I love Berlin! Berlin is a wonderful city because it is diverse, it has so many different people, art, things, everything. You can focus on whatever you love and spend all day living for it and won't be bored for a very long time.
I always loved this particular Berlin Mitte art on the photo, those artists never minced words, they always expressed what they don't like about the center of the city that becomes more and more expensive, more and more boring and more and more crowded with superficial people (generally speaking). But that's probably the fate of the center of every real metropolis. And to be honest, when you move out a bit you'll find areas again with more art, alternative lifestyles and creativity. Berlin stays my most favorite city in Germany, and to be honest I haven't been to a cooler city anywhere else in the world.
ps: Thank you, Berlin, the Tempelhofer Feld stays! :-)
I've been to Munich last weekend to find some more organic shops interested in my clothes.
I also visited the "Playtime" exhibition at Lenbachhaus. It's about work in modern industrial nations. It's pretty critical as most works focus on how workers are exploited for big companies, especially in capitalist countries. The exhibition has a pretty good e-book available which gets you a great overview here.
I liked the artwork of Henrik Olesen. He has completely disassembled a notebook into all its individual parts, it's also here. It's a critique of modern work and the dependancy of us modern workers of our notebooks. The disassembled computer reveals that it's only a machine, put in a state never able to work again like it was designed. It's broken forever. I liked that, especially as most of the day I'm sitting in front of a computer, too, and spend a lot of time being angry about defective software and problems that should have been solved by 2014.
I also liked the big wall with all the intelligent and critical slogans referring to work in our modern world. I liked the expression "The Jobbit" in this context, in the style of the very popular fantasy book by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Anyway, art is a step further often and gives you a lot to think about and to change in your own world, your own behaviors in particular.
Happy Sunday! Go vote by the way!
Click on the image to see it in native resolution
"House of Phenomenal"! - Does this make any sense? I don't know. Next to my house the old department store Jandorf is having one of their usual events, something they do for years. The building is used by big firms and fashion brands to hold special events. In this case one of the big sports brands is promoting and preparing for the upcoming soccer world cup. I decided to this time completely boycott it. In Brasil the political situation is very strained. People go on the streets like in Turkey, Venezuela or Cambodia to give vent to their anger and mostly protest against the government. People in Brasil are paid badly as in other countries, too. But the soccer world cup makes it even worse. The FIFA organisation is well known to be completely corrupt, stadiums are built right into the rain forest, residents had to be force moved and prices for the tickets are way out of budget for the normal people who actually live their.
On top Greenpeace has published a study this week proving that all the big sportswear manufacturers, especially Adidas or Nike, are using terrible amounts of poisonous substances in their clothes, football shoes in particular. That's not even terrible for the environment and the people in the low-wage countries it's also bad for the consumers who buy and wear those things. I think it's good to red-card those companies and I decided to not support the world cup at all and won't watch a single game, at least not voluntarily. That way I have more time to focus on more important things.
Ha, yesterday I decided to distance myself from facebook finally the way I wanted to do it last year.
That means I will still use it as my main news site but I will collect all the posts and articles that I find important, edit them and post them here, means there will be MUCH more content from now on on this blogsite. I will drop most of the stuff from facebook therefore, as long as it's not something really important or very personal :-) Apart from that you can meet me, call me, write me, come to my exhibitions, buy my products or follow this blogsite. You can also leave your comments below. Hope this works out. Exciting!
Here are the latest images and older ones I edited for multiple purposes. See you here! :-)
So, gestern in 3 Wochen ist meine Ausstellungseröffnung in Berlin (English version), zu der ich Euch alle recht herzliche einlade!
Letzten Herbst habe ich ein Portraitprojekt in Kambodscha realisiert und damit eine Idee verwirklicht, die mir seit meinem ersten Besuch 2009 in diesem kleinen Land in Südostasien nicht mehr aus dem Kopf ging. Es geht um Schmerz, Schicksal und die Art und Weise damit umzugehen und die eigene Realität und Zukunft zu begehen. Ich habe viele Interviews geführt und Menschen gezielt getroffen oder einfach auf der Straße angesprochen, die mir ihre persönliche Geschichte und ihre Verbindung zu den Grauen der Khmer Rouge Zeit erzählt haben. Obwohl damals die eigene Regierung ca. 2 Millionen Kambodschaner abschlachten ließ, um ihre fanatischen Ideologien durchzusetzen, haben es die Hinterbliebenen, die oft offensichtliche Narben tragen, Gliedmaßen oder das Augenlicht durch Folter oder Landminen verloren haben, geschafft, diese Schmach und diesen unvorstellbaren Schmerz hinter sich zu lassen und der Zukunft und Fremden, die ihre kleines und immer noch armes Land besuchen, mit einem Lächeln zu begegnen. Dieses "Khmer Smile", so wie ich es genannt habe, hat mich damals zutiefst beeindruckt und hat mich ehrfürchtig und nachdenklich gemacht, gerade im Hinblick auf mein eigenes Schicksal und jene häufig anzutreffende Unzufriedenheit unserer hochentwickelten westlichen Welt.
