Category Archives: Street photography

Although not my thing I decided to create a category. Edited on 08/05/2016 After following a workshop on street photography I discovered I really like to shoot on the streets and interact with people. That was a huge surprise.

To Kraków and back – Part 3

Thursday, September 21.

It is cold outside. The sky dark and it rains abundantly.
In a way the ideal circumstances for our destination today.

We get in the car and about 90’ later I’m guided to a parking spot.
We are at Auschwitz (Oświęcim).

HALT! – STOJ! Auschwitz.
Ricoh GR II.

You can do one of three things.

Visit the site Auschwitz on your own. It is free of charge but you need a ticket. This kind of visited is only possible after 16:00.
Make reservations for a visit. Half of the available tickets for a given day are sold that way. The other half are made available in site.
The office were you can get your tickets is situated in a white small cabin on the main parking.
You’ll find screens telling you at what time visits in a certain language are scheduled. Next to them a number in blue telling you how many spots are still available for that tour.

When we arrived the English tour was a 2-hour wait but we could get tickets for the French tour that started 15’ later. I speak fluently French and Sweetheart too understands French so we got two tickets. They are cheap because you only pay for the guide.

The entrance building leads you to the camp itself and is much like airport border control complete with body scan. Your handbag or small photo bag goes through a scanner as well.

The French speaking Polish guide did a good job and gave us an interesting and complete overview. The whole tour, including the free shuttle to Birkenau, 3 kilometers farther, took about 3,5 hours.

Auschwitz II – Birkenau.
Ricoh GR II.

My Mom and her father, my grandfather, were both incarcerated in the Belgian Dossin prison. My mother’s stories of her 3 weeks there still linger in my mind.
They were arrested because they did underground work. They were not shipped to the camps.
My uncle, my mother’s brother, a White Brigade Member, never came back though. He was send to the hell of Bergen-Belsen.

My mother always said “once a German, always a German.” She hated them. As a kind I saw documentaries on TV. Grainy black and white images of soldiers falling on their knees when they liberated the camps. Crying in disbelief. The cruelty. The sheer horror.

My mother telling about the screams she heard. The fear she felt.

So I was not particularly fond of visiting the place. Sweetheart wanted though, so we went.

What stuck me the most during our visit was the methodology and the lies the Nazi’s used to deceive and decimate. Evil power at its best.

I don’t hate. It is a waste of energy. Besides, one cannot hold responsible the son for the acts of his father. That was something my mother never understood. Hate makes no sense. Hate puts you in the same ballgame.

Let’s look at he bright side of today’s Polish history,

Sunday market at Kraków.
Ricoh GR II.

 

 

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To Kraków and back – Part 2

Tuesday, September 19.
It is gray, cold (12°C) and overcast. We leave for Ojców National Park.

It is a national park in Kraków County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship in southern Poland, established in 1956. It takes its name from the village of Ojców, where it also has its headquarters. Chopin visited Ojców in 1829.
It is Poland’s smallest national park, with an original area of 14.40 square kilometers (5.56 sq mi), since expanded to 21.46 km2 (8.29 sq mi). Of this area, 15.28 km2 (5.90 sq mi) is
forested and 2.51 km2 (0.97 sq mi) is strictly protected. The park is approximately 16 kilometers (10 mi) north of Kraków, in the Jurassic Kraków-Częstochowa Upland. (Wikipedia)

We enjoy our walk through rough nature, crystal clear rivers, and a few sources.

I’m filming with my Gopro Hero 4 Black and the gimbal. The gimbal is an electronic stabilizer taking away shaking caused by my steps.
I did not use the gimbal much because of the rain. Sure enough halfway our walk it starts to rain again. It would do so for the remainder of the day.
We don’t mind though. Sweetheart and I are dressed accordingly and we enjoy our quality time way too much to be depressed by the bad weather.

Later that afternoon, almost at our apartment, Sweetheart and I have the same idea. We smile, laugh and joke about it.
Ten minutes later I park the car near a McDonalds.
We are covered with mud and tired and look like hobos. Fortunately the girls behind the counter understand English.
The burgers are yummy.

Then home, shower, movie, bed.

Tatra Mountains, near Zakopane.
iPhone 5s.

Wednesday, September 20.
Gray, cold, rainy.
Sweetheart and I enjoy breakfast. It is a symbolic day. We end our 6th year and start our 7th. With Sweetheart I am so very happy, so much in love. She is a dream come true. Funny, intelligent, loving, caring, and sexy as hell.

Today we are going to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine. It is a 30 minute drive from our apartment.
We visit magnificent chambers chiselled out in rock salt. Amazing underground saline lakes, majestic timber constructions and unique statues sculpted in salt. Almost 3 kilometres of meandering corridors, 800 steps to climb of which 350 have to be descended to reach the depth of 135 meters underground.
The English-speaking guide is great and funny and we enjoy our visit. I regret I did not take the gimbal with me, it would have improved greatly my footage.

Wieliczka Salt Mine.
iPhone 5s,

In the late afternoon we drive to the Jewish district in Kraków called Kazimierz.

Trendy, creative Kazimierz is Krakow’s historic Jewish quarter, now a jumble of indie galleries, quirky shops, vintage clothing stores and bars that range from hip cocktail dens to shabby-chic spaces. Szeroka Street’s many synagogues include the 16th-century Old Synagogue, while the nearby Remuh Cemetery has a wall of tombstones smashed by Nazis. The Galicia Jewish Museum celebrates local Jewish culture and history. (Wikipedia)

Graffiti & walking man.
Kazimierz, Kraków.
Ricoh GR II.

