Archive for 35mm Summilux Asph

Waiting For Ty Segall’s Next Rocket From The Crypt

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on April 16, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux Asph, Berlin, April 1

Tulip Hospice: After The Frenzy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on April 15, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux Asph, 4X ND Filter

Tulip Frenzy’s Berlin Field Trip

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 7, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica M9, 50mm Summilux

The shadow of the past is everywhere in the new Berlin.  Right here, across the Spree from the reborn Reichstag, people died trying to swim to freedom.  While remembrance, admirably, is to be found throughout the city, perhaps the most interesting thing about Berlin in the 21st Century is how much it takes its sad and awful 20th history in stride, how much it has moved on.

The entire gang from Tulip Frenzy World Headquarters has long wished to return to the city of “Heroes,” of Achtung Baby, of Iggy singing “Nightclubbing/We’re nightclubbing/We’re what’s happening.”  We were here twice in the ’80s, passing through Checkpoint Charley from the vibrant West Berlin to the soot-stained, depressed East.  We’ve dearly wanted to stage a field trip here ever since.

Berlin and rock’n’roll are connected in ways that virtually no other non-English speaking cities ever have been.  For how marvelous it was that, the same year the Mekons released “Memphis, Egypt,” (“East Berlin/Can’t buy a thing/there’s nothing they can sell me/Walked through the wall/no pain at all/I’m born inside the belly of rock’n’roll”), that wall came down, and we could be heroes for more than one day.

What once was the center of the city, and then was locked away behind The Wall, is once again the center of the city.  The Brandenburg Gate is open enough for half-marathoners to pass through where once The Wall stood, before the admonishment to tear it down was, if not heeded, then simply overtaken by events.

Leica M9, 50mm Summilux

We tried to remember if that 1987 speech by President Reagan was on the same trip when he visited, because Helmut Kohl asked him to, the SS burial ground in Bitburg, giving rise to one of the Ramones’ best and least appreciated songs, “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg.”  This all was such a long time ago.

Different from when last we were here was the way the German government now directly addresses its past.  This photograph of disposessed Jews, expelled from the German Volk, is embedded in concrete on the sidewalk outside the building in which Goring once held forth:

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux

And in the Bebelplatz, where the books were burned, even in the shadow of one of the world’s great universities, there now is a thick pain of glass that allows light to emanate from an emptied library below.  Look carefully.  Click on the photograph to see the ghostly details.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux

At the Topography of Terrors, a modern museum that tells the story honestly about the horrors of Hitler’s machinery of murder, and on the very spot where Himmler and the other psychopathic gangsters planned their crimes, history is laid open. No punch is pulled.  Whether or not Germans visit it could not be told; most of the conversations we overheard were in English.  But it has been open for some years now…  Though our sense was that at the stunning Memorial To The Murdered Jews Of Europe, the visitors were as much German school children as tourists.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux

But on a sunny day — we actually had one — it’s a gorgeous city, and it exists in living color, not the black and white of news reels.  One walks around a city that has shrugged off most notions of division, and has punctuated what survived the war — and what survived the communists — with the post modernism and precise design sense of a rich and sophisticated city that weirdly has little in the way of contemporary airs.  It’s somewhat stunning to learn that Angela Merkel lives in a modest town house just across the street from the Museum Island, protected by a single policeman. But in the context of what Berlin — and Germany — is now, it makes perfect sense.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux

At night, on the east side of the Brandenburg Gate, where once guards stood with machine guns lest anyone try bolting for the West, there now is freedom to demonstrate, and in behalf of causes — the environment — that only rich countries pay attention to.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux

The Germans now take transparency almost to the level of fetish, but can you blame them?  After having been ruled by a criminal gang that brought destruction down on everyone, the most vulnerable in particular, until finally the rubble came down on the German people themselves — after 45 years of imprisonment behind a Curtain and 27 years behind a Wall — walking in the clear light of a normal country is an achievement, and one to admire.

Leica M9, 50mm Summilux

For more images of the new Berlin, go here.

Street Photography In Paris, And The Leica And Painterly Tradition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux Asph (with floating element)

There is a wonderful photographer and camera equipment reviewer named Sean Reid who, through his Reid Reviews, occasionally writes essays on photography.  One of the things his essays have made me realize is the relationship between street photography and painterly traditions that predate modern photography.  Maybe it was because we were in Paris that the photo above made me think of Renoir (a painter of whom I’m not particularly fond, but who did capture people in the act of enjoying life.)  When walking through the Luxembourg Gardens on a sunny Saturday afternoon, it’s hard not to think of the artists and photographers who have come before you.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux Asph

It was the great Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose foundation we’d visited earlier that day, that made us think in terms of “the decisive moment.”  Did we realize that the woman whose friend was taking her picture was actually looking at us take her picture that made us take this photo, at that moment?

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux

There are these days a great number of fantastic street photographers, many of them Leica photographers, who publish websites about their activities — Eric Kim, for example, or Yannick Delafoge, or the more location-specific Shoot Tokyo blog, which is run by an expat street photographer who captures Tokyo’s otherworldliness wonderfully — and a constant theme is how important it is to “let the picture come to you.”  I think that’s a little different approach to trying to find “le moment decisif,” but it’s clear that if you stay in a particular well-trafficked spot, the world will come your way.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux

There is a certain degree of discomfort, for someone who instinctively is polite, to capturing people who are strangers in the midst of their daily lives.  This is especially true for photographers who use wide angle lenses and need to be close to their subjects.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux

In order to take an interesting and spontaneous shot, sometimes you have to get over the idea that you are essentially spying.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux

It’s all worth it, if you can capture people in the act of being human.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux

And every once in a while, you hit the jackpot — the decisive moment.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux

For more images from The City Of Light, go here.

On The Return Of Spiritualized

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 11, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Royal Palace, Bangkok, Leica M8, 35mm Summilux

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