Spectrum

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True to my style I will try to do something new photographically on subsequent visits to a well explored location. While not technically a new technique for me, I decided to work on some infrared photography, particularly in the Hasselblad. It has been a while since I have done much infrared and even longer since I have done much in 120. And I believe I could count the number of rolls of infrared I had shot in 120 on one hand. So that was the direction I went in.

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On a related note, this will not be the last infrared you see from me this year but the odds are decent that the next images you see will be in full colour. But that is all the tease I am giving you for now.

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http://www.berndkugow.photos/

Flaws

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A thought to share today as I was reminded of this recently… it’s simple: don’t introduce your work by apologising for it. Put another way, don’t show your images and then tell everything that’s wrong with it. This happens a lot, and mostly with novice photographers who have not yet developed a level of comfort with the presentation of their photography with others. By pointing out the flaws in your image before your audience can point them out, I guess you maintain some sense of control over it. Or maybe it is harder to hear that criticism from others, so you deliver it yourself. Or our work is so deeply personal and we have a tendency to focus on our shortcomings. Also this doesn’t seem as pervasive in other art forms. I don’t think I have ever heard a painter, writer or sculptor telling everything they did wrong, or didn’t do right. There might be something to ponder there…

It is good to be able to look at your images and see how they could be better or different. In fact, the day you look at your photography and think the photos are perfect is the day you should panic. The trick though is to learn how to let your photographs be what they are, and to present them as such, and then to listen carefully to what others think they are. You take that feedback and weigh it against your initial assessment and see what you have at that point. It is not an easy process to learn… or maybe it is just not a short process to learn. Or both. But that is my advice and encouragement for today.

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http://www.berndkugow.photos/

Haunts Of Ancient Peace

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The goal isn’t the pictures… it isn’t even to make the pictures. The photographs just happen and are a by-product of what I am really doing.

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But what exactly is that? I don’t know that I can adequately explain it. I suppose in a certain sense my pictures tell that story, but I think sometimes the audience tends to fixate on the picture itself, the artefact or object, and not the underlying reasons for that image’s existence. I don’t think I share images because I want to share the image. In a weird way I don’t really care about the picture. It is far less important to me than why I made the picture, and I suppose that is what I try to share when I share images. It is also why I am never quite comfortable accepting praise regarding the images I make. I appreciate the thoughts behind it, but it feels like it either misses the point that was driving me, or subverts the meaning of what I was doing slightly. If that makes any sense. There is something deeply spiritual for me when I stand there in ancient woods. I can talk about it, or write about it (as these are natural things to want to do when something moves you on such a level) but one of the other forms of communication I am effective at is photography, so it is also natural for me to want to communicate via imagery. The photograph is just the vehicle. But if you were to linger a bit more on the spiritual aspect of it, I could comment that the photograph is an idol of sorts, and the worship of an idol versus that larger entity which the idol represents… Yes, I know, it is all a bit out there and weird to describe it this way, but at the moment they are the best words I have to describe something whose description has long eluded me. I am not critical of enjoying a photograph, but at the same time I am aware that there is something much better worth admiring above and beyond that photograph. At least that is how I feel when it comes to my photographs.

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These are the days, the time is now

There is no past, there’s only future

There’s only here, there’s only now

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http://www.berndkugow.photos/

Berlin Kino 400 or The Joy Of The Delay

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I tell people that I like film photography because I don’t feel the pressure to share the results immediately. I like taking my time. I also like thinking about what I am doing or have done. I love spending time with my images and as such that means sometimes they don’t get shared for weeks, months or years. These images are about three months old now. I just finished this first roll of Berlin Kino 400 Black and White Film. Developed in Adox FX-39 and then file it until I am ready. There are several advantages to this. I find that whenever I allow an image, or its idea, to matriculate naturally through my consciousness that the end result is always better. It is when I am in a hurry to share something, and therefore put less time into thinking about it and what it means or stands for, that the results are flatter. But another advantage is it allows me to draw out experiences like this. As my memory of the place matures and evolves or even degrades, the photos can come back in to fill in the gaps or liven of up the colours of the memory. But mostly I just like having the time to figure out my own images and settle on what their value to me is. And sometimes this does take a little while to do. But I also think, especially when social media is involved, it really helps to have that stuff figured out and answered before you put it out there in front of that wider audience.

