Miscellaneous Pinholista Excitement

So…let’s start with the exhibition. As you’ll see from the poster above, there is a super new pinhole exhibition coming up in Heidelberg, called the Art of Pinhole. Part of the OFF Foto festival, this will showcase work from a global selection of pinhole photographers. Artists participating include some great friends of mine, and I guess I should mention that I will be showing some images from my series A Short Walk in the Dark. The vernissage is on 12th October (more details on location and time via the link), it would be super-cool to see you there is you can make it.

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I also want to draw your attention to Earth Stands Still, a new photobook by Nils Karlson, who has featured here on Pinholista. Nils’ book is now up on Indiegogo and you can contribute here. The images contained within are wonderful, although I am not sure the Landscape Dog features. One of my favourite aspects of the book is that is mixes pinhole and lens-based images, something I am exploring myself.

Nils has been kind enough to send me some more information and to provide the images used in this post, so here’s the verbatim press release and launch of Earth Stands Still.

After two years of preparation, photographer Nils Karlson launches the crowdfunding campaign for his first photo book Earth Stands Still on Saturday, October 1st on Indiegogo.

The 25cm x 20cm (a little smaller than 8“x10“) hardcover book features 40 photos over the spread of 80 pages, accompanied by written contributions by Brian Richman, Marie Westerbom, and the author himself. Printed on matte Mundoplus Recycling offset paper at a highly eco-certified facility in Germany, Earth Stands Still invites the reader on a journey into the silence of Nils Karlson’s minimal, elegant, and often abstract seascapes.

The story of the book is based on the concept of Bardo, as described in The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Bardo can be translated as „intermediate state“, originally describing the state of existence between two earthly lives, a state of transcendence, a concept of existence without beginning or end. This translates directly into the photos of the author: Silent and vast spaces, where the eye can wander without obstacles.

Several editions of the book are available: A Standard Edition (€30), a Print Edition (€70), and a Print Edition – Deluxe (€120) in a total of 100 copies. By placing a pre-order on Indiegogo, each buyer contributes directly into the making of the book until the goal of €2400 is met. This will enable the author to have 100 copies printed. Every copy of Earth Stands Still will be signed and numbered, and the name of every backer will be mentioned in a special thank you list in the book.

Auther Nils Karlson is 41 years old and live in Germany. All photos in the book are exposed on Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Portra 160, Fuji Pro 160ns and Fuji Pro 400h film, using Mamiya RB67, Mamiya 6, and Zero Image 2000 cameras.

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If you’re in Berlin – do this!

This is just a quick post to draw your attention to an awesome exhibition opening shortly in Berlin. The exhibition is called “Atmosphère – Intuition formt Stemming” and features four photographers, including friend of Pinholista Larissa Honsek (Novemberkind). More details can be found here.

Details of the exhibition are in German, to save you the trouble I have Google translated below. Oh, and the image used here is from the linked website and is copyright Larissa Honsek, please respect that.

***UPDATE***

There’s is now a proper English translation, the text below is taken straight from the site (and can also be found by following the link).

To the translation:

“The 4 photographers from Germany, France and Italy show each in their individual way highly aesthetical analogue works, mainly pinhole photography. Without a viewfinder intuition – the premonition of how the image might turn out – plays a central role. Another focus is on photography as a craft. In contrast to quick selfies, all images are the result of a careful manual preparation and production – slow photography.

Laura Fiorio (Italy) creates images of Liquid Cities by portraying medieval towns like Venice, Verona or Valencia applying extremely long exposure with her self-constructed pinhole cameras. The outcome reminds of the early years of photography and contrasts the time-consuming practise of pinhole photography and the increasing pace of modern society that serves as a metaphor for the endless flood of digital images.

Jeanne Fredac (France) travelled to Burkina Faso to portray wild animals in the steppe as well as mine workers in one of the poorest areas of the country with her pinhole camera. Thanks to the physical presence and extraordinary shape and technology of the camera, she managed to raise the interest of people and gain their confidence. Curiously, she was rumoured to be a voodoo priestess with her black box and within days everyone knew who she was and what she was doing. It was important for her to show the locals that one does not need to buy an expensive camera to take pictures but it can be easily built with little resources.

Larissa Honsek (Berlin) loves to experiment with light and so she goes all the way to discover interesting sources of light that she can capture with her pinhole camera. For Atmosphere, she used objects like fireworks, sparklers, bicycle lamps, LED-chains, mobile phones and light swords. In one series, these objects illuminate a whole forest with magical energy; in another series light is captured in a black box and forced into predetermined shapes.

Laure Gilquin (France) went on a nightly expedition across the Senegalese capital Dakar for her series Dox rek – just go. Attracted by the dark and guided by scarce flickers of light like a glowing cigarette, a flickering television or a ray of light falling through a slightly open door. The light opens passages, it transforms facades of buildings into huge projection screens. The view enters these spaces and wanders around.

