Thursday 29 April 2010

scenes from a weekend

picked up two rolls from the lab today. and as always - some surprises, some good and some bad. good was seeing the tones of my first slide film. love it. it's so special.

then again, there's still so much to learn. there were rather a few pictures that were terribly overexposed (i guess it has to show somewhere that the lightmeter is not working, and in some light conditions my internal lightmeter seems to be way off). also, i've made an appointment to have my eyes checked. seriously. there are just too many pictures slightly out of focus.

anyhooo. i love the tones of the shots taken at the nordic bakery, where i've wanted to go for a long time. the interior, the coffee and their cakes are just wonderful, and meeting nice people there makes the whole thing even better.

a good start to a great weekend. more to come.

Wednesday 28 April 2010

corner view: animals

some of you will recognise this photo - i took it just over a year ago, and it's from my very first roll of film shot with my vintage praktica. it's when my love story with film really started.

oh, and it's my cat, riga. she came to live with me back in 2004, after she'd been at the clinic at the pet rescue place in berlin for over a year. she's a right little madam, quite feisty and hissy. but i love her. and she loves me. or so i'd like to think.

for more corner view animals, take a look at jane's spain daily (she's on holiday, but the corner view link list is up on her blog).

p.s.: i built this windowsill for her so she can watch the street. she's a three-legged cat and couldn't sit on the narrow old windowsill. the neighbours all know her, since she's sitting at the window most of the time (when she's not sleeping, that is). people actually addressed me on the street, going: oh, you're the one with the black cat! - i am, indeed.

Tuesday 27 April 2010

good times

the first two london rolls are at the lab now, can't wait to see how the films turn out. while we're waiting, i've got a couple of photos from a roll i picked up today. remember i mentioned that really stressful project a while ago (the one where we hardly slept at all)? well, the book has been published now, and to celebrate we met at a friend's place for dinner. it was a good evening.

i think one should have a dinner party after every finished project. one really should. it's such a good way to acknowledge the work everyone put into it.

p.s.: traci of the girl in the green dress has posted a lovely little film about iceland on her blog.

Sunday 25 April 2010

rainy sunday morning

after a safe flight to london, a busy day in town and a sunny, wonderful day in the cottage garden, i'm now sitting with a cup of coffee on the big, squishy sofa. all i can hear is the birds outside. there's still the faint smell of the fireplace in the air. a soft rain is falling. the aga is on in the kitchen. oh, and i wonder where the cats are, and what they are up to. and i've got the third roll of film in my camera.

have a good sunday and see you back next week!

Wednesday 21 April 2010

sweat shop café, paris

have you heard? the sweat shop café has opened in paris, a place where you sip your tea and rent a sewing machine by the hour (and for 6 euro an hour, that's not a bad price either). not only does the place look gorgeous, it also offers workshops on all things craft-related. plus, the café was opened, and is run, by two friends, martena duss and sissi holleis. i so love that idea!

photos by munia sbouri. details about the café here.

i wish i could go now. happy tuesday, all!

p.s.: it looks as if i eyafjallajökull lets me go to london after all. so excited...

Tuesday 20 April 2010

on music and unusual locations

i promise there will be new photos again soon. there's a roll in my praktica. and i've bought a new vintage camera, which hopefully arrives any day now. more about that soon!

last weekend i had a bit of a meltdown. it's just not enough to have a weekend maybe every four weeks if i'm lucky, and otherwise be working non-stop. it feels like such a rat-race at times, altough i love what i do. it's better than being out of work, no doubt, but i do hope i'll be able to strike more of a balance from now on - it's a process for sure, but i'll get there.

so to make a start, i didn't work late last night, but met friends who took me along to the yellow lounge at berlin's cookie club (they also run a restaurant). the yellow lounge is basically classical music played in clubs - always with a live act. yesterday it was the fauré quartett, germany's most prestigious piano quartett, performing mendelssohn, max reger, schumann and more. i kept thinking - all these hipsters here, listening to top-notch classical music and sipping their beer or g&t, how did that come about? the music was most beautiful. when we left, opinions were really divided. did we like it? i did. some of us thought that the concept didn't really work. all i can say - if you get the chance to catch a yellow lounge when in germany (there have been events in berlin, dresden, frankfurt), go an find out for yourself.

the video above is from a recent album by the fauré quartett for which they re-arranged and played pop songs. not my cup of tea, usually, but i do like this particular track. i would have posted the max reger piano quartett they played last night, but i couldn't find it.

righty-o, back to work.

