June 19, 2015


Wunder--. Berlin Sunset, May 2015.

My friend Crook writes regularly over at Medium, and he started a weekly post called Wunderkammer!, a sum-up of his top 5 interesting/rare finds. Or, as he more eloquently puts it:

WUNDERKAMMER!’ is the German word for that great 16th / 17th century European idea of the ‘Cabinet of Curiousities’: a collection of interesting / rare things that the rich would display to their guests as a sort of conversation piece. That’s what I want this to be, too: A conversation piece. I’ll happily show you mine, but I’d also love to see what interests / provokes your imagination & intellect.

So, I decided pick up on this theme and respond with a Wunderkammer of my own. Without further ado ~

1 Victoria

One film, one shot. No cuts. Non-stop action involving a beautiful Spanish girl working in Berlin. Disappointed with her life, she is partying alone when she runs into 4 "real Berliners". Directed by Sebastian Schipper, who worked in the past with Tom Tykwer, it's no surprise that Victoria follows in the footsteps of Run Lola Run. The acting is visceral as the actors have no breaks between scenes and the backdrop of the Berlin night turning to dawn is perfect for the mad story that unfolds. Get thee to the cinema.

20-6-2015 edit: Victoria swept the board at the Deutscher Filmpreis (German equivalent of the Oscars) - winning Best Fiction Feature Film, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Film Music and Best Cinematography. Geil.

2 Ask a Grown Man with Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich

Hehe. I stumbled across Rookie Mag's YouTube in the wee hours of the morning. Teenage girls write in their pressing questions (about boys and style, duh) and then grown men celebs answer 5 questions via YouTube. What I loved about these interviews (yep, I watched more than one) is how sincere the guys are. After watching so many canned late night interviews and press releases, it's pretty endearing to see these famous men sincerely answer funny and honest questions.

I don't even remember what question this is an answer to, but my favourite was Thom Yorke's strategy when you like someone: "Follow 'em around like a nutter".

3 On Being Ignored

Crook wrote an article about being ignored and how it's actually beneficial for the creative process. I personally hate being ignored, but enjoy being alone. In a day and age when we swim in a whirling-swirling-ever-updating sea of images, it's not too hard to feel ignored as a photographer. It doesn't seem like people spend more than 10 seconds on an image anyway, which is part of why I am so sporadic with sharing my photos online. It always feels a bit like shouting into the void. But being ignored actually makes space for sensing my own direction and allows creating to happen. When I ignore the sea and stop worrying about where my photography fits, and simply focus on the creating - then the ideas flow and the projects emerge.

4 Ann Voskamp's Rallying Cry

OK, Voskamp's writing is usually not my style, but I loved her photo essay from Iraq and call to action for the North American Church to respond to the women and children whose lives have been devastated by ISIS. And then people responded and raised half a million dollars. There's so much bad press about the church/Christians, aka we always hear about the fundamentalists, but stories like this one are happening as well. It is also encouraging to see beautiful photography that actually helped move people to action.

5 Interview with Son of Saul star, Géza Röhrig

I'm fascinated by people who rise to fame and can't be bothered with it. Plus, Röhrig was born in Hungary and I have a soft spot for Hungarians. And now there's another film on my list to see.


So there you have it. Happy Friday and happy procrastinating! =)

 

November 23, 2014

Waiting to vote, Romanian Embassy, Berlin. 16 November 2014.

Last Sunday was a big day for Romanians, as opposition candidate Klaus Iohannis challenged the Prime Minister Victor Ponta in the presidential elections. Two weeks earlier, in the preliminary vote, thousands of Romanians abroad were denied the right to vote and so on November 16th, they turned out in even greater numbers to vote at their embassies in Berlin and other Europeans cities. In the end, Klaus Iohannis won with 54.5% of the vote. It will be the first time that someone from Transylvania governs Romania and the first time that someone from an ethnic minority is elected president.

Here is a brilliant article which sums up why this election result was so surprising and includes this quote from Charlie Robertson, global chief econmist at Renaissance Capital Ltd. in London:

“This is more dramatic than Americans electing Barack Obama. Electing someone belonging to 1 percent of a country’s minority is a sign of political maturity.”

Romanians queued up for hours to vote at the embassy in Berlin. 16 November 2014.

November 22, 2014

Andree & Uta Wolff, Bornholmer Strasse, Berlin. 9 November 2014.

I had the pleasure of meeting Andree and Uta Wolff on the evening of November 9th. They were at Bornholmer Bridge, reliving the events of 25 years ago, when they walked over 6 kilometers from an eastern part of the city to see with their own eyes that it was true - the wall was broken through. Faces tilted upwards, they silently watched the footage from 1989 playing on a wide screen standing where the wall used to divide. Then their eyes shone with tears as they turned to me and recollected their personal memories from that day. It was an honour to speak with people who still feel the weight of recent history. Freedom is not something to take for granted.

November 10, 2014

November 8th, 2014: The city prepares for Sunday's event commemorating the fall of the wall.

November 9th, 2014: The crowd gathers on Heinrich-Heine-Strasse in anticipation of the balloon event.

  

  

More beautiful than the actual moment of the balloons' release were all of the laughter, tears, and reminiscences shared as everyone waited.

Finally, after 30 minutes of anticipation, excitement swept the crowd, a sea of cameras emerged, and a group on the corner spontaneously burst into song.

Up, up, and away they go!

 

November 09, 2014

   

   

Lichtgrenze, Berlin, 7.11.2014

Berlin has an amazing installation up this weekend celebrating the fall of the wall 25 years ago. Based on a concept by Christopher Bauder and Marc Bauder, 8,000 luminous white balloons trace the old path of the wall, winding from Bornholmer Strasse through the heart of the city, and ending at Oberbaumbrücke. It's a stunning and emotional tribute to all of the lives affected by the imposed separation of the wall. The Lichtgrenze is punctuated with 100 wall stories, a series of panels containing powerful accounts of Berlin's divided past.