Two days to go before the opening

Two days to go before the opening of my exhibition here in Hanoi. At the start I announced it on my website and the Exhibitioner website Goethe Institute. Than the German Embassy in Hanoi did a post an suddenly I found it in different forums. At Grapevine Hanoi and as already posted in Word Vietnam and in a Vietnamese Magazine as well. But thats not all.

Incredible how it reached all this different site and there have been as well some newspaper articles and so on. Good advertisement up to now. Hopefully it will be interesting enough for all visitors to see what I have to show. Quite exited to see the reactions on Tuesday night.

According to the event page of the German Embassy about 1,200 want to visit the exhibition. Yee, what a number.


Grafitti and traffic

MM006.jpg

Walking along the streets in Paris I came along a graffiti wall which showed an image of part of the Eiffel tower a Parisian woman with a black hat, a lot of different wordings and a newly painted stylised man with no head but a newspaper instead. 

The wall and painting was really cluttered but on the other hand interesting as well. Seeing this I had the feeling I had to put in even more things to make it a real puzzling image. Waiting for a similar day in Hanoi I went out to get some traffic shots which suited my taste quite well.

I like the feeling of clustering together as you have to in the rush hours on your bikes for sure. The more the merrier.

Rain is coming - guests as well?

My exhibition is coming closer and closer and my adrenalin is getting up as well. The German Embassy posted my event as well at their FB Page. Up to now there are even more who intend to come to the event. Even if it might rain I hope they will pass by anyhow as the exhibition is indoors. Shouldn't be such a problem. Hopefully. there is a staggering amount of interested visual interested as you can see in the screenshot below.

screenshot FB page of the German Embassy in Hanoi

screenshot FB page of the German Embassy in Hanoi


Skater dreams in a city scape dream

Each of the images I took in the series "Disorientation" has a more or less great history. The image with the skaters and the Eiffel tower is an easy one. As I was working in Paris I always walked by the Eiffel tower and often took some time sitting there and taking images.

Here in Hanoi the Eiffel tower had been replaced by the Lenin statue as I walked by this place and took chances to get some good images from the different skaters exercising their craft. When I remember right I took about four or five images and only one could be used to light, frame setting and mood.

 

Counting the days

I'm not only counting the days until my exhibition is opening but as well the days before leaving Vietnam. It's always an effort to leave friends behind and to start new in a different country. The last days star to be full of demands to get an interview with myself.  

This weekend the newspaper Tienphong got interested in my exhibition and wrote an article about it and done television stations want to do an interview as well. 

image.jpg

http://m.tienphong.vn/van-nghe/mot-goc-nhin-khac-ve-ha-noi-883041.tpo

Long exposure - happenstance light painting

Everyone knows about light paintings but I discovered a happenstance light painting just today, Painting with light can be a fun technique that might give some great result if done right. It is called painting with light because this is what you are actually doing while taking the shot – painting with some light form.

Light Painting in its many forms has been a growing trend on Flickr and other photo sharing sites in the last couple of years. I tried different things myself but today it was just happenstance to get an image walking home in late evening. 

Passing along the shore of the West Lake toward my home I encountered an image I liked quite well. As it already was quite dark it had to be a long exposure image and to get the foreground - a fisher - and the background right I needed some more light. Thinking about how to do it some motorbike passed behind me and enlightened the scene. so it was just waiting for the right time to start the long exposure and hope enough and not too much bikes would pass along.

Sometimes the photography gods are there. At least to my taste.

There could be more light on the fishing rod but ...

There could be more light on the fishing rod but ...



Disorientation is coming soon

The 21st July is not far and the ongoing work in progress for my exhibition is reaching the stage to think about the set up of the exhibition space. It is always a good idea to imagine how a visitor will interact with the images in the space given. Obviously, the arrangement should have a visual flow, seeing visitors as participants as well as viewers. Which piece will they see first? What direction are the likely to move in? Is there a possibility to guide them with the image sequence? 

Adding descriptions to the pieces should certainly be not forgotten. Arrange the artwork in the space using my judgment will hopefully go well.

Birthplace of a bell

For many centuries the basic process for casting bells has not changed. Even though mechanical lathes and modern electronic turning devices are now being used, the precise art of bell casting continues to rely on old world skills that have been handed down from generation to generation.

Pagodas and the sound of pagoda bells have become familiar to Vietnamese people, helping them feel relaxed and calm since centuries. For many the sound of the pagoda bell is closely associated with nostalgic memories and reflects the cultural beauty of Vietnam.

