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2017 – Year of Photography

I hope everyone has had wonderful holidays and is enjoying the winter weather when it’s not too cold. Our holidays were quiet, as they are every year and like every year, I start wondering about my life and all the various things I could do to enrich it. So. This year is photography year. There. I said it, now there is no backing out.

Last year, due to a few house moves and consequently all of our stuff being in storage, I did not get round too much wet-plating, much to my chagrin. This year will be different; I dusted off my Model Mayhem account and created a casting call, to start photographing some plates in upcoming springtime. Yeah, I know, I don’t do cold weather shooting so I’ll have to be patient. I look forward to shooting a few fresh faces in an exciting new project. The theme was so simple, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before! And – it will take me some time to finish it. Which could be a good or bad thing, we’ll see.

 

No, I’m not telling you what it is just yet! If you are truly curious, go find the casting call on Model Mayhem 😀

 

I did manage to do a couple of plates last year, but somehow they did not manage to enthuse me. They are just not exciting enough! For lack of a model, I used a small porcelain figurine that was left to me by my late great-grandmother as well as a small piece of a wasp nest that I found in the shed (and some wasps that were dead on the ground in summer). There was also a pepper, and a mortar and pestle providing the subject of the images.

 

I was mildly enthusiastic about this plate, where the top of the pepper emerging from the shadows almost looks like some monstrous stag beetle…This could be a fun image, after a bit of work.


I did get to do some medium format shooting last year though, with all that travel. I hope I’ll see more of that coming my way this year, that would be sweet! It’s a shame I don’t actually enjoy the scanning and retouching of my images all that much, it would make things a little easier. Hah! This time round, just like my belated holiday images in my last post, I have scanned them all small and did only the bare bone retouching on them. That way, I’ll finally not waste time on image that I’ll never use or will misplace at some point anyway. Again, time will tell if this is a good of bad way to go about it.

In my second round of scanning, I found a few beauties that I do not want to keep to myself. These are taken in the Chinese Garden in Frankfurt, Germany. It’s not a big garden, and it’s usually busier than this, but it certainly provided with ample opportunity for a few nice shots.

 

 

 

 

 

Moving abroad

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve kept busy in the last few months, because we’ve sure been at it! Over the winter months, we’ve been selling off / packing up the house in Cambridge, UK to go into storage as we prepared to go live in Frankfurt am Main, Germany for a little while, in anticipation for another house move to Toronto, Canada to take place early July.

Why Germany for a few months? It’s a long story……feel free to ask me when you see me. And why Canada!? It’s work related, as ever!

We took a few trips within Europe, to soak up as much history as we could – these are only my mobile phone photos as my scanner is still underway. I have shots numerous rolls of 120 film and cannot wait to see them up on my screen. I would recommend going to all of these places by the way – especially Berlin and Carcasonne were amazing, Pompeii is not to be missed before it crumbles back to dust! Wroclaw is a beautiful historic city, but not amazingly big so a weekend will be enough to see its highlights.

So now we are settling into Toronto. We landed, as planned, on the 1st of July. The weather has been good and the people are super friendly. We seem to have already bagged ourselves a house (A house! OMG! With a garage and garden! Can you feel my joy!?!?) There is still plenty to do before we are fully up and running again, but I’m looking forward to it!

 

France; Carcasonne and the Cathar Trail

 

Germany; Visit with our friend Martijn in Berlin

 

Italy: Ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum

 

Poland; Historical city of Wroclaw

 

Germany: One Last Day & Secondhand Shopping (3)

Today I am in Dusseldorf, perhaps for the last time in a long while. I am here to collect Sean, and the last of our thing. In my haste to depart I did manage to fail utter and completely at my task at hand and forgot the only items I actually needed: my keys. Luckily our fantastic landlady Silvia came to the rescue with a spare key and we managed to get things sorted.

On this last occasion I would like to share with you a few more second hand places I frequented over the past 6 months.

 

Trödel – und Antikmarkt Aachener Platz

Again, this market we have found through marktcom.de and it’s being held every week on the Saturday. There is a tram stop nearby and it is a popular market with locals and tourists alike. The outdoor market, with normal market goods like fruit and veg, bread, electronics, toys and clothing and secondhand offerings by dealers and regular individuals alike, surrounds a pavilion where you’ll find a bar, with food, live music and a good number of dealers. The items you get here may be a little pricier, but they are good.

Come here if you are looking for something special, and are not afraid to spend a few tenners.

