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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Exhibition at Leica Leitz Park in Germany
After Los Angeles now as well to be seen in Germany until August this year. If you happen to b near have a look.
As proposed here some images from the Leica Q direct from the camera as JPEG as I just happen to have my iPhone at hand. Some landscape an interior shot and two macro.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Apart from an exhibition of Leica cameras a new photo exhibition was set up.
A new exhibition in the making.
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.
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.
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.
Looking not only gawking seems to be a good idea to boost ones own creativity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It might not be the most practical idea; apart if you might have a masochistic stream, to use a middle format camera in street photography. there is the point of manual focus, choosing the right f stop and the timing all without a meter.
But it is fun as well. Handling everything with a not very well unobtrusive camera has on the other hand as well its charm as a lot of people are interested in the gear and you can get very easily in discussion and having the possibility to take some good street portraits. B&W film is as well very forgiving and taking an 800 ISO film gives a good range to shoot in.
Walking around the Lenin monument this late afternoon I got in contact once again with a group of skaters. This time from California. They are travelling, as some of the other groups I met, from Hanoi to Danang to Ho Chi Minh City.
It seems that skate boarding is the new go to in Vietnam.
Bombay played an important role in India’s struggle for independence from British rule. As the British came to India through the gate way of India they left as well the same way. It was under this yellow basalt stones that the first infantry battalion marched on the islands which today build Mumbai.
If you look between the glass and concrete towers which are nowadays forming the cityscape of Mumbai you can still catch glimpses of everything Bombay once was. Mumbai is like a turtle and carries its history on its back. From Koli villages to cave temples.
The genesis of this jig saw city developed from seven disjointed islands and nowadays, in just over a century, encompass an area of about 600 square km with round 20 million inhabitants. the bustling metropolis owes a lot to some great visionaries through the different ages. Gerald Aungier, one of the Governors of Bombay (1672-1675) was laying the foundation of the city. The “European“ part from the Gateway to India towards the Victoria Terminus (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) rivalled the best European neo Gothic architecture at that time.
Thinking of Mumbai I had some first thoughts coming to my mind. Bollywood - slums - finance centre - tropical island. The facts to go with depending on different sources are a population of about 20 million on about 400 sq km. British gothic and Victorian architecture from the colonial area and high rises stuck into different areas. So there should be a lot to google and to marvel on.
And so it is.
Old colonial houses with their charm and as well after some decades their failures. High rises like other Asian cities with a lot of amenities. In between all this life in abundance.
There are the rich, the ultra rich and just a step around the corner the poorest of the poorest. A city of contrasts.
As as the weather is mostly like Hanoi, at least at this time of year, it's very welcoming to be near the sea as often there is a breeze to cool down.
Many choices and and many no goes in terms of looking for a flat. As always the decision to make will be a compromise. Nevertheless I'm eager to move to Mumbai.
Let's see! Another day another try another chance.
Panoramic Photography is a great way to combine multiple images to create a detailed panorama image. With the update to Lightroom 6 Photo Merge was added to Adobe Lightroom as not to have to leave the application.
The following panorama photo is a combination of 8 images to create a panoramic cityscape here in Hanoi at the West Lake at the blue hour. I employed as well a blue tinted ND Filter. Everything else was done in Adobe Lightroom CC2015. The photos were taking on my Sony 7R using my Zeiss 55mm f1.8 lens. For this image I had the settings at ISO100, ƒ/8 and 1/400 sec.
Walking around at night in Hanoi you might come up to an old house and enter. Exploring the rooms you don't notice the time and suddenly it gets dark. Missing a flash light you are searching for the exit as suddenly a bright light comes through the door you want to leave. A light which has a certain quality. A light which seems so different you want to capture.
Opening the door the light is to blinding but illuminates the stair leading up to the next floor. It seems as if the light is surrounding the whole building and coming as well to the windows. Than the wind opens the front door a little bit more and the staircase is even more enlightened. What else to do as to go upstairs.
Coming upstairs you see an open door. A young woman is in one of the rooms with an open door looking out behind the blinds of the window. What does she see? What's going on?
Creeping closer to get a better shot it seems she is contemplating about something? What might it be? What's going on here? How did it happen the idea came into my head to enter this building?
Mystery time in Hanoi!
Photography is fun, it is experimenting, it is taking chances, it is all about anticipation. It is about putting yourself in a good position, actually in the best possible to get a great shot. Even in street photography, much of that anticipation has to do with changes in the light. Those changes come remarkably quickly, especially around sunrise and sunset in Hanoi’s maze of small and little alleys. By knowing your surroundings and the constantly changing conditions, you will better be able to anticipate the action, the light and in this regard put yourself in the best position to get a great shot. And don’t forget - whatever you like to get - there might always be the lucky moment you didn't anticipate, but you can get, as you are ready with your gear.
Shooting contemporary live in the streets of Hanoi I always find it difficult to handle all the colourful scenes around me. If stripped of the distractions of colour, images can tell a more powerful, simpler story in my opinion. Shooting in b&w is a controversial area for some photographers – many say black and white is overused, or misused to make a bad photo more interesting – in my opinion it gives me the opportunity to experiment with framing and lighting in a way that colour wouldn’t give me.
This image was shot in a small alley where I live at present. It was taken with my Sony A7s on a longer shutter speed – eight or 10 seconds - and an old Nikon 50mm f1.2 lens. Getting on a lower angle can give a photo a lot more drama as well.
It’s just the right time and weather to venture out in the morning and evening shooting the contemporary live around me.
