The Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, came to Berlin for a whirlwind 24 hour visit on 2 June 2014. German Chancellor Angela Merkel received him with military honors at the Federal Chancellory. They went off to talk, and then gave a press conference. A few hours later, Garibashvili met the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Bode Museum on Museum Island. The evening was about giving back stolen cultural goods. To my great surprise, Georgia was giving back two books, part of a large collection recently found in the university library in Tiblisi. Silly me, I thought Germany might have some things it wanted to return.
I’ve been out of town and haven’t had the chance to post lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been shooting. I left my press equipment behind and hit the road with film cameras and my Fuji X100 – the later of which was used for these shots here.
Shocking as it may be, the weather was perfect. Two weeks in NY had only a day or two of clouds, and that perfect autumnal light seemed to strike wherever we went.
The weather even played along for a twelve hour layover in Paris. I’ve never seen such blue skies there.
And then onto Paris, perhaps the only city in the world where you have to try even harder than in New York to avoid taking cliché photographs and photographic clichés.
That’s it for this collection of street photography- next time, coming to you Live From Berlin again.
Every time I shoot a press event I come up with a new idea or two for photography, not for selling my shots but for art. Because the world of press, like the universe it is a part of, is nuts. And art is a great response to insanity.
Monday’s idea is to photograph the caterers and service workers at a star-studded event. Like these actresses in their own right:
The First Steps Awards are for youngins in German film. It felt like the younger sibling of Berlinale, Germany’s main film festival, which I’ll be covering in January. First Steps has major sponsorship and A-list guests, even if the nominees and winners are all up and coming. That meant that by the end of the night, most people who got prizes couldn’t walk in their shoes anymore. Not that I could in those heels, but as a photographer I get to wear hiking boots, black jeans and a t-shirt no matter how fancy everyone else looks. Dems da rules.
The red carpet was a pain in the ass. Shooting there is not much fun. Lots of shouting and elbowing. Worse than usual.
But the Stage Theatre am Potsdamer Platz offered four flights of balcony with a gorgeous staircase leading to each landing. And by gorgeous, I mean ugly but with low white ceilings. You know what that means: studio everywhere. Here are some prize winners. Note the light mod all around them known to most people as a ceiling. This was one on-camera flash, well balanced and bounced. Nice and Strobist-y.
The crowd being younger meant that a lot of the nominees and winners were more willing to take thirty seconds during the party afterwards for a shot. Also, did I mention the major sponsorship? There was really good food there. Like currywurst (a Berlin speciality that defies description), Dunkin Donuts and kimchi-filled asian fusion rice things.
As waiters came around and I was waiting for a familiar face to stroll by for a shot, I realized that the caterers were not only the unsung backbone of an event like this – which they always are – but this time they were mostly dressed up into roles, too. So I treated them like the stars I was supposed to photograph and asked they would lend me their likeness for thirty seconds. Basically all agreed.
And there you have it: today’s installation of art responding to photojournalism. There is nothing quite like fighting fire with fire.