Wednesday, 30 September 2015

News from a Darkroom aka I Believe in Film


(very) long time no see.

There has been quite something going on since June.

First, I went to far away place, where safety nets, norms and codes are less established than in the EC. The place is Russia, Siberia to be precise. Don't get me wrong: I need this confrontation once in a while, makes us alert in a good way!

en route in Krasnojarsk, Siberia
[The next moment a mother with a baby on her arm came our way. You could tell by the different speeds where I come from and what she is used to experience.]

The day I returned I found myself entering a new kind of adventure, an adventure that speaks to my heart and soul: the darkroom. Not the other one. The real thing, the one that comes with chemicals and stacks of paper. At night, after work.

This was August. Now, on the last day of September I can look back and ... gasp. I think got really far within the past two months.

There is a lot happening in my life. Not that I am saying blogging mirrors the episodes of my life where nothing happens. It's just that all that is happening is sort of analogue: the ride on the Transsiberian train was offline. The black and white prints looks best when held in two hands.

I am glad that I do spend a lot of time off the computer at night. Developing and printing in the darkroom comes with the #1 rule: "No eating, no drinking in the darkroom", which is actuelly also quite nice, sizewise.

I will probably not invest in a super-pretty-scanner. So all that I can present here for the moment are rather poor scans  – from incredible beautiful photos.

I am almost sure I am going to dig deeper into the whole darkroom magic, show you around, let you take part at the experience. Meanwhile I hope you enjoy the light this autumn provides as much as I do. In the end it's all about light. Speaking if light and highlights: did you notice the bizarre comeback of glitter and tinsel in fashion? All the sneakers sparkling in pink, green, gold. I might actually go for one pair of those. Could be a nice counter balance for all the black & white aesthetics that dominate my senses these days.

Let me finish with the poor scans I referred to above:
Little Mia (3 months) and her proud mother
The weeping willow served as perfect setting for the shooting. The baby never got tired of looking at the tree. What I like about this photo: how they all look in different directions and still form an entity.
Yes, I did ask the family if it is OK to post the photos. Of course!) There is so much I love about the photos, the setting ...
 The afternoon light in Vienna never ceases to impress me.
 This room welcomes me when I leave the darkroom. Lucky me!
 Earlier this week, at night: HP5+ pushed to 3200

Yesterday I developed another film (last 2 photos above) entirely by myself. I printed the photos by myself and – exceptional for my standards - I did not follow the rules when taking the photos (expose 400ASA the way it's meant to be exposed) but pushed the film up to 3200ASA which allows me to take hand held photos, without a flash, at night. Ok, ok, I am drifting off into details.

What I am trying to say: I am enjoying this new, old* chapter in my life.

In case you visit Vienna until January, I can highly recommend the exhibition "Black & White" at the Albertina. The real stuff, made of gelatine and silver.

thank you for reading!
* been there in 1988 :-) 

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Guided by a Girl

I don't know about your home towns, parks and squares, but in Vienna you find so called "Baulückenparks": former empty building lots, which have been transformed into parks – most of have been design in the 1980's and 90's.

The reason why I came to the park with my camera in the first place: 
the rooftop-structure reminds me of a boat in a dry dock.

Today I visited the park with my camera and it did not take long and I found company. I little girl, Katherina, joined me on my tour in the park. She happily pointed at scenic spots - spots she considered being worth being pictured, f.e. this blue colour on a wooden bench:

It is amazing, how good kids are at imitating. The girl had approached me and asked "Why do you take this picture?"

My answer: "I take this picture, because in my eyes, this is an interesting wall. The colour is beautiful, I like the blue and the yellow".

Not much later I found myself next to her, and listening to her words: "See, this is beautiful, I like this colour. Take a picture, it is a beautiful colour". Call her in :-)

Adult choice: The little girl was fond of the black and blue contrast.
 One rare, since not overly designed corner in a Viennese park

 Imagine Christo

 The structures you find in a park a useful. This stand provided an elevated angle, luxurious!

 Dogs everywhere ;-)

The girl's favourites:
No generation without Air Jordan. Haha!

There is a reason why I pictured only Katharina's hand and feet: She wanted me to take a photo of her, too. I explained to her, that I won't take a photo without her mother's or father's permission.

Btw, it is amazing how fast you can become friends with kids as soon as you slow down, they approach you. Taking your time is playful. We all play in our own way.

Looking at these photos, taken on a Saturday afternoon at 6pm, you see, there is almost nothing going on. Which is good! I appreciate this down time, in terms of sensations, because one week from today I am going to wake up in a different time zone, in a different climate, with a different language and uncommon places ... One word: Siberia.

Have a nice weekend!

Monday, 22 June 2015


Over the past weeks I've noticed a slight change in my behaviour: I return to places where something (in my eyes) worth being captured has caught my eye – with a camera around my neck :-)

Two days ago I was sitting in the tram, late in the evening. There was no chance, no time and no light for a photo. So I came back another day, during daytime, with plenty of time on my hands.
The sky has been mostly cloudy, rainy and dark but there have been some sunny spells, too. An overcast sky leads to an almost unreal light the moment the sun makes it through the clouds, very focused, turns the sunlight into a spotlight, could be mounted just a few metres away.

And the motiv? The house is quite unique, situated in the outskirts of Vienna, in the 13th disctrict, right next to a tramway station. You could say it is not out of the world, but obviously out of time. The window shutters are made of wood, cut hearts. Hearts! Some window shutters are out of use, vegetation took over. I will keep an eye on this house, see, if it stands the test of time in the near future.