Nowadays there are not many Jews in Kraków anymore.
We discover a zillion little streets and dine in open air near a fireplace.
Six years already, Sweetheart and I. Hell, I never have been happier. My life is complete. Sweetheart is the One I want to grow old with.

Back at the apartment we shower, watch a movie and go to bed.

Sunday market at Kraków.
Ricoh GR II.

Spectator

I didn’t do much past weekend. Little A., my youngest daughter, was with me and one of her BFF’s.

On Friday evening I drove them both to Antwerp where they would attend a party and picked them back up at 02:30. I did feel that the whole weekend. I guess it goes with getting older. Got up at 10, went for groceries and cooked them an honest meal. Afterwards I washed the dishes and then drove them to a park where they could swim and sunbathe.
Then I went to the woods with my Bronica but I did not feel inspired. It was blazing hot, I felt tired and then I had to go and pick the girls up again.

Saturday evening Sweetheart and I went out and that was fun. Back home, at 01:30, it was so hot in the apartment. We did not sleep very well.

Now it is Sunday afternoon and I feel tired and lazy. The girls went to some concert and then at 20:00 or so Little A. will be back home.

I did an semi-stand development Friday evening while waiting to drive to Antwerp again. Fomapan R09 in a 1:100 dilution and a roll of old film just for testing. One minute agitation, 30′ nothing, then a 1′ slow agitation and then 30′ nothing.

The film came out well but I haven’t had time to scan it yet.

I truly hope I’ll be able to do some shooting next week.

Spectator (2008) Nikon D300 wit 24-120mm VR
Spectator (2008)
Nikon D300 wit 24-120mm VR

Hipster

Past Thursday was the Belgian National Day. We commemorate an event on 21 July 1831 in which Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg swore allegiance to the new Belgian constitution, thus becoming the nation’s first monarch. The king’s vow marked the start of the independent state of Belgium under a constitutional monarchy and parliament.

Sweetheart and I took her eldest daughter Stella and her kid, Star, to Vlissingen in Zeeland. We don’t like to go to the Belgian coast. Way to crowded and the embankment are all filled with flats, most of them ugly buildings.

We prefer the open space and the dunes.

Stella is a very troubled young woman but she is doing fine lately. Sweetheart is Star’s foster-mother because the full-time care of a toddler is too much for Stella.

It was a nice day. Sunny but not hot. We spend some time on the beach and then went shopping in Vlissingen. Later on we had dinner on the sea dyke. In between I had some time to make some street photos.

Hipster (2016) Ricoh GR II
Hipster (2016)
Ricoh GR II

 

Thoughts – July 8, 2016

I have been an amateur photographer for over 40 years. This does not mean that I am any good as an artist but I know how to solve a photographic problem.

When I adventure in a new area of photography I become once again a novice. Having 40+ years of experience does not implicate that from my first shot I am a world-renowned nude photographer. I have to build an experience. Getting this is obtained by shooting as much as possible and getting helpful feedback. Reading, studying, workshops tend to help in building experience.

When I started with street photography a few months ago I had to overcome the fear to come close to strangers, to invade their personal space, to take pictures without their consent or knowledge. I do not pretend to be the new Adget, Cartier-Bresson of Chuck Jines.

I choose to come close to my subjects so I work only with a 28mm lens.

I post images I select after some harsh self-critique and hope to get (positive) feedback. I read books about street photography, I follow fellow artists.

I am aware that I have much to learn and I believe that even after harsh self critique I post rubbish. Also I believe that every street photographer, every artist, had to start somewhere. Sometimes it takes almost a life-time before we find something in which we can excel.

Like everyone else I use social media but I tend to be careful. I never engage in politics or religious topics because that is off topic and a source for problems.

There is this American street photographer I respect. He has evolved to more documentary photography and has made some intense and compelling series about heroin abuse in his home town Chicago.

His images raise awareness of a problem and that is something I like. This photographer also gives workshops, has an interesting Youtube channel. You have to pay to get the most out of his informative website so I have no idea of the offerings.

On social media he shows and expresses his involvement with the poor, the underprivileged, the addicts. When you dig deeper in his social feed I read another message though but that is off-topic.

A few weeks ago this Chicago based photographer posted a rather negative and insulting post about a street photographer that operates in the same city. I happen to like the work of that guy too. It is different but interesting.
Even if you have another opinion I don’t find it a good idea to trash somebody else on social media. After all it says more about yourself than about the ‘victim’ of you rant.

A few days ago he ridiculed a well know Asian street photographer looking down on him in a very negative way.

A few weeks ago I noticed he liked one of my street photos and it was a pleasurable experience. I would have appreciated a small comment but hell, he is a busy guy. I got another like and then another.

I’ve been “Liking” images in my feed out of kindness lately. I need to stop doing that. It’s like feeding the pigeons, it just encourages more.” he wrote yesterday on his FB page.

I did find that very sad. Apart of the value of a FB-like your are basically telling the world your “Like” is a fake. You are telling the world you are not honest. I admit, a dislike button on FB would be nice but I am not sure if it would be appreciated but the users. Hell, if I read or see something I don’t like I won’t comment, WordPress, Instagram or FB. The world won’t stop if I don’t like but at least I will be honest with myself and the person who did not get my appreciation won’t die.

This Chicago documentary photographer has great work and with his photographs of heroin addicts he helped building awareness. His photography is great and he shares quite a bit of his knowledge. I still respect him for his work but that is it.

Kindness is a lie when it comes to evaluating someones work. And somehow this Chicago based photographer has clearly forgotten one day he started from scratch too.

Showing work on social media, even if it is crap or stupid, means that person found the courage to show his or hers work. We do not deserve to be ridiculed by those whom think they have arrived at some important stage in their life.

Yellow (2016) Ricoh GR II
Yellow (2016)
Ricoh GR II

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