Taking part in photography projects is a great way to make sure you always have something to shoot. In order to concentrate on new skills or brush up old ones you are constantly moving to different fields and will as well get your skill enhanced. What better way to get inspired.
I had in mind to participate in the 24hour world wide photo project and wanted to try this on a leisurely scale for my own in advance. I did it and was surprised how good everything worked out here in Hanoi. As the 24hour/2015 project started I had already some good ideas and points in the city where I knew I could get the best shots at certain hours.
Doing it twice in I could get some of the members of the Hanoi Photo Club interested as well and out of about 30 photographers ten found the time to do something likewise. We get together and agreed to put our effort into documenting Hanoi in 24hours. The time slots were chosen and a date set. Saturday, 18. April to make it happen. At this day, 12 photographers took part in the Hanoi 24 Hour Project, intent on capturing the essence of the Vietnamese capital from 12 midnight to 23:59 choosing from one up to five images for the respective time slot.
After getting notified that I had to work longer on Friday and as well got an invitation for an event starting at 8pm, I knew it would be a kind of marathon day spanning more than 24 continuous hours. But as I had done it before I knew that it didn’t have to be a marathon in physical distance too — if you know what stories you want to get within the 24 hour period it is much easier the second or third time to be at the right place and hope for the right action.
Such photography projects can make you a better photographer. They force you to get out with your camera, rain or shine, and that on itself can only be a good thing. Some photo projects can last for years and are worth to go for as well, while this was just for some hours it demanded nevertheless a whole set of creative ideas depending on the time slots as well as on the action on the street.
As you might imagine, the result of this project could and did end in a lot of images, like an avalanche of photos. Due to this the Hanoi 24hours project was restricted from the beginning to maximum 5 images. Every one of the participating photographers had a different approach in showing his feelings and his idea of experiencing Hanoi in this 24-hour period. My approach had been to choose a different theme for each hour I had to fill. Out grasping for my view of Hanoi at this special project I got the following images at quite some odd hours.
Starting the 24 hour project at this late or early hour, depending on how you see it, I decided, as already stated, to go for each hour at a certain theme for my time slots. The first theme I choose was clubs in Hanoi. As laser lights and all other kinds of light sources are flashing and bouncing around and on the other side low light and darkness fills the room of the clubs its quite a challenging move to get some good handheld images without using flash.
Another hour, another theme. The Night market and its busy ongoing hour has been my main interest at my second time slot. How to capture all the hectic and moving around? The best idea I came up was to take out some clutter which means the colour. Taking the images in b&w was the first decision. The second was to take all images at a slow shutter speed, a very slow shutter speed at 1/15 sec. At this shutter speed to get something sharp in the images I reckoned the only way to go was panning.
Another odd hour and another decision what to get at this hour when mostly everyone is asleep. I decided to go to one of the tourists spot of Hanoi - Hoan Kiem Lake. The lake and is surroundings is not only full of tourists but as well with Vietnamese all day around. I figured it is seldom to have everything rid of people here and so I took the chance to get my images here showing the red bridge and other parts of the area for my purpose.
Six o'clock early morning and the market already have their stuff. May be not all as some seems to hasten to their destinations. Late comers and strollers all over the place.
Out again and off I go toward the little Lenin Park across the flag tower in Hanoi. There is always something going on here and I intended to go for the skaters, the skaters who wasn't there where they normally always are. Now by happenstance a group of youngsters started to train some dance moves for an event and as all this red and the yellow star fitted quite easy into the green background of the park I decided to go LOMO. Which means I took out my little Diana and started to shoot the training. After developing the next day I actually liked the vignetted frame of the images a lot.
Going from colorful to b&W was introduced by the light conditions of the day. There was nearly no sun to see and as I decided to go for some busy streets and working areas in the Old Quarter I reckoned that all the colors, especially with the sewing machines would be more a distraction than help. Just before noon time, before lunch is a busy time in Hanoi.
Noon time. Not the best light for photographers. Might work in b&w for some street photography. It was getting more humid and hot as well. Time for rest and as there weren't so many people on the street I like the light, the leaves and the shadows playing in different patterns all over parks, little gardens, pagodas and empty stairs. Once more some LOMO time I thought and my little Diana did it quite well as intended.
Just after lunch time and nearly all day around Hoan Kiem Lake, but as well at different other parts of the city, you can encounter the wedding photographers and the attached couples. Most of the time I wonder how they prepare the images afterwards as the light isn't as good as one might like especially in this time slot. So I went again into b&w and concentrated on the wedding photographers, their poses and their champagne after every shot.
Nine o'clock - already time to have eaten - to early to go to bed, much too early to go out in a club, but club life already starts. Bar Owners and their personnel prepare for the evening and waiting for guests. clubs open up their artistic venues and are waiting for customers.
Saturday night fever and the bottles rules. Many are gathering in the "water"holes to forget their working hell of the week. time to relax and if alcohol gets it done faster - so be it. Music, chatter, glittering lights, cheap beer and getting together with friends. Let it happen now.
You can see the bigger images at the start of my homepage in the Gallery around the clock - part 0f the 24hour project in Hanoi. Have fun!
Phu Quoc dogs are fierce hunters and loyal companions. There are many stories bout these breed of dogs from Phu Quoc Island. Stories about the loyalty, intelligence and hunting ability. Named for the ridge of hair along their spine, Phu Quoc Ridgebacks are extremely agile. Now they are well thought after in all of Vietnam. If you like to get more information just look it up here at Wikipedia.