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.
Just like his mother he just loves to dress up 🙂
Life is about play, love and connection.
I volunteer at a bio organic farm as a documentary photographer. A lovely family with a dedication and a work ethic which blows me away every time I am at the farm. I experience quite some stress at my work at this moment which means that today when the sun is shining, I am behind my Macbook working on the Q4 goals of the company. I have canceled the appointment with my brother and his wife, but allowed myself to write this blogpost in order to relax and to keep the creativity flowing.
My workload is nothing compared to that of the farmers. While I am still able to workout, take photographs and meditate twice a day, they have to find refuge in the small things. While we took the cows to the barn, Monique the farmer’s wife, said something very profound while looking at the sun, hands raised to the sky: THIS is my daily meditation’.
This picture I took yesterday resonates strongly with the point I try to make. Most precious things in life are often small and entwined with all the necessary things. Keep light-hearted and be grateful for what you have.
Endlessly he practised his tricks on the skateboard while chatting to his friend. I just had to snap it!
We all make mistakes. We all waste resources. We waste our words, our energy and our time until we pause and think deeply about what matters in our life. When we hold on tight to our views, the mind shrinks and smothers any power to love. In that state, the soul can’t breathe new energy into a situation – and everyone loses-Brahma Kumaris
Expressing your love for someone in a way that gives full meaning to what you actually feel on a soul level other than with your touch, is impossible.As I expressed in this post, be able to connect to your soul and someone else’s, enables you to experience life beyond the perceptions made by your mind’s ego.I follow guided soul meditations for some time now for that very reason, but recently got the insight that my love for children is the way my soul is expressing itself at its strongest.Every day I get moved by something I see in a child.The sheer innocence and the playful nature of a child really moves me.This can be a child of a stranger, a child of a loved one and of course my very own daughter.This picture I took from my daughter just a few days ago, is a picture she does not like that very much…but I do.I resonates strongly with what she means to me.One of my favourite guitarists Harry Sacksioni has the gift to transcend the love for his daughter into a truly moving piece of music.As he explains (in Dutch), before playing the song in this video, he composed the music when his daughter Jessa was barely out of the womb. Amazingly but actually not surprisingly, the character of the song totally matches the character of his daughter.
Great street photography makes ordinary things look extraordinary. It is the beauty of the small things that often are overlooked in every day life. It is there for everyone to see but only the photographer is able to catch the moment and create art. I live nearby the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, so visiting this great museum is something I regularly do. As the museum was packed with tourists the last time I paid the museum a visit, I decided to put my focus on the many visitors instead of the displayed art. Due to the fact that it was so crowded and everybody was taking pictures with their smartphones themselves, I was free to take some pictures of the visitors, something you actually hardly can do anymore these days because everybody is so hyper sensitive for having a picture taken without their strict permission. Looking through the crowd, I saw the three figures on the paintings looking at the three persons sitting in front of it and quickly took a picture. If this is an example of great street photography is for others to decide, but it made me chuckle nevertheless 🙂
You find yourself in a strange dynamic being a Leica shooter. One day you are being envied and seen as a snob who has spend too much money on a camera that lacks so many features other camera’s have, the other day you are being praised for your pictures you take with it. We live in an era in which the camera itself is a statement and fashion item too, beside being just a tool for creating art of capturing moments. For some people, owning a particular camera seems to be more important than actually shooting with it. I’d guess that’s all right too…whatever floats your boat. Instagram is flooded with ‘eye candy’; just pictures of Leica’s, but also other brands, instead of pictures taken with the camera. Being a substantial financial investment (hence the second hand option I took), it attracts both haters and lovers of the brand and for different reasons. I try not to identify too much with the gear I use, but having said that…..I actually do. I do but more in the sense that this type of camera make me feel they are my soul mates. Not to state something pompously, but the less is more approach of the Leica brand really resonates with me. They really are an extension of my eyes, heart and soul. Stripping the camera of all of the non-essentials enables me to focus (not pun intended) on the key points of my photography: seeing and capturing. I recently saw two Youtube video’s, in which both the M8 and M9 are being praised, despite being ‘old’ and ‘lacking’ or expensive. It prompted me to write this comment:
Hi Mattias, thanks for the effort you have put in this video and the one the M8. It strongly resonates with how I feel using my M8 and M9 (both second hand bought). In this age of ‘low light madness’ and the need for having a camera that does it all (including video), it is refreshing to hear somebody talk about these two camera’s and their specific qualities. What I like the most about using these kind of camera’s, besides obvious things like the IQ, handling, manual focusing and build quality, is ‘the less is more’ approach of Leica. The very reason I still shoot analog besides digital. This makes it not a camera for every one, but if it is it…..it surely becomes a soul mate of you and technical specs will soon be irrelevant :-). You can check out my pictures at http://vincentvankleef.wixsite.com/lightonlight . Cheers, Vincent
Till next time, thanks for reading this post. 🙂
As expressed in former posts like this one, I love children, actually I adore them. The cuteness of a baby, the wit of a toddler or the rebellious teenager….each fase in the development of a child is fascinating and worth photographing. So when we visited two friends who recently had a newborn, I made sure to take my camera with me. This little boy was sleeping most of the time, which he should be doing at just two weeks of age, and while my girlfriend was chatting away with the parents, I grabbed the M9 paired with the Summilux. Shot wide open and in monochrome, this combination perfectly shows us the little wonder of each new born baby. Sleeping and being cared of (and cuddled of course). Dream on little boy, dream on.