#artinthistogether – Call for Artists

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Call for #artinthistogether

Only about two weeks ago we all thought this wasn’t about us. That this was far away. Now, there are casualties, the number of infected persons increasing daily and the pandemic which has been declared on March 11, has an impact on all of our lives.

As photographers, I have already seen that some of you have shared images in the context of the global crisis we are experiencing. This has encouraged me to call on all of you to participate in a project to document how we as humans cope and react in these times. What we all hope and fear, our visions and nightmares, what we feel and would like to feel and what we think we all should know.

As this situation is dynamic and evolves in this way, so are your thoughts, your feelings, your stories and therefore your photographs. So it would be interesting to see them shared in the context of other experiences, based on when the story was shared and in the context of geography, meaning where you took it, the cultural influence and of course what the situation is in the place you are.

#artinthistogether is a website created to share images and/or stories by photographers, artists, storytellers from all over the globe in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic.

In separate sections for every month since March 2020, images and if available stories that go with them by photographers on every level will show how those artists express what they feel during the changing circumstances in different countries as time moves on and the situation unfolds.

Please share images with date and place taken, a caption if possible and your copyright notice. You can of course approach as many images as you like. It would be more interesting to the viewers to see how the development of the situation is mirrored in your images over time.

This website is an artistic endeavor only and is not about commercial purposes. Individual copyright will of course be respected.

I reserve the right to curate the website to maintain a certain artistic level. To get an idea of what I think about aesthetic, you might want to read my post on Harold Davis’ blog: https://www.digitalfieldguide.com/blog/18111

As this is website is supposed to be documenting the thoughts and feelings of “artistic human beings with a camera”, the images should be about the pandemic, even if not obviously. If you feel the story behind your image needs to be told in an added text, feel free to submit both.

It does not matter whether the images have been shot using a phone or any kind of camera, what counts it what it conveys.

As soon as the first images have been submitted, they will be uploaded to the website artinthistogether.com and posted on Instagram(@art.in.this.together).

Whether you participate or not, it would help the project greatly, if you would spread the word using your social media or any other means of communication.

Now more than ever we can experience how we all are connected.

I am looking forward to hear from you,

Holger Mischke

(Mail image and text submissions to holger@holgermischke.com, subject “#artinthistogether submission”)

Aufruf zu #artinthistogether

Vor gerade einmal zwei Wochen ginge s bei all dem nicht um uns. All das war weit weg. Nun gibt es Tote zu beklagen, die Anzahl der infizierten Personen steigt täglich und die

Pandemie, die am 11. März 2020 ausgerufen wurde, hat rinnen dramatischen Einfluss auf unser aller Leben.

Ich habe schon gesehen, dass einige von Ihnen Bilder im Kontext zu der internationalen Krise, die wir durchleben, geteilt haben. Das hat mich ermutigt, Sie heute dazu aufzurufen an einem Projekt teilzunehmen, das dokumentieren soll, wie wir als Menschen damit fertig werden, wie wir darauf reagieren. Was wir alle hoffen und fürchten, unsere Visionen und Albträume, was wir fühlen und was wir wünschten zu fühlen und was wir denken, was alle wissen sollten.

So wie diese Situation dynamisch ist und sich auch so entwickelt, so sind es Ihre Gedanken, Ihre Gefühle, Ihre Geschichten und damit auch Ihre Fotografien. Von daher wäre es interessant sie im Kontext anderer Erfahrungen zu präsentieren. Basierend auf der chronologischen Abfolge, aber auch auf geografischen und kulturellen Gegebenheiten. Wo also sind die Bilder gemacht, unter welchen kulturellen Rahmenbedingungen und wie war die Lage dort zu dem Zeitpunkt, als das Bild entstanden ist?

#artinthistogether ist eine Webseite, die geschaffen worden ist, und Bilder und/oder Geschichten von Fotografen, Erzählern und Künstlern aus der ganzen Welt als Reaktion auf die Coronavirus-Pandemic zu zeigen. In einzelnen Sektionen für jeden Monat seit dem März 2020 wird in den Bildern und Geschichten der Fotografen, egal ob Amateur oder Profi, sicht- und fühlbar was diese Künstler fühlen in den wechselnden Bedingungen in verschiedenen Ländern, während die Situation sich im Laufe der Zeit entwickelt.