Bronze bells are very popular, and can be found in every Vietnamese pagoda. They are special musical instruments, which give an echoing sound when ringing as the thickness of each part of the bell differs. Every step of the casting procedure, from shaping the mould to preparing the mixture and melting and pouring it into the mould must follow a special strict process, requiring a special know how. 

I just happened to see the last stage of giving birth to a bell here in Hanoi. 

Confessions of failures

 


In my soon coming up exhibition of double exposure works , 'Disorientation ', I certainly have to admit that making failures helped a lot and can  spark a dialogue about creative struggles as well. 


Oscar Wilde stated in a quote: “Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect---simply a confession of failures.” 


This might describe my struggle in getting the images I wanted on one side and in the beginning the struggle of failures on the other.   


image.jpg

It started already with the simple question where to start with the first image - in Vietnam or in Francs? As I at present live in Hanoi I started here. First mayor mistake. As I could take the second images just on holiday time I had to cope with totally different light and weather conditions. Nearly all of the first rolls had do be disposed. 

image.jpg


The other way round had been easier as I had around the year much more possibility to get alike conditions here in Hanoi. I just had to remind myself what I shot, the overall light condition and the approximate framing. Even putting down notes for each image I can tell you it can be so easily distorted. Trying to manipulate my photographic medium as much as needed the actual light never was right and in this way had the ability to dilute, amplify or subvert each of my image's original intention. 


image.jpg

I got at least a number of images which are as near to my ideas as possible and its different textures due to light, chosen film, scanning and print material matter as much as the subjects I took as my interest. The narrative of the idea of distortion of dream like merging of two cities is extended to everyone, allowing the viewer space to participate in exploring it's own dream view in the layered images.  

image.jpg

Sometimes it's just a matter of time. Being patient is one great thing a photographer never has enough. And sometimes it helps to forget everything done before and start from scratch. Cheers! 

image.jpg

Disorientation

 

  1. According to Wikipedia: "Disorientation is the opposite of orientation. It is a cognitive disability in which the senses of time, direction, and recognition of items (things), people and places become difficult to distinguish/identify."

    Living in Hanoi and not long before as well in Paris my disorientation started at the Long Bien Bridge built by the Eiffel team where I still could see parts of the Eiffel Tower in the structure. 

     

My first personal disorientation  

My first personal disorientation  

To achieve images I had in my head, which multiplied as soon as I saw ever more of French culture in parts of Hanoi, I tried different approaches. The simplest was mixing images in Photoshop. A viable approach but not what I really wanted. Mixing it on the iPhone, where I could take the first images in one town and than in some of the double exposure apps in the other.  Already a way which I liked much more. Problem is resolution apart from other things. 

iPhone capture in Hanoi and later in Paris

iPhone capture in Hanoi and later in Paris

You don't have to wonder which traffic situation is which I guess.  

But still I was not satisfied. Next approach was taking an analog 35 mm rangefinder camera and shooting a roll of b/w film. After completing my shots and meticulous writing down settings and scenes I put the film in again in Paris and started to get my double exposures there.  

As you might expect- failure over failure. Different lighting, film roll not in the same exact framework, scene overlapping not to any taste and on and on. 

 

35mm Leica M 2 a rare got it

35mm Leica M 2 a rare got it

Sometimes it worked as well in colour. Mostly I did it in b/w as colour matching got me into to many problems.  

There will be more to tell about this experience.  

Wetzlar Germany - Leica town

Today I was invited to the Leiitz park in Wetzlar Germany. The birthplace of the famous Leica brand and it's newest baby the Leica Q. I nearly missed my appointment due to some heavy traffic on the highway but in the end I made it. 

Leica Park Wetzlar

Leica Park Wetzlar

Apart from an exhibition of Leica cameras a new photo exhibition was set up.  

Ur Leica  

Ur Leica  

A new exhibition in the making.  

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

I took a bunch of images with the new Leica Q as well and will post them as soon as I can get hold of a computer.  

Big stage for photography

Today is the start of "Ray 2015" a photo festival in Frankfurt. The coming three months there is all about photography in this German region.  At a pre show one could already see some great work. 

Mall is visible but some well hidden in sight. The American artist Trevor Paglen is trying to capture and exposing this hidden secrets photographically like Snwden. His weapon is photography. The name of his show is Octopus presented for the first time in Germany. 

