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  • DAYTIME ST. PAULI

    IN CONVERSATION WITH MIRKO KARSCH From the point of view of Berlin photographer Mirko Karsch, street photography is a contribution to the debate on the documentation of contemporary forms of life in the psychological, ecological and architectural sense. The urban city is both a stage and an object of social conflict, and ultimately a result of social processes. Mirko gained his first photographic experience in New York City in the 1990s. It wasn't until much later that he realised that he had been doing street photography intuitively. Since then, his approach has remained the same, looking deep and finding interest in the everyday. Lucky enough to photograph regionally and worldwide, Mirko observes and see the potential in whatever has been put in front of him. Hello Mirko, tell us a little bit about yourself. How does where you are from influence your work? I originally come from Hamburg and grew up there sheltered. That was quickly too narrow for me and was the reason why I looked for things that deviated from what I found at home. Later I moved to Frankfurt and Madrid. Since a few years I live in Berlin. So I've been around a lot in Europe. The interest in new and different things, is of course also reflected in the photography. I like to try out new things. What drew you to photography? What was that moment that you decided to pick up a camera? Talk to us about your photographic experience in New York in the 1990s and how that mapped your photographic journey to who you are today. I got my first camera as a confirmation gift. I think a camera was a kind of status symbol back then, like a cell phone is today. I took my first serious photos in New York without giving it much thought. I simply photographed what I liked in automatic mode. That was film photography, of course, and it wasn't until much later in Hamburg that I realized that I liked both the pictures and the style incredibly well. And so I began to consciously pursue street photography. Introduce your series "St. Pauli during the day" to us. This series focuses on the district St. Pauli in Hamburg, Germany. St. Pauli is incredibly multifaceted and is especially known for its nightlife. You can find here an immense number of bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs. But St. Pauli is also known for its red light district and there are problems with violent disputes from time to time. The district is also interesting because it is located directly on one of the largest seaports in the world, and this fact still characterises what St. Pauli is today. But what does it look like during the day when the night owls have disappeared? Are the pubs empty then? Who lives in St.Pauli? What does the true soul of the district look like? Sometimes life in St. Pauli seems like a cycle to me: In the evening the tourists come, at night the Hamburg nighthawks, and when the trash is pushed aside in the morning, the neighborhood belongs to its residents again until the next evening. Since the 90s, I have been on the streets of St. Pauli again and again. Deviating from the usual customs, I liked to stay here even during the day. Looking back, I'm not sure it was wise to spend so much time in pinball arcades, but this place has an inexplicable attraction for me. Endless possibilities - even during the day. The people I meet during the day, young and old, have an alternative lifestyle, others seem to have none at all. There are pubs and bars that never seemed to close. Some play hard techno sound, others shanties. In the Summer there are open-air festivals and art projects. There is a huge event area here where folk fairs take place and a large soccer stadium for a professional team is located right next door. And above all this watches a bunker from the Second World War. But this is also where normal life takes place. Children are taken to school, postmen deliver the mail, suppliers deliver to pubs and the laundry is washed in laundromats. St. Pauli is also home to two churches, who care about the well-being of the people of St. Pauli. St. Joseph-Kirche is located in one of the noisiest and wildest streets of the district, which represents a bizarre contrast. The other church, St. Pauli Kirche, is located between the entertainment district and the port. The park-like property is open to all residents. They like to use it - even just to play a game of ball and enjoy a cold beer. How much change is healthy? Of course, gentrification has not stopped at St. Pauli and many cherished things have disappeared. In order to understand this, you have to know that historically St. Pauli was a part of the city where mainly the working class and low-income groups settled. This is still noticeable today, but due to the aforementioned displacement through gentrification, fewer and fewer of the resident population can afford to live in St. Pauli. But the changes on st. Pauli also show themselves in other ways. The local beer "Astra" is no longer brewed here and the commercial sprees seem to be scaling ever new heights, especially in the evenings. On the other hand, people were already grumbling about the new entertainment formats in the 90s. Change is part of the big city. Not only in Hamburg. And the fact that a district is developing is not necessarily negative. An example of this is the public park "Park Fiction", where young people especially like to spend their free time. Here is played a lot of basketball or it is the lawn just enjoy the view of the harbour. What