Mit der Ausstellung erhebe ich aber wie auch sonst nicht den Zeigefinger, sie ist lediglich der Ausdruck dessen, was mir durch den Kopf geht und was mir wichtig ist, mit anderen zu teilen. Ich würde mich sehr freuen, wenn Ihr alle kommen würdet am 31. Mai in die Pappelallee 69 im Prenzlauer Berg, ab 17 Uhr, wo ich gern mit Euch anstoßen würde auf das Projekt, auf NIKOLAIKIKI und auf Kambodscha.
Bis hoffentlich dann!
Actually what I said in this article at the end of last year still applies.
The first thing, a good photo never comes from the camera but from the photographer. Great photographers can make amazing photos with whatever camera they have at hand, even with their cellphone.
Then, before buying a new camera you have to ask yourself what do you expect the new camera to do better than your old one. There are a lot of cameras for different purposes and you first need to define what you are looking for. I experience this a lot with people who ask me what camera to buy. Well, for me it’s hard to tell, because I don’t know what you want.
In most cases it will be a step up from the point & shoot digital camera or cellphone that everybody has. The main reason I am shooting bigger cameras is the bigger sensor that give you a shallower depth of field, allowing you to separate your main subject from the back- or foreground. With a big sensor camera you can have a sharp person for example and a blurry background. That helps making your photos stronger by emphasizing the main subject you pay want to get attention to.
The bigger the recording medium (sensor or film) the stronger the effect. Well, with a full-frame 35mm camera, which is really big by point &shoot standards but way smaller than medium format or even large format film, you can get very wide aperture lenses that help making the effect even stronger and let images look quite close to medium format in terms of depth of field. You will get much sharper results with medium format, though, because lenses have narrower apertures and still even less depth of field.
There are a lot of terms that some of you may not understand so I try to make it simpler. The bigger the sensor (DSLR, mirror-less cameras) the bigger the background-blurring capabilities of the camera that give your images an artistic look. If all you want is photos where everything is perfectly in focus even point & shoot cameras are good enough today. They still do have some limitations.
Point & shoot cameras, the ones you probably want to step up from, have tiny sensors with one advantage and many disadvantages. A small sensor gives a huge depth of field, means pretty much everything is always in focus. You can make great photos with those cameras you just have to be aware that you won't be able to emphasize by blurring parts of the image. In my opinion that can make you learn to take better pictures because you have to make them strong without the artistic cheating of making them just beautiful by blurring special parts in it.
That lets me come back to my second sentence, the camera doesn’t matter, the eye and imagination of the photographer do. Learn to make great images with your point & shoot and only reward yourself with a better camera when you reach the limit of the small camera. If your images suck with the point & shoot they won’t be any better with the bigger camera.
But point & shoots have some more disadvantages that might rule them out earlier. They are slow by comparison. You won't be able to focus fast moving subjects like kids or even track them. Something you can do with DSLRs or modern mirror-less alternatives. I’d still say DSLRs are my top pick when it comes to fast accurate focussing, because they use a separate autofocus sensor for that, but mirror-less cameras catch up. My Olympus OM-D is even faster than my Canon 5D Mark III which is as fast (AF-wise) as Canon’s top of the line 1D X.
Point & shoots also have a limited dynamic range, especially in the highlights, a reason why you often get washed out, white skies in contrasty situation, something you can recognize by that the photo comes from a point & shoot. A bigger sensor camera retains both highlights and shadows much better, with less blown highlights and less noisy shadows. To be honest, know these limitations and try to avoid difficult situations. I never had problems with dynamic range in a point & shoot. It’s the overall sharpness in the images that I don’t like. Advertising photos on the other hand are sharp all over most of the time, too. So, it’s just a matter of taste.
Last but not least the smaller the sensor the less light can hit it. You need good light to get noise-less photos with a point & shoot. In bad light or at night they are much worse than a big sensor camera. To be honest, I never had to dismiss a photo because it was too noisy. Film back in the days was grainy, too, so no big deal.
Ok, if you want to upgrade from your cellphone and just want a great little point & shoot I always recommend Canon ones. In my opinion they are the most advanced and well though-through little cameras you can get. Of course it’s always a matter of taste, too, and if you don’t like Canon for whatever reason I’m sure Nikon or Panasonic or the other ones are as good. If you don’t wanna spend much just grab one of last year models in one of the big boxes in your electronic market where they are on sale. If you want the best at the moment take Canon’s Powershot S120, it’s wonderful and although I own a couple of cameras and a very good Panasonic LX7 I’m always tempted to buy a Canon point & shoot. I had the S95 and it was gorgeous. With the great 24mm wide-angle lens now these Powershots of today are even better. Don’t bother buying a G16, it has the same small sensor, costs more and is much more bulky. You sacrifice on sensor size for having a truly pocketable camera, why buy a bulky one then?