Bitte senden Sie mir Ihre Bilder mit Datum und Ort der Aufnahme, wenn möglich ein paar Worten zum Bild und Ihren Copyright-Angaben. Sie können natürlich so viele Bilder einsenden, wie Sie mögen. Es wäre für den Betrachter sicher interessanter wenn man in mehreren Ihrer Bilder eine Entwicklung der Situation erfahren könnte.

Diese Webseite ist einzig und allein aus künstlerischen Gründen entstanden und wird nicht aus einer kommerziellen Motivation heraus betrieben. Ich behalte mir das Recht vor, bei den Bildern eine Auswahl zu treffen, damit ein gewisses künstlerisches Mindestmaß gehalten wird. Um einen Anhaltspunkt zu bekommen, was ich über Ästhetik denke, könnten Sie etwa meinen Gastbeitrag auf Harold Davis’ Blog lesen: https://www.digitalfieldguide.com/blog/18111

Da diese Webseite das Ziel hat, die Gedanken und Gefühle von “künstlerischen Menschen mit einer Kamera” zu dokumentieren, sollten sie die Bilder mit der Pandemie beschäftigen, auch wenn das nicht immer offensichtlich ist. Wenn Sie denken, das die Hintergrundgeschichte zu Ihrem Bild / Ihren Bildern in einem separaten Text erzählt werden sollte, schicken Sie bitte beides ein.

Es ist gleichgültig, ob die Bilder mit einem Telefon oder jedweder Art von Kamera gemacht wurden. Was zählt ist was es transportiert.

Sobald die ersreb Bilder eingesandt worden sind, werden Sie auf die Webseite artinthistogether hochgeladen und auf Instagram (@art.in.this.together) gepostet.

ObSie teilnehmen oder nicht – es würde dem Projekt eine große Hilfe sein, wenn Sie die Informationen oder einen Link dazu auf Ihren sozialen Kanälen teilen würden oder sonstige interessierten Personen zukommen lassen könnten.

Gerade jetzt können wir wie nie zuvor erfahren wie verbunden wir alle sind.

Ich freue mich darauf, von Ihnen zu hören

Holger Mischke

(Schicken Sie Bilder und ggf. Ihre Texte an holger@holgermischke.com, Betreff “#artinthistogether submission”)

Nine To Five

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I am in the process of re-editing some images for a publication submission and once I started that I realized how different this is from what I usually do.
Usually, I take on one image at a time, it takes however long it takes and I end up printing the photograph because only then I feel like I am done.
The images I have selected for the publication have been shot in the last six years. My workflow and abilities have of course changed over the years and so it is only logical that I start over again. It will be interesting to see how different the outcome is.
It is just strange to do a process like this, which is creative, on so many images in a row. I have more than enough time – it would be okay to be done in June – but I want this out of the door sooner, as I have a lot of other things I need to do (like those 12 short stories I need to finish before July). But I also don’t want this to become routine. All those images deserve the same dedication and mindfulness, from the first to the last. I think all I need for this is to be aware of what I am doing. When I realize I am doing something too quickly or that I am skipping something, I should take a break and ask myself whether it is wise to go on, take a break or call it a day.
I remember I have made the mistake of publishing work too early and then realized after that there was still work to do on that image. Something that bothered me, especially as it was usually just because I wanted the image to be out on social media soon. The temptation of instant gratification …
I think I need to find a balance between approaching this like a regular job and feeling like I can only work when everything is all set in a very special way, the stars line up and the red wine just the perfect temperature.
Just play a Kenny Burrell album and get on with it.

The Making of “X Marks The Spot”

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“X Marks The Spot” (France, 2019)

In September last year Christina, the dogs and I took the Volvo o Normandy for two weeks. First to Sassetot-le-Mauconduit, some 30k east of Étretat, where Claude Monet painted among others “Stormy Sea in Étretat”.

Later we moved on to Lindbergh Plage, 45k south of Cherbourg on the Cotentin peninsula.The clouds over the sea in Normandy were always spectacular and on the first evening in Sassetot I already encountered the most beautiful light when the sun was setting on the white cliffs at Les Petites Dalles and at the same time a storm came rolling in from the east.