has remained are many beautiful things, such as the harbor panorama, which I will probably never get tired of. St. Pauli is still the place that attracts many young people. New things are constantly being created. The district never seems to sleep. It is a lot of fun to stroll through St. Pauli during the day. Everything is unstressed and the observations are quite different than at night. How and why did this project first manifest for you? What was the inspiration? I have known St. Pauli since the 90s and have always been attracted to the district. Even then I was often on the road during the day in St. Pauli and was fascinated by the people who live and work there and the many opportunities they have. I don't think many people understand that St. Pauli is of course also a completely normal place where children go to school, people buy bread and the churches invite people to prayer on Sundays. In addition, I was naturally interested in the contrasts with the "night shift". Actually, St. Pauli exists twice. It wasn't until much later that I came up with the idea of documenting everything photographically. Talk to us about your method of working and experimentation during the project. What was a daily itinerary for you? Is the project ongoing? I know St. Pauli very well, but I did research beforehand and looked for spots that I found relevant and interesting. Otherwise, I was the typical flaneur, wandering the streets looking for suitable locations. I plan to keep this project going for a while, as I am sure that St. Pauli has much more to offer. There is no final date. Finally, what do you want people to take away from this project? What do you want them to be asking themselves or to think about? I would like to encourage people to observe things a little more intensively and to look behind the scenes. It is also incredibly important to talk to the local people. So doors open and you get a feeling for the people and their way of thinking and living. What is it that you love most about street photography? Street photography is diverse and has more to offer than the decisive moment. It has a documentary character about it and shows everyday life. Street photos preserve the present for future generations. In that sense, street photos have a lot in common with wine: they get better and better over the years. Do you have any favourite artists or photographers you would like to share with us, and the reason for their significance? I consider Harvey Stein to be an excellent photographer. I find his long-term series, which span up to 50 years, very inspiring. Ian Howorth is in my eyes an excellent exponent of the cinematic photography genre. Finally, I appreciate Alec Soth for his great documentary work. If you could just choose one photographer to shoot alongside for a day...who would you choose? And why? I would love to spend a day with Alec Soth. He has published excellent photography books in the last few years and I really appreciate his photographic style. I am sure I can learn a lot from him. What was the first camera you ever held in your hand, brought to eye, and released a shutter on? What is the camera you use now? Does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? What is on your wishlist? My first camera was the Yashica AF 200 and I'm glad I still have it and use it from time to time. It's amazing how much image quality is in such old cameras. Nowadays I mainly use the Nikon D7500 as an all-round camera and the Lumix LX100 II for street photography. The Nikon allows me to use all angles thanks to the F-mount. In addition, the image resolutions are excellent even at night. With the Lumix, I can go where I would stand out or be disturbed with the big Nikon. Since I'm completely satisfied, I'm not planning a new purchase at the moment. What are some of your goals as a photographer? What direction do you think you will take your photography? Where do you hope to see yourself in five years? I have noticed that I am moving more and more away from pure street photography towards documentary photography. This fits very well with my next project: A documentary about the Berlin skateboard scene. Maybe there will be an exhibition in 5 years (or sooner). “When I am not out photographing, I (like to)… Spend time with the kids. And skateboarding of course!” Thank you Mirko! All photographs © Mirko Karsch

  • THE OUTSKIRTS

    GRIEF OF A MEGACITY Photography and words by Ahsanul Haque Fahim This series is based on Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. In this series, I tried to represent the effects of urbanisation on the outskirts of Dhaka city, in order for its expansion of the city. Dhaka city, a home for over 20 millions habitants is also the financial centre of Bangladesh. Regarded as one of the most densely populated cities in the world, thousands of people from across the country, regardless of all class and age come to the city every day in a quest for better jobs and education hence, for a better opportunity and a better lifestyle. Everyone wants its fair share of Dhaka city. This constant wave of incoming migration is making the city suffocate...a city already out of capacity to house anymore migration. To cope with the excess population, the urban planners suggested a guideline to expand the city on the outskirts. The city corporation accepted the guidelines and deployed the measurements in action. Flyovers are constructed for seamless transport transmission. The metro rail service has been added to the public transportation system. New route for metro rail has