Location: Ulenbergstraße 10 in Dusseldorf

Date: Every Saturday, from 6:00 to 16:00

 

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Rash und Raus, Schloßstraße

This Cash und Raus, unlike the other one mentioned in an earlier post on Secondhand shopping in Dusseldorf, hardly sells any books or records, but carries a large volume of fabrics, cheap clothing and crockery / glassware, along with some pieces of furniture and bric-a-brac. Especially the section with the clothing is something worth checking out as many a bargain may be had!

Location: Schloßstr. 58, Dusseldorf

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 10:00 – 19:00, Sat 10:00 – 14:00

 

*sorry, no picture!*

 

Oxfam, Nordstrasse and Friedrichstrasse

The Oxfam charity shop chain is widely known within the UK and it seems the name (and the shops) have spread throughout Germany. Dusseldorf has two: one on Nordstrasse 9 and one on Friedrichstrasse 25 (pictured). Both shops are, as expected fairly similar – they carry books, Cd’s, clothing, bags, shoes, and various household goods / bric-a-brac.

Even though the shop at Nordstrasse may have the occasional little find – and the clothing always seems to be in good condition – the Friedrichstrasse seems more focused on books, some of them seemingly new, but the clothing looked old and worn. Both shops are NOT cheap, asking 5-10 euros for a fully worn out top seems the norm, and 15 euro+ for anything slightly nice.

 

Location: Nordstrasse 9, Dusseldorf

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 10:00 – 19:00, Sat 10:00 – 15:00

 

Location: Friedrichstrasse 25, Dusseldorf

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 10:00 – 19:00, Sat 10:00 – 15:00

 

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………..

 

But I will miss this……

 

coffee in a jar

coffee in a jar

 

 

Hofgarten, dusseldorf

Hofgarten in Fall

 

 

 

 

 

This

 

 

Germany: Cologne

Good monday everyone! I hope everyone’s had a brilliant weekend – maybe some of you even managed to go see the UNSEEN Photo Fair in Amsterdam? As I had borrowed my mum’s car for the weekend to bring a pile of stuff to Germany (I want to start on alternative printing) Sean and I planned to go visit a castle.

When we hit the road on Sunday we never anticipated traffic being as bad as it was. After being stuck in traffic for about an hour, we gave up and went into Cologne instead. The cathedral had been on my to-see list for a while now so this provided us with a good oppertunity. And I was not disappointed!

Such a magnificent historical place – even though the ‘Smuck Madonna’ would not normally have caught my eye, or the ‘pixelated’ glass stained window that seemed to have been spat out by a computer (Window of the South Transept, by Gerhard Richter)- the classic ceiling structure and mozaik flooring were beautiful, and the light was magnificent.

Should you want to visit the Cologne Cathedral, it’s located right next to Cologne central station, and the admission is free. There are guided tours pretty much every day, and for an additional fee you can visit the treasury or climb the tower. There are a few hotels and cafe’s around the Cathedral, offering seating outside and brilliant views on this grand structure.

 

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Dusseldorf: Kunstpunkte

This last weekend and the weekend prior, Dusseldorf’s artists opened the doors to their galleries and work spaces to the general public. Navigating the site and selecting a few favorites from the 250+ people and locations participating was not an easy task, but I managed to bring it down to a list of around 12 locations/ artists I wanted to see, with the option to drop some of those if needed. To make matters worse (or more interesting, depending on your disposition) I had a few art galleries I wanted to visit that were participating in the dc-open last weekend.

 

I started near the Altstadt in the RitterstraBe to visit photographic artist Takato Shigeru. He is the only one to occupy this space and it looked very clean, almost clinical. Definitely not what I expected to see judging from the hand-pulled prints and cyanotypes on display! I especially loved his ‘the Moon’ images and the segmented display he chose for them. If you like his ‘Television Studios’ series, there is an exhibition opening this week.

 

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Following, I stopped at the CitadellstraBe 15, at the Horst Schuler Gallery, which currently hosts a display by MAGMA, dye transfer editions – a project by Roman Schramm and Egbert Haneke, which contains “Dye Transfer Editions by Timur Si-Qin, Thea Djordjadze, Josephine Pryde, Jochen Lempert, Dan Graham, F.C. Gundlach, Leonore Mau, Erwin Blumenfeld, Gabi Steinhauser and Susanne M. Winterling.” I had never really looked into this process but I have to say the colors on these prints are magnificent! a simple grey concrete wall turns into a delightful display of colorations, which, as a digital print would have fallen very flat indeed. Reds are truly red, and blacks run as deep as night. The exhibition runs till the 12th of October if you care to go and see it.

