How to approach an old friend

How to approach an old friend

I have been going to Paris pretty much on a regular basis for all my life since my mom first took me there in 1978. Of course we went to see the Eiffel tower and visited the tower top, too, but I don’t remember any particular excitement about the tower (besides of course it’s height, I was 13 years old..)

My love for the building grew with my age. With me becoming more aware of all kinds of involved ‘problems’ (politics, architecture, public opinion, Zeitgeist) I came to appreciate it more and more. I feel it’s a symbol of the freedom of the mind and spirit triumphing over peacounters mentality and slavery of the ‘feasable’.

All the pictures featured in this post are available for download on Nanamee
(clicking on the images will lead you to the download pages)

Two happy daffodils

Where else could you possibly want to go..?

When in 1993 I tried to get a job as a photographers assistent in Paris and lived for just about 3 month near Porte de Bagnolet, from the window of my ‘attic’ (euphemism) I could see the tower glowing golden under the night sky. It was a very comforting view, I felt as if it was there for me, no matter what. (You can tell I wasn’t very lucky on my original mission – I have never believed in ‘ellbows’ and still don’t..) One night I remember, I drove around town and when I inevitably passed under the tower, I pulled over and stopped to take a moment to enjoy the sight through the open roof window.. I fell asleep.

Eiffel Tower seen from Trocadéro

From Trocadéro is the classic sight, but it doesn’t always convey it’s ‘outlandishness’

When I woke up (from the cold) in the middle of the night the illumination was off.
I stepped out of the car and went under what I call the ‘dome’ – the huge square in the middle of the four pillars – with the rounded decorative elements of the first level the impression of being in the centre of a sphere is created. The scene was so unreal, just as was me being there in the first place and all the strange people I had met in those days, I started dancing and laughing out loud..

Eiffel Tower at night from underneath

Dancing under the ‘dome’.

From that moment on I feel I have a special relationship with the tower. I can see deep into it’s friendly presence (I know that many say it has something evil to it – and I can see that notion perfectly in the monstrousity of the Blackpool tower).

I took a thousand pictures over the years. These are five of them. I hope you enjoy them and if you do, say so, here or on Facebook, or subscribe to my rss. (See links here —>)

Eiffel Tower First and Second Level

As you’re getting closer it will exceed the ‘frame’ (of your eyes too!)

Dutch and low angle on Eiffel Tower

Only from a this very close point it comes back as a whole but
now the perspective is so weird and it’s sheer size is so overwhelming..
I always feel as if it was not real, the entire tower a projection in my mind.
I can literally feel my eyes sending the signal to my brain and there it goes:
“Yeah, sure.. am I supposed to believe this? ..come on now!”

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Instant happiness – just add sun!

First it always seems, it will never happen, but then one fine morning…

All it took was two days of sun and here they come in a million colors and forms.
Enjoy these pictures, and if you do, say so, here or on Facebook, or subscribe to my rss. (See links here —>)

Have a great springtime, folks.

All the pictures featured in my posts are available for download on Nanamee
(clicking on the images will lead you to the download pages)

Two happy daffodils

Two happy daffodils – because on the safe side of the fence… :D

The italian Tricolor

Green, white and red – an italian classic

Dianthus Flowers

Crazy red and white colored Dianthus flower

Roses in all colours and forms

rainbows regularly come by to be inspired by the colors of the roses in my backyard…

A bed of pink tulips

Tulip has a thousand sisters

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Automotive Design with an Edge ;)

Here’s a new collection of 5 great examples of italian automotive design.
It’s only today that we can appreciate it fully, as all the brands have grown so similar over time.

While most tried to design a look, caring little about usefulness, in Italy they designed a function – at times from pieces that they already had (e.g. see how the Vespa was created) – caring seemingly little about the presentation.

But that is where all the beauty is. Form follows function (L. Mies van der Rohe)

Vespa Scooter with sidecar

The most romantic wedding getaway: Extremely rare Vespa Scooter with sidecar

Venetian Taxi

Venetian Gondola with sun reflection star on green water

Ape (bee) lorry trike

This heavily corroded wreck of an another iconic italian design classic is still in heavy duty use. The Ape (bee) is Vespa’s (wasp’s) big sister.

