Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts from the ‘Personal’ category

My Heidelberg: Highlights from Home

Above/featured: From Philosophenweg: across the Neckar, over the Altstadt, and up to Königstuhl – 21 May 2016 (HL).

Some have called this place “scenic, natural, and spectacular”; some call it “boring, provincial, and extortionate”. I could be referring to Vancouver, but that’s a subject for another time. I’ve long struggled with questions of place: what defines “home”? Can those definitions and qualities change with time? Do people have choice(s) and do they apply their choices in their search? Can people find meaning with “home”? Must “home” be restricted to only one place, or can different needs be met from different places?

Images can provide access to memories of having lived in a new country, experiencing the shock of the new, and settling into the mundane. I remember advice someone once gave me which became constant companion and reminder: that I was inhabiting a place at the same latitude as my birthplace, 8000 km in distance and 9 time zones apart on the other side of the planet, a place that’s seen its compact share of activity with flair and impact.

Most recall is naturally connected to sight. Occasionally, it’s a rush of the senses: the quick breeze on the skin, the ankle-spraining undulations of the cobblestone, how fog clings like a cold clammy cloak, the sing-song of birds among tall trees in the forest on the hill, the smell of grilled sausages in town by day, and the satisfying late-night noms of a spicy Dürüm Döner with a cool Ayran. And other times, human history leaps out and buries its claws, when the unthinkable must be acknowledged and understood in a synapsis of memory and senses.

In the autumn of 2001, I moved to Germany and Heidelberg: both sight unseen and without having learned any of the language. I stayed in town for a little under two years. What’s astonishing is I have no pictorial record of my time in Heidelberg, Germany, and Europe: I had no camera before the dawn of the smart-phone.

I have some great memories, even if time is casting long shadows. What I lost (no, gave away) was some part of me that actually has little to do with the “Schlager” hit song “Ich hab mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren“. It might be a piece of the heart, a part of the soul, or simply a scrap of good sense; but what it is precisely still remains undefined and shapeless. Finding solid answers about what I’ve surrendered might take years. And so, for the sake of clarity, I’ve returned many times since leaving town in 2003. A sharper focus comes through the post-departure blur whenever I step off the train in town.

I couldn’t have possibly known the experience of moving to and living in Heidelberg would be life-changing. Time so far has been kind, because it didn’t take long for me to adopt Heidelberg as “home”.

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My Vienna: metro frame

Above/featured: Urania (1910), Aspernbrücke Bridge (1951), and Uniqa Tower (2005) from left to right – 16 May 2018, 6D1.

It’s easy to reduce a city to stereotypes, distilling landmarks to short paragraph summaries designed for easy consumption.

Some might say: you’re making things too complicated; they’ve got to be simpler. That misguided sentiment needlessly and carelessly minimizes the diversity and complexity of a city, her people, and the infrastructure through which citizens reside, navigate, and thrive. Although I chased after traces of Otto Wagner throughout Vienna, I’m also interested in illuminating the city as reflections from past and present and as glimpses of resident and visitor.

Vienna is an exceptional city

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Matthew Good

The MG(B) 20: sonic timescapes

Above/featured: see track no. 9 in the list below.

Music is a personal reflection, providing a living soundtrack to important personal highlights of joy and tragedy. For the amount of time I’ve spent on the road and within a city I love and adore, I’ve created the following lists:

The following 20 tracks are by Matthew Good, an artist who hails from Coquitlam in metropolitan Vancouver. I first discovered the Matthew Good Band in 1997 at Toronto’s North by Northeast music festival, and saw them live in small venues on Queen Street and at Lee’s Palace on Bloor West.

With this selection coming between 1995 and 2017, your kilometrage may vary. And if it doesn’t work for you, that fortunately isn’t my problem at all.

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Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver, BC, Canada, BC Day, fotoeins.com

The Nature of Living Things (LAPC)

Above/featured: A warm summer afternoon on Grouse Mountain: North Vancouver, BC – 1 August 2016 (450D).

It’s a play on the title of a long-running documentary series on science and technology: “The Nature of Things” airs on Canada’s national broadcaster, the CBC. “Nature” can mean different things to different people, but I’ve three words in mind: flora, fauna, and mountains. Having begun photography as an active interest relatively late from 2005, it’s been a wondrous journey of non-stop discovery. Between 2007 and 2018, the following locations provided backdrops and venues to photographs about “nature.”

  • Argentina: Buenos Aires
  • Australia: Kangaroo Island, SA
  • Australia: Rottnest Island, WA
  • Austria: Alpbach
  • Canada: North Vancouver, BC
  • Canada: Vancouver, BC
  • Chile: Región de Coquimbo
  • Germany: Karlsruhe
  • Germany: Kassel
  • New Zealand: Akaroa
  • New Zealand: Homer Tunnel
  • South Africa: Cape Town
  • USA: Mount Vernon, WA
  • USA: Point Reyes National Seashore, CA
  • USA: Tucson, AZ

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Marlborough Region, Cook Strait, Krzysztof Golik, Wiki CC4

Landscapes of Aotearoa (LAPC)

Featured: Aotearoa: “land of the long white cloud.” Marlborough Region from Cook Strait: photo by Krzysztof Golik, Wiki CC4.

  • Landscape (noun), definition: visible features of an area of land, often considered in terms of aesthetic appeal.
  • Māori: “mano whenua“, heartland or interior of the country
  • Chinese: 景色
  • German: die Landschaft
  • Spanish: el paisaje

As part of my year-long around-the-world journey in 2012, I spent most of July in New Zealand (Aotearoa). The following 12 landscape images provide another perspective about how I feel about non-urban settings. I’ve had some say about urban cityscapes, but I’ll be the person to stop every few kilometres for every possible vista. The following images from the North Island (Te Ika a Māui) and South Island (Te Waipounamu) are reminders of my desire to return to Aotearoa.

  1. Wellington Harbour (Te Whanganui a Tara)
  2. Cook Strait (Te Moana Raukawa)
  3. East coast, near Kaikoura
  4. Akaroa
  5. Bealey, Canterbury region
  6. Franz Josef Glacier (Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere)
  7. Fox Glacier (Te Moeka o Tuawe)
  8. Lake Matheson (Te Ara Kairaumati)
  9. Southern Alps (Kā Tiritiri o te Moana)
  10. Aoraki and Horokoau
  11. Queenstown (Tāhuna)
  12. Milford Sound (Piopiotahi)

New Zealand’s national day, Waitangi Day, is observed annually on 6 February.

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