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 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


no images were found



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


no images were found




But I will miss this……


coffee in a jar

coffee in a jar



Hofgarten, dusseldorf

Hofgarten in Fall









Onwards – To Cambridge!

This week, I am little bit more excited than would be good for me. You see, we will be moving to Cambridge soon. Very soon! In fact, I’m already packing up our things for we expect to be living there at the end of November!

I’m not saying Germany is / has been horrible to us, but the UK suited us a lot better. And I’m not just talking about having your media readily available to you (up yours Gema!!) or even actually being able to watch it in the original language (dubbing anyone?) It’s the general attitude of the people of the people as well. I won’t mind not having to put up with (middle-aged) folks not being aware of a thing called ‘ personal space’ or the ever-present ‘correctness’ that has to be imposed on everyone. Oh yes, you will be corrected. Profoundly. In the street, when you are minding your own business, preferably by a woman with a small child.

Luckily for us, we have found some cool things around this place as well. A lovely land-lady (thanks for everything Silvia!), the presence of a large Japanese ex-pat community with their own little slice of Japan in the middle of the City, inviting creatives, a buzzing art-scene, a group of enthusiastic photographers and one Fantastic Friend (here’s to you, Georgiana!).

And we will miss them…..


Making a Tryptych Storage Frame

Now you might be wondering: what the hell is a triptych storage frame? I’ll show you.

A while ago, I photographed male model Taz. We created a number of images together, three of which I had made to go together, as a tryptych. I envisioned them in nice, bright frames, but – as we are about to move house again, this time back to the UK – I figured this was good time to try out making a DIY storage frame for these clear glass ambrotypes.

I’m happy with the way it came out, even though the colour scheme is too dark for these specific images.


no images were found


You will need:


Bookbinders board or similar sturdy cardboard (equal or slightly greater in thickness than your glass plate)

Box cutter / Knife + surface protection

Folding bone



Paper, to cover the cardboard

String, for the closure

Black paint/ paper


1. Decide on the size of your frame.

Measure out your images, and add some space for the front framing. Make sure you don’t make the edges too narrow or you might struggle later for attaching spots for the ‘hinges’. I chose 2 cm framing for the fronts, so my size was plate size + 1,8 cm on all sides.


no images were found


2. Measure, draw & cut out all the parts you need.

Cut 9 pieces of cardboard, all the same size. 3 of these will be the backs. 3 will be the spacers, and 3 the fronts. Leave the backs as they are. Cut a window in the spacers, leaving only 1,5 cm at the edges. If your plates are unvarnished/ delicate you must make sure the spacers are thicker than your plate, or they will end up damaged once you try to insert them into the frames later. Cut a window in the fronts, leaving 2 cm at the edges.

Measure the distance your hinge will need. The inner hinge needs less space than the outer. Take a sturdy piece of paper and double it up by gluing and folding. I have made my outer hinge by inserting a piece of bookbinder’s board into the paper fold, to provide some extra protection on the outside of the frame. Make sharp folds where the hinge should be bending.


no images were found


3. Prepare your parts for assembly.

The backs: make 1 side black by covering them with a black paper/ fabric or by painting it black.

The spacers: Cut one short side out of each of them, by cutting the edges diagonally, and cover those cut-outs with the same paper you will cover the outsides with. Lay those aside, you won’t need those again until you are finished. Cut a little ‘canal’ halfway in the long side of one of your spacers, to allow for the closure to be attached later on. I didn’t think of that till later on, so I had to cut my canal through the paper covering. (see images at part 4)

The frame: Cover one side with a paper of your choice. Make sure to cover all edges as well.


4. Assemble the back parts.

Glue the spacers onto the backs, against the black side. Cover the backs + spacers with paper. Be careful to cover all outer edges and to mind the pattern of the paper, if that is part of your design. Mind the little cut canal, and which backing + paper you use this spacer on, as this frame will later be on the top.


no images were found


5. Assemble the frame.

Put all pieces in the order they go in – minding paper and patterns. Glue the inside hinge in place, then glue the frames on top of them. Glue the outside hinge in place (in between checking if placement is correct) and the string you wish to use for a closure. Then glue that front in place as well. Fold the whole thing up and place under some weights to dry.


6. The finished product.

Insert the glass plates. Mine had been varnished and so can withstand a little rough handling – so I could just push then in. Obviously be more careful with yours if you need be. Remember those little paper covered parts we had set aside from the spacers? Insert them in place for a fully finished product.


no images were found



Large Format Photography: Day 24 & 25 in the Netherlands

As the weather is turning colder and the days grow shorter, I took the fine sunny weather earlier this week as possibly the last opportunity of 2013 to create some wet plate collodion images.

I started day 24 in the backyard. The number of sunny hours had dropped from around 9 hours to maybe 6, covering only half the garden instead of the full space. I opted to shoot in the shade for most of the afternoon, adjusting for the sun once it hit my spot. The images taken of hands are my own hands, and I used an air release pump attached to the lens, operated by foot, to take the image. All these images have been taken with my modern Rodenstock lens at f5.6, exposures range from 5 to 12 seconds. I seem to have had some sort of light leaking onto my plates as all of them seem to have fogged over from a short side down to the middle. I actually like the way it looks on these images – especially on the images including the phone – but I should look into that before using the darkbox again.


no images were found


The next day, I opted to take the darkbox and camera on the road. I had wanted to photograph my hometown ever since I started on the wet plate process and – not unimportant – I needed to prove to myself that I would be able to work outdoors without my darkroom blowing over. I drove across the river and set the camera in place in a beautiful sunny spot after asking permission from the land owners, and kept the darkbox slightly sheltered from the winds by placing it alongside the car.

Despite some minor issues with my chemicals (The collodion sliding off the plate, the silver layer seems quite heavy, and the emulsion is showing a million tiny pinholes) I am happy to say that I got an almost decent image out of it, even if it cannot be viewed as a proper ambrotype… It also shows that the amazingly cheap projector lens would be capable of service and I need a bit more practice in the field.


no images were found