The engine hood of a Fiat oldtimer car

A single headlight on a 1940 Fiat sports car

Detail of the Ornament of a Venice Gondola in green waters of the Canl Grande

When the Fiat 500 was created it was conceived a family sedan. You may laugh but many an italian family has tender memories of going to holidays in Rimini with Mom, Dad and two brothers or sisters (that’s a “full-house”) in a “Cinquecento”

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‘Romantic Series’ now on Nanamee

We’ve just started to upload a special selection of pictures we call the “Romantic Series”
to Nanamee.com where you can buy ‘small’ and ‘medium’ licenses.
If you need to buy ‘bigger’ or want to reserve exclusive rights,
just drop a line. Here’s the first 5-of-a-kind…

A dozen espresso cups in a steel sink

The sink of a bar after the daily 10 ‘o clock coffee rush!

Nationwide Phonecalls!

Nostalgy ’60: A sign indicating the presence of a telephone enabled for international calls (without operator)

Greek Temple of Concordia in Agrigento

On the south-western coast of Sicily at the heart of the ancient greek settlement of Akragas, today known as Agrigento the remains of the Temple of Concordia in the Unesco World heritage site ‘Valley of Temples’

View of a series of building in Rome

Rome: They built it layer on layer on layer…

Detail of the Ornament of a Venice Gondola in green waters of the Canl Grande

All Venice Gondolas have this distinctive ‘tag’. The dents of the ornament indicate the owner and the part of the city it belongs to. See the greeeeeeen waters of the Canal Grande.

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Zero to Hero in a Twist of your Wrist

An easy-to-use, hands-on, how-to, DIY trick that will not only have boost your fun with your camera but will have
a profound impact on your results – and it will probably also stop all those people from laughing when you appear…

As a professional photographer I am often asked to give advice to friends or even clients when they need to buy a
camera for their next holidays. Questions are mostly something like “Nikon or Canon?”, “What do megapixels really
mean?”, “Wich brand produces the better lenses?”, “SLR or not?” a.s.o. and I am usually happy to help even if the
answers are anything but one-liners.

Today, it will be a little different, I’ll give unsollicited advice because I feel terrible if I won’t.

“It” happens when I am in a place with a lot of tourists and some people have the “better” SLR cameras…

it's not a bumper, man!

it’s not a bumper, man!

Now, I don’t know what people really think this thing on their lens is, though one thought must come very early on,
and that could be: it cannot be there to make your photographer’s life harder – because that’s surely what it does,
“using” it this way!

If you are one of the “victims”, there’s help in sight; it’s easy, it’s fast, it has tremendous effect at once!

Let’s assume, your lens is at the wide end of it’s focal length (the low numbers on the zoom ring) then this strange
plastic thing covers the zoom ring almost entirely so that, should you dare and try to change your field of view you
actually cannot turn the ring. At best, you would have to take the camera from your eye, press two fingers in the
gaps and mini-step-fumble your lens to a higher focal length where then it’s freed from the hands-off-shield.

Now really how is it, that none of you ever get upset by this? They buy a 1,5 – 2,5 k$ camera and don’t get upset
with that kind of major construction flaw? Really if that was my camera – and every other attempt to resolve the
problem had failed – at least I would have tried to CUT IT OFF !!!

But, there is a better way:

Put your fingers around that crown-shaped thing, as if you’ld wanted to protect your lens (just be sure not to actually
touch the lens with your hand), get hold of the crown and gently (with a little pressure to get over the “safe-click”)
turn it right (looking down on the camera, hanging from your neck) until it comes off completely.
Phew* – that wasn’t hard! – and you’re almost done!

Now turn the thing (it still is only a “thing”) 180 degrees around its’ center (don’t panic, you cannot get that wrong –
either direction is perfect – just make it half a circle – like turning over a postcard) and now put it back on the lens
where it came off, turning this sunshade (YES, now it has a name and it’s pretty useful, too) to the left – be sure
to get over “safe-click” this time as well, so it won’t fall off by accident.

What should I say more…

Enjoy your camera!

p.s.: it is an even better bumper this way round!

Cheers

I rank first page therefor I am

2 EASY STEPS: How to become a successful photographer

1. Open a blog
2. Write and write and write. Put that camera down and write your fingers off !

How is it that more and more photographers feel the urge to telecast their brain contents to the internet?

If you are serious about your photography business you are to consider blogging every day as otherwise GOOGLE will not see you.
And we know: I rank first page therefor I am. Or to update what philosopher Wittgenstein put almost 100 years ago in his
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: “The world is everything that ranks first page.”