been under construction. With the city dimension expansion already in action, the city's outskirts are already in transformation of becoming too urbanised. Vast green fields are now occupied by piles of concrete and clear sand. The green has become pale. The natives are moving away, some are displaced in order to grant the expansion. Sold their lands to the city corporation. Their livelihood has perished, the habitants have disappeared into the flow of development. Once those pale green fields used to be full of native children, now only left to be wailed. This formidable city is swallowing everything in its coming path. Ahsanul Haque Fahim is a passionate photographer from Bangladesh whose enthusiasm for photography began as a hobby and eventually led to studies at ‘Pathshala South Asian Media Institution’ in 2021. Fahim continues photography by developing personal projects while finding special interest in portraiture, street photography, and spatial landscapes of people in their natural environments in his home and community in Bangladesh. Fahim believes that the world and especially his environment has the ability to adjust and adapt to the changes we are facing as a direct effect from our negligence and mistreatment of what ‘Mother Nature’ bounties us with. Fahim looks to the simplicities in his community for inspiration. He finds beauty in everything his neighborhood offers him. All photography © Ahsanul Haque Fahim

  • WONDERLAND

    Photography and Story by Karen Ghostlaw Pomarico Karen Ghostlaw Pomarico is a visual storyteller that engages photography and her camera to depict the pages in her book of life. She is a multifaceted and multidisciplinary artist that uses her camera as a catalyst to describe the world around her in unique ways. She thinks about her photograph as an idea through the viewfinder, and an image in the editorial process. Karen is an Editor here at The Pictorial List and enjoys working with other photographers, helping them tell their stories, and finding inspiration in other photographer’s work and their processes. An awarded and published international photographer, Karen engages many environments globally to tell her stories. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and she loves collaborating on new projects and expanding her knowledge and understanding of the world around her and her place in it. Karen began an exploration in self portraiture and reflectivity over 14 years ago. This began as an exploration to find herself, and an investigation into who she was. Karen had committed her creative energies over the years to homeschooling her four children through high school, and began to address herself as an individual as the children became more independent in their studies. Karen shares with us some of her most recent self portraiture work coming out of the pandemic. She has found self portraiture to be a safe and familiar place during the isolating times of the pandemic. Karen shares a selection of images that will be included in one of her two large photographic mixed media installations, exhibiting in Paris in November. The global pandemic has brought humanity on an unexpected journey. Isolation and self contemplation became unavoidable. We have searched our souls and lived with our thoughts, and discovered new realities in the midst of the abstraction and surreal environment of the pandemic. I saw a future understanding of our individualities and strengths in our independence, moving from the unconscious to the conscious. This body of work takes the viewer on a visual excavation, like unearthed sarcophagi, their wiser and enlightened souls emerging. I ask the viewer to understand their weaknesses and commit to making them their strengths, weaving together the layers of the past and present, to create a new future. What began as a study in self portraiture, led to a fascination in reflectivity. I have examined a multitude of reflective surfaces to fully understand the refractive properties of light and how I could define these properties through my lens. I discovered many unique attributes that are magically expressed in these elusive spaces. The attributing colors of the photographs play a key role in how the reflective space is translated. Color provokes an emotional response, making personal connections to the images. Over the years I have developed a visual language to describe the reflective world I live in, translating what I see in my mind's eye, with the tool of my camera. The interpretations lead to a more thorough understanding, creating constant inspiration for new ways to express exactly what I see. Reflectivity has become my playground for insightful investigations, challenging my critical and creative thinking skills to rendure photographically the abstractions I see and help you perceive. Reflections have a depth of field, a real three dimensional space, and this is where I connect to my world. Like stepping through the looking glass, I step into the universe of reflection, my ‘Wonderland’. My stories often exist in the shadows, the darkness becoming the canvas for color and light. I see a ‘Wonderland’ of abstractions that can be defined in a multitude of ways. The definition of these abstractions is where the magic happens for me, evoking such questions as, what do I uncover, bring to light? What is the visual story that these details tell? Reflectivity inspires my creative and critical thinking, expanding my capabilities for creating complex images. I want my photography to inspire the viewer to look carefully, stimulating