In addition to the exhibition, Fotogalerie Friedrichshain will host a series of pinhole photography workshops for different age groups in March. For more info and registration please contact fotogalerie@kulturring.org

A place abandoned

Somewhere in Norfolk there is a place abandoned. Its in the middle of a forest, you have to work a little hard to get there but its a good place. At least I think its a good place, at times when I was there I wasn’t quite so sure.

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I first starting obsessing about this abandoned scrapyard when I began seeing images made here in various guises on the internet. I realised I had to visit, and after a bit of research I figured out the spot and how to get there. Of course I could tell you where it is, but that would spoil the fun somehow…but I’m sure you can find it.

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What I wasn’t prepared for when I visited was the memories that seemed to weigh the place down. Its an incredible spot, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of what there is to photograph, mainly because I didn’t want to leave the path, at least I didn’t want to lose sight of it. I told myself that I was being sensible, there’s a lot of rotten metal and accidents waiting to happen around every corner. I’m not sure that’s the full story though.

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Firstly, the vehicles showed their original purpose and there was lots of evidence of the businesses that employed them, many years ago. From local building firms to the Navy, all signs of life were there. Then there was the buildings, what looked like once beautiful farm buildings are slowly returning to the trees. Roofs have collapsed, walls look like they will follow suit soon…and yet there were signs of more recent life (like Santa here).

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The wind was blowing as well, and there’s nothing more unnerving than hearing scratching noises from behind you as you’re concentrating on making another long exposure, miles from your own car. I’m pretty certain it was just twigs scratching on metal but imagination began to run riot. I’ve promised myself I’ll go back, and I left my own ghost behind to keep the others company. Hopefully they’ll welcome me again next time and I’ll be encouraged to explore beyond the path.

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Slightly Slower Brittany

In Instant Brittany, the last post that I shared, I presented, for your delight…well…instant pinhole shots from our holiday to Brittany. I probably promised there would be more to come, perhaps you need to go back and check on that. Even if I didn’t though, here they are, the slightly slower Brittany shots!

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We were really rather lucky to have generally decent weather, at least that’s what you would assume from these shots. What they don’t show is the incredible rain showers that suddenly descended at times. For example, just after I managed to capture A capturing an image in the rather wonderful megalithic landscape near St Just we were sheltering under trees wondering if we needed to start building a boat.

We didn’t of course, which was probably just as well as I am not so handy and I’m not sure the local farmers would have appreciated us chopping down their trees. Just as well really. Oh, and of course I probably would not have been able to withstand the humiliation of my boat being simply substandard compared to the local’s fleet.

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The local craft were in evidence whenever we hit the stunning coastline near to Dinan, where we were staying. We found not only incredible sandy beaches, and buoys hanging out on those beaches (I guess they must be beach buoys), but a rocky coastline that in places has to be seen to be believed.

Set amongst these rocks are tidal pools, more sandy beaches, and some of the most isolated yet beautiful communities I have seen. Whilst life is probably not so harsh in those places now, I can only imagine what it would have been like before central heating, electricity and cars. Some of the houses are right next to the crashing ocean (and it can really crash) with only a little respite from the elements. There’s really an incredible savage beauty to the place that I cannot really describe well, and I am not sure my photos do the area much justice.

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With the clouds of course, come somewhat dramatic sunsets…most of which I admired over a bottle of wine (or the local beer, which is getting surprisingly decent now) and a galette, crepe or other such delights. Honestly, at the point when the waiter set fire to a tower of meat and fish at the table next to us (all part of the plan I should stress) I realised that I might never eat again…and there was a particular tarte tatin that nearly finished me off.

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Anyway, back to the sunsets, as you can see they were kinda purty and made me feel all gooey inside as I waited for the trusty Zero 2000 (responsible for all of this goodness) to do her thing. I have often neglected my second Zero as I always seemed to reach for the 69, but since her little accident (more here on that joy!) I’ve defaulted back to Z2K. I have to say that I would prefer it if Z2K was a little sharper, but you know you have to love your children regardless…even if you then purchase other babies to play with (more on that bombshell soon). With that, I shall say adieu, and leave you with nothing but a magnificent viaduct for company. Happy shooting Pinholistas, happy shooting.

Stones

First, an apology to Inge of Pinhole Obscura…I promised to write this post for you a long time ago. I never did and now I’m doing it for Pinholista. What can I say, I’m a horrible person.

With that out of the way, let’s go back in time. Way back in time, long before records began and certainly long before light hitting film became a way of capturing memories. As remnants of those times we have enigmatic stones that really could tell a story but choose not to. To be fair, I like it that way, when I visit these sites I can make up my own mind. There’s a common thread that runs through many of them, which is the situation the stones find themselves in, often up high above the landscape, and always somewhere pretty dramatic.

