Fotoeins Fotografie

the visible wor(l)d, between Canada & Germany

Posts from the ‘Urban Photography’ category

Fotoeins Friday: State Memorial in Kings Park, Perth

15 September 2012.*

It’s a beautiful warm afternoon for the final week of winter, and my friends in the western Australian city of Perth have suggested we spend the afternoon in one of their city’s parks, the Kings Park and Botanical Garden.

We arrive at the State War Memorial with (this east) view of the Swan River and the Darling Scarp (Darling Range, Perth Hills) in the distance. The war memorial includes the Flame of Remembrance (foreground) and the State War Memorial proper with Cenotaph and Court of Contemplation, an important site for commemorative events.

* The recorded high temperature for this date in metropolitan Perth was 26 degrees Celsius (79F): not bad for the final week of winter.

During my year-long RTW, I made this photo on 15 September 2012 with the Canon 450D, 50-prime, and the following settings: 1/1250-sec, f/8, ISO200, and 50mm focal length (80mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

Fotoeins Friday: Australia’s National Carillon, Canberra ACT

9 September 2012.

The National Carillon glows in warm afternoon light and anchors the scene at the eastern end of Lake Burley Griffin. The Carillon was Great Britain’s gift to Australia on the capital’s 50th birthday in 1963.

On a gentle lake cruise on a clear late-winter day, I get to see how beautiful Canberra is, even if the Australian capital city is a careful construction in the outback southwest from Sydney. Canberra is often criticized as “boring,” but that’s lazy thinking. Any criticism won’t matter to my friends who are employed at nearby Mount Stromlo Observatory and who are raising a young family. Like Chile’s La Serena where we first met, what the two places have in common is an environment for both astronomy and family.

During my year-long RTW, I made the photo on 9 September 2012 with the Canon 450D, 50-prime, and the following settings: 1/800-sec, f/8, ISO200, and 80mm focal length (full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

My Berlin: Hauptstadt Memories, 2010-2011

Above: “Pe(a)rlin’ in Berlin”, Hackescher Markt – 16 March 2011 (HL).

Berlin is one of my favourite cities in the world. From the moment I stepped foot inside the German capital city for the first time in 2002, it’s been an ongoing love story. I’m convinced the “Hauptstadt” will always be worth photographing; it’s my “long game.” Naturally, there are a massive number of sights throughout Berlin, and I’ve always combined public transport with plenty of walking. In fact, traveling 10 to 20 kilometres per day throughout the city is pretty much the norm. These photographs are personal observations and measurements of location, geometry, and motion.

The pictures and memories may be from years past, but all of the them retain their contemporary nature: images which include quiet snowy Christmas, an important memorial, and pieces of architectural design.

Neues Museum, Hauptstadt, Berlin, Germany,

“Closing time”, Neues Museum – 24 December 2010 (HL)

Bahnhof Potsdamer Platz, Potsdamer Platz, Hauptstadt, Berlin, Germany,

“Vacant”, Bahnhof Potsdamer Platz – 24 December 2010 (HL)

2. Weihnachtstag, Boxing Day, Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin, Germany,

“2. Weihnachtstag (2nd day of Christmas)”, Hauptbahnhof – 26 December 2010 (HL)

U6 Stadtmitte, Mohrenstrasse Ecke Charlottenstrasse, Berlin, Germany,

“Blizzard”, Mohrenstrasse at Charlottenstrasse – 27 December 2010 (HL)

Jüdischer Friedhof, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Spandauer Vorstadt, Berlin, Germany,

“Nie wieder (never again)”, Old Jewish Cemetery – 16 March 2011 (HL); see also here and here

Domaquarée, Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse, Berlin, Germany,

“Duo”, CityQuartier DomAquarée – 17 March 2011 (HL)

Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse, Berlin, Germany,

“Shiny”, Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse – 19 March 2011 (HL)

Ritz Carlton, Bahnhof Potsdamer Platz, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, Germany,

“Dusk”, Beisheim Center – 19 March 2011 (HL)

Postscript: As I look at these pictures years later, I wondered how I came to make many pictures of stairs and escalators in the relative quiet of the city around Christmas 2010. Had I already subconsciously incorporated the way I was seeing the world through my pictures my big life transition the following year (2011)?

More Hauptstadt Memories

•   My Berlin: Mitte on Christmas Eve (2010)
•   2009 to 2010
•   2005 to 2009

I made the pictures above on 24-27 December 2010 and 16-19 March 2011. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as

Fotoeins Friday: Metro Domain, Auckland War Memorial

31 July 2012.

At Auckland’s Tamaki Paenga Hira, I spend an afternoon inside the War Memorial building, which houses the War Memorial History museum with the world’s largest Maori and Pacific Island Collection. I step outside to this northwest facing view toward’s the city downtown area (CBD) and the needle that is the Sky Tower which dominates the city’s skyline.