them to question what they see, asking them to make their own conclusions. The strongest connections we make in life are through having an authentic experience. I invite one to step through my looking glass with me, and experience ‘Wonderland’ for themselves. I encourage them to peel away the layers and uncover the magic that happens when they see new things they never would have imagined. I have become even more aware recently with reflectivity in standing water in urban environments. With global warming and the change in weather patterns, my exploration of the urban reflective landscape explores the industrial world and its changes due to the effects caused by man, while depicting these man made environments being reconstructed throughout the layers of reflection found in these waters. The surface of water reflects the environment around us. While currents of running waters rush through the estuaries of suburbia and the remote countryside, pedestrians move through the canyons of the urban landscapes. The ebb and flow create the abstractions and aberrations in the reflective surfaces. Whether it is a splash from a footstep in a puddle of the city, or fish swimming upstream in the wilderness, the layers of complexity are overlapped and transformed. Our world is round, front to back, top to bottom, side to side, we revolve and as we do we evolve. What an important time for us to reconnect with nature and to reflect on the natural elements in our world and the fragilities and intricacies we have to balance. It is a new age for discovery, when we turn the world upside down or inside out to see everything we have missed. The threads of the present are intertwined with the past, the woven tapestry changing as we change. Through my investigations I illuminate these changes to engage us to think and ultimately act in new ways. My latest work “Metropolis” examines details of the urban landscape in the abstracted chaotic layers of reflective surfaces found throughout a cityscape. They explore the friction, tension and energy of the city in the expanded dimension of space in time, the 4th dimension of reflectivity becomes the new reality. I don't change what you see, I change the way you perceive it, rediscovering a new world through investigating the old. Cities have an even greater variety of surfaces that create visual abstractions. Textures and colors unique to the urban environment, with the inherent movement that rapidly changes what can be witnessed in the reflected image. Like a symphony orchestra with many contributing factors, there is a tempo, a beat, with the shutter releasing at the height of the notes. Since the Pandemic the reflected urban landscape has changed. The vacant spaces now add a volume and depth of field creating dynamic juxtapositions and scale relationships. There can be a large sense of emptiness and solitude, or it can feel like rush hour and pure chaos. Light plays a key role in what you will see, as well as in what you don’t. There are many tricks that city reflections can play on you, sleight of eye you might say. I see challenges and change as inspiration, not as obstacles. I am always ready to engage in art and photography, and love to share and connect through my work, and through making meaningful lasting relationships along the way. I have found recent inspiration in collaborating on projects and contributing to something larger than myself. It is because of my in depth self exploration and experimental investigation in reflective photography, I have expanded the world I exist in to include and accept the influences of others, helping to develop new ideologies through a collective experience. I truly believe that creating new connections working in unity in collaboration is needed after the isolating times of the pandemic. It is more important now than ever before for us to create new important work as a society. Let’s open the doors of solitude, reconnect to humanity, and create a new renaissance coming out of the dark ages of the pandemic, stepping forward into the future together in a positive way. All photography © Karen Ghostlaw Pomarico

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  • ALEX FRAYNE

    INTERVIEW December 7, 2020 LANDSCAPES OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA IN CONVERSATION WITH ALEX FRAYNE Photography by Alex Frayne Interview by John St. Beginning with a 8mm camera in hand, South Australian photographic artist Alex Frayne has been involved in film and images from his earliest school days. He continued his passion for the medium throughout school and completed a Bachelor of Arts at Flinders University. He has made short films, a feature film (Modern Love) and his still photography work has earned acclaim, most notably the Adelaide Noir and Theatre of Life series and books. Images from this body of work are held in collections in Australia and overseas. In this interview, Alex shares with us some of his photographs from his new book 'Landscapes of South Australia' (Wakefield Press) that is due to be released very soon. This new book is a comprehensive photographic homage to his big and beautiful, timeless and daunting back yard. Alex's honest artistic approach to show the landscapes as not only ancient and massive, but dry with marginal farming opportunities and a kind of rusted beauty that speaks of resilience and the triumph of human spirit. "Frayne's eerily still urban landscapes have been likened in their classical framing and pervasive sense of strangeness in the familiar, to the work of Stanley Kubrick