You want bigger? Ok, now it gets a bit more complicated. If you just want a great camera that is versatile, fast and gives great images I would buy a DSLR. If you don’t have the money for a full-frame one with a sensor the same size as old 35mm film, which will give you the exact look depth-of-field-wise, you should buy one of the half-sized sensor (APS-C) DSLRs like a Nikon D3300 or Canon 100D. But which one? Well, to be honest they are all the same pretty much. Something to consider might be that with a DSLR you also buy the ability to choose lenses out of the particular line-up. So you might want to think about potential lenses that you can use on an upgrade model later on. But on the other hand APS-C cameras are a good bit smaller than full-frame equivalents and have their own particular lenses. I would stick to those as long as you don’t upgrade to full-frame, something you probably won’t do anyway. So why buy big, heavy full-frame lenses when you will never shoot full-frame?
Which brand should you buy? I’d say take Nikon or Canon because they have the widest selection of lenses and they are probably the best camera brands in the DSLR market. But if you don’t plan to upgrade to full-frame in the future and probably will shoot only with 1-3 lenses I also like Pentax cameras. I don’t like Sony but that’s personal taste. My advice, when you want to invest some money in a DSLR, go into a shop and have a look at the different brands. They all feel and look a little different and in the end you should pick the camera that you like to take in your hands and shoot with it. They are all the same in the end. They all have different models for different budgets. I would probably take a Nikon, either a D3300 or D5300. But I like the Pentax K-3, too. It has some really cool and unique features that separates them from the big brands. I also like a Canon 100D because it is just so small.
Now, today you also have the chance to buy a mirror-less or system camera like an Olympus OM-D that I have. The great thing about those cameras is they are much smaller than even the smallest DSLRs because they don’t have a complicated mirror box that adds bulk to the body. Instead they have an electronic viewfinder or just the rear LCD to frame and compose. They have tinier, simpler lenses that often have better image quality because they are not designed for a camera with a mirror box in the way. But those mirror-less cameras which attract especially women because of their small size are often a bit more expensive still. This might change soon but for the same money you’ll get a DSLR with much better autofocus and a viewfinder for mirror live-framing.
If money was no object I would probably buy an Olympus OM-D EM-5 or a similar model. The new Fuji X-T1 seems to be great, too. They are smaller than an equivalent DSLR, especially the Olympus, because it has a slightly smaller sensor and smaller lenses for the special Micro-4/3 system. I love the Olympus. It’s small, fast, gives great images and looks totally cool. Only downside, full-frame images just look even better. But as I explained above this is down to depth of field reasons and just my taste.
If you want full-frame by the way, the Canon 6D is quite affordable, a bit smaller than the rest and with absolutely fantastic image quality, especially noise-wise.
My main sites to read reviews and get tips and inspiration tech-wise are Ken Rockwell, he is the last big site that is totally independent, Ken just writes what he thinks. Imaging-resource is a really good site for in-depth reviews, and dpreview, latter being an Amazon site now and they have lost most of their quality, they are good but not amazing anymore.
If you want to support NIKOLAIKIKI and contribute to keeping all this information and content costless and without ads at all I'd recommend you having a look at my shop and especially the NIKOLAIKIKI ethical clothing collection.
I really have to force myself to blog more, facebook makes you lazy. And that's not good, for me and for others, too. We spend too much time on facebook anyway and I think we have to at least think about being able to leave it for a while or completely. Facebook has so much junk and so many ads, why not enjoy websites that look great and don't have ads at all, not even a facebook button like mine ;-)
Well, here are a couple of images from 2009/2010. On a 13 month trip I shot over 40.000 photos and every now and then I go look at some of them and every time I find some I haven't seen since back then. The following ones are a random selection that I posted on facebook today but then I realized that last year I only wanted to post images on my own blog site. I need to keep doing that instead of just uploading them onto facebook, damn it ...
Never forget where you're coming from - that's what Take That sang once :-D I was born in Bonn in Western Germany but my parents moved to Ostfriesland next to the sea when I was three years old. All my childhood I spent in an area that after years of living somewhere else is growing on me again from a distant perspective. It's hard to overlook that the landscape is simply magnificent, a reason why my parents came in the first place. I had an appointment on Tuesday in Wilhelmshaven and spent two days in Leer, Friedeburg and somewhere in between on the countryside. One day I will come back and make a series "Ostfriesland" with a real camera, a film medium or large format with up to Gigapixel resolution for giant print sizes. It'll be great! ...
That's it so far. There's still some more to come in April, will make another photo post next week when I'm in Friesland.