seeking for beauty in nature

People looking on an impressionist Nature-Photography

Photo-Exibition at International Nature Photography Festival of the GDT 2012

The International Nature Photography Festival of the GDT 2012 in Luenen, Germany was a pleasure. More there isn´t to say. There were lots of very good photographs in the exibition of the winners of the national contest and the international contest and in the lecture programme. There were a lot of very pleasant people in the audience and first and foremost in the team of the GDT (Society of German Nature Photographers) and the lecturers. What unites them all is their love of nature and photography, some of them beeing professional photographers and text-authors.

a little adventure close to home

The train guard authorizes the departure (Jens Stachowitz)

The train guard authorizes the departure (Jens Stachowitz)

“To go on a cruise with an ancient railbus“ was the childhood dream of Stefan Tigges. He incorporated the Ruhrtalbahn in 2004 and extends his offerings from year to year. At the last weekend in April 2012 he launched his Schienenkreuzfahrt (cruise) trough the Ruhr Area. I had the opportunity to join this event and enjoyed it! Because of the not so much convenient ancient railbus it was a little adventure. I experienced how it felt and looked like to travel in the sixties of the twentieth century and thought back to my own childhood. But I felt no nostalgia, I sensed how convenient we use to travel nowadays. During the cruise we passed a lot of places that are milestones in the history of this region, letting us know and imagine what developments we have begotten or undergone. Due to a very well-informed guide there were a lot of bits of new information I could gather although I live in this region for half a century. I recommend joining the tour.

using the rare moments

ruhr valley after sunset at a cold evening

ruhr valley after sunset at a cold evening

I don´t know how you manage to get through the winter. My experience so far is that there is almost no frost, snow and almost no sunshine since the middle of November here in the Ruhr Area. There were two days in January with the temperature falling below zero. One of them I could use for a photo tour and came home with the photograph above. I am happy with having been able to use this rare moment when the sun was below the horizon and temperature was below zero too.

inspired-by-slinky

slinky-springs-to-fame-bridge © jens-stachowitz-photography.com

Inspired by the toy »Slinky« the German artist Tobias Rehberger, a border crosser between design, art and architecture, designed a pedestrian bridge in the form of a spiral with 496 arches made of Aluminium and illuminated in the night. Its official name is »Slinky Springs to Fame« but in colloquial speech it is named »Rehberger-Brücke« due to its inventor. The bridge spans the Rhine-Herne Canal in Oberhausen, Germany, connecting two public gardens, the Kaisergarten from the late 19th century and the Volksgarten from the early 20th century and is a replacement for a bridge that got destroyed in World War II. This place is not far from the Gasometer, a landmark for the whole Ruhr-Area.

slinky-springs-to-fame-bridge-at-blue-hour © jens-stachowitz-photography.com

The construction of the bridge is held by two ribbons made of high strength steel, the lightest of all possible constructions, and was developed by Schlaich, Bergermann & Partner. The elegant, light and vibrant bridge is part of the Emscherkunst – An Island for the Arts-Project and was build by the Emschergenosenschaft with subsidization by the European Union and the state North Rhine-Westphalia. It is a sculpture and an emblem in the geographic center of Oberhausen, a town compound of three little towns since 1929.

What fails is our apprehension

A couple looking at a photograph created by Joel Sternfeld © jens-stachowitz-photography

»What fails is our apprehension of our incredible amasing and beautiful world.« is the statement of Joel Sternfeld that resonates most within me. First of all I have to say that I am trying to understand which message Joel Sternfeld wants to tell the readers of his photographs, books and the listeners of his lectures. I am not quite shure that I have got »it«. What makes me unsecure is a photograph I did not like at a first sight and that I did not read careful enough. The icing on the cake is as small as a stamp in this large-format photograph: A baby that suckles at the breast of his mother who is sitting on a couch that was taken out of a moving van in front of a new building somewhere at the city limits close to the woods. Someone else pointed to this culmination of this photographic short story I did not apprehend. So I have to say that it may be true that I am a very well trained to read situations and relationships what is essential to do my work as a facilitator, but I have to educate my perception of pictures and photographs.

What I have percieved in the current exhibition of Sternfeld´s work in the Museum Folkwang and whithin a lecture he held on July, 16th 2011 and a short conversation is that Joel Sternfeld is a »concerned photographer« – the Süddeutsche Zeitung called him to be one –. What is he concerned about? Money? Fame? – No, not at all!

It appears to me that Joel Sternfeld is a very self-efficiating contemporary, a humorous and amicable storyteller. He is concerned about doing great work, getting on a higer level of perception, telling something well-founded about our world and our society wanting to improve it, saving our incredible amasing and beautiful world from unpleasant acts mankind could and does do. He tells us »what we do with the surface of the earth tells us who we are« in this video, but he is not at all a itinerant preacher. He is not at the frontline either like a war photographer risking his live in order to shock and push us. Sternfeld is looking for subtle undertones that touch our souls and Sternfeld is creating photographs we want to look at more than one time, those that do not disgust but pull us in.

