It is always exciting to look at the first frames of a new project. Is it any good? Do the images live up to the expectations? As the winter sun of Brussels illilluminated the first role of 120 Ilford Delta 400 film from Ethiopia, I knew I am on the right track. It’s all there: the quiet, humble aesthetic of slow portraits, the aura of people that are firmly self-assured of their duty.
My current project, Apocalypse, is a long and multi-faceted documentary project. I look at foreshadow of a mega-earthquake that scientist expect to hit Istanbul in the near future. I investigate architecture designed to withstand the future – the Onkalo-Project in Finland (designed to last 100’000 years), the Norwegian Svalbard Global Seed Vault, etc. And I portrait traditional leader figures such as village elders, tribal leaders, sheikhs, and the like, whose authority is of a quality that is – to some extend – immune to changes in the sophisticated political organization of modern states. I shot sheikhs in Yemen (as part of my Socotra project), and now priests in Ethiopia – a country that adopted Christianity almost two millennia ago. (In two days, I will fly to South-East Asia (for security reasons I can’t disclose the country yet) and -among others- will continue the project there.)
A million lights glistered, the Bosphorus laid calmly in her middle, that was the view out of my window on descend to Istanbul.
I am back here, in the city of a thousand names, and for the first time since finishing work on Socotra, I will work intensively on a photographic project. as always, it feels good, as it feels good to hold a camera again.
On August 05 at 17:05 Istanbul time, the moment had arrived and my Socotra book went on press.
WOW! The opening yesterday at HotShoe Gallery in London was a huge success! The space was packed, both numbers and names showed up! (On this picture: Simon Norfolk inspecting my Socotra book and Abdulwahab Sadaka of the Yemen Embassy to the UK looking at my work.)
A big thank you to everyone who made this night as great as it was!
ps: there is exactly one bottle of beer left.
(The exhibition will run until May 24, Mon – Wed & Fri – Sat 12.00 to 17.00. )
Before teaching workshops this weekend in Munich and before flying to Yemen on Monday, I met with representatives of my suppliers, partners, and sponsors today. At that occasion, I was also able to (pre-)order the upcoming Nikon D800. Sweet. Can’t wait to hold it in my hands…
UPDATE: apparently, both D4 and D800 are severely delayed because of the heavy quake damage to Nikon’s plant in Sendai, Japan.
UPDATE 2: the D700 replacement is not to be expected until December 2011. (Aug 22 ’11)
UPDATE 3: because I get so many questions – since 2011 seems to have been the precursor of the apocalyptical 2012 a couple of things happened out Nikon’s control (and even more outside my control) that severely delayed this camera. Luckily enough for me, the big project for which I need the capabilities of the new Nikon was delayed, too… Yet, the much lighter body of the D4 should excite pros, too… Finally an alternative to the D700 / 5D league? (Jan 5 ’12)
Multimedia is mushrooming. Most photographers play with slick modern cameras and their video capabilities and produce plenty of what used to be called a slideshow. Only rarely exciting things happen.
Balazs Gardi published some first multimedia that are part of his ongoing project «Facing Water Crisis» and it is stunning. I never saw such a seamless integration of video and photography before and it is much more powerful than the gimmickry so common. It is visually strong, cutting edge, and surprising – perfectly getting the message across.
Have a look: