What a surprise yesterday to see that this image got into Flickr’s Explore. I had been banned from Explore for ages. Their mathematical analysis of my images has kept me outside the select few. So I was very pleased yesterday to see my photo of Berlin hit their pages. I am not like others who look down on Explore; no, I love it. It is fun, and the reason I do photography is to have fun.
And on the subject of fun, what can be more fun than standing on a crowded train platform taking photographs. This lovely girl even threw me a smile as I did it.
You cannot visit Berlin and not be overwhelmed by the sense of history of the city, and in particular the feeling of what if? Berlin must have been one of the most frightening places on the planet in the 1930s. There are museums, artwork and installations around the city which give you a little taste of the frantic fear that people must have felt. One of these is this misshaped concrete box with a small window. When you look in the small window you see a film playing showing two men in an embrace. There is passion, desire and love between the two. Then you read about how the nazis wanted to eradicate homosexuality; how they persecuted them. How men and women had to live in constant fear and so many were eventually sent to their death in concentration camps. It is very good that German acknowledges its past. We have to learn from this. But are we? Look at what is happening in Russia today? It is so scary. So terribly awful.
There is no homosexual love, no hetrosexual love; just love!
One more image from this series of blurred out passersby. It’s funny when I took these shots back in April, I remember feeling quite frustrated. It is a feeling I encounter a lot when out shooting. You cannot magic photographs. So many elements have to collide to create a good photograph when you are on the streets shooting. I have never been hunting, nor would I ever want to be, but I guess the sensations do have parallels. Your senses are alert and heightened. You are constantly scanning scenes, searching out a shot. You are ready. Shots appear, but may become obscured as soon as you see them. Your camera, with all its different settings, may be not be set up properly. It can drive you crazy.
The day, which was a combination of shopping and photographing, had been, thus far, frustrating. I had imagined the type of shots I wanted to get, but none of them were appearing for me. Then I found this boarded up shop which gave the backdrop and all I needed was passersby. Looking at the images on the small screen of the camera I felt they were just ok. I left them and only came back to them this week and on the big screen of the computer they look so different.
The iPhone image for today is all about putting the phun in iPhunography. I do not know why Apple does not run with that play on words. Photography is a hobby that is so much fun. We have iPhoneography and all it needs is a little mispronunciation (always fun to mispronounce things – so many new words come from that) and we get iPhunography. This shot is of a climbing wall. The atheltic woman on the wall is my sister in-law. I took a shot of this two years ago with my athletic father in-law and daughter climbing the wall. It is always so much easier to stand back and photograph than to jump up and climb.
There is no place I know of that engenders excitement in me* like airports. They are a true marvel of the modern world. In the space of a few short hours you can, almost magically, be transported from one side of the world to the other. How truly brilliant. And then there is wonder of seeing people from the four corners of the world all in transit if you are in a big airport like Amsterdam’s Schipol, for example.
In April of this year, I was in transit on my way to Nuremberg via Amsterdam. Inspired by a Flickr contact’s ( Mimo) recent images from an airport, I had the idea to get a low-down perspective shot of people on those travelators they have. You know the ones you step on to and you do not even have to take a step; you are just carried along. Standing on this travelator in Amsterdam’s Schipol airport, I was caught by the figure in front of me and how cool he looked travelling along this same travelator as I was on. I repositioned the bag I was carrying, so that it would not create an obstacle and got down on my knees, turned the iPhone upside, placed my finger on the button and snapped. Later, I ran it through Instagram and rotated. The result is a very low-down perspective. You can see more of these I posted on my iPhone Flickr account.
Funny how things can change. In August of last year, my good Flickr friend, Mark T Simmons asked me to do a feature of the photo I am most proud of for the excellent mobiography website and I chose this image. I still love that shot, but now a few months later, I would choose the shot below as my favourite for April. I love the feeling of losing control, of inevitability that the shot creates. Do you agree?
* To be honest, I must say that there is nothing to match the feeling of seeing the light appear through at the top of the steps from the tunnels of some of the very big GAA stadiums in Ireland. The wall of noise and sea of colour that meets you and the knowledge that in the next hour and half or so there will be a ferocious spectacle of skill and courage is unmatchable in terms of sheer excitement. Airports are a little more serene in comparison.
Some photographs we take have huge personal meaning. Ones when we look at it can catapult us in an instant back to when the shot was taken. The feeling of that moment hits us so intensely. Continuing in the series of my personal iPhone favourites I have chosen this shot of a corridor taken in the early morning. I can hear the squeak of our shoes on the lino floor as we walked the corridor. I can see our shadows appearing on the wall and then disappearing as we passed the windows.