One morning at Lindbergh Plage we came back from the beach and followed this path through the dunes.

At this moment, I wasn’t thinking about the croissant and coffee breakfast to be had back at the house. I wasn’t thinking about the fight our dog Leah had had with another dog running free on the beach. I thought about the bug white clouds slowly moving over the dunes. I was thinking about the path I didn’t want to end. Maybe I wasn’t thinking at all.

P.S.: I am still reading the Edward Weston daybooks. I just didn’t want this to be the only topic on my blog, so I’ll post about my reflections on Weston frequently, but not only about them.

Volvo December

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This winter we didn’t have too man nights with subzero temperatures, but one morning last December I found the car covered in ice, which had an interesting texture. I had my Nikon P7000 with me and grabbed a couple of images. For some reason I had the ISO set to 6400, but the grain added to the texture. The sky was overcast and somehow I got these gritty colors.

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Hood Ice

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“Hood Ice Mono” (Germany 2020), shot on iPhone

 I do love natural shapes and forms, usually clouds, trees, sand, water and such. This morning, after a cold night I found this on the hood of our beloved Volvo. The iPhone was all I had on me, so phone it was. I also like that you would probably not guess what it is if the photo was shown without any information. Below another shot in color. “Hood Ice Mono” was edited in Lightroom and Color Efex Pro, the colored image in Lightroom only.

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“Hood Ice Color” (Germany 2020), shot on iPhone

 

 

Reflection on “Romantic Mexico” Aug. 2 to Aug. 8, 1923

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“La Troneta” (Spain, 2016)

The part I read today was the description of the passage to Mexico by Tina, Chandler, and Edward on board the S.S. Colima between Juli 30 and August 5, 1923.

“At last we are Mexico bound, after months of preparation, after such endless delays that the proposed adventure seemed but a conceit of the imagination never actually to materialize.”

I can remember the feeling, it was the same for me when I left home for the first time for Lanzarote in 2002 to live there for 18 months. Although you are packing buying the ticket, putting all your belongings you won’t take with you in storage – it took boarding the plane to “begin to feel the actuality of this voyage.”.

Weston was traveling by ship, a Mexican ship. And he loved it. Just as I came to understand and at least tolerate the “inefficiency “according to our standards” just as Weston did with the Mexicans. “It is a relief to escape from that efficiency which makes for mechanized movements, unrelieved drabness. I have seen that confirmed in other countries later – Turkey, Ireland, Thailand and of course Madagascar. I had the warmest welcome in the poorest places.

August 4: “A half-moon half-hidden by heavy clouds – sculptured rocks, black, rising from silvered waters – shriek of whistle and rasp of chain; 1:00 AM and we anchored in the harbor of Mazatlán, my first foreign port.”

To experience things for the first time. I regret how many things I did for the first time and can’t remember that moment anymore. I had a camera back then, I always had something I could take pictures with, but just as a notebook, a journal, I didn’t use any of those regularly. I know there is a journal called “Arnhem Days” about what happened when I lived in the Netherlands trying to get into the conservatory to study jazz guitar. And I guess there are some things jotted down somewhere about those months on the Canary Islands. I’ll get back to that when I find them.

“Did I visualize what I was to see in my first Mexican port? This is hard to say today …” Again, Weston’s style of writing appeals to me. It is not so much that I could see what he saw, but I can feel what he felt, because I felt the same way, when I arrived at a new place.

“Later, exploring the city streets at night, we found life both gay and sad – sharp clashes of contrasting extremes, but always life – vital, intense, black and white, never grey.” – Edward Weston

This is like the first night on Naxos. I went out wearing my Ireland rugby jersey and met a couple, he Irish and she Finnish, who praised my Irish accent, just as some guy at a gas station in Sweden years before that claimed I sound like upstate New York. Trying the echo again and again in those parks in Oslo late at night, the Holmenkollen in the distance before the car broke down just before we could make it to Arhus for Christmas day. A quick beer on 55th Street with a friend who came over from Jersey just for that, but distances meant nothing, we traveled the earth in those days.

