A cherished tradition – creating a top ten
Ever since Martin Bailey has urged me to do it way back in 2014, creating a Top Ten list (aka as Best of) has become a cherished tradition. Every December, I like to look back at and reflect on my photography of the past year. Apart from reliving memorable moments, I find it interesting (not to say fascinating) to look back at completed (and sometimes ongoing) projects and find out which photographs stand the test of time and continue to stand out beyond the first excitement. Now that I have done it for a couple of years, I also find it very insightful to see how my photography has evolved seemingly on its own accord, without me making conscious decisions.
Looking back at 2019
2019 has been an interesting (and sometimes exciting) year for me. It has seen my first exhibition ever, which was a memorable experience, to say the least. But also in terms of my photography, I have definitely taken the next steps forward – albeit small ones. Changes which had already started to become apparent last year, have now become more evident. Zoo photography has become less and less important, giving way to landscape and architectural photography. This development shows in this year’s Top Ten collection. Only one animal portrait has made it into the final selection. It is a picture of a gorilla with a distinct repertoire of gestures.
It turns out that abstraction has become a constant factor in my work. Agreed, there is a certain amount of abstraction in every photograph, even more so in black&white photography. Apart from the gorilla portrait, however, there’s only one more image in this year’s selection, which is borderline representational. It shows a rower paddling his way into the distance. All the other pictures in this collection are more abstract.
Never before has my Top Ten collection consisted of so many abstract photographs. Alien shapes, illuminated by almost spiritual light, create settings that don’t appear to originate in the world we know. Water and clouds, magically softened by time, create images that seemingly have been taken in a realm where time is of no importance. Silhouettes obscure detail, which would otherwise provide context. Reflections distort reality and, in conjunction with semitransparency, create complex compositions which, in their apparent lack of an identifiable subject, are as mysterious as confusing.
In fact, this lack of an easily identifiable subject seems to be a constant common denominator in all of the abstract images here.
Images without a subject?
So, what does it mean if the photos lack a clearly visible subject? What was I actually photographing when I pressed that button and made my clicks in the software? The answer is – mood. These images here are not so much about what you can see in them, but how what you can see in them makes you feel. The best example of this may be “Fall,” the photograph of what the viewer might perceive as a branch with the slightly blurry silhouette of a leaf in the background. Both elements work together to create a dark and grey mood of evanescence with the leaf providing a seasonal reference, which is faint at best.
My top ten photographs of 2019
So, here are my personal favorites for 2019. They come in two administration forms: A movie slideshow and an image gallery.
And here’s the gallery. You’ll get the best viewing experience by clicking on one of them to bring up a larger view in an almost distraction-free lightbox. If you like the photographs as much as I do, you might be happy to hear that prints are available for each and every one of them.
What’s in the cards?
Who knows what’s in store for 2020? I have got a new camera, the Nikon Z6. I am looking forward to putting it through its paces at the zoo as soon as time and weather conditions permit. If all works out as intended and expected, animal portraiture will have a comeback next year. I plan to travel to the Canary Islands, where I’ll hopefully get the chance to explore a new kind of landscape. But I will also certainly explore the abstract opportunities which the wonderfully buttery bokeh of my new 50mm f/1.8 lens has to offer.
So here’s to 2020 with all its forthcoming triumphs and failures. Let’s make it the best year yet.
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