Have a good week!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Discretion Is Mandatory

I am used to the sight of thujas fencing in private backyard gardens and small front gardens.
But this, a thuja hedge in field? This is a quite unusual sight, even for a country like Austria, where thujas have been THE hedge plant for decades. There was a short bamboo intermezzo in the early '00 years, but the bamboo was not meant to last.

There is probably a story behind the thuja hedge on the hill in Höttinger Au, Innsbruck, Tyrol. I don't know the story. All I know is that this scenery made me smile, which is reason enough to stop, take the photo and share it here.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Pigeon Photobombing and Tinsel

You can imagine my surprise in the darkroom, when one of the students in the darkroom class I just recently met in class asked "Is this in the 7th district, right? I know the girl who owns the scooter. She always parks it outside the kindergarten."

What a small world Vienna is.

Yesterday I came past the scooter. The gorgeous tinsel is gone by now.

Oh, not to forget the pigeon. #photobombing

Friday, 12 June 2015

Back from Innsbruck


I have been away, on a short trip to Innsbruck and have returned with a SD card full with souvernirs.

Innsbruck is the capital of Tyrol, situated in the Alps. "Tyrol" is a strong brand you probably know. But Innsbruck? Innsbruck is a very enjoyable city. Actually super nice for a week long stay.

Those who know me know: I am not going to show you the main touristic attractions. Therefore please visit

around Bergisel (below: Zaha Hadid's skijump)

traditional (above) and dated (below) housing

details on the way

Mountain architecture:

In the mountains:
The typical summer days comes with a massive cool down at night:

No matter how heavy the thunder storms have been last night, the next day you find yourself at a mountain lake, again. :-)
still life at Lanser See
The architecture reflects everything I like about Innsbruck:
 Innsbruck - highly recommended! Only 4hrs 8min by train from Vienna.

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The end of the line


More squares to come! 

After having finishing the b/w film, I continued with a colour film.
The photos do reflect my approach to the location I pictured 100%. There is nothing exciting. 
You can sense a calm, almost boring atmosphere by looking at the photos. Guess what, that's exactly how it is, the end of the line. 
I am surprised, how soft the colours turned out. I guess I overexposed most of the pictures, maybe the handling of the film at the photo-laboratory did its part, too, altough the scans are much lighter than the original prints, the contrast is also very low.
 2nd photo not as intended ;-)

The 6x6 creates a unique feeling of space. When I look at the photo with the blossoms above, it seems like a picture taken inside a room. The only room that's there is the room formed by the branches of the tree.
On my way to one of the most expensive living areas in Vienna.
Since there are only 12 photos I show them all. Usually I would delete digital photos like the one above and the one below.
Normally you would take photos with the camera mounted on a tripod. 4 pounds and a mirrored view are not really easy to handle. I took al photos with the camera holding the camera in my hands. My right thumb isn't thankful at all.
Another end of the line, almost central. I like this photo, irrespective of its suboptimal exposure. The brownish light comes with the late time, 7.30pm

The next day I was left with one more shot. Soft as you can get:
In case you wonder: Yes, you still find shabby houses like this in Vienna. Gentrification has not taken it all, not yet.

The next film is going to be b/w. 'The package of 5 is sitting on my shelf. 
And the camera? Definitely not going to be a borrowed one. Call me in!

Saturday, 9 May 2015



the last posting included some square hints.

I would never go so far to say that these photos are master pieces of a recently unknown genius ;-)  But I do say, that I like what I see and that I think it's absolutely worth continuing in this direction:
medium format, preferably b/w, medium grain film (400ASA)

Speaking of worth: one photo costs 3 EUR. (includes film, developing, contact printing 6x6cm and scan)

Since film is still around, and the costs are no deal-breaker, I decided to give it a try and borrowed a medium format Rolleiflex from a generous friend for a weekend.
It is a privilege to be able to try a camera hands-on and I can only recommend it. Now I know: the camera I want to buy must not weight more than 3 pounds. :-)

Undecided focus - things you end up, being an unexperieced medium format photographer.

Over the past years, I have been trying to create the look of a 400ASA b/w with the SIGMA picture software, which comes with the DP2. The programme is said to produce excellent monochrome pictures, imitating the grain of analogue film. Truth is: the programme does add specks and spots, only those disturbances look nothing like the grain of a film. In the end you end up with a poor imitation of film.

And I am not even talking about the image quality, the size of the negative etc.
 Many manufacturers shut down their companies over the past years. The camera I am am going to buy is most likely to be a used, maybe even vintage camera. Lucky me, I have many shops at my hands in Vienna, specialised in vintage cameras.

Except for the one photo with the two chimneys all photos have been taken with the camera in my hands, me looking down onto a focusing screen. The focusing screen shows a mirrored image of the picture you want to take. Slowly moving the camera into the right position does something to your brains, left side/right side thinking ...   

Obviously not the best motive to focus on with a manual focus: the fidgety squirrel

Now that I have returned the camera, I find myself thinking about many possible motives, stories and projects I would like to cover with the 6x6cm format/80mm lens (80mm medium format approx. equates 50mm for small pictures)
Not long ago I did feel absolutely comfortable with my wide angle lens and the small film format. Wide angle always adds a certain drama to any motive. And of course you cover more of the surroundings using a wide angle. 

My angle has changed. 

All above photos have been taken with a 80mm lens (equals 50mm small film).
Locations in the 13th district in Vienna, including the Lainzer Tiergarten, maybe you remember this.

Hoefully the tiny b/w label in the right is going to grow in 2015.

Have a nice weekend!