And again now. Don’t get me wrong, images are everywhere. I always said that and I stand by it. But there is something so very special about going places you have never been to. That blank page staring at you, daring to fill it with something, anything. If you just dare to take that bus, catch that plane, get on that boat. And live as desperately as you can manage.

August 6: “I was tempted in Mazatlán to “go tourist” with my camera, making “snaps” of street scenes – even doing Tina in her grand coach backed by a ruin. But yesterday I made the first negatives other than matter-of-fact records – negatives with intention. A quite marvelous cloud form tempted me – a sunlit cloud which rose from the bay to become a towering white column.”

Needless to say, any of us would have shot a lot more, on the ship as well as ashore. I always carry my iPhone of course and when I can a Nikon P7000, which gives me more features and of course, since it is digital we all have to admit that at some point we went “spray and pray”. I do not like that we, in general, take way too many pictures and if you ever stand in front of me and block my view because you need to take a picture with an iPad, somebody’s going to get hurt.

But to have the ability to take an image wherever you find it with a device that fits in your pocket has its advantages. I have made iPhone images I really like and there are times for the phone and times for the “big boy cameras” (as Harold Davis calls them). There is no reason to dislike any of them. On the other end of the spectrum, I really like the feel of heavy cameras like the D300.

I also think that today (partly because of all the devices and their features at our disposal) we don’t need to separate this “going tourist” and being serious as a photographer anymore. And even though I can feel a deeper meaning about my work, I don’t want to take myself too seriously all the time.

Weston arrived at the harbor of Manzanillo on August 5 and went through customs “though not without much palavering, suspicious glances at my battery of lenses, chemicals and personal effects” and prepared to move on to Tacubaya and again he felt something I totally could identify with. Like the first evening on Lanzarote. Not settled in yet, not even the bags were completely unpacked. There were things to do like all the paperwork to get the residencia, get registered for a tex number. But in the evening I was sitting overlooking the laguna and the sunset over the ocean and there were three layers of clouds, each in a different shade of dark red and purple, I just couldn’t believe I was there, actually there. And I couldn’t have put it better than Weston did:

“But it was more than the music – the hospitality – the blue sea – which broke my resistance: I knew this day marked an end – and a beginning.” – Edward Weston

Reflection on “Discussion on Definition”

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“2:30 in Westport” (Ireland, 2015)

In April of 1923, Weston describes a discussion he had with Johan Hagemeyer, who visited him in Glendale where Weston lived at the time. This discussion started when Hagemeyer showed Weston some prints he had made and Weston said they were lacking in definition, “an inexcusable fault when it comes to photographing modern architecture and machinery, even the mood could be better interpreted with sharp – clean lines.”

Hagemeyer claimed that was the way he saw things and he must render them as he sees them. Still, Weston answered that “photography has certain inherent qualities which are only possible with photography – one being the delineation of detail – so why not take advantage of this attribute?”

“Why limit yourself to what your eyes see when you have such an opportunity to extend your vision?” – Edward Weston

He goes on to compare a portrait done by Hagemeyer to one of Bertha Wardell that he took and Hagemeyer agrees that in that case (a portrait of his sister) “searching definition would have unveiled and exposed the very suffering and strife I have tried to portray.” But Hagemeyer also says that “in some other prints I show you – it seems almost necessary that there should not be so much revealed.” (This is of course not what Weston had been told by Stieglitz “Nothing must be unconsidered, there must be complete release.” And “A maximum of detail with a maximum of simplification”.)

The discussion continues:

“If in a certain mood why should I not interpret that state through my picture and not merely photograph what is before me? In such instances, the use of diffusion would aid me.” – Johan Hagemeyer

“Yes, it (diffusion) would aid you – to cloud and befog the real issue and prevent you from telling the truth about the life towards which your lens is pointing. If you wish to interpret why not use a medium better suited to interpretation or subjective expression – or – let someone else do it. Photography is an objective means to an end – and as such is unequaled. It comes finally to the question: For what purpose should the camera be used? And I believe you have misused it, along with many others – including myself!” – Edward Weston

A couple of things come to mind reading this. Weston does not accept diffusion or blur at all. Not in the images of modern architecture or machinery and not in portraits. Well, the year is 1923 and it was just in the year before that Weston had met Stieglitz and had taken the ARMCO photographs. All detail was for him the way to go. But to call using diffusion misusing the camera (even if he admits to having done so himself) seems a bit rich.