Sunday 18 April 2010

on clouds and time travel

would you believe it: after two hundred years of sleep - well, almost. apparently eyjafjallajökull last erupted (on and off for fourteen months) between 1821 and 1823. and now that giant is fuming again and thousands of people are stranded across europe. at first, it sounded surreal, like something out of a 1960s science-fiction novel. a big cloud. over europe. stopping the whole continent in its tracks. and yet this is really happening. no one knows how long this is going to last. while people are arguing back and forth if it is indeed the right decision to halt air traffic altogether (that whole discussion is even more surreal, if you ask me), train ticket prices are rocketing and strangers are forming ad hoc travel groups to rent cars and reach their destinations.

it makes me think how much travel - not only air travel - has become part of our lives. in not such a distant past, people had to travel by train, by ship, by coach, on horseback, or on foot. and many people didn't travel at all. because they neither had the means to, nor the time. and travel as an enjoyment in itself, rather than the simple task of getting from a to b, has long been a privilege of the very few.

i love to travel and i'm grateful i have seen many beautiful places, have been able to work in another country, have found friends in faraway places. but it still makes me wonder, how easily we take these privileges for granted, even think we couldn't live without them.

i'm feeling for all those who are stuck somewhere without the means of getting home, for those who had been looking forward to seeing friends or setting off on a holiday, something they saved up for and planned around. for me, it has become a distinct possibility that i can't go to london next weekend - something i've been looking forward to so much.

but at the end of the day, i think this may be the chance to slow down the pace of our lives. to challenge the assumption that things have to be done on overly tight schedules, and with a frequency that maybe just isn't necessary.

i'm hoping for everybody stranded away from home - and worst, those who are stranded in transit on extra-territorial ground, in some random european airport - that eyjafjallajökull goes back to sleep soon. for the rest of us, i'm hoping we take the chance to stop and think. to enjoy being where we are rather than constantly wishing we were elsewhere.

p.s.: this morning, i time travelled back to last summer, when we played boules with some friends in the park. i'm looking forward to warmer days when we'll be playing again.

Thursday 15 April 2010


home. these days it's really cold outside and it may be just as well that i'm chained to my desk at the moment. my apartment is not the lightest. but even here the light is changing in spring and i love those moments when you go and fetch something and suddenly have to stop and get the camera because the sun is flooding in, or simply because you notice something you've got so used to that you stopped seeing it.

that shirt is very special to me - k gave it to me for my birthday.

Wednesday 14 April 2010

corner view anniversary post (2): contrasts


jane's corner view is turning 'one' today. to celebrate, here are two corner views from last year. 

corner view has taught me to look with different eyes at my little corner of the world. thanks jane, you're the best!


contrasts are fabulous. thinking about it - without them we wouldn't even SEE anything, right? i love colour contrasts, the contrast of shadow and light, the clash of styles. my photos were taken in september, at art forum, berlin's annual art fair. isn't the colour contrast in the first just a dream? i couldn't believe my luck. the visitors in front of the neon tubes in the second shot almost turned into silhouettes against the bright light. and the clash of classic midcentury modern, scandinavian furniture with contemporary painting and those dramatic and yet calm african and asian artefacts was so inspiring.

generally, i'm a harmony seeker. sometimes perhaps overly so. but i think contrasts are making our world so much richer (and that includes contrasting opinions). they are really rather something to embrace, don't you think?

for more corner views around the world go visit dana's. jane is back from philly, back on the corner view carousel next week. welcome back, jane!

p.s.: if you have any thoughts on my camera question, please leave a comment, i'd love to hear from you! lots of food for thought already - thank you, me dears!

corner view anniversary post (1): music


as a tribute to jane's corner view, which is celebrating its first anniversary today, here's a post from last year. thanks jane, for kicking it all off!


lisa picked music as this week's corner view theme. and what a lucky coincidence - last saturday berlin was full of music. a couple of years ago someone must have thought how lucky the french are, having their fête de la musique - and why not jump on the bandwagon, too? ever since, the idea seems to have gathered momentum and there are stages - professional and make-shift alike - in many parts of town where people gather for free open-air concerts. the weather has been good, too (not a given this year, it has rained and rained and rained in june so far), so everybody was out and about and making, or listening to music. i went to see a stage not far from my house in prenzlauer berg. see how everybody was there with friends and family? they were sitting on the sidewalks, on the street, on the scaffolding, on windowsills, on bikes and tricycles. wish you could have been there too!

take a look at the other corner views around the world via jane's at spain daily. what a great idea to make us share glimpses of the corners we live in - thank you so much jane!

see that little guy on his tricycle? he was fast as lightning! (hm - looking at it again, it's not really a tricycle, is it? more of a fourcycle...)


sometimes, life takes you by surprise. the other day i found some expired b/w polaroid film at the back of my kitchen drawer. i have no recollection whatsoever putting it there. a little later it turned out that a friend had a polaroid camera that works with that particular film format and she kindly lent it to me.

the film shows a large white stain on each print (maybe storage related) and the colours are really pale (probably because the films expired in 2002). but i am quite hooked. it may be the ephemeral quality of the prints. or maybe the chain of events that led up to them.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

london, here i come

well, isn't that guy in a jolly mood, given the end is at hand?

me too, cause i'm going to london town the weekend after next! it's one of the places i miss terribly when not going at least once a year, better, twice or three times. this time, k will not be able to come with me, but the next london trip shall be with him - and i've got to do some in situ research for that, right?

anyhoo, i'm really looking forward to dropping into the photographers' gallery - i haven't even seen their new venue in soho! - and, if possible, check out the shows and the little birch grove at tate modern. oh, and try beigel bake on brick lane or other great food places. thing is, i will have to squeeze all this around the weekend, since the weekend proper j and i and the cats will go to the countryside - walks, and pub and open fire. can't wait!

so after rambling on for ages, as i do, here's my question: imagine your perfect 24 hours in london - what would that day include?

p.s.: these photos are from an old travel guide i had sitting on my shelf. see that ford next to the double-decker bus? my dad had one of those in cream white, back in the seventies. i wouldn't mind one. - oh, and my london trip will have to include hopping onto an old bus if there are still any. they are dying out, which is so sad.

Monday 12 April 2010

more cherry blossoms

well, most of you seem to think i walked into a alice in wonderland post-tea-party scenario the other day. silly me, maybe i should have looked for a hole in the ground. you never really know what goes on in your neighbourhood, do you...?

and here, as promised some more cherry blossoms from the same roll of film. it was a bit warmer that day, just after easter, and the blossoms had ventured out into the open.

i'm having a bit of an 'i don't know whether i'm coming or going' phase at the moment. i'm not happy with the feeling of constantly being in a rush and not having enough time for the things that are close to my heart. i think i have to re-think my priorities. and make some changes.

have a good start to your week!

Sunday 11 April 2010

cherry blossom festival

so, it's officially cherry blossom festival here on no penny for them.

remember i said i would take my praktica out for a wander and snap some cherry blossoms to see how they would turn out, compared to the digital shots? well here are some - at that point the cherry blossom buds were still a bit timid - on a windy spring afternoon in berlin.

more cherry blossoms to come, be warned.

p.s.: there was a little porcelain teapot, smashed to smithereens, lying underneath on of the cherry trees. i wonder about the story behind that...

Thursday 8 April 2010

happy sixty-five

my mother turned sixty-five last week. she is quite an amazing woman. the eldest of six siblings, she raised six children herself. she continually is there for us - keeping in touch by phone, sending letters or parcels. she is one of the strongest personalities i know, extremely caring, very stylish, a very special woman indeed.

looking through her photo albums, i can't believe how fast time seems to have flown by. here she is twelve, swinging in a hammock, laughing. at thirteen, with a new petticoat. then at fifteen, short hair for the first time. and then, at sixteen, with friends on spiekeroog, a small island in the north sea, where she worked for a summer, before she started her training as a nurse in hamburg.

i have loved these albums since i was a child. how lucky am i, not just for having a great mother, but also for having a mother who loved taking pictures and didn't mind having her picture taken.

happy birthday, mum!

Tuesday 6 April 2010

come and gone

i had a lovely easter weekend. time for friends, family, loved ones. time for walks, lots of laughter and far too many (chocolate) eggs.

how was your weekend?

Friday 2 April 2010

corner view: spring

a late corner view this week. we had our fair share of dark and grey days, but all of sudden the rain and little bursts of sun seem to have done the trick and the cherry trees at the end of the street have put their pale pink frocks on.

i didn't realise how hard it is to get a decent shot though. last year i was using my praktica with the 50 mm lens only, this year i've played with the DSLR and a zoom lens. very tricky. i will take some more photos with the analogue cameras and see how that works.

for now, have a wonderful holiday, whether you celebrate pesah or easter or just enjoy a long weekend!

for more spring corner views head on over to jane's spain daily.