Joel Sternfeld is concerned about relationships of humans to each other, humans to nature and colors to each other. His eyes light up when speaking about color shades in his photographs. Yes, he is concerned not only about the story in the photograph and the story behind the photograph but also about the composition and the color. Some of Joel Sternfeld´s photographs are shown online by Luhring Augustine.

Museum Folkwang exibits different series of photographs Sternfeld created starting from 1970 till nowadays. Very much I do recomend to visit the exhibition in Essen, Germany till Oct., 23rd 2011, then touring to Amsterdam, Berlin and Vienna.

And: look carefully. – Thank you, Joel for your teaching!

Creativity is needed in all spheres of society

Photo © Joey Armstrong

Corwin Hiebert is a consultant and manager to creative entrepreneurs and shares his thoughts about making up our personal creativity in part one and generating, developing and communicating new ideas within the context of community in part two of his e-book Your Creative Mix.

Corwin Hiebert is likeminded to me. My work as a freelance facilitator is to help people to come together and solve problems that occour in town development. They need to be creative, often need to find a conflict resolution, they need to trust each other, let go the competition and need to get ideas happen and things done. So I am experienced in collaboration and I fully aggree with Corwin´s statement that the ideas presented in the e-book »are universal to all kinds of creative pursuits«. Corwin is addressing photographers but you can benefit from the reading when your profession is another. Creativity and collaboration is needed in all spheres of society.

Corwin like me is »a firm believer in learning from all kinds of sources« and vividly describes ways to nurse and to evolve creativty. Corwin too is a manager and he gives great advice in this e-book how to systematically work on your creativty, ideas and community. With case studies he illustrates his thoughts.

I think that there is a great need for books like this because we are faced with huge challenges and we need to shape our way of living, our behaviour and our society. In 1976 Erich Fromm published a book titled »To have or to be?« I read as a teenager. Fromm influenced Corwin – I do not know whether Corwin is aware of that influence – who tells us to create value and to focus on our legacy and not to fokus on making money. Money is not a good motivator for great work but happly occours and pays the bills.

It is no surprise that there is a chapter telling you that creating value this is hard work. But there will be a gratification when the work is done and you should reward yourself before heading the next project.

I reccomend reading Your Creative Mix.

For the first five days only, if you use the promotional code MIX4 when you checkout, you can have the PDF version of Your Creative Mix for only $4 OR use the code MIX20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more PDF ebooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST July 23rd, 2011.

drag your readers into your photographs

Spreadsheet out of A Deeper Frame by David duChemin

Spreadsheet out of »A Deeper Frame« by David duChemin

There are only a few authors who focus on their and our vison and approach, the composition, the story or message of the photographs we create. First of all I will mention Andreas Feininger whose books I have read in my teenage days. A friend of mine still tells me that there is almost nothing needed to be written down additionally. Maybe he is right, maybe not. I did not stop reading books on photography.

Feininger started his book with the qoute: »Know how is worthless without knowing why« (1). In the chapter on spatial depth he tells us »spatial depth can not be portrayed directly in a two-dimensional photography: you can just give a symbolic hint at« (2) and »to create the right kind of illusion of spatial depth requires work and thought« (3). So I did not espect to read something in David duChemin´s ebook A Deeper Frame I haven´t read before. And I espected a consensus because I feel that both are like-minded.

David also starts with the »why« and then he explaines »how to« create the perception of depth with using our viewpoint and perspective, choice of lenses, focus, color and light. He thinks about the (flat) »frame cubed … because geometry and balance are so incredibly important and composing for a cube is different than composing for a rectangle« (p 9) and he suggests to »consider applying the thirds« we are used to use in the horizontal and the vertical »to the depth of the image« (p 9).

David intentionally does not write on »conceptual depth« but strives the »depth of feeling« – there is the difference to Feininger. Here David comes to the conclusion »What it takes to touch these deeper emotions is impossible to pin down«. Pity! But David has reminded us in blog-posts, books and lectures that exploring and accepting our own feelings and vulnerability is essential. The best piece in this regard I have seen from David is his ebook Venice when he felt his deep solitude during some rainy days and was able to express this feelings through photographs. So seen David is able to pin it (the deeper feelings) down very well but not to write the »how to« down – currently. I do think it is worthwhile to ask the question »How to touch the reader emotionally?«. Not in the answers, but in trying to find answers lies the value.

Back to A Deeper Frame: David illustrates his lectures with photographs and graphics. For me it is a good dose of knowledge and insights he provides. As always I do love his photographs, some of them filling the whole page. So I recommend reading A Deeper Frame dispite owning books from Andreas Feininger. Worth reading! Both! Repeatedly!

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For the first five days only, if you use the promotional code DEEP4 when you checkout, you can have the PDF version of A Deeper Frame for only $4 OR use the code DEEP20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more PDF ebooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST July 2nd, 2011.

