Love Your Pictures

  • Spend time with them, because they say a lot about who you are and why you made them in the first place.
  • Learn from them, because they not only show what you like, but also show to you what you would like to improve. They are pictures, but also like mirrors to guide you a little further.
  • Joy comes while making them and joy comes by looking at them and learn from them. While they grow, you grow.
  • It is all more about yourself and what you enjoy while making them
  • You develop with them, and their successors develop with you. Like in a story, things are not set but evolve. If you don’t let them evolve, you stagnate.
  • You do not develop pictures, but yourself. They come from you, not your camera and not the computer. They come from you. If you want to make other pictures, you have to become another you.
  • You have to let go as well. If you stick with the old stuff, you hinder yourself to try new things and develop yourself. Like all art, this is about yourself as much about what you create
  • If you become afraid, that’s a good sign. There is no development if there is nothing at stake.
  • Love your pictures. Spend time with them, because then you spend time with yourself.

Sony World Photo Award 2016

I have just uploaded my images to participate in the Sony World Photo Award 2016. Easy enough, as participation is free. This is a good start in the photography year 2016 – I am already curious what is to come this year, what we will see and which pictures I will get done.
I have done two series as entries: one for landscape and one for still life.

Here are the landscape candidates:

Monochrome Sky
Monochrome Sky
Monochrome Sky
Monochrome Sky
Feather Clouds
Feather Clouds

Feather Clouds
Feather Clouds
Feather Clouds
Feather Clouds
Cloud Patterns
Cloud Patterns


And here are the Still Life category entries:

Forged by The Sea
Forged by The Sea
Painted by the Sea
Painted by the Sea



There are many reasons to be grateful for the past twelve month. Thinking about 365 amazing days, far beyond anything that the average human being can expect on this planet, I can only be thankful for the life I am allowed to experience.

My family and me, we have plenty to eat and drink – and that is not only water and bread.

We have shelter, and a good one.

We have friends. Good ones. We laugh together – a lot.

Our kids (both girls) can go to school or the kindergarten. They can choose what they want to do or become. They are taught to read and write.

We discuss luxury problems, most of the time (What to eat? What to do for the weekend? Where to go for the next holiday? – that kind of “problem”).

We are healthy. More or less, nothing too serious. To get appropriate time for exercise is our biggest challenge. What kind of problem is this?

We have jobs. Jobs that make sense. Not always easy ones, but they are fun, at least most of the time. Challenging and not boring. We make enough money with one job, so there is time to see our kids grow up. Nothing to complain about here.

Thank you

That is the only thing one could say being allowed to live a life like that on this planet. There are so many people who do not have this luxury, who do not know what to do next or what tomorrow may bring. People who experience war, destruction and death – something I pray my kids will never have to experience.

I am grateful for the year that is about to come to an end. Grateful that my only trouble is how and when to see Star Wars …

Here is some recent work …

McWay Falls
McWay Falls
The Needle
The Needle

To the Sea

Looking back at older photographs of mine, I sometimes wonder what I was thinking when I made those shots. Not only that the technique I used was far from perfect, but sometimes I am astonished why the heck I made this shot at all. Today, I wold either not make it, or I would choose a completely different approach. This is good news for me, an indicator that my preferences have changed and my style (whatever that is) is not static, but continuously changing.

In that process, I also became aware that I am more interested in seascape photography than I am actually in landscape photography. I didn’t conciosuly recognize this until I went through my archives and tried to identify the most interesting pictures that I have made so far. It was actually quite surprised to find out that it were the seascapes that made the greatest impressions to me. Until then I assumed that I fell into the same photography category of Ansel Adams (great landscapes, preferably in monochrome) which I always counted amongst my favorite photographers.

Now I realize that my photography is so much not the style of Ansel Adams – and that I am absolutely ok with that. Quite a surprise to me. But somehow something I should have expected, as my father was always drawn to the sea and sailing boats – it seems at last I have inherited some of his desires to be with the ocean.

Obviously, photography can tell you more about yourself – when you look closer.

For me that means, I will visit the sea more often. I will try to visit coastline wherever I can – at last I have found my personal preferences and know where to look.

