05 July 2014
The sacred space of Sechselaeutenplatz has finally been refurbished, modernised, sanitised - whatever you want to call it. I was skeptical, being a purist, but I have to confess it's an interesting and somehow compelling space, while retaining it's original purpose.
11 June 2014
Ok, This is supposed to be a photo blog from Zurich, but shucks, I have lots of good Zurich photos, but apparently I have more Venice photos.
29 May 2014
For a few years, during the development of the new cross-city rail transit, the front of Zurich's main station has been covered by building works, cabins, scaffolding, etc. Now, as work enters a new phase, the obstructions have been removed, and the main hall of the station (the Bahnhofhalle) is once again bathed in cathedral-like light.
The concourse is kept totally free to enable the regular markets and events that take place here. This in turn makes it a great stage for photography.
25 May 2014
Prompted by the gift of a Berengo-Gardin book some weeks ago, I decided to flaunt some of my own photos.
I may have posted some of these before....
04 May 2014
Looking acroos the peaceful and deserted lagoon from Burano to the island of San Francesco del Deserto. One of many on the lagoon that remain largely unexplored by visitors.
There are lots of uninhabited islands, but this one has a monastery - you can just make out the campanile. A Franciscan order, and as you might guess by the name of the island it dates its history back to the eponymous monk.
Some links, although info is sparse.
http://www.sanfrancescodeldeserto.it (Italian site)
13 April 2014
Yesterday I received a mysterious anonymous parcel. And a welcome surprise. "Caffe Florian" by the Italian photographer Gianni Berengo Gardin. This is a subject close to my own heart. So thanks! Whoever you are.
It reminded me that I'd seen his work before at the relatively new
Tre Oci gallery in Venice. Dedicated to photography, it is situated in a beautifully restored house in the relative calm of the Giudecca.
Some images from two visits I made in the last couple of years
The exhibition of Berengo Gardin's work was called "A photographer's stories". Documentary / street photography in the grand style but with an unmistakable Italian perspective. It makes you wonder how many photographers with great personal and revealing work never make it into your own sphere of vision. Berengo Gardin's work is rooted in Italy - maybe it doesn't travel too well, but I can highly recommend it.
It was also at Tre Oci that I saw Elliott Erwitt's work outside of the confines of a coffee table book, and I was impressed. You have time to linger back and forth in a nice quiet spacious gallery, and it reveals more than mere page turning does. Especially with Erwitt, where if you are not careful it can sometimes seem like an endless sequence of one liners. Only quibble I had with that show is that some of the images were printed too big.
10 April 2014
Here's a couple of photographs from Venice that were due for destruction, but I had a few minutes waiting for a train so I tried ressurecting them. Did it work?
Probably went a bit too far with the processing..
And on the same trip (if I remember). This one is so out of focus that it only works at small sizes (I blame telephoto lens, boat movement and probably inebriation) but it has a nice feel again.
06 April 2014
While in Gruyères last week I was looking mostly for picture postcard type shots, but I also came away with a few like the following which don't fall into that category. I suppose this is more documentary than picture postcard. It's not a special photo by any means, but the composition is pleasing, it's a quiet moment from what looks like lazy village life. On the other hand these guys could be just about to break into a full scale brawl...
However my main point in showing it is to bring up the subject of using a 50mm (full frame equivalent) so-called standard lens. Photography is an impossible genre to describe in any sort of general terms, but on the whole I think it steers a course between the visual arts and the field of communication. At one extreme, impact, beauty and quality rule. At the other it is what the photograph shows or tells us that is important.
Personally I lean toward the latter, but photography can communicate and be attractive/striking/shocking at the same time. Usually the impact or success of the message is dependant on the visual aspects of the image.
In my type of photography I want the viewer to be able to step into my shoes - to see what I saw. Ergo the "standard" lens, not restricted to 50mm, but showing a natural point of view. For shots like the above, with the subject at some distance, 50mm is perfect. For closer shots I like 35mm. I don't want to say "this is what you'd have seen if you were there looking through a camera viewfinder with a 21mm attached".
When looking at photographs I'm personally drawn to images that don't don't shout out "guess what focal length I used to make this one!". I want the content to be the first thing that hits my consciousness.
Another consideration when using a standard lens is that you can compose with your eyes, constantly looking for shots, not having to walk around with the camera up to your eye to see what it's going to look like. If you regularly use a particular camera/lens you reach a point where you instinctively know the capabilities and characteristics of the combination and just concentrate on composition and "getting the shot".
Actually, when you look a bit closer, maybe my speculation about a brawl might not be wrong, and one of the guys is a policeman. Just "chewin' the fat" as they say back home though.
31 March 2014
A year ago I posted my thoughts about the Leica M9 after using it in the field for a while. This post is just a quick follow-up to that.
First of all, I'm still using it, and the points made in the previous post remain largely unchanged. For me, in a time when we've seen a mind-boggling selection of new digital cameras, this remains comforting, even more so than it did 12 months ago. The camera is a regular companion and I don't even think about it any more.
I've started taking it with me more and more when I'm hunting for stock scenery and location photographs. As said before, it has its limitations in this genre, but the nature of it's portability, and the confidence I have in the results, outweighs them.
These images were shot in the Swiss hilltop town of Gruyères at the weekend.
11 March 2014
I've always enjoyed Campari - and with good old fashioned soda. None of this Campari/Spritz stuff. With characteristic perversity I've rendered this most colourful of drinks in black and white