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(1) Andreas Feininger, Große Fotolehre p 13; (2) ibidem  p 375; (3) ibidem p 374, all translated by me

seeking out the unspoiled nature

Detail from Lake Bohinj in Slowenia

Detail from Lake Bohinj in Slowenia © PoppHackner.com

Photographer couple Verena Popp-Hackner and Georg Popp, based in Vienna, Austria, Europe, are loving to be »out there« in the unspoiled wilderness avoiding to place their cameras where others have already left their tripod holes. They hope that through the language of their images, they »can translate a sensibility for the beauty of the natural landscape« as they feel it. While having studied their galleries within their homepage I found a lot of photographs speeking to me in a strong manner. So I am very sad not to be able to see their photographs that will be displayed in Lünen, Germany – a town nearby my home – in Oct. 2011 during the International Nature Photography Festival of the GDT.

Verena and George invest a lot of work and waiting, are very picky with their capturing a scene and editing, and they use large format cameras and film for the best quality to deliver in fine art printing. What I like about this couple beyond that is that they do their landscape photography with having children (current in the primary school age). With our children beeing slightly older than theirs I can imagine what challenge this is. They are planning a tour to California in July 2011 focusing on some mountain/forest regions and the coast too. I am curious to see the photographs they will bring back.

Elliott Erwitt quotes »Photography is like fishing«

Elliott Erwitt within an interview in Oberhausen

Elliott Erwitt within an interview in Oberhausen, Gemany, answering questions of the guest.

Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt was here in the Ruhr Area I live in. He was invited because of his exibition “I am serious about not being serious” in the Ludwig Gallery in the Palace Oberhausen. Till September 11th, 2011 they show photographs he created for his »personal pleasure« in a time span of 60 years. The exibition I warmly recomment to visit. There are a lot of aesthetic and humorous photographs to enjoy. Most of them are candid with only a very few that are posed. Some of Erwitt´s photographs are shown here.

The interview with Elliott Erwitt and his book signing was more than a little bit overcrowded. I was very lucky to get some moments and small spots between all those heads and shoulders for taking photographs for myself.

Elliott Erwitt is surrounded by a lot of guests during his book singning in Ludwig Gallery Schloss Oberhausen 2011-06-09.

A little it bit felt like that there are fans wanting to reach a celebrity. Photographers did crowd the scene flashing all the time with cameras in burst modus. Unlike the meeting with Robert Lebeck there was no opportunity to meet Elliott Erwitt and to have a small conversation.

Here I record some of his answers within the interview:

Q: »Would you be a photographer if you could start your life from new?« – Elliott Erwitt: »I would photograph the same sujects in the same manner I did. My photography has not changed when doing it for my own over 60 years. Only the photographs I created for clients did change because of the changing needs of my customers.«

Q: »When evolving as a photographer, at which point in time did you state yourself to be a good photographer?« – Elliott Erwitt: »It is up to you to judge my state.«

Q: »Why all those dogs?« – Elliott Erwitt: »They live all over the world. They are friendly. I like them. They don´t ask for prints.«

Q: »Do you create a lot of photographs to do the great ones?« – Elliott Erwitt: »Photography is like fishing. Sometimes you are fishing and don´t get one fish. Sometimes you think you catched a fish but you haven´t. Sometimes you catch a small one, sometimes you catch a bigger one. Mostly it´s crap.«

Elliott Erwitt surroundet by his fans

Elliott Erwitt surroundet by his fans during the book signing at Ludwid Gallery Palace Oberhausen 2011-06-09

Elliott Erwitt signing his books

Elliott Erwitt signing his books at Ludwig Gallery Palace Oberhausen 2011-06-09.

microstock offers the potential of having a career

site 32 out of the e-book (micro)stock by Nicole S. Young

photography © Nicole S. Young

Nicole S. Young wrote down her experiences with Microstock Photography. Her e-book (micro)STOCK: FROM PASSION TO PAYCHECK was released at Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 in the series of CRAFT&VISON.

Nicole´s conclusion is: microstock is ”available to virtually everyone and it offers the potential of having a career with limitless creative freedom and a really great lifestyle.“ Nicole also tells her readers that “like many things in life it’s definitely not easy” to exploit the potential of Microstock Photography. So I choosed this photograph above to highlight my opinion: Nicole´s deliberations appear as reliable as far as I have experienced the world till now.

Starting from trying out and hoping for some dollars Nicole did the whole way to a fulltime career. From her “start to finish it was a solid 2.5–3 years of growing” her microstock business before she was on her “own, single, and paying” her “way through life with photography“. She had a lot learning experiences with photography and microstock before she made the decision to become a professional photographer with the microstock being her “bread and butter”. So her story and the three stories (case studies) from other photographers inserted in the e-book tell us that they started diminutive, made the transition slowly and found their specific road to pecuniary success photographing what they love.

There is a »but« too: You must serve the needs of your unknown customers – Nicole will tell you her insights. A good microstock agency will treat you with inspections and image requirements – Nicole will tell you those in brief. You will have to do a lot work on your own and have to learn from your faults: learning by doing! Nicole´s e-book (micro)STOCK: FROM PASSION TO PAYCHECK will help you to avoid some faults and will help to start with a clear sight of what you are heading.

The PDF version of (micro)STOCK usually is offered for 5$. You can use the promotional code MICRO4 when you checkout to save one dollar OR use the code MICRO20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more PDF ebooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST June 11, 2011.