 

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Next stop on the list was the BKK-Kunstforum on the BirkenstraBe 47 where supposedly 19 artists have their workshop. The size of the workspace would have made it a good contrast against the lonely photographer in his own space, but I found nothing of the sort. The two sections I found opened contained a smaller space where a few of the artists were selling some of their works (for very reasonable prices I might add) and the other section contained 3 pieces of video art and a bar. I expected to see a little more than that to be honest!

FlurstraBe 57 proved to be more interesting. The gallery, Cosar HMT, was unfortunately not open, but on the first floor I found the most beautiful workspace a photographer could have wished for, occupied by … a photographer: Thea Weires. There were some impressive images (the sheer size of them alone!) and props around the place and the kids seemed to be having a good time to the music that was playing.

 

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The last stop I would make was at the HoffeldstraBe 42, to see the work of photographic artist Hiroko Inoue. I was very impressed by her ‘Mori’ images on display and asked to take a photo for this blog. Lucky for me she was actually present and we had a lovely chat about Germany, the presence of images in a physical space and coping with the lack of workspace.

 

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It was the perfect ending to my little tour of Dusseldorf’s art scene, let’s do it again next year!

Image update

I’d like to take a moment and greet everyone that’s recently signed up for the news feed or the newsletter – ever since I’ve started the Large Format Project, we’ve grown from around 200 to nearly 600! So: Hellooo! I hope my blog and/ or website will bring some inspiration or entertainment value to your life!

It seems I’ll be having some extra time on my hands now that my friend Georgiana has left Germany to move back to her home country Romania, to find work. She had trouble learning the language and it’s hard to find a job in Germany without that skill and sad as her departure may be, I do very much hope she’ll have more luck in Bucharest. I already envy her friends that get to see her on a regular basis!

Now, in today’s post, I will not be whining any more about my sad, sad loss. Instead, I’ll be catching up on some images I have promised in some previous blog write-ups, but never actually shared, and some images of an event I never even mentioned.

 

JAPAN DAY

A good number of weeks ago, we went to Dusseldorf’s Japan Day. You can read the original post here. I took some images on my Uber cool but highly fickle Hanimex Electra II using Kodak Ektra 100 film (35 mm color with 36 exposures). The film had been loaded since we lived in Sydney, and I already shot half the film at our local Bondi Beach. Unlucky as I was this time, the film had not loaded correctly, and must have slipped inside the camera. All exposures came out doubled up! Even though it does nothing to detract from the nice quality of the film, or the vintage feel the camera seems to lend to the images, or even the fact that it looks quite cool – I think it’s a shame I don’t have a ‘back-up’ of the images I had taken. But I suppose that’s the risk you take when shooting film….

 

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WET PLATE PHOTOGRAPHY

In the last session on wet-plate photography, I shot some images of Taz, that came out very well – and some of Angela, where I had more than one technical hick-up. I have since then scanned and given them their images and feel it would be only right to share a few of them here as well. I have taken some samples from the original scans and will be putting them into a separate troubleshooting section on the site, possibly within this week.

 

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SOEST MEDIEVAL FAIR

At the start of August, we went to Soest to visit their yearly medieval event. We were recommended this fair by a couple that attended the medieval fair at Xanten a few months earlier. They stated that ‘it was the biggest and best around and each year they were looking forward to it’. This obviously sounded great so we looked up the fair, planned and booked our trip. We had no car, so had to go by train, taking us nearly 2 hours to get there and when we finally did – it was such a downer! There was hardly any signposting and the stands and performances were dotted through the town center. Not that it’s huge, but searching for the next stall? That takes all the fun out of it! We were lucky enough to be at the right place when the parade hit the main street and I got a few nice shots of it too.

The main event was taking place between the inner and outer defensive walls, charging 2 euros per person to walk along a few stands and people sweating their pants off in re-enactment gear, having lunch. Truth be told, we COULD have stuck around till the evening, when they would be re-enacting the battle, but we were knackered and fed up and too cheap to pay the 20 euros to sit on an uncomfortable stadium stand! Needless to say, we were not impressed…..

