Post-it
07 February, 2023

Pastoor van Ars Church in The Hague, 1969. Architecture by Aldo van Eyck. Pictures taken 2018, edited 2023.
It’s a shame that I hardly ever do this. The way these pictures came about should be scribbled down on a post-it as a reminder of how simple it really is.

  • Think of a building you would like to photograph.
  • Look up a contact address.
  • Write an email/dial a telephone number
  • Make an appointment and explain the purpose of your visit.
  • Get on a train or any other form of public transportation.
  • (Be nervous to meet your person, that’s okay)
  • Meet your person.
  • Listen to their stories about the building/architect/residents. (They will love to talk about it, promised)
  • Take the pictures
  • Agree to send the pictures (If any good, you add, just in case).

Mies et al.
04 February, 2023

Four Chicago high-rises, showing the perils of photographing tall buildings without a proper lens in a high density city centre: losing the bottom part, losing the top part, giving up on straight verticals, and objects entering your frame. Also, I made them a little more awkward than they actually were by cropping them to taste. 

Hyatt Regency Chicago West Tower (1974) by A. Epstein; Lake Point Tower (1968) by John Heinrich and George Schipporeit; IBM Building (1973), - now 330 North Wabash - by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; Marina City (1967) by Bertrand Goldberg. Pictures taken 2019, edited 2023.

Wonderland
08 January, 2023
 
Looking at the latest ‘travelogues’, I feel that there is a growing gap between what I want to photograph and what I’m actually photographing. Should I mind? That those little series are more of a reflection of how I spent my vacations and less of the photographer I would like to be? I’m tempted to see these as ‘missed opportunities’, but are they? And then, I’m not having a clue anyway these days of the photographer I’d like to be. 

I love snow, but it’s not my ambition to photograph winter wonderland, that I do know. But that’s exactly what I did though. Taking pictures of pretty landscapes stretching out in front of me. When hiking, if temperatures allowed me to operate a camera with my bare hands,  or from behind the windshield of the car.  I got the flu shortly before boarding to Kristiansand, so my energy level was low, and I was happy to be outdoors at all, after wasting precious time on the couch feeling miserable. Taking pictures felt like a bonus.
And so I ended up with lots of photos of snow-covered landscapes with trees and paths. Along with the question of how to make this a little more interesting. Bare trees and snow make files that are practically monochrome. And although I’ve been doing a lot of black and white lately, I figured this was the time to play some with colour and texture.  A painting was hanging on one of the walls of the house in Flatdal. A landscape painted with rough brushstrokes in earthy tones. Not a winter landscape, but the unpolished style and mood somehow made me see what a small series drawn from these pictures could look like.

I added touches of colour to the highlights to underline the different shades of light during the day, or to align them with how I rememberd them. In addition, I selected pictures that contain some colour to begin with. Like the one of the waterfall, because of the unusual yellow hue of the water and the purple-blue sky. The pictures that I took from the car after most of daylight was gone, also felt right for what I had in mind: turning up ISO for a faster shutter speed (no smooth rides on those roads), gave them a sort of roughness to go with their particular colour scheme. Others are slanted (again, bumpy roads) in a way I probably wouldn't have allowed for under different circumstances. And I included pictures in which it is actually snowing, sometimes hardly visible, but giving the scene a somewhat painterly texture. The result comes more from selecting than from editing (as in post processing), which is as good an excercise as any other.


In your orbit
15 December, 2022

I think most of us, photo taking people, share the same discomfort about algorithms, advertising, bubbles, privacy, ownership, hate speech etc. as a price to pay to get our work noticed. Reasons for some to leave social platforms, others choose to stay. I feel that ultimately it’s not algorithms and such that play a decisive role in this matter. You will find ways to work around those issues or to just accept them for what they are. A way to justify your presence one way or the other. It’s what people do all the time. What is decisive is the ability to connect with other people online, to be comfortable sharing personal information, to not care about interactions being superfluous, and connections fleeting. You need to feel that your words matter, and that your voice is a meaningful contribution to the noise that’s already out there. Somewhere along the way I have entirely lost all that.

I never considered myself a digital native, obviously, born well before the 1980s. The first time I touched a computer was in the early 90s. I rented one from college, a model with a floppy disk and a cursor blinkering on a blue screen. I work on websites for a living, for a pastime even, but on the editing side of things. I lack technical savvyness. I’m clumsy with computers and how to fix or operate them. I’m also not particularly interested. My online social clumsiness however, I used to blame on a personal defect, more than a generation thing. I’m starting to think it’s both though. I didn’t grow up living my life online. Social media didn’t come into play before I was looking at 40. For sure I enjoyed them for some time, out of curiosity for the new media, seeing new opportunities at work, a need to share my interest in photography with like minded people. But it quickly wears off now. And now that it does, I’m okay with it. I tried, I learned some, and that’s a good thing. It lowers expectations considerably. Also good.

Nothings
15 December, 2022
I try not to, but I’m often, if not always, beforehand visualising the places I visit and how to photograph them. I would like to avoid photographing things, as in objects, and most of all objects in the middle. I would like the pictures to not have an object at all, and to barely have a subject, other than ‘space’ or ‘place’.