Fotoeins Fotografie

a question of home: 鹹水埠溫哥華? Oder woanders?

Posts tagged ‘Heidelberg’

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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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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Schloss Heidelberg, Alte Bruecke, Neckar River, Heidelberger Altstadt, Altstadt, Heidelberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, fotoeins.com, myRTW

Fotoeins Friday: Heidelberg at night, with the Old Bridge & Old Town

22 November 2012.

I’m in Heidelberg, Germany again during the final stage of my year-long RTW, and while my adopted home looks pretty under sun at the best of times, the city also doesn’t look half-bad under night lights. In the final week of November, the city’s Christmas markets are in full swing after sundown, and I’ve escaped the crowds by walking across the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge) to the north side of the Neckar river. The location provides a well-known vantage point south for this familiar look back (south) at the Castle ruins (left), the Old Bridge (centre), and the rest of the Old Town, including the Heiligeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit) at right. At upper-left are the towers on the summit of Königstuhl hill, and at upper-centre are the lights from Schlosshotel Molkenkur.

During my year-long RTW, I made this photo on 22 November 2012 with the Canon 450D, 18-55 kit-lens, and the following settings: 0.3-sec, f/3.5, ISO800, and 18mm focal length (29mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-ahH.

Hauptstrasse, Altstadt, Schloss Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Home is where the Altstadt is (Heidelberg)

In mid-afternoon light from the grounds of the castle ruins, Heidelberg’s Hauptstrasse (Main Street) winds its way through the buildings of the city’s Altstadt (Old Town). The street is well-known to visitors and to present- and past-residents (like me) who know very well the path of the cobblestones. Known also as the “royal mile”, the stretch really does run for about a mile (over 1.5 kilometres) from Karlsplatz to Bismarckplatz. For all its commercial hustle and the bustle of crowds, the Hauptstrasse is one of the reasons I gave my heart to the city: “da dort wo ich mein Herz verloren habe.”


I made the photos above on 14 March 2017 with the Canon EOS6D, 70-300 zoom-lens, and the following settings: 1/800s, f/16, ISO1000, and 130mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9wz.

street art, mural, Herakut, Metropolink, Heidelberg, Germany, fotoeins.com

My Heidelberg: Herakut street art for Metropolink

It’s amazing what gets discovered after going the wrong way.

I head straight for a full city-block before realizing my error, that I should’ve turned right about 5 minutes ago. I bow my head, and release a deep breath in frustration. I raise my head to the sky, when I catch sight of something out of the corner of my eye.

What’s that across the street?

I have to reach my destination which I know isn’t far.

But I am coming back here to get the shot.

( Click here for images and more )

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