Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009 Reviewed

It's that time of year to create best-of lists - and here are my personal highlights from 2009.

We started January in London, which certainly was a good choice for passing New Year's Eve. Wintertime in London is also the perfect setting for creating very moody black and white photographs.

The next few months very comparatively boring, but May saw us travel to Amsterdam. Enjoyed the city hugely.

There was one major highlight in June: the Be Berlin photo exhibition in the Luxembourg Embassy in which I participated with a set of photos taken at various Gay Pride events. Fittingly, June is when the CSD marches are held, and this year I also captured a nice set of pics from the event.

For my birthday I received a Holga 120WPC camera, that is, a wide-angle pinhole camera. In July I went out and shot the first rolls of films with it. I must say, I do love that camera.

In August I went to India, to Bangalore to be precise. It spent most of the time working, but managed to get away to Mysore for a day. This old city was the highlight of that altogether very short - and strange - trip.

September I spent more time experimenting with the Holga 120WPC. Also, we visited the old East German broadcasting center, where I shot this set of photos.

In Octobre we took advantage of the last beautiful days to spend some time on the Baltic sea, on the island of Ruegen. The Diana+ camera was just perfect to catch the moody atmosphere of that time and place.

In November, I got myself an iPhone, and soon started playing around with the camera and the photography apps that exist out there. Taking photos on a daily basis, I soon ended up with a rather nice set of pics.

In December I took a short trip to Beijing. Didn't come back with many photos, but thanks to the iPhone, with a couple of good ones.

And to end the year in review, here is a photo taken today, on the very last day of the year; the year when Berlin finally saw some decent snow again. 

So this leaves me then wishing you all a Happy New Year, be good, be creative, and whatever you are, don't be boring.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Around Berlin 2009

I've uploaded a series of pictures taken throughout Berlin in the course of 2009; ranging from the few cold snowy days in January to the first snow in December. The colour photographs were taken using the Holga 120N and 120WPC cameras, and the black and white ones with the Diana+ camera.

The gallery can be accessed from the toy camera page by following the "Berlin Around Town 2009" link.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Berlin by iPhone

I've added the first gallery of photos taken with the iPhone to the Always Arriving site. It consists of urban photos taken around Berlin and can be accessed via the Urban page.

All photos were edited on the iPhone using various apps, primarily Photogene, Camerabag and Tiltshift Generator.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


The web is full of it. Just google 'iphoneography' and you'll see. Everyone who owns an iphone, it seems, takes photos with it, and then publishes them.

And so do I.
What started as a way of fooling around with a camera that is really quite shabby, and a bunch of apps that are fun and that manage to turn crappie photos into half decent results, has ended up being a nice little pastime. Some people have classified the iphone's camera as another toy camera, and somehow it is. Not surprisingly, many of the apps out there turn the photos into Holga, Lomo or polaroid-style pix. It's like having your own little photoshop with you. I take a photo on my way to work, and before I reach work, I have it edited and applied filters, and even posted it if I so choose.
As I said, it's fun. It's not nearly professional, and when the photos are viewed blown up, the limits of the camera and of the apps show. However, people have managed to create great results, and maybe sometime I'll put together a few links of the galleries I like best.
But for now, here are mine: Seasons of Glass is a photoblog of sorts. I post one photo a day (well so far I have, I'm at day 18 now). I'm hoping to keep it going for a while. At least as long as I feel that quality still outweighs the quantity. It's a great little exercise, 'though, to capture one shot a day that is worth posting. You're the judge if it worked or not.


Friday, 23 October 2009

Autumn Beaches

There is nothing moodier in my mind than a beach on a windy autumn day. Well, we had plenty of those a couple of weeks ago on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen. We basically had the last of the nice autumn days giving way to the rain and the cold of the winter to come.

I just posted a selection of black & white photographs which I took on Ruegen with my Diana+ camera on the toycamera page.

One picture, which I called A Storm is Gathering, has a sad side-story to it. About ten minutes after I took it, a young man jumped from the pier on which I took the photo into the sea. We didn't see it happen, but we saw the rescue effort (involving boats and helicopter) and finally watched the man being pulled from the sea, dead. It had a dampening effect on our mood, as can be expected; events like those are, after all, very powerful reminders of one's own mortality.

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Last Pictures of Summer

During the last week of September, which turned out to be the last week of summer, I shot a couple more rolls with the wide angle Holga, the 120WPC. I've uploaded a few to my Holga page (check the Wide Angle Berlin link) and a few more to the flickr gallery. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Rundfunkhaus - the Former East German House of Broadcasting

Once a year, Berlin holds an Open Day for memorials and other historic sites which are normally closed to the public; which is normally a good time to discover new sites in (or new sides to) Berlin. This year, we visited the former East German House of Broadcasting ('Rundfunkhaus') where pretty much all of the GDR's radio broadcasts were produced.

Large parts of the house are still in use, not for broadcasting but for sound recording - although it does not seem to be as successful a venture as the new private investors are hoping for. While some of the outlying buildings have been left to fall to pieces, being open to the elements and having been vandalised, the main buildings are intact, in pretty much the state they were in when the Berlin wall came down. The house features vintage GDR design, which always harks back to the 1950s. The highlight is certainly the Great Broadcasting Hall, a grand studio where orchestral music could be recorded.

