Weary Engine Blues

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As another year comes to a close there is just time for one more post. This was my first year of blogging. I enjoyed it and it gave me the freedom to put in print that, that has always been in my soul. So I thank you for stopping by however brief or however often. I hope that I managed to supply you with a little inspiration and insight on how I approach my photography. Thank you.

This has been a year of monumental loss. Not only in terms of the sheer talent, but also in terms of humanity that is no longer with us. Good people have left us, suddenly and unexpected. I shall not list them all, as we will all have our own association with those no longer visible. Travel on well friends.

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One of the real humans who have left us – brilliant, witty, contradictory, alert, exploratory, curious, elegant individual.

We are through the looking glass into a strange, frightening, reversed world. May we never abandoned hope and succeed in doing no harm. And since hope is the last to die, I can only hope that next year will be a whole lot more peaceful and much less heartache and suffering.

And we could do with more of this sort of thing please.

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I wish you all a year filled with peace, love and light.

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Goodbye 2016

http://www.berndkugow.photos/

Manifestations of the Spirit

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Another photographer who greatly influenced me is Minor White. One of my most treasured and inspirational photography books is “Manifestations of the Spirit” by said photographer, poet and unique human being. Not one of the more familiar names I guess, but very important to the world of photography. It’s high time to take a peek.

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His work though has struck a chord with me. The best way to describe it is, poetic. You don’t sit down and look at Minor’s photographs, you read their verse. For such, I am not going to post a link to any of his photography here. If you are interested do yourself the favour of not browsing it on-line where attention spans will not give it due justice. Get a book, sit down and read it. At this point, I can only recommend “Manifestations of the Spirit”, but even that one book is one of the more eloquent I have ever laid eyes on.

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Seeing his work made me realise that poetry or verse is what I have often wanted to see more of in my own photography. I am happy with how I photograph and my ability with a camera, but I am also constantly pushing and exploring, trying to identify what I can do better or even just differently. And I want to make images that are more lyrical. Not just story-telling, though that is an important aspect of it, but how that story is told, the choice of visual elements as words, how information is conveyed. No no no, not information, that is too cold a word, but the sharing of emotion, belief, feeling, etc.

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At the same time, the dissatisfaction I think I commonly feel with a lot of the photography I see out there today (a lot of it on social media sites) is that there is a large amount of info being communicated but little poetry being written. Many photos I see tell me when or where they were taken, but not who took them. They are rich in info but void of emotion. Some of my photography is guilty of this too.

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Which is one reason I was drawn to Minor’s work. It is also the reason I would encourage you to get out of the Flickr world now and again and into that much larger world of photography that surrounds it. And if you are a photographer and you have never heard of Minor White, let alone seen any of his photos, that’s OK too, now is a great time to change that.

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“Self-discovery though a camera? I am scared to look for fear

of discovering how shallow my Self is! I will persist however…

because the camera has its eye on the exterior world. The camera will lead

my constant introspection back into the world….”

http://www.berndkugow.photos/

The Last One

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It finally happened. My very last roll of Kodak Ektachrome. Discontinued over four years ago to make room for the ever expanding Digital Photography Universe. Kodak recommend to use Ektar 100. A fine film in its own right. But it is a negative film and very saturated. I use it, and I like it. But boy do I miss Kodachrome and I will also miss Ektachrome after this last roll is exposed.

Here are some Ektachrome memories:

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Progress I guess, but is it always a good thing……….

http://www.berndkugow.photos/

Come A Day

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Come a day, when these bones give way

Gonna hear my name and I will depart

Come that day, I won’t be afraid

I will rise from the flames like smoke and sparks

No more tears, the weight of years will disappear

On the day I embark

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Like a chimney swift, that soars and darts

My soul will be lifted like smoke and sparks

But it’s not goodbye, this urge to fly

When I take to the sky – with a song in my heart.

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http://www.berndkugow.photos/

We Are Not Old – We Are Retro

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Well maybe a little,…….but definitely retro. This is not a post about age or associated topics, but a little piece about my Rolleiflex.

I was asked recently to name my favourite Camera. That is an impossible question for me to answer. I would compare it to having to choose your favourite record, movie, book or painting. So I turned my answer around and said that my most treasured camera would be my Rolleiflex 2.8f.

Several reasons for this. The Rolleiflex I own is the same age as me, so there is some connection. But more importantly is the memory of the moment I first saw one, I wanted one and even more so since seeing images by Diane Arhus, Vivian Maier and especially Robert Doisneaus Book “Paris Les Halles Market”. I was hooked and wanted to photograph people with that Rolleiflex magic.Robert Doisneaus book about the last days of Les Halles Market is packed full of images that showcase the magic the Rolleiflex can bring to the moment when photographing people. I can highly recommend this publication. The camera somehow adds something I can only describe as another human dimension.

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I have discovered exactly the same as those esteemed photographers  before me when using this Camera. And after some trial and error in identifying the film/developer that would complement my photography, and this camera best, I settled on these three.

  • Ilford Pan F
  • Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to ISO 1600
  • Kodak Portra 800

All these images here were made with these three films.

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Thank you for stopping by.

http://www.berndkugow.photos/

The River

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Few people want to sit and contemplate at the edge of an uncared for River. I like to think of websites as Streams and Rivers, and I had a personal website, but it largely lay stagnant. I used it more as a static portfolio site and Flickr was more like my daily photographic journal. A significant amount of time was spent on Flickr, posting and writing. It was quite important to me as I am driven by a desire to share much of my philosophy on photography as well and up to a couple of years ago I was content to share that via Flickr. But those attitudes have shifted with time and we move on. Rust never sleeps.

So today you are standing at the water’s edge of a new born stream and for those of you reading this in December of 2016, you get to be witnesses to the first tentative trickles, the splashing and cascading of this new born stream of ideas and I greatly appreciate that. My new website and this related Blog will not be a haphazardly done activity, it will be alive and vital and it will slowly grow over time and take us places that I hope many can enjoy and benefit from. Along the roaming pathways you can expect to find many different things. There will be technical info: the cameras I have used and the films I have exposed and there will be philosophical musings. There has to be. So much of how I approach photography is philosophical and I think being mindful of how I think about photography has a great impact on how I do photography. There will be entries on photographic adventures and odysseys, hopefully not infrequently… and of course, there will be photographs themselves. I do not plan to cycle the galleries on the site often. They are intended to be the collections of images that mean the most to me. They will undoubtedly change but that change will be gradual. But secondary collections can and will show up over there too.

The nature of a blog means that communication is biased in one direction but there will be room for comments.
So thank you, for right now and for all future participation. Thank you to those who are stopping by for the first time. I look forward to what the future of this Rivers Journey brings and where it shall lead us to.

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http://www.berndkugow.photos/