I shot 3 rolls of film this day and managed to ruin one of them by not following the manual (what do you mean, I cannot stand develop kodak?!? Let’s just see about that shall we??__ please note: you cannot stand develop Kodak Tmax 100 in Rodinal -_-)

 

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Dusseldorf: NRW-Forum – Azzedine Alaia

Today Georgiana and myself hauled ourselves over to the NRW-Forum, to see the Azzedine Alaia fashion exhibit. We were supposed to go yesterday, on my birthday, but life got in the way (actually, the cleaning lady that doesn’t have the key to Georgiana’s apartment) The exhibit is great, fairly big and spacious, but after having been round we just wanted MOOOORE!!! The entry price is fair, at 5,80 euro and it will take you roughly 1 hour to see everything, and see much of the catwalk video footage on the first floor. The little bookshop next to the entrance is also not to miss as they have a great selection of fashion and photography books, in a mixture of German and English text formats.

Many of the items on show date from between 2003 – present and all pieces seem quite wearable. Some of the dresses up close seemed to be made from extremely cheap material, that were worked and detailed in the most exquisite ways. It was amazing to behold. The detailing and craftsmanship are second to none and one could gawk at any piece for a good few moments before discovering all the minute clever tailoring solutions to give the garment it’s shape, without losing the cleanliness of the lines.

Even though having been told off for taking photo’s, I couldn’t help myself……When I die, please bury me in that stunning sleek purple dress!

 

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Dusseldorf: Heinrich Heine Institut & Theatermuseum

In the last few weeks it’s been very hot in the whole of Europe. Thank goodness we’re having a real summer and none of that wishy-washy nonsense we normally have to put up with. Apart from going into town, barbequing at the Rhine and swimming at a local pool, Georgiana and myself have been to the Heinrich Heine Institute and the Theater museum, both in Dusseldorf.

 

This will be a short post, as neither was much fun.

 

The Heinrich Heine Institute was, on the day we went, manned by a single lady at a desk – who most cheerfully allowed us in and presented us with a free English audio guide. When taking the tour, the audio guide often failed to give us additional information to what we could already see for ourselves and proved excellent at stating the obvious. There was some nice furniture and a few paintings, but at the end of the tour, we still failed to see why this man was held in such high regard.

 

Heinrich Heine Institut

 

At the Theater Museum we did not fare any better. First, it does not cater to English-speakers. We were explained in fine detail by the man taking our coupons which way to walk and what to see first, beginning with the temporary exhibit which seemed to have been put together by a bunch of amateurs. It consisted of a collage of sorts, made up by home-printed and cut photographs of behind-the-scene footage. Normally I love to see photographs, but not like this.

Upstairs, where the permanent exhibition resides we were treated to  a few nice images and costumes – but we had come expecting a little more….history. One room particularly, centered around WWII was remarkably empty. I ventured into a hallway (the door was open to allow a draft in the hot weather) where I found a beautiful piece – the best in the building I dare say. A shame it wasn’t officially on display.

 

 

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Burg Castle in Solingen & Schloss Benrath

A couple of weeks ago we decided to visit Burg Castle in Solingen. Not just because it’s a castle, and we feel a little obliged to visit it whilst we are living so near it, but also because it had a medieval market that weekend and we just looove those! Getting there proved to become a small nightmare in itself, with a long walk to the train station, train ticket confusion, 2 bus rides and finally chair lift ride, for which we had to pay separately. After nearly two delightful hours, we got to the market.

The market itself was alright, not very large, and mostly with vendors selling food, drink or tat. Toys, cheaply made jewellery, a Celtic sword made in Taiwan and furs. Yes, furs. Apparently the German population doesn’t think twice about where these products come from for every man and his neighbor walked around with pelts like Game of Thrones’ “winter is coming”. Wolf, fox, cow, sheep, elk, you name it. Needless to say we didn’t get any and decided to check out the castle.

The castle in itself is fairly nice, although like many other German heritage sites it is restored to within an inch of it’s life. A beautiful place to get married, not so much to see the full brunt of history bearing down on the stones. I liked some of the weaponry on display, the little chapel and the apothecary that flared up a bout of envy in the storage-loving part of me. Imagine having a place like that of your own! There were lots of people in the castle due to the market (both inside and out which was a nice touch) and it made viewing some of the displays cumbersome to say the least.

Once outside the gates again we paid a visit to the Solingen knife shop, which has an impressive selection of fine pocket knives. We were actually a little disappointed that we didn’t manage to find any proper blades (swords) anywhere on the market stalls or in the shops surrounding the castle – but who knows, maybe they are hiding out there somewhere.