We’ll start with the obvious one, Stonehenge, which is perhaps one of my least favourite circles. The reason for this is you sadly cannot get near to the stones (unless you book well in advance and promise not to touch, or you go at the solstice). Although I can kind of understand the reasons for this, I often think back to the horrors of the Battle of the Beanfield and just think that somehow we’re being separated from our culture and that disturbs me. Nonetheless, the stones are impressive, and they make for a great film swap with the wonderful Jana Obscura.

Avebury

I much prefer the stones at Avebury, which is relatively close to Stonehenge. The site is open (well after all, there is a village in the middle of the circle) and is incredibly impressive in scale. I guess I should issue another apology here for the somewhat ropey image, that’s why I don’t do much black and white…I suck at it. Nonetheless, I think this illustrates the scale of the stones. What it doesn’t do is illustrate the joys of walking down the avenue, away from Avebury and over the ridge to gaze down at Silbury Hill. If the light is right, Silbury seems to glow and again you get an idea of why our ancestors created these incredible places.

If you do visit Avebury you might also run into the Arch-Drude himself, Julian Cope. If you’re at all interested in Megalithic Britain or Europe then I’d highly recommend you get yourself copies of the Modern Antiquarian and Megalithic European. These marvellous tomes are the perfect guide to these places (along with the slightly drier but not less useful Stone Circle guide by Aubrey Burl).

Castlerigg

Heading further north, into the Lake District and Cumbria, you come across two more magnificent circles. The setting for these couldn’t be more different. Firstly, Castlerigg is set up high in the hills (but easily accessible) and seems to float in the landscape. We were lucky when we visited Castlerigg, the weather was kind with not a drop of rain, but that did bring a lot of people out (not surprising given the accessibility). It might sound selfish but I much prefer to visit these places when few folks are about so I can be alone with my thoughts (and with A). All that being said, sinking into that pinhole fugue is a pretty good way to ignore other folks (apart from the usual questions about the camera).

Long Meg and her Daughters

Long Meg and her Daughters are in a very different place. Not really nestled in or above hills, there seems to be little that is remarkable about the landscape. The circle though is wonderful, despite the farm track running through it. The daughters form a perfect ring whilst Meg herself stands proud outside the circle, seemingly keeping watch for trouble.

Loupin Stanes

Girdle Stanes

Further north still, we find two circles very close to each other (and presumably part of a single complex at one point), the Loupin Stanes and the Girdle Stanes. These are both wonderful circles, with a river running close by, which has disrupted the landscape somewhat. These circles are in the Scottish Borders, near Eskdalemuir, in one of the wettest places in the UK. They are isolated, yet accessible, and you’ll definitely need waterproofs and wellies…at least we did! Interestingly, the (presumably) sacred nature of the landscape is echoed in the modern Tibetan monastery nearby.

Leys of Marlee

Also in Scotland, the Leys of Marlee are perhaps the most easily accessible stones of all, the road runs straight through them. This act of vandalism, to allow the road to go straight, makes for a very odd atmosphere but the stones are still incredible. You do need to take care when you visit though, the cars speed past with no care for the stones or their visitors.

Nine Ladies

Back south again, to Derbyshire, and we find the wonderful Nine Ladies circle (which has featured on the Next Best Thing Pinhole Project). Its a little trek to the Nine Ladies, but well worth it, and when we arrived their were families camping amongst the trees, which was a great echo of the past (to me at least). Interestingly some of the stones are marked with carvings, although I have no indication as to when those carvings were made (some are undeniably modern). Even more interestingly, there were a number of perfectly circular burn marks, perhaps 1-2 feet across, dotted around near the circle. I assume those were created as part of a modern ritual and were not anything more mysterious. You will actually find similar signs or ritual near most stones, ribbons in trees are very common, and its definitely worth keeping your eyes open during your visit.

Sadly, there are no stone circles near me in Norfolk, we simply don’t have any stone, but evidence of neolithic culture has been seen, both in wood henges and in places like Grimes Graves, which is a must for all local school children.

Stammershalle

Further east though, where the stone has returned, there are signs of a similar culture. Stammershalle on Bornholm (and yes I am still going on about Denmark) is very easy to get to, particularly if you stay in the hotel opposite as we did. Again, this site is magnificently situated on a cliff above the Baltic Sea. There are also further circles nearby, as well as a stone ship.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trip through the stones. These are a great subject for pinhole photography, they don’t move for a start. The process of pinhole photography (the fugue mentioned above) allows the photographer to really appreciate and take in the landscape, setting and atmosphere. Happy shooting my Pinholista chums.