 

image.jpg

The photo triennial in the Rhein Main region started the first time in 2012. In the museum of modern art (MMK) you can see the nominees for this years Deutsche Börse photography prize.  

image.jpg

Looking not only gawking seems to be a good idea to boost ones own creativity.  

image.jpg
image.jpg

Exhibition ideas

 

Informing about my hopefully soon to come exhibition I like to give some ideas I had in putting my exhibition together. It is kind of a race against time as I'm just for a limited time in Hanoi. There are plenty of practicalities to consider. Not at last as I have to undergo an inspection of my work by the Vietnamese authorities. I hope that I've the basics covered and am prepared to cope with all eventualities.

To do an exhibition isn't as difficult as one might think. The underlying principles are mostly the same everywhere. You need a good idea which should be displayed well. That's the most important thing.

Before making this decision it's advisable to get some feedback from friends, gallery owners and other artists. It is mostly good thinking  to get an alternate opinion on what should be presented and how.

Not part of any upcoming exhibition but different  

Not part of any upcoming exhibition but different  

The physicality of an exhibition, the actual potential to meet people, is vitally important. You can watch them react to your work, eavesdrop on conversations, offer your own opinion and see what works for the public.

  Not part of any upcoming exhibition but different  

 

Not part of any upcoming exhibition but different  

To have a strong concept and a consistent aesthetic helps. If you don't want people treating your exhibition like a webpage scroll up and down, right and left you should deliver some kind of experience that's delivered with your show – be this physical, emotional or perceptual.

Be different to everyone else is always a good idea but not easily achieved. Just think about the volume of work that the average visitor can see can be a downturn. This is a reason for me to try not to blend into a generic wave. 

  Not part of any upcoming exhibition but different  

 

Not part of any upcoming exhibition but different  

As important as it might be to show diversity it can be a hindrance as well. Thinking to do this with subject matter, size and composition can be a complicated process. When it comes to style and technique, be sure to show you can do it well.

  Not part of any upcoming exhibition but different  

 

Not part of any upcoming exhibition but different  

Considering the context is a good way to go as well. There is no possibility to second-guess what people want to see at an exhibition, but considering  the context and surroundings you are living is an opportunity. If you want to stand out, doesn't necessarily mean shouting. People can appreciate visual calm and space.

I wonder if I will fulfil my own requirements and not the least of the Vietnamese authorities. 


Art and fashion at Chula

A broad collection of fashion over the years

A broad collection of fashion over the years

Yesterday I had the chance to be at CHULA's artistic event. A combination of fashion, music and in addition body painting. Diego – the fashion designer -, as well as Vu Nhat Tan – composer - and last but not least the body painter Duc Pham cooperated in a very well choreographed show.

Fashion design live

Fashion design live

Duc Pham just finished his painting

Duc Pham just finished his painting


With the music of Vu Nhat Tan as an background and as an event itself the whole show was a frenzy of colours and high fashion. At this event you could creatively awake your hearing and vision. The improvisational form of this art show and the new summer collection was a treat for the eyes. A great artistic atmosphere.

the audience was mesmerised 

the audience was mesmerised 


This show was a unique combination of improvisation of composer, fashiion designer and painter and a new way to inspire the audience. Here some of the great high fashion pieces on the stage.

Puzzling out Hanoi

puzzling out

puzzling out

It is now nearly four years I moved to Hanoi and started to explore Vietnam's fascinating capital on my photography adventures in the city. Using Hanoi’s urban setting as subject and backdrop. From the start of my stay here I wondered how to capture Hanoi's unique allure. 

It is quite easy to fall into the classic cliché images and the overshot iconic locations. I tried a lot in the backstreet to find some city secrets. Walking all over Hanoi from the historic Hoan Kiem Lake and the bustling backstreets of the Old Quarter to new parts of Hanoi always looking to improve my creative view as well as my camera skills while enjoying an eye-opening for different parts of the city. 

It actually helped a lot that I could start with guiding a photo group with now about 38 members. Explaining how to get certain shots, how to use Lightroom and Photoshop and trying out some creative different approaches to get the best images was a lot of fun.

One of the things that really struck me about Vietnam was the pace of everyday life. As a street photographer I always am on the lookout and ready for opportunities. My camera is nearly always in my hand, switched on and the lens cap off. The one thing I don’t want to happen is missing a great opportunity in the kind of ordered chaos of Hanoi.

Now after four years and at the brink of leaving I hope I can manage to get an exhibition going in July where I want to show how I puzzled out my view of the city. Hope you might be there and will come for a look, a talk and a discussion about my approach in seeing the Vietnamese capital.

Hanoi part at night

Hanoi part at night