Imho this has 2 major flaws:

1. I am a photographer not an essayist and should be taking pictures.
Your fav bakery changes into a flowrist. You cannot buy any flowers there, in fact he’s still selling the same rolls and muffins as before.
You ask: “What happened, I almost didn’t find you!”, he replies: “Nothing, it’s the same as before but the “flowers” sign attract more “traffic”…”

2. With the need to create written content everyone (including those like me that don’t have the gift of “poetry”) now writes pages and pages
of useless wording increasing the cacophonic babble and putting the customer EVEN FARTHER away from finding the proper photographer.

In what way is my ability to write and draw attention to my blog a criteria for the quality of my work as a photographer? I’d almost put it the
other way around: If you blog every day and you’re good at it, why would you call yourself a photographer in the first place. I can’t see how
you are going to do some serious shooting while spending your days in front of the screen..

Fact is, this bad habit has been created by Google’s crawler (and of course it’s programmers) – not being able to index the contents of pictures,
they initially relied on captions but since they cannot tell the captions from the rest of the text they give it equal weight.

This leads to the absurd that if you have a highly grafic website with little to no text you just don’t exist for Google or the other way around:
You can rank first page as a photographer without one single picture on display.

Instead of trying to comply with insane standards and a way to theoretical approach to photography we should ask Google to change it’s “formula”.

One way of doing this could be to have a google specific metatag that tell it’s robot whether the contents of the page is about pictures or about text
allowing for them to give higher value to captions and for us to do what we are best at:
taking pictures.

The most evil question they ever asked me…

Was Ansel Adams a Landscape or Travel Photographer?
Did Picasso paint “Portraits” or “Nudes”?

Don’t you feel these questions are quite ridiculous?
Don’t you agree they add nothing to understanding the body of work of these (or other) artists,
and more they prove the asking person has no clue whatsoever of the work of the artist in question?

Yet we professional photographers are confronted with it every time we dare to add a whatever
“off-topic photo” to your photography portfolio. Art-buyers and editors don’t fail to prompt that picture
with THE MOST EVIL QUESTION SINCE DAGUERRE.

Back in the early 90s (my personal experience is about Germany, so maybe in the US it was at a different time)
I had the chance to get a look at a lot of photographers portfolios. Usually they where full of pictures from
what today we call “people”, “portrait”, “nude”, “nature”, “travel”, “architecture” and “wildlife”.
You could not only see the personal style of a photographer, the broad band of subjects photographed (or not!)
showed an almost intimate portrait of the photographer himself. ‘Clients’ liked you (or not), your “eye”, your style
and gave you an assignment relying on your craftsmanship and artistry.

Then the system changed when in the need to spend ever less, magazines replaced experienced editors with a journalistic
background with hire-and-fire youngsters from the ‘street’. People that had never had a look at a photo (from a professional
point of view) came to be ‘editors’ or ‘art-buyers’. They couldn’t “read” the pictures anymore. I’m not blaming THEM –
it would be the same for me having to choose from whyskies – I don’t like the taste of alcohol and hence couldn’t appreciate
or judge it’s qualities.

They got confused with all the pictures, so they asked the most evil question since Daguerre:
What do you REALLY do?
While I was so bewildered with the question that I almost choked on the thousands of words that came up in a 1/250s  ;) ,
I still had to face the fact that they were lost and that I needed to be clear about what service I provided when I wanted
them to trust me.

So I “cleared the mess”, narrowed the portfolios to the one thing I believed was the most promising (not the most interesting
or artistic – it often was the LEAST artistic). But your existence shapes your conscience: There was no more reason for taking
pictures that your commercially calibrated mind (that you were forcing on your art) labelled as useless.
I stopped shooting in the first place what couldn’t make it into my portfolios anyway.

While from there on it took very few time to make photography fun-free to me, it took me almost 15 years to become aware of
this and to allow myself to photograph as I did when I started out, enthusiastic and with an open mind and not categorizing
what I had in front of my eyes as sellable or not. This was when I finally rediscovered the joy photography had given me from
the beginning and what had made it become so important in my life.

The truth is, I am a photographer, not because I chose that tool to make an easy buck, taking pictures of half-naked girls under
California sunsets – if you have a look at my assignment work you will note I am quite far from the sandy beaches – nor because
I didn’t know what else to do with my time,  but because I perceive my world through images, I relate to it through my viewfinder,
I strive to learn from it when I focus at it’s smallest details, I celebrate it when my work is meaningful to others.
Ultimately I remember and I hope in pictures.

What is it that you really do?
I am a photographer – period.
There is no ‘Off-topic’ in photography.