Valencia, April 2015

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Now it is no accident that the photographer becomes a photographer any more than the lion tamer becomes a lion tamer. Just as there is a necessary element of hazard in one, in the other is a necessary element of the mechanical. For better or for worse, the destiny of the photographer is bound up with the destinies of a machine. In this alliance is presented a very special problem. Ours is a time of the machine, and ours is a need to know that the machine can be put to creative human effort. If it is not, the machine can destroy us. It is within the power of the photographer to help prohibit this destruction, and help make the machine an agent of more good than of evil. Though not a poet, nor a painter, nor a composer, he is yet an artist, and as an artist undertakes not only risks but responsibility. And it is with responsibility that both the photographer and his machine are brought to their ultimate tests. His machine must prove that it can be endowed with the passion and the humanity of the photographer; the photographer must prove that he has the passion and the humanity with which to endow the machine.

This certainly is one of the great questions of our time. Upon such an endowment of the mechanical device may depend not only the state of the present but the prospects of the future. The photographer is privileged that it is a question which in his work he can help to answer.

But does he?

Unfortunately, very often not. For in his natural zeal to master his craft, he has too long relied upon the technical to engage his energies. Now the technical has relaxed its challenge, he is often left with the feeling that there is nowhere to go. He is lost; he is confused; he is bewildered. Accustomed to discovery, now suddenly he is obliged to interpret.

—-dorothea lange

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Hokkaido, August 2015

Sea, Mountain, Train

We took a train to a remote cabin on the island of Hokkaido. Turned out, the cabin had excellent LTE-reception, giving us a very fast and convenient mobile net. I sat on the porch of the cabin, looked over a fresh plowed field to the near mountains and posted pictures of our travel onto Instagram.

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Windows or Mirrors?

Photography as exploration vs. Photography as Illustration

The first approach makes no assumption about what is there, it is open and waits for the subject to speak for itself.

The second attempts to visualize an idea: It is looking into the subject to find an expression for what has already been defined. It uses the subject as a vessel for an emotion or an idea.

Neither of these approaches is pure: The subject will never only speak for itself, as you can only listen to the things you are made to hear.

And no matter how much effort you put into moulding the world into a shape, there will be remains. A substance you did not put there. The subject will always resist your effort to use it as a vehicle for your ideas. It will taint your thoughts and speak with its own voice, even if you make it speak your words.

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Ecce Homo

For the easter holidays, we visited friends in Valencia. Apart from my trusty RX100, this was the first time I took my recently acquired Leica M3 from 1955 out for a spin. Photographing the Easter procession, which started at mid-day and went on till late at night was challenging with the M3: It’s of course fully manual, so you just use it as low as you can think you go: I shot wide open (1.8 with the 50mm Summicron) and went down to 1/60 or 1/30 and had the film pushed two stops. You cannot expect pixel-peeping sharpness under these conditions, but there were some glimpses of  what you can do with this camera, but it certainly still needs a lot of practice and experience to use the effects of this camera more deliberately and less random. I’m not sure if I’m hooked yet, but it was an interesting experiment…

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Landscape Is Changing

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Here I go, back and forth: Not photographing people comes more natural to me; it always takes a conscious effort to invade other peoples privacy. I shy away and resort to images void of people.

Taking a picture of someone is a very intimate undertaking. I often shy away, I am often afraid. I end up with shots where I am too far away, too distant. How does this reflect on your general stance towards society? Remote, distanced, issues with closeness?

Learning to photographs is very much about learning something about yourself…

 

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Back From Valencia

Just came back from Valencia, Spain. Spent the Easter-Weekend there with friends. The Easter-Processions were intense: Don’t know what’s it with me and religion – although I’ve lost my religion years ago, that ole catholicism still gets to me…

Brought my trusty Rx100 and the new, old (1955) Leica – probably screwed up all the Leica-Shots, as I did not knew, that you need to turn&lock the retractable lens, a 50mm Summicron. Packed only Kodak Tri-X. although Spain in Spring screams for color…. Exciting, so many new old things too learn, long way to go…

 

 

 

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