Architecture is boring!

Don´t get me wrong. Architecture is pretty exciting. Since I´ve dived deeper into the Bauhaus-era I get a new feeling for Design and the conception of buildings. There is so much to study about, it really enlightens my mind. And if you see impressive buildings nowadays it´s always awesome to see what architects are able to create.

Nevertheless if there is a topic in photography I am hardly interested in then it´s architeture-photography. A building can look amazing, but it´s an static object. You can move around or maybe get a look inside, but the sweetspots are always the same. If you try landscape-photography you can walk through the landscape and see how it changes. If you try studio-photography you can shoot objects in different contexts and if you try street-photography it´s always about that special moment to capture. But a building is a building and the possibilities are pretty limited. I think that´s why architecture-photography always – and I mean always – looks the same. Everyone takes the same picture. From a higher or lower angle, maybe with a different focal length or different focuspoint, but it´s always the same damn picture. And these pictures generate interest just because of the buildingconcept and not because of the photographers skills. That´s why I think architecure-photography is pretty boring.

But maybe I´m wrong. If you know someone who really takes extraordinary architectural pictures leave me a comment or write me a mail. I haven´t found one yet.

In my photography-course I had to take architecural photos, so I went to the artmuseum in Bonn. It was build in 1992 by the architects Dietrich Bangert, Bernd Jansen, Stefan Scholz and Axel Schultes. The modern geometric stucture is international style. That´s why I tried to capture these strict lines and geometric shapes.

I´m sadisfied with what I got, but I don´t think that I found a new perspective. Decide yourself. Here is what I got.

the power of portraits

This post is really late. I was sick for a couple of days, so I didn’t have the peace of mind to write up a post – that is also, why this one is short and also contains only one image.

I agree with Sascha, shooting images of people is really the greatest thing to do with a camera. It is also the most threatening in a way. If you misrepresent a landscape, the grass and trees, rivers and mountains won’t be mad at you. It’s hard to be unflattering to something that has no agency, feelings or emotions itself.

If I take pictures of people, I feel a special responsibility. I want to capture a part of their personality – are they funny, serious, optimistic or grumpy in a way that speaks in a positive way about them. It does not have to be flattering in an aesthetic way, but the picture has to be representative of one aspect of the person, ideally – to me – one, that they think is representative of themselves, too.

I started with street portraits in Tanzania, for reasons I might tell you about later, and did some street photography portraiture, mainly of street musicians, because they are already public. Last year I began to set-up a small pop-up home studio with a backgrounds, speedlights and light-modifiers. I really like that situation, because one the one hand you can control every aspect of the light and on the other hand you can connect to the model with some intensity (and a coffee on the side).

This one was done for a co-worker who is a classically trained singer. What I really like is that it tells a great story of him as a person and of him in a stage-personality. It’s from my first studio-session ever, and still one of my favourites.

My favorite subjetct

This time I have only one picture to share. In his last post Torsten asked me what is my favorite subject to shoot. It´s easy to answer: People! Or more specific: Street-Portraiture.

I like shooting people in a raw and authentic style as they are, but I always have to overcome my fears to talk to strangers and ask them for taking their picture. Although nobody ever rejects me, it´s always an exciting situation and sometimes I lost the chance of getting the picture when I start thinking about what to tell them. So now I try to force myself to stop thinking and just start shooting.

The people I´m interested in are those who are living a differend kind of life or besides society. I do not judge anyone, but sometimes I think, if I do not get their picture, maybe no one will ever know that they exist or what kind of problems they might have.

I met the guy in the picture in Los Angeles while I was travelling along the West Coast. We got eyecontact and when he saw my camera, he asked me to take his picture. So I positioned him in front of a garage and he started posing. He might be a drug addict or just a strange guy. I had no chance to know more about his background, because as soon as I took 3 or 4 pictures he went away. I really liked that guy, but probaly I will never see him again.

I think the real subject of this picture is the prejudice. You see a black guy with a gun pointing at you. But when you look closer you will see that he is holding a toygun in his hand. Things are not always what you expect. And if you follow the „Black-Lives-Matter“- Compaign you will get the point. That´s why this is my personal favorite photo I have ever taken.

Fogrise…. and negative space

Hey Sascha, your last post was a headscratcher for me, it really made me think about why I take pictures in terms of which compositions make me hit the shutter. I guess I am usually very literal about my images. There is something I want someone else to see and so I go close. Composition takes the backseat to some degree. Or so I thought.

I remember the first time we went out together, we walked through Hamburg. You can find my old post here. You took  a picture of the Spiegel-building with lots of negative space, heavily angled to one side, I saw it and tried to recreate the look, but it didn’t work for me. I liked your image, but not mine. The difference is that we see different things. All in all, negative space is not something I explicitly look for (very often).

Three weeks ago it jumped me in the eye. I went up the Michel, Hamburg’s main church after doing some sunrise photography. The fog crept up so heavily that I could not see anything straight on, so I thought about shooting the Michel from the inside. When I found out that there was an escalator going up the tower and not just my legs, I rose to the challenge and went up. The fog went just below the viewing platform next to the bell and all of Hamburg’s landmark-architecture peeked out of the fog. I liked the tops of the buildings looking very abstract, lost and almost frail and I recognized the beauty of this view in terms of negative space. And here it was. I found the content in the negative space; if that is understandable. From here on, I think it belongs to my arsenal of techniques, because I can connect an emotion to it. 

