Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts tagged ‘Frankfurt am Main’

Europe, May 2018: first 13 days (of 27)

Above: “Monocle”, on ÖBB regional train near Kitzbühel, Austria – 13 May 2018.

From 8 May to 4 June 2018, I travelled through Austria and Germany for 27 consecutive days by train with a two-country Eurail rail pass. I obtained over 10-thousand frames over the four-week span: the mirrorless Fujifilm X70 with fixed-lens prime accounted for 8020 images (77%), and the full-frame Canon 6D with changeable zoom-glass accounted for 2449 images (23%). From this giant haul of pictures, the following provides glimpses and visuals to the first 13 of 27 days, including stays in Innsbruck and Vienna.

(The final 14 days here)

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IHolocaustdenkmal, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: observations from Germany

Primo Levi, Italian-Jewish author, chemist, and Auschwitz survivor, delivered a set of essays about life and survival in Nazi extermination camps in his 1986 book “The Drowned and the Saved”. Levi wrote:

… For us to speak with the young becomes even more difficult. We see it as a duty and, at the same time, as a risk: the risk of appearing anachronistic, of not being listened to. We must be listened to: above and beyond our personal experiences, we have collectively witnessed a fundamental, unexpected event, fundamental precisely because unexpected, not foreseen by anyone. It took place in the teeth of all forecasts; it happened in Europe; incredibly, it happened that an entire civilized people, just issued from the fervid cultural flowering of Weimar, followed a buffoon whose figure today inspires laughter, and yet Adolf Hitler was obeyed and his praises were sung right up to the catastrophe. It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say.

On 27 January 1945, Soviet Red Army troops liberated the Nazi concentration and extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in south-central Poland. Over 1 million men, women, and children were murdered.

The United Nations declared January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day; the designation came during the 42nd plenary session of the United Stations when resolution 60/7 was passed on 1 November 2005.

Accepting and openly stating responsibility are critical first steps, but spending time, money, and effort to ensure the simple motto of “never again” is also an ongoing reality that isn’t solely up to the citizens of Germany. It’s a collective responsibility that we all should have to remain vigilant; that we all have to recognize and bolster actions which encourage and strengthen the universality of human rights, and reject the erosion and withdrawal of those rights.

I also believe responsible tourism includes paying appropriate respect at a memorial, especially the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. It’s my view this important memorial is not (supposed to be) a playground.

And yet, there’s something to be said about freedom in the early 21st-century which allows people to laugh and frolic in the public space, an undulating sculpture of featureless massive grey cement blocks, a testimonial to the systematic murder of millions of people.

Naturally, you have the freedom to take selfies and play here. But it doesn’t mean I’m gonna laugh with you.

•   Yolocaust art project, DW 2017.

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An afternoon at Roemerberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: animal kingdom (Frankfurt am Main)

I’ve been reading about photographer Joel Meyerowitz and studying his pictures. Meyerowitz said:

You look at it [a photograph] and all around the real world is humming, buzzing and moving, and yet in this little frame there is stillness that looks like the world. That connection, that collision, that interfacing, is one of the most astonishing things we can experience.

Photography is a response that has to do with the momentary recognition of things. Suddenly you’re alive. A minute later there was nothing there. I just watched it evaporate. You look one moment and there’s everything, next moment it’s gone.

At the Römerberg square in the German city of Frankfurt am Main, I stand apart from the crowds pointing their cameras at the fountain or at the reconstructed famous buildings to the side. I slow down, stop, and take a breath. I happen to look down at the small dog in the bag, attached by a ribbon to the gentleman holding a purse in his other hand. He’s adjusting his pants in a semi-reluctant pose and although he’s facing away from me, the pose is almost as if he’s been “caught holding the bag.” The purse’s owner has gone out of the scene, looking at something else that’s caught their eye or perhaps they’re looking for souvenirs.

Are they visitors or residents? Does it even matter? The tiny pocket-sized canine is the key.

The dog looks at me distinctly unamused, whereas the pigeon “inside” the cord sits calmly on the cobblestone, seemingly unconcerned by the surrounding bipedal hustle and bustle. Once I’ve taken the frame, I’ve witnessed the rhythm of legs, corners, and triangles; sometimes amusement strikes without warning. Does the dog somehow sense it’s at the bottom of the hierarchy? Is the dog’s pleading look a request for escape? Of course, I’m also thinking about Elliott Erwitt’s “Snaps“.

I made the above photograph on 9 May 2015 with the Canon EOS6D, 24-105 L-zoom, and the following settings: 1/200-sec, f/16, ISO1000, and 105mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9Fo.

Römerberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Heine’s warning about book burning (Frankfurt)

Most visitors to Frankfurt am Main will stop at the historic Römerberg square for pictures of the surrounding buildings with bank towers in the background. But a glance down onto the cobblestones near the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of Justice) reveals a writer’s stern warning. In the tragedy “Almansor“, the German-Jewish writer Heinrich Heine warned readers about the dangers of burning books:

Das war ein Vorspiel nur. Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.
– Heinrich Heine, “Almansor” (1820-1821)

Heine wrote how burning books is a dangerous omen: “where books are burned, people aren’t far behind.” A little over 100 years later, this prescient line played out as the Nazis took over and targeted in particular Jews. On 10 May 1933 in Frankfurt and in other cities across the country in plans orchestrated by the Propaganda Ministry, tens of thousands including university students loyal to the Nazis gathered to burn books by writers who were Jewish or who were deemed ‘unpatriotic’ or ‘un-German’ to the Nazi ideal. Books by Bertolt Brecht, Sigmund Freud, Heinrich Heine, Erich Kästner, and Heinrich Mann among others were thrown into the fire. The Gedenkplatte (or Gedenktafel) Bücherverbrennung is a memorial and modern reminder for constant vigilance against the dangerous reasons for book burning and the consequences beyond.

Gedenkplatte Bücherverbrennung, Römerberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, fotoeins.com

Gedenkplatte Bücherverbrennung: memorial plaque to 1933 book burning

I made the photos above on 9 May 2015. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-79O.

Love locks, Eiserner Steg, Iron Footbridge, Main river, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Crown of locks on Frankfurt’s Eiserner Steg

The Eiserner Steg (Iron Footbridge, 1869) is a pedestrian-only bridge over the Main (word pronounced like “mine”) river in Frankfurt am Main which connects the city’s Römerberg and Old Town on the north flank with the Museum Embankment and Sachsenhausen on the south flank. My glance to the city’s “Main-hattan” skyline found clusters of love-locks hanging from the bridge structure. Whatever your opinions are about these love-locks, they make a great compositional feature.

Other love locks:

•   Cologne’s Hohenzollernbrücke
•   Heidelberg’s Alte Brücke (Old Bridge)

I made this photo above on 20 November 2014 with the Canon EOS6D, 24-105 L zoom-lens, and the following settings: 1/20s, f/4, ISO4000 and 24mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress on fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-7WE.

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