To the sea.

The Moon and the Sea
The Moon and the Sea
Dancing Ledge
Dancing Ledge

The Rock
The Rock
The Rock
The Rock


If there is one thing that we – as human beings – discussed for centuries and still elude to get the answer, it is the question:

What is the soul?

Everybody has some idea about it. Sometimes we know it is there. Sometimes we feel ist is missing. Interesting enough, we associate it primarily with living beings. However, once in a while, we come across things that are not alive, yet we feel these things have soul. We find soul in the way people make music (is it the sound or the person who has it?), we find soul in art made by craftsmen, we find it looking at paintings and sometimes also at photographs.

It seems like soul lacks scientific definition, it is something we can not point the finger to – yet it is visible in some things we do, some things we create. Things we do whole heartedly, with our complete skill set, seem to become imprinted with more than just the physics. They become art, because we gave something into them. They convey more than just the material. They become somehow more alive beyond the physical sphere.

But this is also true for some things we do not lay our hands on. Some things, left unattended, left alone for years, may become more interesting than they were when we left them. Old paint on a door, rotting, deteriorating, gets more character and speaks to some in it’s own language. They develop some kind of soul – or maybe it is different: we respond to them, our soul reacts and is drawn to those things. Our character, what makes us unique becomes more clear in those situations. We feel connected to those unanimated objects as if they were alive.

Sometimes what we see and what we react to, what we connect with, becomes the mirror of our soul.

We may not see the light of our soul itself, but in creating art, this light casts a shadow of what it really is.

Our photographs are more than just photographs – they are shadows, frozen in time, showing the scheme, the outline of who we really are. Learning the craft and making more photographs makes those shadows clearer, better, more engaging. Though it is not the light itself, those fleeing shadows we should value and learn from them. They tell us a lot about ourselves.

And this is why, if we want to create art, the process must be very personal. As photographers, we see something that deep within connects to us. We visualize something that is not there yet, something within us guides us to the point where we know how the picture is supposed to look like. The result of this process tells us not only something about what was there, but also about what we did see. And this seeing is fed by our inner self, our soul, by who we are. This is what makes us unique and we have to do, to call it art.

Art is the shadow, cast by the light of our soul.


The Magic of the Print

Theoretically, with today’s technology in screen based presentation of picturse, you could say that quality has evolved to the point that you may no longer need to print out anything anymore. Resolution, color reproduction and ease of use have come to a point that what you see on screen has a physical quality, that may outperform print work of the same size.

Years ago I asked this question a photography dealer when I was buying stuff for my analogue equipment and next vacation. I think it was ten roles of slide films. I asked:

With today’s digital resolution capability, why should I still go for slides if I could just beam the pictures to a wall?

His answer was immediate:

Today, you have no adequate means that could match the resolution and vibrancy of a slide. There is no adequate tool available to represent the resolution of slide film.

That was years ago. I was doing Kodak Ektachrome and AGFA black and whit slide films, cooling them in a fridge. I had my own darkroom and made prints, black and white.

Today, it seems like using a 4K and 5K monitor could put a nail in the coffin of the print or the slide. Retina display tablets have also reached a resolution that could absolutely keep up with a print of that size. The resolution has reached a point that we may ask

Why print at all?

Yesterday I got the answer – again. I was making some prints, testing different types of paper. Looking at those prints, seeing the structure of the paper, holding it in the hand is like nothing that my monitor could convey. Committing oneself to the print, and giving birth to it is a process that echoes in oneself. We are producing, physically, finally our baby that has gone through our creative process.

I observe myself, that I look longer at prints than I do at pictures on a screen. When the print is done well, there is so much more to explore, to feel and to reflect about.

The print talks to me in a language and with so much more intensity, that the presentation on screen can not do.

After all this technological development, it seems that we are still craftsmen – we need to produce something physical to finally reach our inner satisfaction.

The final print has some magic in it, it is the same picture you have seen on the screen, and yet it’s is so much more when you look at it.

It’s like the difference between watching a movie of you kids and actually seeing them alive.

