Litfaß 28 (Diptych)

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“I’m not interested in the texture of the rock, or that it is a rock, but in the mass of it, and its shadow.” Ellsworth Kelly

What could abstract photography be about? I think we might get an idea when we borrow terms from music: Abstract photos, for me, should be about composition, about tonality and colours, about harmony and disharmony, measure and rhythm… and pauses. It is about organizing noise.

That’s what I am looking for in an abstract photo, and trying to accomplish. The ripped-off posters above come close to the idea. Ironically enough, abstract as they may be, they might also be more documentary than most of my other pictures.

This is my second contribution for Paleica’s 12 Magische Mottos, this month’s magic word being abstraction.

Wintry Abstractions

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Paleica continues her monthly photo challenge series 12 Magische Mottos. This month’s magic word is abstraction. Please check it out – there is some really great photography on display.

I’d had in mind to try my hand at abstract nature photos for a change. Last weekend’s snow invited an attempt to go abstract with ‘out of the camera’ pictures. I did not even do anything about the colours because I was fascinated by the fact that the ‘white’ snow never looked quite the same: That day, the sky shifted rapidly from cloudy to blindingly sunny.

Andrea Palladio: Tracing the Past

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Andrea Palladio had is own ideas about good architecture, and not only did he publish them in his Qvattro Libri Dell’Architettvra, but he also built wonderful villas and palaces.

My interest in Palladio began with a fascination by his villas, but I soon discovered he must have been a very interesting person. He studied antique buildings – his Qvattro Libri feature the Maison Carrée at Nîmes, for example – and tried to establish a theory of architecture which he promoted in his books, along with his own projects.

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The pictures I chose for this post mostly feature the Palazzo della Ragione in Vicenza – basically a town hall. In his Third Book, Palladio suggests to call this kind of building Basilica, since it fulfilled the function of an ancient Roman basilica. He then considers the architectural differences between ancient and modern basilicas; there are, he relays, quite beautiful basilicas in Padova and Brescia…

Yet another one is in Vicenza; I have included the designs of this one alone because the porticoes around it were devised by me and because I have no doubt at all that this building can be compared to antique structures and included amongst the greatest and most beautiful buildings built since antiquiy, both for its size and its ornaments. (Andrea Palladio, The Four Books on Architecture. Translated by Robert Tavernor and Richard Schofield. Cambridge, London: MIT Press, 2002. p. 203)

Et un’altra uen è in Vicenza, della quale solamente ho posto i disegni, perche i portichi, ch’ella hà d’intorno, sono di mia inuentione:  e perche non dubito che questa fabrica non possa esser comparata à gli edificij antichi; & annouerata tra le maggiori, e le più belle fabriche, che siano state fatte da gli antichi in quà, si per la grandezza, e per gli ornamenti suoi (I Qvattro Libri Dell’Architettvra, p. 41)

I, too, post a disegno*, because for me the designs are as intriguing as the buildings themselves. | *Source: Andrea Palladio, I Qvattro Libri Dell’Architettvra: Ne’ quali, dopo vn breue trattato de’ cinque ordini, [e] di quelli auertimenti, che sono piu necessarij nel fabricare; Si Tratta Delle Case Private, delle Vie, dei Ponti, delle Piazze, dei Xisti, et de’ Tempij — Venezia 1581. Digitalization by Universtätsbibliothek Heidelberg.

This is my contribution for Paleica’s Magic Motto: Tracing the Past / Auf den Spuren von Geschichte und Vergangenheit.

Magical Minimalism

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Magical Minimalism is this month’s theme at Paleica’s. When I described my understanding of Minimalism before, I said that minimal music can be quite hypnotic. So adding ‘magical’ is right to the point here. I also wondered if part of the effect of minimalism might be caused by the notion of not really being too sure of what you hear… Well maybe this also works with these pictures, in a visual way, in a way.

Minimalism

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In her monthly photo challenge, Paleica suggests we show some Magical Minimalism. Setting aside the magic, what’s minimalism? People knowing my pictures may be surprised I ask this  – but I am not a Minimalist. It is true that I often make use of a somewhat minimalistic approach to show what I have in mind: Minimalism always was a means for me, not an end…

I enjoy listening to minimal music, so let me focus on that. It can be highly hypnotic, and some of my favourite pieces – like Louis Andriessen’s Hoketus – make you wonder what you really hear. Hoketus is played by two small groups of musicians. Both groups play highly repetitive patterns – there are not even really melodies during the first few minutes. But as you keep listening to both ‘sides’, melodies seem to evolve.

It takes all the concentration you can muster to actually hear what the respective groups of play… I think Hoketus points to the basic elements of music such as pitch, timbre, and rhythm.

Without having done any reading on the topic, I would like to try and induce what Minimalism for the sake of Minimalism might be: A specific attempt to highlight (and question) the material or elements  used in the art work.

Now the first ‘element’ that comes to mind when we talk about photography is light. Here’s what I found when I tried to work my way from this starting point.

Here is an article on Minimalism I read after writing these lines. It is in German – but it seems to confirm some of my thoughts (for example, about materiality), so I thought I’d link to it for those of my readers who speak German.

Same Same But Different: Construction Sites

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I’m carryin‘ most of the time and on some occasions I just have to draw. Walking past a construction site is one those occasions. Wrapped buildings, torn floors and the incidental pile of rubble quite fascinate me. That’s maybe because you not see these things every day, or because you know they will disappear as suddenly as they appeared… Fleeting architecture, built to not last, a concept somewhat contradictory to what you usually learn about buildings. | A contribution for Paleica’s Magic Mottos.

Pattern Recognition

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Here’s a contribution for Paleica’s Magic Mottos. This month, it is Blüten und Blätter (blossoms and leaves), and I felt like trying to come up with as many interpretations as I could. I began with focusing on nature’s abundance. Then I realized that many of the resulting pictures resembled patterns … or floral decorations that seem to be ubiquitous.

Ein Beitrag für Paleicas Magische Mottos. Dieses Mal waren es Blüten und Blätter, und ich habe versucht, so viele Interpretationen wie möglich zu finden. Es begann mit einem Blick auf Überfluss und Fülle der Natur. Dann fiel mir auf, dass die Bilder an Muster erinnern … an florale Dekorationen, wie man sie überall findet.

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Formen & Figuren

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DSC04365-tk+This the fifth and last post in which I share pictures inspired by Paleica’s Magic Mottos. Formen und Figuren were in focus (no translation needed here, I think). Paleica mentioned geometrical forms among other things, which triggered it for me: I hope my contributions show that once you found a good topic, the pictures seem to multiply on their own account: You only have to know what you are looking for.

Dot City

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Paleica at episoden.film gives photographers a month to come up with responses to her challenges, which is nice to begin with. In January and February I used the time to photograph and select, and came up with a retrospective by the end of the month. Today I see it differently. I photographed Formen & Figuren (shapes and figures), trying things out. I intend to share them over the month so we can see what develops (if anything develops at all).

Litfaß 13 . A Letter From Wiesbaden

DSC03667-d03k…or letters, maybe. | Without further ado, let me point to a great photo challenge by Austrian blogger Paleica: She will offer twelve magic mottos throughout this year, giving everybody ample time to come up with something. The challenge will be in German – but there’s always the dictionary. This month’s theme is Schilder und Schriften – and it is a bit hard to translate: I hope that ‘sign boards and fonts’ should cover it.