Many thanks to Leica for asking me to participate in the series Berlin Place2Be as a promotion for the Leica D-Lux 5. I wrote a short article. I took some pictures.
This is actually one of the first shots I made with the D-Lux 5 after arriving in Berlin April 2, 2011. This couple was standing at the same spot for a looong time. I could walk around them, cross the street and come back and take more pictures. They could have been hit by a truck and still be standing there. Who knows, maybe they still are. Italians I presume.
You can read the full article here.
In the article there is mentioned of a project Berlin Black And White. That blog is a spin off of this blog. Just wanted you to know
Good luck with your own photographic project. If you don’t have one, get one.
While doing a bit of waiting for Godot, I have set up a new blog Berlin Black and While. Please visit.
Maybe you have noticed that I have quite a lot of photographs from Berlin on barebones communication already? Why is this so since Berlin is not even my home town?
The answer is simple. Of all the cities I have visited Berlin is definitely the best I have found for photography. (And, by the way, it is not that far away).
Berlin is large enough to still explore every time I go there. Both spaces and places are really good, but most of all are the frictions of history still very much alive there. You can see that in the architecture and you can sense it when you move around in the city. You can see it in the people.
Say it briefly: Berlin is an extremely photogenic city. My cameras love it. Very much so.
This is why there now is a special photo blog on Berlin. Black and White it is.
Just a few words to wrap up the section on John Szarkowski.
Szarkowski is a former Director of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Apart from being a celebrated manager at MOMA he also was a keen photographer and scholar. He has written two books on photography: The Photographer’s Eye and Looking at Pictures. I happen to own a copy of each.
You get to look at pictures. One at the time. You get to better understand the visual language of photography. You get to read Szarkowski’s eye opening comments to many of the pictures.
I can only say this: Both books are great reads. Their content goes beyond photography, and Szarkowski’s keen sense of images and text makes them pure joy. They are books about communication.
You may start here:
Good luck with Szarkowski.
“More convincingly than any other kind of picture, a photograph evokes the tangible presence of reality. Its most fundamental use and its broadest acceptance has been as a substitute for the subject itself – a simpler, more permanent, more clearly version of the plain fact.
Our faith in the truth of a photograph rests on our belief that the lens is impartial, and will draw the subject as it is, neither nobler nor meaner. This faith may be naive and illusory (for though the lens draws the subject, the photographer defines it), but is persists. The photographer’s vision convinces us to the degree that the photographer hides his hand.”
This is a barebones pitstop post. For more pitstop posts, please go to pitstop puzzle.
It dawned on me that in certain situations visual communication works much better than words. Believe it or not. (Pun intended). Even tactile communication may work like with this couple found at “Billy Wilder” at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, during the 20 anniversary celebration of the wallfall in November. He German, she Spanish. I was there doing an interview with an American, former soldier, who was stationed in Berlin when the wall fell in 1989.
I asked to take their picture, and it was ok. (I have about 50 shots). They were quite happy posing for Carl Zeiss. What caught my attention here was the combination of the fixed pictures on the wall, and the moving couple. And the overall scene. “Here is a shot” for the barebones Gestalt section, I thought, and I may link this post to that theme later.
You know Billy Wilder, don’t you?
I am opening up a new blog theme: barebones smalltalk. For no reason at all. This is the first post. You will find this, and future, similar posts tagged, “barebones smalltalk”.
Continue the good weekend .
You need to do the barebones mirror test.
What is the barebones mirror test? Simply this: If you hold up a mirror to your project, which in this case is the barebones communication project, you should see the same structural picture that you see when you turn the barebones investigative light source to foreign, external objects. And you should describe, analyse and judge the mirror picture by the same criteria as you do with non mirror objects.
I could do a barebones analysis of my iMac as an external object since the iMac is what is in front of me every time I occupy myself with this blog. To a certain extent I already did.
I also could do a barebones analysis of the barebones communication project, which of course is a very different object from my iMac or any Mac.
However, in some respects they are pretty similar. They are both types of objects; they are both “things” that I perceive; the are both things in which I take an interest, they are both “close” to me. I could continue this list of similarities, but it will not necessary.
The mirror test is (hereby) invented to try to assure consistence between with what I/you are saying, and what I/you are doing. I tall task, I know, but maybe this is just the right time for a thorough barebones mirror test. Even in other areas than those related to this blog.
If you pass the mirror test, you can proudly say that your work will not fall apart on being self referring inconsistent. It may fall apart for a number of other reasons, but not this very important one of being inconsistent.
So how do you perform a barebones mirror test? First thing you do is get yourself a mirror. You might do the test even without a mirrow in your hand, but leave such lofty ambitions till you get proper training in doing the test. Go get a mirror.
This post is to be continued …
It has been a long time since we had the last notebook exercise. So, while I am preparing the next post on persuasion in marketing, here is the deal: Take a closer look at the image below and tell yourself how that picture works in terms of gestalt factors. Give a brief analysis of the shot with regard to the proximity factor, the similarity factor, the good curve factor, and so forth. There are plenty of information in this blog by now to make you able to make a grand analysis.
Here comes the picture shot in Berlin, June 2008. In the new parliamentary area.
Copyright 2008: Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved.
It you have a notebook then take notes of what you are analysing. If you want to share your work, you are welcome to share it as a comment to this post. Any questions? Just post them.
Good luck with it. And have a nice day.
As mentioned in a recent post I will elaborate on Barthes’ connotation procedures in separate posts. Here comes the first one starting with Barthes’ third procedure: objects. There are, according to Barthes in his article, 6 areas for procedures in total.
Objects in themselves have connotative content. Barthes uses an example with a book case that might connote intellectualism. He states that “The interest lies in the fact that the objects are accepted inducers of associations of ideas (book-case = intellectual).. ” They can also work as symbols, he argues.
Some other examples; when you see an image of a big man in a close up, such a shot might connote power or dominance. When you have an image of a tiny woman that might connote fragility or fright. Obviously all object have second meaning connotations moving from neutral (in a neutral shot) to excessive in a more deliberately composed photograph.
Take a look at the “object” below. It is the rear of a car, but not any other car. It is the rear of a Bugatti Veyron at display in Berlin. Depending on the degree of car enthusiast you may or may not be, this picture will connote extreme wealth, extreme speed and excessive luxury to you. If you are not into cars at all, you might accept that this is indeed a stylish object of some class.
It is pretty clear from this picture (to me anyway), that images indeed contain second level contents; read connotations. This image does not only denote: rear of a car, but it strongly connote things like wealth and luxury, as well.
For more on connotations (and denotations) you could go here.
Copyright 2008: Knut Skjærven.
Library Thing. (Roland Barthes: Image, Music, Text, pages 15-31, Fontana Press 1977, UK. Essays selected and translated by Stephen Heath).
Buy the English translation of Barthes’ work. Follow the link and support the site: