This post is the second part of my blog post on my top ten photographs from 2017. I don’t only share the images but also some background info which you may find interesting or entertaining. Let’s dive in!
Deliberately Confusing #1
I took this photograph at the Paul-Löbe-House in Berlin. This is the place where all members of the German parliament have there offices and meeting rooms. It situated right next to the Reichstag building which houses among other things the plenary assembly room of the parliament. When I took the image in June, I had the idea of experimenting with a polarizer to find that thin line between transparency and reflectiveness of the glass. My goal was to make it difficult for the viewer to discern whether what he sees in the window is a reflection or actually behind the window inside the building while giving just enough information to lure him into trying.
Transparency is a core principle of every democracy which is why I find the idea of messing with the transparency of the window especially intriguing. Besides the visual treat it brings, it introduces a political statement into the image – if you know that the building is associated with the parliament.
Another photo which plays with reflections. This time though I didn’t use a polarizer. The glass itself provides just enough distortion to give the image a slightly surreal feel. Only window frames give the picture a solid foundation. The branches and leaves coming into the image are not distorted either, but they create an interesting juxtaposition of nature against humanmade elements.
The photograph itself doesn’t resolve this juxtaposition. The core questions remain unanswered which give the image its slightly mysterious and melancholic feel. At the same time, by not answering any questions the picture leaves a lot of space for the viewer to come to his own interpretations and feelings – if he or she is into such things. It is safe to say that the photograph is suggestive and not descriptive.
“Agony” This is a picture of a much larger sculpture which was created by sculptor Nandor Glid. I took it at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial. Glid wanted to show agony and death of those who died in the barbed wire fence of the concentration camp. Many prisoners committed suicide to escape the torture and agony of the camp life by touching the fence because they knew that approaching the fence meant to be shot without warning. I wrote an extensive blog post about my visit to the memorial with many photographs. This is a heavy topic, I know, but with right-wing populists being on the rise in so many countries nowadays, I think it is absolutely mandatory for everyone to deal with it.
As for this image, I didn’t design the sculpture and am not responsible for anything related to its expressiveness. This is the work of Nandor Glid. I can only claim credit for the photographic aspects of the image: the angle and framing, the long exposure and the black&white conversion.
This is (almost) another first. I have posted an alternative version of this photograph on FlickR. In this version, the image is much wider on the right with a dark hill more or less filling the right half of the landscape format frame. After revisiting the picture a few months later, I found the square crop much stronger as it accentuates the path itself instead of its setting or position in the landscape. The way leads the viewer into the distance over the hill. There is no knowing where it leads or what that small black thing is that can be seen in the distance. Again, it is up to the viewer to come up with answers and interpretations. Quite enigmatic, isn’t it?
Kite in the Sky
After the quite dark feel of the previous two photographs, this one ends this post with a slightly more positive flavor. It also plays with the same essential elements as the previous photo: A path leading over the hill, a vast open sky. However, the kite in the sky inspires an entirely different set of stories, at least in my mind. With the kite being so high in the sky, it brings up words like freedom, lightness, and easiness. Maybe it’s the easiness of childhood that’s hidden here between the lines. However, the kite and the lovely childhood memories are also entirely unreachable, a mere „fleeting glimpse.“ We are forced to remain grounded. „The child has grown, the feeling’s gone.“ (Did you get the quotes?)
Maybe this photograph is not quite as positive as I had thought. But again, you may come to your own interpretations.
Here’s to 2018
This is the end of my two-part blog post about my personal top ten photographs from 2017. If you have missed the first part, you can find it here. Also, check out the animated slideshow I put together here if you haven’t done so already.
In 2018, I plan to continue exploring abstract photography. In fact, there are a couple of ongoing projects which I plan to finish this year: A project about the Holocaust and also a macro project. But I also keep one foot on this side of reality and do animal portraiture again on a more regular basis. Stay tuned!