I recently started a photography project in the Bos & Lommer district in Amsterdam, the city where I live. I offer my neighbours a free portrait session. As I moved to Amsterdam just a year ago, this gives me the opportunity to get to know my neighbours better and to hone my photography skills, especially portraits. The reactions have been great so far; people are genuinely grateful to have some nice pictures taken and furthermore, every foto shoot is a moment of connection between strangers too and that remains something really special. Take for example Vladimir with his dog Timo. Meeting Vladimir was wonderful and meeting Timo meant seeing a dog just happy to be alive. Dogs just give, that’s all they do. Timo leaving his footprint on my jeans did connect me with the following quote I read this morning:
Start today – give, give, give – time, energy, assistance, care, co-operation. On how many levels do you see the opportunity to give? It’s good to be a ‘just do it’ person. Even better to be a ‘just give it’ person. And the paradox will make itself known – when you give you will realise you already have everything you need.
Swiftly he manoeuvred his bike to the right as he approached me. I was totally in the moment, in a meditative state as I always am shooting with my Leica’s. I could not be bothered less. It rained slightly that evening in Amsterdam. Tourists moved from the Central Station towards the city centre. I decided to shoot with the old M8 again, paired with the magnificent Zeiss 28 mm. Furthermore I had set the camera in Jpeg and black and white, inspired by the photo contest (see this post). Reviewing the picture later, it showed a fair amount of under exposure, due to the headlight of the bike pointing directly into the simple centre weighted metering of the Leica. It results in a noisy image, but having the awesome Kodak sensor it yields a nice grain like look-I think.
I alway shoot in the RAW format. I makes shooting kind of sketching; just the outlines of the composition and the subject are important. With the latitude you’ve got with shooting RAW, adjusting the picture to your liking is something you do in post. However, when I recently got invited to a photo contest, I was forced to shoot in Jpeg because you had to deliver the photo’s at the end of the day to the jury. It forced me to take some test shots with the M9 around my apartment the day before. I actually like the result and have set my M8 (which is known for its excellent B/W pictures, hence its name “poor man’s Monochrom) and will take it out for a test-drive soon.
Just like his mother he just loves to dress up 🙂
Turned inwards to look outside
Reflecting on thoughts
Sometimes with a hazy view
Ending with a clear insight
To be connected again.
Into the night
Beams of light and falling rain
Light that cast shadows
Lines that meet and move away
I take a last look before I move on
Feeling the weight of my camera
My hand holding it, caressing it
A feeling of just knowing
That what is, is just right.
Into the night we go.
Citroën 2CV’s have the ability to just go on and on while being eroded to a point you seriously wonder when they will just fall apart. I’ve owned a blue, red and white one (funny: the colours of both the Dutch and French flag) and enjoyed driving these cars so much that I still yearn for owning one….again. This particular one I spotted in Den Haag, while walking down the wet and shiny streets (see this post).
Shuffling through the night
Assimilating with the shadows and lights
Moving between what is to be seen and only to be felt.
Life is about play, love and connection.
I recently walked though the National Park De Hoge Veluwe and noticed some remains of which I thought were some bunkers. I got pulled towards it and sat for quite some time in complete stillness. The sun burned on my face and all sorts of sounds emerged from the woods. Later on, when I walked back to my car, I saw a plate on which the story of the remains is told. Helene Kröller-Müller and her husband were keen art collectors and had big plans creating a huge museum in the National Park but when the Great Depression kicked in, they were forced to suspend the build. What supposed to be a manifestation of their love for art, ended in building blocks scattered around. It is now part of the National Trust and the art collection in what is now the Kröller-Müller Museum (also called the ‘second home of Van Gogh’).
This place has an energy which truly resonates with my being….I can’t explain it, but I treasure the feeling nevertheless.