and Jeffrey Smart." - SIMON CATERSON, The Australian TPL: Tell us about yourself. How did you become interested in photography? AF: I think from the age of ten, I have had cameras around me. My mother bought me an 8mm movie camera in the early 90's and from there I moved into 35mm while studying filmmaking at Flinders University. Indeed my pedigree in film-making looms large in my photographic work, despite photography being my primary 'form'. Though born in the United Kingdom, (my Australian parents were studying there in the 70's) I have lived the majority of my life in South Australia and currently reside there. TPL: Tell us more about your project LANDSCAPES OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA. What was your motivation to make it a book? AF: The idea for a series dedicated to landscapes has its genesis in my early career in filmmaking. One of the assets of South Australia is the plethora of wide open landscapes of incredible diversity we have here. I had always intended to shoot the landscapes either as part of a film or as part of a photographic series. Having a rural upbringing also played a part; I saw the world around me and wanted to depict that world in a way that was artistic. To achieve that, I needed to suffuse the work in honesty and integrity. It meant that I needed to eschew all the notions and stereotypes that existed about landscape photography and South Australia. I needed to create a 'tabula rasa' so that the work could not be linked to pre-conceived notions of South Australia, or movies, or tourism or tropes that float about in my visual memory. This process of "erasure" is key to starting a new project, I feel. The new book LANDSCAPES OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA is a large, hardcover 216 page art tome which will be in shops for Christmas. I've been working on it this year with the designer Nick Phillips. Wakefield Press are publishing it, they've been very patient and loyal across this and my previous two books, 'Adelaide Noir' and 'Theatre of Life'. Michael Bollen is the boss at Wakefield Press, he works tirelessly at the helm. TPL: Your photographs tell a story and they have this special quality of light and richness of colour...all the quality of cinematography. Is storytelling actually a big part of your photography? AF: Yes colour and light and composition. These are the tools I use. Composition, specifically comes from my cinema heritage, as in the French phrase "mise-en-scene" which means "the arrangement within the frame" or the spatial geometry that exists within a frame. In terms of storytelling, yes, there is an element of that in photography, but I think it's not front-of-mind for me when shooting. For me, more important are notions of mood, tone, dreams, sadness, joy and revelation. People may ascribe a story to a photo, but that's their business. It will inevitably be different to my notion of the story. TPL: Where do you find your inspiration? And do you have a favourite place to shoot? AF: I love to shoot ghost towns or rust-belt places. I think Woomera and Tarcoola top the list here, because of the decay that is imbedded in the beautiful and remote areas where they are located. The juxtaposition of these 20th Century places set against the wilderness that eventually saw their demise is fascinating, photographically speaking. These places were all part of various "industries." Woomera was once a Space-Race outpost with cutting-edge technology and a rocket range. It was the place for the Anglo Australian cold-war rocket testing site. Tarcoola was a gold-rush town on the Trans-Continental Railway Line. Tarcoola is actually a proper ghost town - nobody lives there, as in NOBODY. It's difficult to reach, but rewarding, photographically because you are seeing how things are, how things were, and you're enveloped by an outback landscape that has existed forever. To the south, you're in the Gawler Ranges, on Barngala land, inhabited for 60,000 years, with trees like this one, standing there against time and space. TPL: Describe your style? Do you mainly focus on landscapes although I love your series "The Overseers of Street" where you shoot street portraiture. As a photographer sometimes you can get pigeonholed into a certain genre...what are your thoughts on this. What are some elements you always try to include in your photographs? AF: I think my style is free-flowing and improvised, a bit like jazz...It's unrestrained and unencumbered and low-tech. I shoot only analogue formats, my camera gear is probably worth less than 2 grand...but of course there are expenses in film stock and processing (but I develop my own black and whites.) I shoot 120 film and 35mm. So I create my own 'music' through my art, I really don't think too hard about genres and such...if my heart desires to shoot a street portrait series, I'll go and do it. My second book was a portrait book, 'Theatre of Life'. What I don't do is ask permission from anybody to do what I do. I don't sit around wondering what friends and colleagues or powers-that-be might think. That's not jazz, that's art by committee. Elements I include in my work are whatever elements are required to yield an emotional response; and that response is more important that format, sharpness, camera brand or film emulsion. TPL: Do you have any favourite artists or photographers you would like to share with us, and the reason for their significance? AF: My favourite artists are the ones you've probably never heard of. The grass roots artists. The community artists, the rural