Notes

Notizen zur Photographie – Notes about Photography

Zwei Tage in Syrisch – Kurdistan, November 2013

Dieser Gastbeitrag eines Kollegen bleibt auf ausdrücklichen Wunsch des Verfassers ohne Nennung seines Namens. Danke für Deinen Bericht!

»Am Anfang war die Kontaktaufnahme zu den Leuten, die mir eine Person vermitteln sollten, die mich über die Grenze nach Syrien bringt. Nach einigem Hin und Her stand der Termin fest, ein älterer Mann sollte mich gegen 22 Uhr an einem verabredeten Ort abholen. Natürlich war niemand zur verabredeten Zeit vor Ort. Anderthalb Stunden später standen zwei Jugendliche vor mir: Meine ganz persönlichen Menschenschmuggler. Leider erwiesen sich die Verhandlungen über den Preis als durchaus schwierig, da vorher kein Festpreis ausgemacht wurde. Die beiden Jungs sprachen aber offensichtlich nur Kurdisch und Türkisch; da ich auf jeden Fall nach Syrien wollte, blieb mir nichts anderes übrig, als die verlangten 200 Euro zu zahlen.

Wir fuhren mit einem Auto nah an die türkisch-syrische Grenze, dann stiegen einer der Jungs und ich aus. Ich nahm mein Gepäck, er seine Schmuggelware, der Wagen fuhr davon. Und los ging es über einen abgemähten Acker in Richtung Grenze. Mein Gepäck bestand aus einem grossen Rucksack und einer Reisetasche. Freundlicher Weise übernahm der junge Mann die Reisetasche und ich musste nur noch meinen Rucksack und seine Schmuggelware tragen. Immer noch genug, wenn man rund eine Stunde über den Acker latschen muss. Grenzzaun und Wachttürme in Sichtweite, hieß es gebückt laufen, na der ist gut: mit 20kg Rucksack gebückt laufen… ha ha selten so gelacht.
Zum Glück gab es ein paar Fahrrinnen und Absenkungen, aber die Dunkelheit in den Absenkungen wurde mir zum Verhängnis, denn so konnte ich fast nichts mehr sehen. Schon gar nicht, dass dort vereinzelt Stacheldraht gespannt war, zack, schon flog ich der Länge nach hin und die 20kg meines Rucksackes krachten auf meinem Rücken. Im ersten Moment dachte ich, das war’s.Irgendwas kaputt, aus und vorbei. Mein Begleiter half mir auf und ich stellte fest: Nichts passiert ausser ein paar Kratzern, ziemlich erschrocken haben wir uns beide.

Dann weiter zum Zaun. Hinlegen, die Order, plötzlich nicht mehr statische Scheinwerfer, nein bewegliche und das heißt: Da sitzt wirklich jemand, der uns finden will. Abwarten. Dann plötzlich auf und losrennen zum Zaun… haha… rennen. Am ersten Zaun mein erstes Entsetzen, der Zaun noch relativ gut intakt, nur ca. ein Meter hoher Stacheldraht. Das war noch leicht. Einige Meter weiter der zweite – ein richtiger Zaun mit 2,5 Meter hohem Stacheldraht, aber zum Glück schon ein Loch drin. Also durch und schon das nächste Malheur, der Zaun und meine Hose haben sich an mehreren Stellen ineinander verhakt. Zum Glück reisst meine Hose entzwei, einige Risse, Triangeln und ein paar Hautkratzer und dann war auch die Hürde genommen. Mit zerfetzter Hose ging es in eine Absenke zwischen Zaun und Bahnschienendamm, mein Begleiter checkte kurz die Lage und rannte schon mal über den Damm.

What a difference …

The Trees 02 ©2013 HeikeRost.com - All rights reserved.
To return to a favorite spot means to recognize what a difference a day makes…

The Trees  01 ©HeikeRost.com 06/2013 - All rights reserved.

Upper photo: ©HeikeRost.com 03.01.2014 – All rights reserved.
Lower photo: ©Heikerost.com 13.06.2013 – All rights reserved.

Image and View – Selections 8.11.2013

A touching story – directed by photojournalist Peter Van Agtmael: „If I can share my story and help somebody else…I don’t care if it’s a room of 100 or 1500…if one person out of that room changes their life for the better because of my story…oh my god…I gotta keep doing this.“ The film portrays Bobby Henlin, a war veteran, who suffered burns on more than a third of his body, when his Humvee hit an explosive device near Baghdad/Iraq.