Diffusion or blur is used to separate the subject matter from the background and is more than acceptable today. Vincent Versace went even further saying that only what you focus the lens on and what lies on that plane is sharp, the rest of the image can be acceptable, but you will never have everything in focus. So the majority of any image is out of focus, even if it is barely detectable, even if it just exists as physical / optical fact. But according to Mr. Versace, we should be probably dealing with the pretty in the blur at least the same as with the in-focus parts of the image. I guess one should consider this as a concept, but as long as you don’t live in the world of 2% (meaning these kinds of things will improve the quality of your image by this small amount), this should not really have an impact on your workflow.

Also, should we always use anything that extends our vision just because we can? I am with Hagemeyer on this one, at least looking at it from a 21st-century point of view. Stieglitz himself told Weston about how he “broke every photographic law, optics included” and now it seems he is setting up new rules himself. Sure it seems to him that using diffusion as a step back towards pictorialism. But to some extent, we can use techniques or concepts from the past if we achieve something with it we can call our personal vision. If that is what Hagemeyer saw, I see no reason to tell him he can’t do that, do whatever he feels is necessary to make his image feel right to him.

Looking at definition, we could talk about sharpness, depth of field and – at least in this day and age – about resolution. I think Hagemeyer and Weston were talking about sharpness as a concept, but depth of field would be the technical aspect of how to achieve that. Just as Stieglitz put his lens “a foot from a sitter’s face”, Weston was pushing the technical limits of the view camera. When photographing the famous bell peppers, he needed to get close to the object, which posed a problem as the lens would only go to f/64 and with a view camera that close apparently, it wasn’t possible to get everything in focus. So Weston made his own stops which were basically pinhole. “Pepper 30”, the most iconic of the pepper photographs was shot at f/240 at a four to six-hour exposure.

I won’t discuss the resolution issue in-depth, as there (as in most everything I write about here), there is no right or wrong. I am perfectly happy with the 12.3MP D300 and the 24.1MP D7100. I don’t need more for the sizes I print and I am with Ted Forbes when he said that we all have cameras that were (when it comes to specs) better than anything Ansel Adams had. It is SO not about that.

The last point and one of the major points is reality. This has always been an interesting aspect of photography and any photographer should have thought about this at some point, I think.

Weirdly, for the longest time monochrome images in the newspapers were something we accepted as a representation of the real world, conveying additional information to news stories. Even when color TV was already a common thing, the newspaper images continued to be black and white.

And we do realize today that a photograph is not showing reality. There are so many aspects to a photograph that can change what the viewer takes away from it, even if you’re not editing it. And of course, the world is not just black and white or two-dimensional. So what about your image is real? What aspects of reality are represented in your work? How does the reality in yourself influence what is in your image? And what do you think about reality, to begin with?

Weston told Hagemeyer, that diffusion is clouding and befogging the real issue and prevented him from telling the truth. That photography is an objective means to an end. But he wasn’t simply recording reality. As quoted from Ben Maddow’s book “Edward Weston – His Life and Photographs”:

“Weston’s power, to use his very words, lay “in his ability to re-create his subject in terms of its basic reality and present this re-creation in such a form that the spectator feels that the is seeing not just a symbol for the object, but the thing itself revealed for the first time … a heightened sense of reality … that reveals the vital essences of things.”

This goes back to the question I said two paragraphs earlier – What do you think about reality, to begin with? Reality doesn’t mean the same to everybody, or this analysis would make no sense. And it does. One’s reality has a lot to do with perception. Perception beyond the optical capabilities of the human eye. It is what we as intelligent and emotional beings can do with everything we experience in this life. And don’t let anyone tell you there is just one truth, one reality, one life.

The rest of the entry is mostly a wonderful description of an evening at a greek cafe near Los Angeles Street where they went after visiting the Philharmonic. The way he describes it reminds me of similar descriptions Jack Kerouac wrote. The negro droning on the saxophone along with another picking the banjo, the pickpocketing waitresses, the sailor prizefighter having them feel his muscles and relating his life history. Even in writing, he was painting a picture full of detail.