artists, the art teachers in public schools, the amateurs and the older artists who've had to work in a factory their whole life and who have kept doing their hobby art. These people often they write to me asking if they can paint an image of mine to improve their technique. As far as major artists of influence I'd include Steinbeck, Miles Davis, the guitarist Allan Holdsworth and the noir-fiction writer James Ellroy. TPL: Do you have a favourite quote or saying that especially resonates with you? AF: Being a jazz nut I can't help but quote the great Miles Davis, who once wrote: "The real music is the silence and all the notes are only framing this silence." I think this applies to photography. It relates to using space, negative space and keeping the frame uncluttered. TPL: What motivates you to take photographs? Do you ever have any struggles in photography? AF: It's the same struggle that confronts most artists and that is the struggle of perpetually having to create new work that gives voice to the ideas that are always percolating away underneath the surface. The motivator can be variety of things. It can be artistic, commercial or in the best case, both. The motivator can also be boredom. If that is the case, taking photos is a sure-fire remedy. TPL: Describe what you love or hate about the camera you use? Does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length? AF: I only shoot film, though have used digital for some night work. I shoot with three cameras: a Yashica 6x6 124g medium format camera; a 6x9 Fuji camera also in medium format; and I shoot a Nikon FE 35mm camera for everything else. I love all these cameras in different ways, they're all film cameras, and if handled properly yield images that produce sparkling, element images that digital can never reach. Film has an emotional undercurrent in the image, it just looks better to me. For monochrome I usually shoot Kodak Tri-x, and I develop at home in a HC110 developer. My favorite lens is the 4 element Tessar 80mm lens in my Yashica. Film can also have challenges. In a story that I've told many times, I once took my rangefinder Fuji 6x9 camera up to the Riverland. I shot what I considered to be my some of my best work. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to take the lens cap off - a mistake that can easily happen with rangefinder systems. A day later the lab called to tell me the developed slide film had "no density." That's a mistake you only make once. TPL: Have you ever been involved in the artistic world before photography? AF: Yes I've been around art since forever. I had great teachers all through school and Uni, and I am surrounded by great people in Adelaide in all the allied arts. Adelaide is the arts capital of Australia - my old Latin teacher would say..."quod erat demonstrandum," Adelaide is the Athens of the South. TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist? Where do you see yourself or hope to see yourself in five years? AF: I think a goal is to continue being curious about the world! Without that, there is no anchor. I'd like to continue collaborating with other artists as I do from time to time and to continue working on my aesthetics. I think the notion of aesthetics is really wound up in how you view the world, which is really about how you understand your own place in the universe. This could take five years or fifty! TPL: Are there any special future projects that you would like to let everyone know about? AF: Apart from the immediate project and book LANDSCAPES OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA, I am also working on a project with theatre director Catherine Fitzgerald, it's called called DRY, and it recently received major Commission Funding. It's a play, and features some of my images as projections. It's slated to tour in October 2021...definitely worth a look, Catherine's a top notch director. TPL: "When I am not out photographing, I (like to)… AF: I'm usually on a sand-belt golf course somewhere! I play golf off a handicap of 8...and if you think photography is a tough caper, try playing golf...it's an impossible sport." ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ VIEW ALEX'S PORTFOLIO FURTHER READING THE PROVINCIAL Conflicting emotions. Good and sad memories. Antonis Giakoumakis takes us on a very personal journey about his province. QUIRKYVISION Impertinent and humorous, Meryl Meisler plunges us into a captivating city and time, 1970s and 1980s New York, with her new exhibition. MELBOURNE UNMASKED Focusing exclusively on one city, AASPI's new book MELBOURNE UNMASKED presents a remarkable array of street photography that features some of Australia’s finest practitioners of the art. FILL THE FRAME The popularity of street photography is greater than ever. Fill the Frame follows eight contemporary New York City street photographers documenting their journeys up to now. SMALL HOURS Through the night to dawn the following morning, Philip Butler takes us on a photo tour of Malvern that the tourist board probably wouldn’t sanction. CITY OF IMAGES For the third year in a row, the small town of Baden near Vienna has become an outdoor photography gallery with the photo festival La Gacilly-Baden. OLD CUSTOMS Chris Suspect's new book combines visual references to Romanian fairy tales focusing on the ideas of freedom and youth tethered to history in the seaside town of Vama Veche. ISOLATION PORTRAITS Australian photographer Suzanne Phoenix captured intimate portraits in her hometown in the Yarra Valley during Victoria's Covid lockdowns.