„Healing Bobby“, a documentary by TIME magazine, premieres upcoming monday. Click to read more about the project.

Finds on the web: „Les yeux avides – Chroniques sur la photographie“, a French blog with essays and selected photographs. Written by Caroline Bénichou, it is a great source of inspiration for all who are interested in photography and photographic culture.

Blog „Les yeux avides“
Caroline Bénichou on Facebook

Weekend reads – on photography (5.11.2013)

Paris, Metro - ©HeikeRost.com 12.9.2013 - All rights reserved.

Some interesting reads about photography and photojournalism – it’s all about perspectives.

»A lot of photographers find that using fiction is being dishonest,” explains French photographer Samuel Bollendorff, a photojournalist and web documentary producer. “But then when you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have any avenues to express what you have to say – the press has been decimated, for example – you have to think about new narrative structures, which means you have to revolutionise the craft and look at other ways of telling your stories.«
Source: British Journal of Photography, »Stranger than fiction – should documentary photographers add fiction to reality?«

»Looking at a world where „image-making has become a form of communication nearly as banal, instinctive and pervasive as talking“, Ritchin asks: „Do we need – even more than we need photographers – metaphotographers who are capable of sorting through some of the billions of images now available, adding their own and contextualising all of them so they become more useful, more complex and more visible?“ In other words: „How does today’s image-maker create meaningful media?«
Source: British Journal of Photography, »Meta-narrative: Fred Richin on the future of photojournalism«

»“It is hard to drive a stake into something as fluid as the mantra of the image flood, but we really have to avoid its easy repetition if we are going to move understanding forward.“«
Source: David Campbell, »Abundant photographery: the misleading metaphor of the image flood«

Photo: ©HeikeRost.com 12.9.2013 – All rights reserved.

Notes: A Dash of Truffaut

At the bar. @HeikeRost.com 2013 - All rights reserved. A dreamy moment at the bar with a dash of Buñuel or Truffaut on the scenery… a whole entire story, a film in my mind, in love with photography.

©HeikeRost.com 16.8.2013 – All rights reserved.

Notes: The Stone Lady

The Stone Lady ©2013 HeikeRost.com - All rights reserved. First, there has been a soft shimmer between the shadows of the old trees at Leipzig cemetery. The unusual pale color caught my eye and attention, reason for my curious approach. And I stood for a while, sunken in thoughts and view … for this sculpture was more irritating, irresistible, passionate, confusing than I could imagine. It might have been the absence of all colors, which also fascinated me: notably – this is not a black and white photo! Made of sandstone, the beautiful lady seems lost in reveries, a lucid dream of a real person’s portrait. A moment of grace and calmness which reminded me of a poem I love:

»The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.«
– Ezra Pound –

©HeikeRost.com 28.8.2013 – All rights reserved.

Answers…

©2013 HeikeRost.com - All rights reserved.
Quote from an email I recently received: »May I ask you for any suggestions which equipment I should buy in order to make better photographs?«
Here’s my answer to the question: »See. Feel. Breathe. Enjoy arts, culture and life in general. And: Take photos. Each day. That’s it.«

I feel blessed and very grateful for having met so many very inspiring people, not matter if in real life or virtually – and the conversations with them, sharing with each other different views and perspectives, attitudes and thoughts, were, are and always will be a wonderful way to broaden my personal horizon. Yvel, my former teacher of portraiture at Lette, Berlin, belongs definitely to this long list of friends: Born and raised in Haiti, a French native speaker with a brillant mind and a warm hearted person; we enjoyed so many beautiful conversations with each other! From the beginning of my photographic education, he has been sure that my main topic would be portraiture. I haven’t been too convinced, when I started to work as a freelance photojournalist and photographer – to be honest, I completely refused his opinion.
But when looking back I have to admit: He was perfectly right. And when we met again some time ago, Yvel asked me to bring a body of my work – a portfolio of all kinds of photography I made, a selection of publications and books. He sat there, had a look to my work, silently sunken in thoughts. Then he suddenly stood up, hugged me and, with a warm smile and tears in his eyes, he gently said: »I knew it.« Could there be any greater appreciation of a photographer’s work than a moment like this?

