Hannover interlude – part 2

After having had fun with my fisheye yesterday I went out again today for some more panoramic experiments. In particular I wanted to see, up to which extent you can control the bending and you to use it as an element of composition. I guess I am still experimenting but see for yourself. The first one from above was taken from the (new) city hall in Hannover and the one below is actually a picture of the city hall itself. Continue reading

Hannover interlude

After going back and forth for a couple of weeks now, whether a fisheye would nicely complement my setup, I decided to get one. I opted for the Panasonic 8mm f/3.5 one which is a bit pricy but I had very good experience with the Panasonic 20mm and the reviews for the Panasonic fisheye were stellar. Also I am in Hannover right now, so consider this being an interlude from my Nürnberg documentary stuff. Btw, stay tuned for more stuff to come. I was out with Sugar Ray Banister on Thursday again and we have a couple of more things planned.

One thing one needs to be aware of is that with a fisheye you have to give up straight lines. They are virtually non-existent anymore and you get an amorphous mass of colors and form in return. So here are some of my first experiments.

The first shot – one of my favorites – is taken at the Hannover train station. Processing: in-camera cross processing… I am bit lazy to post process those days… I like it when you shoot with a fisheye into the corner of a square, i.e., diagonally. The main lines are bulging like crazy… Continue reading

Featured Photographer – Sugar Ray Banister

I came across Sugar Ray Banister a couple of months ago when it was clear that I will be moving to the US and I decided that I wanted to do a city portrait of Nürnberg before I leave. After all, I have been living in this city for more than 2 years now and did not have the slightest idea what the city was really like except for the older part of the town. I was browsing the web for some photography that depicted Nürnberg in a more natural, unaltered way. This is when I found Sugar Ray Banister’s blog and photography. I was immediately hooked to the intricate mix of photos and text putting them into the context and history of the city. After having met with him for some shooting I asked him whether he would be willing to be interviewed. He agreed and so he is the first one in a (hopefully long) series of interviews with unique photographers.

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City Explo[it | r]ation – Nürnberg Maxfeld

Last week I met with Sugar Ray Banister to do some city exploration in Nürnberg as part of my documentation project before I leave Nürnberg for good (clock is tickin’) – stay tuned for a separate feature on Sugar Ray Banister and his work. The main aim was to document the before and after of gentrification in the Maxfeld area in Nürnberg. In particular, Nürnberg is very much concerned about its image as a nice and beautiful city with its castle as one of the central cornerstone in its presentation. But in the end, the city is ugly – not because of the places that one might consider ugly but because of these half-hearted tries to “fix” it and make it a better place. So we browsed through the Maxfeld area and found some pretty amazing sights.

Here are some shots from our exploration discovering and depicting the contrasts and conflicts in Maxfeld (and Nürnberg in general). At this point in time this transition is creating a very dynamic and vivid tension. What you will realize is that in almost all shots you will find satellite dishes. This is mainly because the whole area is full with those ones.

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A couple of days in Berlin

I spent the last few days in Berlin. Unfortunately my plans of exploring the rougher neighborhoods of Berlin for a longer term project did not really worked out, mostly because long patches of rain and some other commitments that I made earlier. In any case I did have some time to take some shoots  – mostly around Prenzlauer Berg trying to catching the before and after of gentrification. I am also working on a related project for Nürnberg – more on this soon.

So here are the ones from the last days – without words. Enjoy!

My last days in Nürnberg

As this is probably one of my last weekends in Nürnberg before heading to Atlanta, I went out today for some more shots and tried to capture the atmosphere of Nürnberg in the summer. This is a highly nontrivial matter as Nürnberg itself is not a photogenic city. While it does have nice structures and buildings in the real world, when photographed most things look flat and ugly. Moreover the nice impressions are almost always destroyed by some clutter, be it just plain garbage or an unhealthy mix of traditional and modern buildings.

Next weekend I am going to be in Berlin, so stay tuned for some photos that will be quite different from this franconian atmosphere.

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Without words

I have been thinking quite a bit the last days about the impact of “naming” or “describing” photos with words.  While at first it might seem to be helpful because it provides context I started to think more and more that actually the opposite is the case. Naming and describing is a reductionism that removes some of the central elements. It deprives the viewer of the opportunity to explore without prejudice.  The opportunity to discover rather than to reconcile vision with words.