 

no images were found

 

On another weekend, we went to Schloss Benrath as we had use of the car this time. We found it easily enough with help of the Satnav, parked in one of the streets surrounding this little palace and got ourselves inside. There were two downers from the start: I had failed to look properly in my coupon book so I thought entrance would be free – AND it turned out we could only get in with a tour guide – so we paid the lady and waited for the tour to start. Everything was, ofcourse, in German. We had to leave our bags behind so I took my little camera out whilst we went round and managed to get a few nice images before I got slapped on the wrist for nobody was allowed to make photos! Oh my!

Truth be told, I was a little miffed. I would have LOVED to make a lot more photo’s in this place. Heck, I could use some decoration inspiration. Schloss Benrath is not a huge residential palace, but a sweet little summer getaway, lovingly restored and everything feels authentic. Every room has it’s own unique look and feel depending to it’s previous owner and function. They are doing everything they can to preserve the original marble and wood polished floors, so all the guests and tour guides have to wear slippers over their shoes when going round. There is even an upstairs section with a painting ‘gallery’ and servant quarters above those. The tour rushed us through some of the parts, for there are some sections that have little exhibits on display – and we didn’t get enough time to look at everything before being pushed on.

It is actually possible to see every part of the house, including going through the secret staircases and into the servant’s dwellings, but make sure to call in advance as only selected tours (in small groups) can enter. The gardens adjacent and to the rear of the palace are in French (hers) and English (his) styles and free to the general public.

 

no images were found

 

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Burg Castle in Solingen & Schloss Benrath

A couple of weeks ago we decided to visit Burg Castle in Solingen. Not just because it’s a castle, and we feel a little obliged to visit it whilst we are living so near it, but also because it had a medieval market that weekend and we just looove those! Getting there proved to become a small nightmare in itself, with a long walk to the train station, train ticket confusion, 2 bus rides and finally chair lift ride, for which we had to pay separately. After nearly two delightful hours, we got to the market.

The market itself was alright, not very large, and mostly with vendors selling food, drink or tat. Toys, cheaply made jewellery, a Celtic sword made in Taiwan and furs. Yes, furs. Apparently the German population doesn’t think twice about where these products come from for every man and his neighbor walked around with pelts like Game of Thrones’ “winter is coming”. Wolf, fox, cow, sheep, elk, you name it. Needless to say we didn’t get any and decided to check out the castle.

The castle in itself is fairly nice, although like many other German heritage sites it is restored to within an inch of it’s life. A beautiful place to get married, not so much to see the full brunt of history bearing down on the stones. I liked some of the weaponry on display, the little chapel and the apothecary that flared up a bout of envy in the storage-loving part of me. Imagine having a place like that of your own! There were lots of people in the castle due to the market (both inside and out which was a nice touch) and it made viewing some of the displays cumbersome to say the least.

Once outside the gates again we paid a visit to the Solingen knife shop, which has an impressive selection of fine pocket knives. We were actually a little disappointed that we didn’t manage to find any proper blades (swords) anywhere on the market stalls or in the shops surrounding the castle – but who knows, maybe they are hiding out there somewhere.

 

no images were found

 

On another weekend, we went to Schloss Benrath as we had use of the car this time. We found it easily enough with help of the Satnav, parked in one of the streets surrounding this little palace and got ourselves inside. There were two downers from the start: I had failed to look properly in my coupon book so I thought entrance would be free – AND it turned out we could only get in with a tour guide – so we paid the lady and waited for the tour to start. Everything was, ofcourse, in German. We had to leave our bags behind so I took my little camera out whilst we went round and managed to get a few nice images before I got slapped on the wrist for nobody was allowed to make photos! Oh my!

Truth be told, I was a little miffed. I would have LOVED to make a lot more photo’s in this place. Heck, I could use some decoration inspiration. Schloss Benrath is not a huge residential palace, but a sweet little summer getaway, lovingly restored and everything feels authentic. Every room has it’s own unique look and feel depending to it’s previous owner and function. They are doing everything they can to preserve the original marble and wood polished floors, so all the guests and tour guides have to wear slippers over their shoes when going round. There is even an upstairs section with a painting ‘gallery’ and servant quarters above those. The tour rushed us through some of the parts, for there are some sections that have little exhibits on display – and we didn’t get enough time to look at everything before being pushed on.

It is actually possible to see every part of the house, including going through the secret staircases and into the servant’s dwellings, but make sure to call in advance as only selected tours (in small groups) can enter. The gardens adjacent and to the rear of the palace are in French (hers) and English (his) styles and free to the general public.

 

no images were found

 

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