Wednesday, 30 September 2015

News from a Darkroom aka I Believe in Film


(very) long time no see.

There has been quite something going on since June.

First, I went to far away place, where safety nets, norms and codes are less established than in the EC. The place is Russia, Siberia to be precise. Don't get me wrong: I need this confrontation once in a while, makes us alert in a good way!

en route in Krasnojarsk, Siberia
[The next moment a mother with a baby on her arm came our way. You could tell by the different speeds where I come from and what she is used to experience.]

The day I returned I found myself entering a new kind of adventure, an adventure that speaks to my heart and soul: the darkroom. Not the other one. The real thing, the one that comes with chemicals and stacks of paper. At night, after work.

This was August. Now, on the last day of September I can look back and ... gasp. I think got really far within the past two months.

There is a lot happening in my life. Not that I am saying blogging mirrors the episodes of my life where nothing happens. It's just that all that is happening is sort of analogue: the ride on the Transsiberian train was offline. The black and white prints looks best when held in two hands.

I am glad that I do spend a lot of time off the computer at night. Developing and printing in the darkroom comes with the #1 rule: "No eating, no drinking in the darkroom", which is actuelly also quite nice, sizewise.

I will probably not invest in a super-pretty-scanner. So all that I can present here for the moment are rather poor scans  – from incredible beautiful photos.

I am almost sure I am going to dig deeper into the whole darkroom magic, show you around, let you take part at the experience. Meanwhile I hope you enjoy the light this autumn provides as much as I do. In the end it's all about light. Speaking if light and highlights: did you notice the bizarre comeback of glitter and tinsel in fashion? All the sneakers sparkling in pink, green, gold. I might actually go for one pair of those. Could be a nice counter balance for all the black & white aesthetics that dominate my senses these days.

Let me finish with the poor scans I referred to above:
Little Mia (3 months) and her proud mother
The weeping willow served as perfect setting for the shooting. The baby never got tired of looking at the tree. What I like about this photo: how they all look in different directions and still form an entity.
Yes, I did ask the family if it is OK to post the photos. Of course!) There is so much I love about the photos, the setting ...
 The afternoon light in Vienna never ceases to impress me.
 This room welcomes me when I leave the darkroom. Lucky me!
 Earlier this week, at night: HP5+ pushed to 3200

Yesterday I developed another film (last 2 photos above) entirely by myself. I printed the photos by myself and – exceptional for my standards - I did not follow the rules when taking the photos (expose 400ASA the way it's meant to be exposed) but pushed the film up to 3200ASA which allows me to take hand held photos, without a flash, at night. Ok, ok, I am drifting off into details.

What I am trying to say: I am enjoying this new, old* chapter in my life.

In case you visit Vienna until January, I can highly recommend the exhibition "Black & White" at the Albertina. The real stuff, made of gelatine and silver.

thank you for reading!
* been there in 1988 :-) 

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Guided by a Girl

I don't know about your home towns, parks and squares, but in Vienna you find so called "Baulückenparks": former empty building lots, which have been transformed into parks – most of have been design in the 1980's and 90's.

The reason why I came to the park with my camera in the first place: 
the rooftop-structure reminds me of a boat in a dry dock.

Today I visited the park with my camera and it did not take long and I found company. I little girl, Katherina, joined me on my tour in the park. She happily pointed at scenic spots - spots she considered being worth being pictured, f.e. this blue colour on a wooden bench:

It is amazing, how good kids are at imitating. The girl had approached me and asked "Why do you take this picture?"

My answer: "I take this picture, because in my eyes, this is an interesting wall. The colour is beautiful, I like the blue and the yellow".

Not much later I found myself next to her, and listening to her words: "See, this is beautiful, I like this colour. Take a picture, it is a beautiful colour". Call her in :-)

Adult choice: The little girl was fond of the black and blue contrast.
 One rare, since not overly designed corner in a Viennese park

 Imagine Christo

 The structures you find in a park a useful. This stand provided an elevated angle, luxurious!

 Dogs everywhere ;-)

The girl's favourites:
No generation without Air Jordan. Haha!

There is a reason why I pictured only Katharina's hand and feet: She wanted me to take a photo of her, too. I explained to her, that I won't take a photo without her mother's or father's permission.

Btw, it is amazing how fast you can become friends with kids as soon as you slow down, they approach you. Taking your time is playful. We all play in our own way.

Looking at these photos, taken on a Saturday afternoon at 6pm, you see, there is almost nothing going on. Which is good! I appreciate this down time, in terms of sensations, because one week from today I am going to wake up in a different time zone, in a different climate, with a different language and uncommon places ... One word: Siberia.

Have a nice weekend!

Monday, 22 June 2015


Over the past weeks I've noticed a slight change in my behaviour: I return to places where something (in my eyes) worth being captured has caught my eye – with a camera around my neck :-)

Two days ago I was sitting in the tram, late in the evening. There was no chance, no time and no light for a photo. So I came back another day, during daytime, with plenty of time on my hands.
The sky has been mostly cloudy, rainy and dark but there have been some sunny spells, too. An overcast sky leads to an almost unreal light the moment the sun makes it through the clouds, very focused, turns the sunlight into a spotlight, could be mounted just a few metres away.

And the motiv? The house is quite unique, situated in the outskirts of Vienna, in the 13th disctrict, right next to a tramway station. You could say it is not out of the world, but obviously out of time. The window shutters are made of wood, cut hearts. Hearts! Some window shutters are out of use, vegetation took over. I will keep an eye on this house, see, if it stands the test of time in the near future.

Have a good week!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Discretion Is Mandatory

I am used to the sight of thujas fencing in private backyard gardens and small front gardens.
But this, a thuja hedge in field? This is a quite unusual sight, even for a country like Austria, where thujas have been THE hedge plant for decades. There was a short bamboo intermezzo in the early '00 years, but the bamboo was not meant to last.

There is probably a story behind the thuja hedge on the hill in Höttinger Au, Innsbruck, Tyrol. I don't know the story. All I know is that this scenery made me smile, which is reason enough to stop, take the photo and share it here.