A huge thank you, Yvel – for the gift of your friendship!

©HeikeRost.com 2011 – All rights reserved.

Echoes and Responses

Arles Conversation - ©HeikeRost.com 1990 - All rights reserved.A silent conversation in the deep shadows of the sun around noon at Arles, France. The photo came to my mind because I’ve just read a beautiful statement on Peter Turnley’s Facebook page: »…there are moments when the heart skips a beat with the click of the shutter, one’s world feels entirely captivated by the energy and marvel of a moment that touches the heart.«
I couldn’t agree more to these words – for there is definitely a delicate change of pace in a photographer’s heart in those moments. And I’m sure that this tiny difference in vibration and heartbeat resonates in a beautiful way: It echoes in the beholder’s heart. And always will.

»…and yes I said yes I will Yes« (James Joyce)
Arles Conversation ©HeikeRost.com 1990 – All rights reserved.

The charme of surprise in overcoming creative blocks

Tropical heat, thunderstorms – and stories which turn out to be no story at all« .- can be a very frustrating experience on assignment. Sometimes that ends up in serious creative blocks, which I tend to call „black holes in motivation“. The best way for me to overcome those moments is – to take a break, immediately. I consider it most important to focus on something completely different. Depending on schedule and situation, it doesn’t really matter if this change in perspective is just for taking a deep breath, for a few minutes, a coffee and maybe a cigarette – or  for half an hour.

The other day: After fixing some car problems, a complete switch of the schedule due to weather conditions and some urgent mails, a morning walk at Lake Constance has been my personal choice to start into work and load my batteries. On my way to complete the story with a few photos, I quickly grabbed my Leica and just two of my favorite lenses; no burden, neither literally spoken nor in the physical sens – just a comfortable minimum of equipment which allows works and doesn’t block the photographer. Annoyed, definitely not in my best mood, struggling with a heavy thunderstorm related headache, I slouched along the shore of the Lake.

Dorothy and Roland at Lake Constance - ©HeikeRost.com 7.8.2013 - All rights reserved. While strolling, I enjoyed the panoramic view of Lake Constance; the foggy air slightly started to clear off as the sky with the low clouds did. Suddenly sunshine – and a couple on a bench caught my attention. With a soft voice, they were talking to each other, leaning towards each other in a very tender way. As I approached, they looked up and smiled to me. A mutual, joyous »Good morning!«, I asked them whether they would mind that I’d take a photo of them, which was actually a start into a lovely conversation. And we found out something truly remarkable: we’ve already met, without taking any notice of each other. The evening before, we all sat at the same small pub, with a drink, and watched the arising thunderstorm, listening to the sounds of nature.

Dorothy and her husband Roland, married for 57 years, are on vacation at Lake Constance. I’ve been fascinated and very touched, either by their loving tenderness towards each other and the couple’s admirable youthfulness in thoughts, humor and attitude. We spent around half an hour in a deeply inspiring conversation; about the beauty of this morning moment, the light and its changes, about arts, literature and music. When I left to continue my work, Dorothy unexpectedly came back to music, obviously struck by a sudden idea. »You have to go to St. Stephan’s church at noon!“« she proposed, »They give a small concert with Johann Sebastian Bach’s beautiful organ music – I’m sure you’ll enjoy that very much!“ Wishing each other a splendid day, we left the place.

During our conversation, I didn’t mention that Bach belongs to my favorites in music. I often listen to his beautiful works, especially in times when I need concentration, try to focus on certain aspects of my work or start into writing. Still perplexed by the couple’s proposal, I went to St. Stephan’s at noon. Passed the entrance door, entered the nave – and there they sat, Dorothy and Roland, waving at me and inviting me to take a seat besides them. This time, we didn’t talk at all. But, with a smile on our faces, we enjoyed together the midday concert and its inspiration. Unnecessary to mention: the photo I took inside the church (of the couple, absorbed in thoughts and by Bach’s music) was exactly the photo I needed to complete my photo series.

The wonderful encounter with Dorothy, 81, and her husband Roland (87) has been a surprising, very intense lesson in overcoming a creative block. I feel very grateful for this moment which I consider a truly precious one. I don’t believe in blind chance, but in serendipity.