  • JOSÉ LUIS BLACH LEYENDA

    INTERVIEW December 3, 2020 NETHERLANDS NOSTALGIA IN CONVERSATION WITH JOSÉ LUIS BLACH LEYENDA Photography by José Luis Blach Leyenda Interview by Melanie Meggs For José Luis Blach Leyenda, every small improvement in his photography is a win to him. José is an autodidact living in the Netherlands who only just started photography a few years ago when he picked up a camera seeking to capture the nostalgia of the streets and its architecture. "Life hasn’t no limitations, except the ones you make." TPL: Tell us about yourself. When did you start getting interested in photography? JLBL: I have a technical background and work in a Medical Device Company. My interests have always been on Architecture, Interior Design and History (Civilizations). Photography has always been there as a kind of nostalgia of the film days when my father shot on film. About four years ago I went to Japan Tokyo on vacation and bought myself an Olympus OMD EM5 with a 35mm and a telephoto lens 175mm to capture my summer vacation and was curious to experience it through photography. I was a little overwhelmed by Tokyo as a street photography city with all its lights and buzzing streets. I was shooting on full automatic because at that point hadn’t figured out the triangle of photography as well as metering and more technical stuff that I wasn’t at that point much familiar. TPL: Where do you find your inspiration? JLBL: From interior magazines, architecture buildings, museums and by watching the streets and absorbing all kind of fields. I have always been interested in art actually. TPL: Is there anything particular you want to express through your photography? And what are some of the elements you always try to include in your photographs? JLBL: I try to let the photography speak by itself or at least give an expression that characterize my photography. Let others judge... It can be a moment a spot or a subject passing by and frame it to make the overhaul an interesting perspective. Freeze the moment! TPL: Are there any books that you have read that have inspired your creativity and that you would like to recommend to us? JLBL: I live at The Hague in the Netherlands and visit several times the Escher Museum and read the Escher journals by the graphic Dutch artist. TPL: Do you prefer to photograph alone or with friends? JLBL: Prefer to shoot alone and concentrate on the street commuters and random people that I find interesting or shooting architecture and trying to find lights and shadows that can add more to it. TPL: Who are your favourite artists and photographers? JLBL: Fan Ho has an amazing style of shooting and I casually got his name from a YouTube channel about photography and Hong Kong that I was following. TPL: Where is your favourite place to photograph? JLBL: Rotterdam because of its modern architecture...London City for its small streets and alleys against high buildings, the Brutalism buildings and the vibe on the streets...Berlin with its mix of modern and old buildings, museums and also the mixture of pop culture and people...Oporto because of its modern mixed with old...Santiago de Compostela in Spain especially the impressive Gaia’s Center Museum, an architecture masterpiece of multiple buildings and granite shapes on top of Mt. Gaia. By the way, an architecture photography must see. TPL: How does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length? JLBL: A few years I wanted to change my Olympus OMD and decided after watching reviews on the Fujifilm X system and was quite excited about its handling with the dedicated buttons and the sensor of the X Pro 1 and the well known film simulations. It's a tool but actually I like the handling very much . I started with a 23mm f2.0 and tried to frame a story and then switched to a 58mm Optic Meyer new lens with a vintage look for street . Now I have a telephoto R mount lens 135mm with an adapter to try minimalistic architecture and experience something different and have another perspective of shooting . TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist? Where do you see yourself or hope to see yourself in five years? JLBL: Improve my skills and find consistency on my work and try to see photography from different angles and perspectives. TPL: “When I am not out photographing, I (like to)… JLBL: Like to read biographies and also about Ancient Rome civilization as visit museums and archeological sites if I am on a short vacations." ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ VIEW JOSÉ'S PORTFOLIO FURTHER READING THE PROVINCIAL Conflicting emotions. Good and sad memories. Antonis Giakoumakis takes us on a very personal journey about his province. QUIRKYVISION Impertinent and humorous, Meryl Meisler plunges us into a captivating city and time, 1970s and 1980s New York, with her new exhibition. MELBOURNE UNMASKED Focusing exclusively on one city, AASPI's new book MELBOURNE UNMASKED presents a remarkable array of street photography that features some of Australia’s finest practitioners of the art. FILL THE FRAME The popularity of street photography is greater than ever. Fill the Frame follows eight contemporary New York City street photographers documenting their journeys up to now. SMALL HOURS Through the night to dawn the following morning, Philip Butler takes us on a photo tour of Malvern that the tourist board probably wouldn’t sanction. CITY OF IMAGES For the third year in a row, the small town of Baden near Vienna has become an outdoor photography gallery with the photo festival La Gacilly-Baden. OLD CUSTOMS Chris Suspect's new book combines visual references to Romanian fairy tales focusing on the ideas of freedom and youth tethered to history in the seaside town of Vama Veche. ISOLATION PORTRAITS Australian photographer Suzanne Phoenix captured intimate portraits in her hometown in the Yarra Valley during Victoria's Covid lockdowns.