I took a series of digital snapshots (the Holgas stayed home that day) which I put up [here] on my 'other', more pedestrian site, Incidental Images. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Mysore and Bangalore

I mentioned earlier in the blog that I shot but four rolls of film on my recent trip to India. Here then is a selection of the photos I took; most of them are from Mysore and some from Bangalore. I used both a Holga and a Diana+ camera.

The gallery is available from the Holga page.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Berlin Wide Angle

A selection of photographs taken with the wide angle pinhole Holga 120WPC camera is now up on the Always Arriving site.

The gallery can be accessed from the Holga and from the Urban page.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

India Seen Through Tinted Glass

I've just returned from a ten day trip to India. Sounds exciting? So it was. It was also rather unreal.

The trip was for business - and as such, more work than play. That wasn't the bad part, 'though (I've been on worse, hopping in and out of cities in the blink of an eye).

What made this trip so unreal is the fact that it was one of the most sheltered I've ever been on. I spent most of my time in air conditioned rooms or in air conditioned cars, being whisked through a dusty, noisy city teeming with life; reduced to a spectator observing the real life through the tinted glass of office, hotel or car windows.

So, if someone asks me, how was India, I have a hard time answering. India was out there - I wasn't.

My time in India - the real India - was reduced to two days - a Saturday and a Sunday. One day to explore Bangalore, the other to see old, historic Mysore with its palaces and temples. Two days wasn't time enough to get a grasp of the place - to come to terms with the newness or to see patterns. So all I glimpsed was chaos. A chaos that works somehow, I'm sure, but I didn't have time to find out how. I got but a sense of the colours (a good many of them, and the most cheerful aspect of India, I found), smells (again, a good many, many of them pleasant) and noise (most of which reduced to the constant honking of cars - not the most pleasant, but I did have time enough to get used to that). And people, of course; again, a good many, and again, mostly pleasant.

I've come back with but four rolls of films. I haven't had them developed yet, so I do not yet know how they turned out. I know that some will be terribly boring. I always take time to warm up to a new place - going first for shooting the obvious sights (in this case, above mentioned palaces and temples). I eventually turned to photographing people, something I enjoy doing, but I need to know first that it is ok with the people. When people stopped us to take photographs of us (even handing us their toddlers to pose with them), it was pretty obvious that being photographed was pretty much ok.

What I haven't photographed is the misery that is seemingly inherent in Indian life - the beggars, or the people living in hovels beside the shiny glass palaces. I've never felt comfortable with this sort of photography - it work for others, but I do not see myself as a photojournalist. I do like shooting the everyday situations, 'though, and I do hope I managed to capture some of this in the few pictures I took.

Meanwhile, while waiting for the Holga and Diana+ to be developed and scanned (which may be a while yet), here are a couple of pedestrian pics taken with the cell phone.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

CSD 2009

The photographs from this year's Christopher Street Day, a.k.a. Gay Pride, are up now and available from the toycamera page. They are all black & white and shot with the Diana+ camera.

Holga Wide Angle Pinhole

A new camera joined my collection of "low fi" equipment, this time around a Holga 120WPC, which is a wide angle pinhole camera (i.e. it's got no lens). I took it out for a spin to Berlin's main station, and the first pics turned out really well. I used the 6x8 format, next time around I'll be trying the 6x12 format, and colour.

I've posted a selection of the pics on flickr. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Addendum: here is a very good review of the Holga 120WPC at Holgablog.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Photos I like (a lot):

... by Navid Pax, over at flickr.

"Be Berlin" Review

The "Be Berlin" exhibition in the Luxembourg Embassy is now closed, but there are indications that the exhibition may be on at the Berlin City Hall ("Rotes Rathaus") in the fall.

Meanwhile, here is a link to a review of the exhibition published in a Luxembourg newspaper. The article is in German.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

"Be Berlin" Exhibition at Luxembourg Embassy

The Luxembourg embassy in Berlin is organising an exhibition of Berlin photographs by Luxembourg photographers. I have been asked to contribute some pictures, and picked images from the yearly Christopher Street Day as a theme.

Other photographers are:  Marc Glesener, Anne Michaux, Marc Theis und Arthur Thill.

The exhibition runs from 24 June to 14 July. The address is:
Luxembourg Embassy / Maison du Grand Duché de Luxembourg
Klingelhöferstraße 7
10785 Berlin (Schöneberg)

More information (in German) here.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Urban Beijing

I put together a new gallery in the Urban section, comprised of a series of urban photographs taken in Beijing over three trips in 2007 and 2008. The first two trips took place before the Olympic games, the last one after.

For more photos on Beijing, see also the toycamera section.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Remember Last Summer?

I guess a grey winter day is the best of time to sort out summer pictures, and thus I've uploaded a series of people photographs taken in July in Barcelona and neighbouring Sitges. The gallery is available from the Portrait page.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

London under a Pale Winter Sun

Having spent New Year's in London this time around, I came back with a bunch of photos taken with the Diana+ using the new 110mm tele-objective, and with the Holga camera on those rare days where the sun was out. The result is a collection of sometimes rather gloomy photos which at times seem to stem from a different age. 

One of the rolls didn't roll up properly in the camera and a series of images came out with light leaks; another one ended up scratched. I still decided to put some of those damaged ones up.