Up to the next destination.
The picture you are looking at, is one of an old Mercedes Benz Estate (a W123-T to be precise). It is being used as a daily driver by one of my neighbours in Amsterdam and was parked just around the corner when it caught my eye. Battered and used, with quite a lot ‘patina’ (well, dents and rust to be honest), but revealing a beauty many vintage cars can have. Bathing in the evening light, certain details just caught my attention. Like this detail, shot wide open with the Summilux lens…smooth as silk.
Surrender. That’s the first word that comes to mind when I look at this picture. What I’ve learned throughout the years, is that letting go of the need for making pictures results in the most valuable pictures. So, to surrender to the moment and space you are in, means you tap into your subconscious mind and great opportunities appear in front of you. That surely is the case with photography. This time I was taking a stroll through my Amsterdam neighbourhood, feeling a bit out of sync. As I was sitting on a bench staring at the water, I noticed the pattern in the water and decided to make a picture through the fence between the bench and the water. Post processing it in monochrome did the trick. Not an unique picture at all, but I like the ink-like look of the water and the diagonal line within the framing.
This picture is inspired by a very intriguing book by Jonathan Parker, ‘The Soul Connection’, where he explains the interplay between the concepts of ego (small self), heart and soul (true self). The way Jonathan explains this very complex (at least in an intellectual sense) is truly exceptional in the sense that he is very grounded in the realm of the non physical universe. Being a therapist helps him to translate spiritual concepts to the everyday life everyone has to deal with. He teaches you to connect to your soul, your very being, to let go of ego (without being ego-less) and disidentify from the underlying patterns of the ego. In the midst of everyday turmoil of distractions, emotions, thought patterns and so forth, this is golden.
I like how lines can create something that resonates with the very thing that ignites your sense of beauty, especially if they are a result of functional design. Walking on the Museum Plein in Amsterdam after visiting the Stedelijk Museum, I passed one of the entrances to the underground car parking. The lines and lightning immediately caught my eye. These kind of pictures work best in monochrome, so I already had my eyes in ‘monochrome mode’ when I took this picture.
As I stated before in this blog, photography is sort of walking meditation for me. It calms me down and makes me more aware of my environment. I practice meditation at home too, but to be honest I enjoy this kind of calming down the mind more than just sitting down. It is something I cannot do in the companion of someone, let alone the fact that I am not in very communicative state when I am in this mode…..
Moving to a new town have made me put photography almost on the bottom of my priority list. I have forced myself to take some time off though, supported by my wonderful girlfriend, and to go back to Berlin. One of the many amazing things about my girl is that she somehow lets me photograph while enjoying each other company. If you are a fellow photographer, you know how hard that can be! We had a truly unforgettable time in Berlin, which we visited for the second time within a year. This time I had taken the M9 with me. I have taken quite some pictures in Berlin so stayed tuned as there will be some more to come.
With all the focus (no pun intended) on high ISO performance these days, one might be inclined to forget about the other things that make you shoot great pictures. I don’t want to go into a rant, because that is unnecessary anyway. I understand that the aspect of high ISO capabilities can be crucial for being able to take that shot that you otherwise could not have taken. But…..working with both the Leica M8 and Leica M9 but also shooting analog, I have learned to appreciate the limitations of my equipment and to adjust my technique whenever it is what helps me to take that shot. Furthermore, it supports narrowing down my photography to the style and subjects that really resonate with me. Last but not least, it lets me appreciate the unique qualities of the gear I use even more. Naturally, this applies to shooting analog. Although not known for the high ISO performance, the Leica’s CCD sensor designed by Kodak (!) creates a truly unique look. Combined with lenses of Leica or Zeiss the results can be stunning. I don’t want to call this picture stunning, but I like it though. Shot in a very dim-lit room, at ISO 800 and wide open with the wonderful 50mm Summilux lens.
As soon as you are aware of your surroundings, you start to perceive things you would have not noticed otherwise. When I walked across the boulevard of Scheveningen, I noticed this pattern in the sand. I immediately imaged it in black and white, although I had a color negative film, Porta 400, loaded in the OM-2.