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http://www.berndkugow.photos/

Standing In The Rainbow Rain

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This had actually been an image I had tried to make before.  My attention was caught by the curve of the treeline and the distance trail of light. It was one of those quiet kind of photos that I like to make. But it was a dark scene and on that particular outing my intuition in terms of exposure was off. The resulting image was too thin to use. I actually forgot about it pretty quickly. I have underexposed too many photos to remember. Overexposed too many as well. Heck, properly exposed even more, and far too many to recount. And that is how it goes. You make images, some turn out, some don’t. Sometimes you make mental notes and sometimes you don’t. I didn’t think much of it until a recent expedition saw me standing in the same spot. I had forgotten about this image til I looked through the trees and there it was… not like an old friend but more like someone you met once whose face you recognise even if their name eludes you immediately. So I went at it again, this time remembering that my initial attempt had suffered underexpose. So I took my gut instinct and doubled it, or something like that… intuition piled upon intuition. It was a tricky scene to estimate because the lake was so dark, but that is why I like film. It generally tends to cast a kinder eye on guess work or tricky scenes like this.

Anyway, I like the result. It captures a bit of that isolation and quiet solitude that one feels standing up here.

http://www.berndkugow.photos/

 

Beyond The Cool Waters

Just a simple image of the Woods bordering the cool waters of the lake at Saint Aignan. I got out there for a quick trip recently which was really just about the fresh air and stretching of legs. Of course, the scenery was beautiful… it is always beautiful out there. And those are the moments that photos like this get made. Images that aren’t trying to be any grand statement on art, but simple reflections of simple beauty.

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http://www.berndkugow.photos/

Quantum Gate

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Being a film photographer I move a bit slower and am more concerned with the nature of delayed rather than instant gratification. Also, this image happened to be the first exposure on the roll, meaning I had to make it through another 11 shots to finish this up and even see this exposure. The notion of first exposures is a worthwhile one to explore. A higher-than-normal percentage of my favourite images tend to be the first or last exposures on a roll because I tend to lend more weight to the making of those photos. For example, I typically don’t load an empty camera, or empty film back, until I have a picture to make. That means when a roll of film does get loaded it is because I have enough of a purpose in mind to motivate me to load film. And the film that gets loaded is being selected for the first image it will be used to make. Along those lines, when I get to the last frame I really try to make that last exposure count. There is no better way to wrap up a roll of film than with an image you are excited about. Another way of approaching this is to go out without any spare rolls of film. I did this on this outing with my two Hasselblad backs, one of which is dedicated to colour and the other to b&w. I opted to not take any extra rolls of colour film with me and that back was on exposure 10, meaning I had only three shots remaining for an entire excursion. It is limiting but scarcity can also place greater value. With only three shots, or by waiting on my first shot of the roll, or the last shot, I am placing a higher-than-normal value on those exposures and because I do so, I tend to enjoy a higher-than-normal success rate with those images.

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http://www.berndkugow.photos/

Berlin Trilogy

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On October 17th, 18th, and 19th, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of “Heroes”, and in collaboration with Arts Brookfield and WNYC’s New Sounds Live, Jonathan Meiburg, Emily Lee, Sadie Powers, Lucas Oswald, and Josh Halpern (Shearwater and Loma) were the nucleus of an all-star lineup performing Bowie’s entire “Berlin Trilogy” of albums  (1979’s Lodger, 1978’s “Heroes”, and 1977’s Low) at the magnificent Winter Garden Atrium at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan.

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Shearwater Manchester Nov 2012

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https://shearwater.bandcamp.com/album/shearwater-plays-bowies-berlin-trilogy-complete

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Boys keep swinging. Me in my Hometown 1978

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Heroes

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Sound and Vision Home 2019

http://www.berndkugow.photos/