During my year-long RTW, I made this photo on 31 July 2012 with the Canon 450D, 50-prime, and the following settings: 1/320-sec, f/5, ISO200, and 50mm focal length (80mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

The place where I died

With these pictures, I explore the perspective of witnessing a parent’s unstoppable decline to the end. While there are no pictures of my father in this set, I give voice to growing distress at his final journey as my gaze drifted externally to the hospital itself and immediate surroundings. Northern summers, specifically August, now mean something entirely different.

On 19 July 2014, Dad was taken to Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital after he had a minor fall down the stairs at home. No bones were broken, which was remarkable considering his worsening health in the final stages of cancer. He would never return to the house in which he and Mum had bought and lived since 1976. By the 2nd week, he had been moved to the Palliative Care Unit (PCU) on the 10th floor. The wonderful hospital staff took great care of him and other patients in the unit. Dad charmed the PCU staff by chatting with them in broken English; it was his way of exerting some measure of control. By the 3rd week of his hospital stay, his mind and spirit had departed, and he had become completely unresponsive. Over the next five days, his body remained, breathing steady, though often shallow and laboured. He was calm and at peace, and thanks to the meds, with diminished pain. I was with Dad a part of every day for the following 21 days until his death on 9 August; he had celebrated his 82nd birthday a few weeks earlier.

Palliative Care Unit, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada

(1) Inside the room

Palliative Care Unit, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada

(2) Out the window

I looked out the windows to summer skies, to tell him the city he’d known for over 40 years was still out there. I was also in a hot rage because the rest of the world continued on unworried and uncaring, leaving Dad and the suffering and the dying behind. Entropy is all fine a concept until it reaches out and fucks with your reason for being.

Palliative Care Unit, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada

(3) From the bed

St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada

(4) DIGS, Downtown Intercultural Gardeners’ Society

Bute and Davie, West End, Vancouver, BC, Canada

(5) Light

St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada

(6) The spot

Palliative Care Unit, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada

(7) Lounge

There’s a lounge area for family and friends, down the hallway at some distance from patients’ beds. In the lounge are couches, chairs, a piano, books, and a small kitchenette with a fridge, microwave, and a place to make coffee or tea. There’s also a small balcony with additional deck chairs for people to sit outside in the shade; the balcony is where I made pictures (6) above and (12) below. With the lounge at the building’s southwest corner, there’s an outstanding west-facing view to the rest of downtown, the West End, and English Bay.

Palliative Care Unit, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada

(8) Passage

This corridor in the PCU connects the lounge area with staff offices, examination rooms, and patients’ rooms. By day or night, it’s generally quiet: it’s not an eerie atmosphere, but it’s more like a respectful state of mind.

Palliative Care Unit, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada

(9) Celebration of Light

Next to the PCU on the 10th floor, there’s a section where the windows next to the elevators face west to English Bay. We watch the annual summer fireworks through the glass. There are subdued voices, interrupted by the sounds of mobile phones as people attempt to take pictures. There’s no shouting, no whooping, no clapping. Patients, family and friends, and various on- and off-shift hospital staff all gaze equally and quietly into the Salish Sea.

Law Courts, Arthur Erickson, Robson Square, downtown Vancouver, BC, Canada

(10) Lattice

St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada

(11) Helmcken

By this point, Dad had become a shell. His spirit had departed days earlier, and his body was hanging on. His eyes, open and unseeing. His mouth, open and sunken. His skin, smooth yet cool to the touch. He looked like a breathing ghost, but a part of him stuck around. And so, I stroked his cheek with the back of my fingers, and I held onto his arm, knowing fully he could no longer acknowledge me. Did I tell him all the things I wanted to say? No, but I had hoped my presence provided some comfort over this time. What I feared most was not the deterioration or the inevitable, but that he was trapped somewhere and unable to communicate. I whispered into his ear: “it’s okay, Dad. We’re all good. You can go.” I repeated this in both English and Toisan for several days.

Palliative Care Unit, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada

(12) Last twilight

From the lounge balcony, I made the picture of his final sunset. While he could no longer “see”, I hoped he could sense the shift between day and night. Hours later at 610am on the 9th of August 2014, Dad breathed his last and slipped quietly into the eternal sea. When I got the phone call, I felt some relief for him, that his ordeal was finally over. That respite was quickly replaced by the empty vacuum that comes with losing a parent. Even now, 3 years on, I still relive key moments of those 3 weeks in the hospital.

Palliative Care Unit, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada

(13) Notice

This post appears on fotoeins DOT com as I made all of the pictures between 31 July and 8 August 2014. All pictures were at St. Paul’s Hospital except number 5 (corner of Bute St. and Davie St.) and number 10 (Law Courts building).

Some may recognize the similarity of my post title with “The X-Files” episode “The Field Where I Died” which is a personal favourite. Those familiar with the episode will also know this video excerpt with this music score.

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