  • ADESH GAUR

    INTERVIEW November 30, 2020 NEW NORMAL IN CONVERSATION WITH ADESH GAUR Photography by Adesh Gaur Interview by Melanie Meggs Adesh Gaur is a documentary and fine art photographer currently based in Uttar Pradesh. The principal motivation behind his photographs is a focus on humanist issues combined with strong visual storytelling. What started as a passion for photography in 2018, has turned into Adesh's full time profession. "Photography, to me, is the dewdrop that reflects my inner and outer worlds simultaneously." - RAGHUBIR SINGH TPL: Talk to us about your series of photographs that you have shared with us? AG: As we all know, the whole world is struggling with a Coronavirus. It’s very difficult to live in a middle-class family. In this order I want to state and show you how the middle class people live in their own way, despite all these troubles these labors started go back to their own homes after working in Kanpur Cement Warehouse. I documented this series in Kanpur, India, post Lockdown. TPL: Where do you find your inspiration? AG: I am inspired by many and everywhere. TPL: Is there anything you want to express through your photography? AG: As we all know there's a story behind every picture and I love to share stories through my lens. The places attract me much where a good story can be made and sometimes I love to take portraits of those people whose eyes have a different shine from others. TPL: Do you prefer to photograph alone or with friends? AG: I shoot most often with friends, sometimes it's good if you are a beginner to learn from others. But I also love to shoot alone so I can focus. TPL: Who are your favourite artists and photographers? AG: Steve McCurry, Alan Schaller, Daniel Milnor, Raghu Rai and Raghubir Singh. TPL: Where is your favourite place to photograph? AG: Everywhere I can get a good documentary photo. TPL: How does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? AG: It's all about observation, but camera also matters. I love to shoot with my Canon camera. When I shoot portraits I love to use prime lenses and for wide shots I use 18-55mm lenses. TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about? AG: Yes it is about migrants labour. But because of the Coronavirus I haven't been able to get out of the house for the six months, but as soon as things return to normal, I'll get back and get better stories. TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist? Where do you see yourself or hope to see yourself in five years? AG: My goal is to become a photojournalist. In the coming five years I see myself as a better photographer who will be moving forward with many achievements. TPL: “When I am not out photographing, I (like to)… AG: Read, watch documentaries and travel." ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ VIEW ADESH'S PORTFOLIO FURTHER READING THE PROVINCIAL Conflicting emotions. Good and sad memories. Antonis Giakoumakis takes us on a very personal journey about his province. QUIRKYVISION Impertinent and humorous, Meryl Meisler plunges us into a captivating city and time, 1970s and 1980s New York, with her new exhibition. MELBOURNE UNMASKED Focusing exclusively on one city, AASPI's new book MELBOURNE UNMASKED presents a remarkable array of street photography that features some of Australia’s finest practitioners of the art. FILL THE FRAME The popularity of street photography is greater than ever. Fill the Frame follows eight contemporary New York City street photographers documenting their journeys up to now. SMALL HOURS Through the night to dawn the following morning, Philip Butler takes us on a photo tour of Malvern that the tourist board probably wouldn’t sanction. CITY OF IMAGES For the third year in a row, the small town of Baden near Vienna has become an outdoor photography gallery with the photo festival La Gacilly-Baden. OLD CUSTOMS Chris Suspect's new book combines visual references to Romanian fairy tales focusing on the ideas of freedom and youth tethered to history in the seaside town of Vama Veche. ISOLATION PORTRAITS Australian photographer Suzanne Phoenix captured intimate portraits in her hometown in the Yarra Valley during Victoria's Covid lockdowns.

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