De – Cision

The German language has a different word here: Entscheidung. The German word Scheidung means to separate something. We also have the phrase

Scheiden tut weh

– it hurts to be separated (from someone or something). So if we say Entscheidung, it actually means something good. We end an inner separation, we bring together the things, we make ourselves or a situation whole again.

To de-cide is to end a cision (if that word would exist) – a condition that cost more energy (if we are torn apart within, that condition does cost energy) and make room to move forward. If cision last too long, it drains energy from us, takes us away from the next step, hinders us to be whole.

As photographers, we make decisions all the time. We are used to decide: we exclude, we focus, we choose the aperture, we change position.

We compose the picture by making decisions.

If the pictures do not work out, the decisions might have been wrong – but we made them, nevertheless. We learn, and in future, our decisions might be better. Photographic technique is something we have to learn to know which decisions we can make, to understand what the consequences are. But this is only to help us on the way in our capability to better express ourselves. What we want to say – that is a different story we have to de-cide.

That is, what art(iculation) is about: to de-cide what to tell, and de-cide how to tell it, and finally – tell it.


Life is a miracle. If you think about the sometimes very destructive mechanisms forging the universe, the chance that something as beautiful as a birch tree in the evening light even exists is diminishing low.

Anyway – the physical universe does not know beauty.
Life knows beauty.
Human beings know beauty.

And yet, here we are. Being aware of our selfs, being aware of the surrounding universe – and knowing, feeling, what beauty is. Striving for happiness, for sense, for enlightenment – something that physically we can not proof it exists. It exists in us, we know that it’s exists, because it is part of our day to day experience. We know joy, happiness, grief, frustration, excitement, sadness, luck, anger, beauty – a whole universe of feelings within us, that are there, even we do not have a physical proof for that.

We are so much more, life – and our life in particular – is a miracle, given birth by a so much destructive environment.

Maybe, that is what is our inheritance we have from the universe, that finally brought us to existence. The power for creating and experiencing incredible beauty, and yet also the power and will to create incredible destruction.

What distinguishes us from the universe is, that we are capable to choose. We have choices how to act. And in this way, reflecting the universe around us, we are indeed blessed and cursed at the same time. Being able to choose differently and thus choosing between what we perceive as good and what we perceive as bad, blessed with free will And yet, at the same time, being cursed because we know the choice is ours, our responsibility.

And this is what a real day to day miracle is: a human being, making the right choices and bringing more beauty into into this universe instead of destruction.

We are a miracle, if we choose to be so.


Life is full of expectations. From the very beginning of our childhood, we are surrounded by experiences of expectation. From the excitement the night before Christmas over the first anxiety of exams in school to the first kiss – imagination, hope and expectations are driving us and determine our way to feel.

We can feel disappointed when the expectations were to high and reality did I not deliver what we expected. We can feel excited before we enter the experience and that excitement can be very fulfilling and bring our pulse up. In photography, we can have the biggest expectations with regard to our pictures and compare these with others. We can be surprised how well some pictures come out and we can be very disappointed by pictures that suck.

Expectations are the drivers to take the camera in the first place. Last week I watched a documentary about Vivian Meier, a nanny that made pictures during here spare time – a lot of them, very good ones. But she never got published during her lifetime. She ended up with about 100000 negatives, most of them never made it as a print during her lifetime.

What were her expectations when she took the camera? She barely did see the final results. She did not drive towards publishing, at least not with the same drive to make pictures. What made her tick? What did she expect?

We may need learn  to manage our expectations, because expectation is something good when it makes us move and is motivating. However, it may also get in our way when we are overburdened by it and it gets in the way to allow creativity flow. The right level of expectation is good, but we should not be driven by its energy alone. We should learn what it does with us and how we can use it in the best way rather than allow it to determine our feelings and burden us too much with the feeling of pressure. Pressure starts in the head – and it’s often the result of too high expectations.

Our photos should please us in the first place, and they should be good for our development. All we should expect from us and the pictures we make is, that they allow us to grow.

We can expect to grow. But not too fast. We need to grow in a pace that lets us control the way. And enjoy the journey. That is all that is expected from us.