I hope you enjoyed these, but they made me wonder. These are images that are not typical for my photography. So Sascha, now I know how you see. But what are your favourite subjects to shoot? I’m looking forward to Sunday. Cheers!


The beauty of black and white… and negative space

When I mentioned that I hate colors I didn´t mean that colors are useless in any way. There are a lot of wonderful colored photos out there. But when I review my own pictures I almost never see colors in them. That´s how my mind works. Even when I press the shutter, the world through the lenses exists in contrasts. So that´s why my pictures are mostly black and white, but I also appreciate people like Torsten, who have the ability to create extraordinary pictures in colors, but I know I am not a part that group.

Besides the black-and-white-photography I really like negative space. So here are some older examples that I want to share with you. I chose the Coney Island picture as an answer to Torsten’s last post. Funfairs can also look great desaturated.

at the fun-fair

I know it’s probably a bit petty to react to a statement like „I hate colors“ from Sascha’s last post by looking in Lightroom for the most colourful shots you can find. But hey, if petty that is, then petty I am 😀

I like these long-exposures: no people, great colours and yet they speak to romanticized memories from our childhoods. These were taken almost exactly a year ago, when I met up with a photographer from Hamburg, called Yang, who takes to the streets of Hamburg almost daily. We had a great evening out and have been going out shooting together ever since.

So Sascha, I guess, we’re back to black-and-white for Sunday and I’m really looking forward to that, because I really love black-and-white! 

Enjoy!

Stormtrooping II.

Being envious about Torsten’s Stormtrooper-photoshoot I decided to publish my own Photoshooting with a 4-inch-Skywalker-action-figure. This picture was made for my photography-course to practice aperture and focal length. Luckily when I arrived at the Rhein to take the picture of little-Luke in front of the famous panoramic view of Cologne the sun was already gone, so that I got very atmospheric photos.

I hate colors, so everything I publish is black and white, but this is an exception. These pictures are probably the only ones you will ever see in my work that are coloured. So enjoy!

stormtrooping

Some time ago, I asked a friend of mine, whether I could make pictures of him in his stormtrooper uniform. As you might imagine, he said yes. There was a whole storm of ideas racing through my mind, some of which might come in the future.

The idea that prevailed was to set the sci-fi uniform in contrast to the futuristic architecture of the Ruhr-Uni-Bochum. I think, it’s a good fit. The uniform is highly iconic and dehumanizes the subject and the architecture that we see here is surely not inviting to the individual, either. It is still – at least to me – an ironic contrast. We tend to conceive of stormtroopers as hapless warriors, but their roots certainly lie in the horrific past of Germany, something that the university stands firmly against with all its values, even though it looks so uninviting.

 

Enjoy!

 

views of Cologne

So this is it. Our first blog post together. Last Saturday we Sascha and I met up in Cologne to do a photowalk together, our first in two years. The night before we discussed our possible routes and what we wanted to make images of. Both of us are interested in doing street photography, but European and German laws have become increasingly restrictive over the years that we did not want go full-on Bruce Gilden, even though in an art-context such as this, it should be ok to do more upfront street shots with people. But enough of what we did not do, on to what we decided on. We settled on the scenic route through Cologne,starting with the Cathedral, as it does afford some interesting perspectives, then we went over the Deutzer Bridge to get some midday panoramas…. but see for yourself.

In effect we worked from noon to after sunset, working the streets for images that represent the aspects of Cologne as we saw it. Even though we both walked the exact same streets together, our images are very different. The difference does not only lie in the fact that Sascha’s are in black and white and mine are in color, though. We see very differently, too. Here details are extracted from the scene and put in a figure / ground context: legs separated from the people and set as lines against the ground, shadows only as symbols of people, the soap-bubble singled-out between the cathedral’s two towers (the cute-eye-of-Sauron-shot, as I call it). My shots have more overview, are in a way more representative of the space they were taken in, less mysterious, more naturalistic in nature.

Both ways of seeing are hopefully delightful to you, both in their very different genres and styles. Let’s start with Sascha’s gallery:

 

And here are Torsten’s pictures, we cut down the selection to ten images each, to keep the experience somehow manageable.

 

Enjoy!

A new creative space – new possibilities

„A photograph is a moral decision taken in one eighth of a second.“

This quote by Salman Rushdie describes best our point of view in the development of our photography. Taking a picture is always a subjective expression on how we see the world around us.

As photography entusiasts we desided to start a new creative Blog for sharing our ideas, thoughts and projects in photography.

We have been creative for almost 20 years now, mostly by making shortfilms, but during the years both of us developed an interest in photography as a creative outlet. Sascha – as a media professional – is keenly interested in capturing his spectacular travel experiences in very few images, that tell stories of cultures and people. His images are mainly in glorious black and white and pull the viewer into them, asking for more. Torsten’s interests include animal and people portraiture, landscape and citiscapes. He puts his images in more context to tell the stories of his subjects.

With this blog we want work together again creatively, challenge ourselves and invite others to their take on the world around us as well.

Enjoy!