Going Back

Lost in this world

I love to adventure and explore new places, but I can have a very dogged determination to re-visit  the same place again and again. It may seem my dual nature in this regard would be contradictory. Return to the same place or go someplace new? You cannot do both things, or can you? What I try to do is find at least one new opportunity everywhere I go, regardless of how often I have been there. In fact, I think I get more satisfaction from seeing new angles of familiar places than I do seeing new places. Seeing something new somewhere you have never been is easy, just open your eyes. But seeing something new somewhere you are used to visiting, that takes imagination, dedication, patience, perseverance and a re-arranging of certain photographic and philosophical priorities. Ultimately when I do find that new nook or corner or perspective it is incredibly rewarding. So I advocate fighting off or through creative paralysis, laying aside the belief that you will at some point make all the pictures of any location that are possible, of looking past the obvious and discovering what is hiding beyond. I am glad I do just that.

Llandanwg 2010 – 2016

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http://www.berndkugow.photos

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28th of November 2015 and a surprise of some magnitude unfolded in the cold November Rain . Susan’s children had previously not all been together in the same room for over 20 years. An idea was born, a plan was hatched and a surprise arranged for their mum. And all managed to show up. Coming from far and wide and travelling over Land and Sea as Susan was coaxed to the Malvern Hills Hotel under some pretence and the rest of the day as they say was history. A magical day filled with laughter, food, drink and tears of joy. A most memorable day.

And as I sit here in the warm June sunshine I think back to that day and how cold and grey it was, but nobody noticed it as everyone was filled with love, warmth and joy.

A bunch of people I am proud to be able to call my Family.

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Meet 13

Meet 14

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Four Legs

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Manchester 2011

Having grown up with dogs and having a passion for photography it was dogs who were my first subjects all those moons ago.

Today I am still fascinated by the relationship of man and dog. And through the years I have built up a collection of images all shot on old and expired film. I felt that this adds something to the image. And since I mostly shot with film it came easy.

Several cameras where used as were both 35mm and 120 film. As I travel around the place I find that the closeness of man and animal is the same wherever I may wander.

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                     Paris 2011

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Yorkshire 2012

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Manchester 2012

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Barmouth 2014

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Point to Point 2011

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Point to Point 2011

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Wales 2010

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Chartres 2011

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Paris 2011

Sam

Sam a long time ago

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The People are the Landscape

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The people are the landscape.

The people are the eyes and ears

Of mourning spaces

Forgotten places

With sounds of one hand clapping

Of landscapes that otherwise stand blind

Stand silent

Without eyes or tears

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In sweet delight and bright surprise.

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I have always had a feeling that people and landscapes need each other. Yes they surely work just by themselves, but when coming together something magical happens. Something spiritual.

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The landscape is so often reflected in the aura of the people when momentarily coaxed out of their comfort zone to be photographed.

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This landscape can be anywhere from large city to forgotten and desolate places to wide open spaces. I am always surprised how much more an image can give once people are included.

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I am not talking about candid street photography, or landscape or portrait photography, but the union of human and spaces to create a unique landscape. Wherever that may be.

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Something I enjoy doing.

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Rain

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Photographing in the rain, or for a better description, through the windshield of my car in the rain. I stumbled upon this way of making images by chance whilst sitting in a traffic jam watching the raindrops gravitating towards their final destination and distorting the world as they did so. I like it when the focus shifts within that frame and images drift in and out as they appear. I try to take great care in placing everything in the right place to make the photograph work.

Photographing people in the rain that are not there anymore and places passed through but never visited. Places where you sometimes end up, but don’t want to be in.

http://www.berndkugow.photos

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Time and Laughter

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It was either 1984 or ’85 when I exposed this piece of Ilford HP5 film with my Olympus XA. Summertime in Manchester and I had just arrived from my travels. I went into town to join in the fun of the carnival on a typical northern summer’s day. The little Olympus allowed me to get real close and although I had only just discovered the term street photography I enjoyed being among the people and recording life as it happens and as I saw it.

Who knows what the joke was, but those two appeared to have had a great time. Who knows where they were from, where they were going and what became of them. All I know is that this photograph, even today, makes me smile. This image lay in my negatives folder for all those years and I only recently scanned and archived most of them from that time.

Since I never willingly part with any photograph I have created, I surely will find some more treasures. And when a photograph could be the only evidence of a person’s existence on this planet I find it difficult to understand a scenario on how easily images are disposed of today, especially photographs of people. So thinking back to that summer of Blue Monday and Live Aid, the Hacienda, the Dutch Pancake House and the real community spirit that was so tangible in Manchester then, I am convinced those things played their part in making this city my second home and seeing this image from all those years ago transports me right back to that time. The power of imagination indeed gives you wings.

 

For a while now I have been dwelling on the concept of time in art. Several famous old masters took years to complete one painting. But photography is different than painting though, right? Or is it? Maybe the difference is not in photography but in our modern culture and in our perceived need to rush? To be the fastest, the best, the biggest, the strongest, the most popular and as the next image is already calling to be uploaded onto the worldwideweb, I cannot help but wonder if more of us would benefit from moving much, much slower. I know that I have slowed down, involuntary by getting older and voluntary by re-discovering pinhole photography for example, I have benefited a great deal from this change in pace. I see more and I experience more.

 

This is not a guarantee of success of course and I don’t think the fact that this image percolated along for all those years makes it a masterpiece of any type or another, but it survived and it is here to tell it’s tale of time and laughter to all those who care to look and listen without skimming past.

 

So as I enjoy this image once again and remember a time when things mattered, time had real value and when people mattered I can’t help but feel that today we are more alone than ever, but luckily there is a pill for almost anything.

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