just can't get started (nearly) every time I am on self-assignment and it is only the first of a couple of shooting occasions? Happened again today when I and my camera mingled with several thousand of uniformed people who - while provoking each other - made a strange tour round Hamburg. Those in black uniforms trying to reach the city hall where the Asem-summit took place, those in green uniforms trying to prevent this (and succeeding in it).
I did not at all get into shooting mood. Seems as if today's wanderings merely served as a warm-up for the coming weeks (for me and the rest of the crowd). I will miss some of the G8 peak days though - got one of those assignments to do where the pay in some miraculous way creates instant shooting mood...
Sunday, May 13, 2007
You cannot plan for this...
... give yourself the "assignment" or the "grant" that you would dream someone would give you....find a personal project and do it without regard for later "sales"...the best kind of "commercial success" or "artistic success" will come to you only if you work in this way.....it will come in ways that you cannot imagine....you cannot plan for this....you must go with your gut....only in this way will anyone, editor or publisher or gallerist, ever see who you really are...what you really DO...
this will be absolutely 100 percent not easy....this will be absolutely 100 percent worth it...
Ok, so I'll just keep going and everything will fall into place... eventually... soon... tomorrow... (does impatience fit into the scheme?)
Friday, May 11, 2007
Dear festeros alcoyanos,
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Food for the mind's eye
I for my part leave a lot of decisive moments or sights unphotographed cause I rarely carry a camera when not in shooting mode (or mood). Yesterday I had one around my neck when I saw that guy pregnant with his two dogs. Not taking that picture would not have made any difference for me though.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Labels: about blogging
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Listen to me - don't listen to me
It was no disaster. It was not even too stressful. Only with hindsight I discovered that the words that escaped my mouth without any major contribution of the brighter parts of my brain were, well, banal. Never mind, the people who listened to me presenting my book were already quite exhausted on this final day of the Darmstadt Days of Photography. To my left you can see Alexandra Lechner who together with Albrecht Haag organized this three-day-event with high professionalism and ease.
Thanks to my co-exhibitor Edith Buchhalter for documenting my performance (no, I won't show you the videos!).
Monday, April 16, 2007
My "Holy Warriors" series will be one of the juried exhibitions. On Sunday I will present myfirstbook (see below) there (3 p.m., same venue as the exhibition at Hessisches Staatsarchiv) - which is not only the presentation of myfirstbook but also myfirstbookpresentation. Now as I think of it, it might even be my first time in Darmstadt...
Guess which of the first times makes me most excited?
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Sound and Vision
Was a long night again. Click above to see what I was working on.
Saturday, April 7, 2007
Yeah! Buy it here
Sorry, texts are in German only. (Thinking of that student from Romania who wanted me to send him Martin Heidegger's "Sein und Zeit" because he intended to learn German through reading this book. Buy my book instead! Much easier read and way more pics than in "Sein and Zeit"...)
Thursday, April 5, 2007
I won't tell any names. There are too many. I'm talking about photojournalists with a strong style which they impose on each situation and location they are confronted with. The ones who make one catastrophe look like the other, others who make Mexico City look like Mumbai. Ok, that sounds too pejorative - since I am not even sure whether a distinct style is a good or a bad thing to have.
Still sometimes I think "photographer x in city y" is a less interesting subject for a series of images than "city y in photographer x", that is to say what a city (or situation) did to the photographer's mind and eye. The last nine days I tried to find out what the city of Istanbul does to me and my shooting. Since this was partly supposed to be a holiday I also tried to develop a new shooting mode - relaxed shooting. Before I only came in two flavors: intense shooting until someone or something stops me - or not touching a camera at all. Unfortunately this did not change much. And Istanbul did not really jump at the chance to have a true impact on me cause it instead chose to give me a terrible cold which somehow fogged my senses. Nevertheless I came back with some gigabytes of images which I want to assemble to a multimedia presentation. Well, if I manage to mix the sound which I amateurishly recorded... Maybe that was Istanbul's impact on me - that I developed an interest in sound and vision.
Two pics now, the rest in a couple of days.
Monday, March 26, 2007
In those long days before myfirstbook (see below and soon above) hits the shelves I stocked up on even more booksbyothers than I usually do in such a time span. Among them was Stephen Shore's "The Nature of Photographs" (Phaidon). An all-purpose book: for those with more than a slight and those with more than enough interest in photography; for those who tend to own only a handful of books on photography and for those who have to have them all.
Shore as a teacher. I'll borrow his last paragraph (which sounds familiar):
It is a complex, ongoing, spontaneous interaction of observation, understanding, imagination, and intention.
If you feel the same you can buy the rest here
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Two days ago my first book came into physical existence. It was printed in Salzburg which is where my publisher sits (Edition Fotohof im Otto Müller Verlag). Being a control freak I wanted to overlook the whole process. But there was not a lot to do. Just suggesting to put more magenta in some of the faces. That was it. The operators and their new machine did a great job. Might just cut back on that control freakishness of mine somewhere along the way...
The book is about four divided towns on Eastern European borders. It´s title is "Die da drüben" (something like "Them over there"). It is a photo book with a rather huge amount of text which unfortunately comes in German only. Dreaming of having an edition in English one day soon.
Read more about my first book in later posts (keep calling it "first book" for it sounds promising...)
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Always rejected the idea of having a blog. Consumption seemed ok to me, involvement or production were left to others. That was arrogant - and that was yesterday.
For example I got myself an iPod just to know how it feels to have all one's music available at any given time and to find out about the aura of acoustic art in post-Benjamin times. But you can just as well enjoy having one with you which is what I do today.
As of now I have a blog. Just to know how it feels to have one.
There will be some bragging, some news and entertainment - the usual.
I might just as well enjoy it right away. Hope you will too.
Labels: about blogging