the picture angle: Blog en-us (C) the picture angle (the picture angle) Tue, 04 Apr 2023 08:59:00 GMT Tue, 04 Apr 2023 08:59:00 GMT the picture angle: Blog 120 120 Exhibition 'Fleeting moments' Fleeting moments

Having first picked up a camera at the age of 13, I effectively never put it down again. Initially I would take it with me on family walks in the forest during the weekends, on holidays and on school trips, paying for films, developing and printing out of my pocket money.

In the mid-90ies I decided to put the hobby on a more formal footing and took a 3 year course in social and documentary photography. Since those days I practically haven’t left home without a camera at all.

The genre of photography that adopted me - I didn’t really choose it, it chose me - is street photography. It is the genre that searches out candid moments of everyday life in public places and intends to capture the essence of those particular moments in time, be it the beauty, humour or sometimes even the sadness of the ordinary.

What is fascinating about street photography is its ability to capture moments that may seem trivial or insignificant at first glance but can reveal deeper insights upon closer examination. They encourage us to slow down, pay attention to our surroundings, and appreciate the beauty and complexity of the world around us. And quite often it turns out that the most interesting stories unfold in places we know well and have stopped paying much attention to.

For me, taking the camera out for a walk is the closest I have come to fully living in the moment, to being open to life unfolding without anything more pressing to do, without preconceived ideas, just willing to respond quickly to a situation developing and to see where it takes me. 

Having created a body of work coverin
g several several decades by now, one remarkable realisation was that images, those isolated moments in time, frozen for posterity, can take on new meanings and significance as time goes by and the context and our own perceptions change.

With this exhibition, I would like to invite you to see the world through my eyes and camera lens for a while in the hope that some of the instances presented here may chime with you, maybe remind you of something half-forgotten, or just entertain you.

I would like to dedicate this exhibition to a very dear friend who encouraged me persistently to show my work but who is unfortunately no longer here to see this event happen.

For Sophie.


(the picture angle) bio exhibition photography street Tue, 04 Apr 2023 16:00:00 GMT
8th International Color Awards FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Color Awards Nominee


LOS ANGELES (21 April 2015) - (Amateur) photographer Antje Bormann of United Kingdom was presented with the 8th Annual International Color Awards Nominee title in the categories of Wildlife and Photojournalism at a prestigious Nomination & Winners Photoshow webcast Saturday, April 18, 2015. 

The live online gala was attended by over 8,000 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry's most important event for color photography. 

8th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Christie's, Paris; Frieze Art Fair, London; DB Agency, Milan; Clair Galerie, Munich; Edinburgh Film Festival; Art Beatus Gallery, Hong Kong; Gup Magazine, Amsterdam; and Eyestorm, London who honored Color Masters with 541 coveted title awards in 33 categories.

"It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 7,358 entries we received this year," said Basil O'Brien, the awards Creative Director. "Antje's "Out of Proportion," an exceptional image entered in the Photojournalism category, represents contemporary color photography at its finest, and we're pleased to present her with the title of Nominee."

INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in color photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in color photography.

# # #

Contact:      Antje Bormann
Email:         [email protected]

(the picture angle) Awards International Color Awards 2015 competition photography Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:48:59 GMT
the thing about time and space... A shot from a driving car of the sea off Kythera.

I have recently come back from one of the most amazing weeks I have had in my life.

I had the opportunity to spend that time with a friend at the private house of his friends on the island of Kythera, just south of the Peloponnese peninsular. It sat perched on a mountain top towards the north of the island and was reachable only by car, the last kilometres resembling a ralley stage more than a road.

I didn’t realise it so much while I was there but once I resubmerged myself in my normal reality upon my return to London, I noticed a marked warping in my perception of time and space during that week.

The time issue was not new to me. I had experienced periods of time before that were so intense that they appeared to be both over so quickly and on hindsight to have lasted forever – mainly because everything before them had moved so much further back in my memory than things that would have happened the same length of time in the past under normal circumstances, that the progress of time appeared to have bulged in a way and stopped being linear.

On this occasion, I additionally felt a similar – seemingly contradictory – change in my perception of space. Due to the isolated location of the place and its complete lack of TV, radio, wifi or at times even a decent mobile phone signal, space contracted. There was no contact with the outside world, no twitter, no emails, no news.

On the other hand, the sheer physicality of the surroundings – the stifling heat that hit you like slap in the face the moment you stepped outdoors; the sun that seemed to burn away anything nonessential from an intense blue sky, the landscape, and the human soul; the seemingly ever-present soundtrack of cicadas, except when they suddenly stopped (and the sudden quiet would seem stranger than the cacophony they would start again a while later); the fact you couldn't walk through the grass as in its place there were spiny and thorny shrubs that scratched your legs without mercy - all these things heightened the senses dulled by stimuli usually coming from screens and speakers or being filtered out by force of habit.

I was so much more aware of my surroundings because of all these that suddenly this contracted world I found myself in seemed to expand within itself, given all the new things to discover every minute of the day.

A very enriching experience, and highly recommended!

You can see more pictures from this trip to the beautiful Greek island of Kythera by clicking on the image or following this link.

(the picture angle) holidays perception of space and time philosophy photography Mon, 01 Sep 2014 09:32:07 GMT
happy with the new home for my images... the object and its (many) facets About a month after signing up for a Premium account and a while of deferring my good intentions of sitting down and doing something with it, I have now spent a few days trying to get my head around how Zenfolio works.

And I must say, so far I am truly impressed with the many ways any of the templates can be customised.

I am still finding out more, of course, and I did need the help centre to kick-start me on some of the basics, but once it had been explained, the procedures were pretty easy to follow, and the results exceeded my expectations.

This site is currently reflecting my status as an ambitious (full-time) amateur photographer. I am confident that as I move more towards semi-professional and eventually professional status, this service can grow with me.

I haven't tried paid-up memberships of other services like Photoshelter - which was on my list, though - so I can't make any comparisons. But I don't feel that I would need to find out as here, at least for the time being, I have more than I need, and I love the sleek look of my brand new website.

Thank you, Zenfolio, for all the work behind the scenes that makes it possible for people like me who are better at taking pictures than at building websites, to come up with professional looking and working showcases of their work.

Anyone who feels tempted to try Zenfolio, like every member I have a code that will give the user 10% off their first subscription. Feel free to use it. I used someone's. :-)


(the picture angle) code discount photography promotional zenfolio Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:42:38 GMT
calm down... When I first saw this ad on TV, it made me sit up and listen. And watch. I recognised myself as being on the giving as much as the receiving end of similar exchanges, although many of the giving usually happens only in my head. I want to, but don't, tell people what I think of their lack of consideration. Usually it is them, though, who give me an earful for not dissolving into thin air as they approach and claim the same space I am already occupying.

It is true, we all could do with a bit more tolerance. But a lot of people could also do with more awareness of what is going on around them, realising they are not alone, that we are indeed supposed to share the space.

So while I am at it, let me describe one of the moments that have me close to boiling point in next to no time.

The top spot has to go to a group of people walking 3 or 4 abreast on a pavement that is just about wide enough for that, coming my way when I am carrying heavy bags home from the supermarket. More often than not none of them will move over to leave room for me to get past but all of them will have a go at me after the inevitable collision for what can only be not lying down and letting them walk all over me in their current formation. I find I have very little patience with selfish people like that. I guess I should have more. If only to protect my mental and emotional wellbeing. Others may thrive on conflict. I don't.

As annoying as all this is, it is not really worth getting worked up about it. Because the negative energy we absorb from such situations stays with us. We suffer from it ourselves, and even if we don't mean to, we pass it on to others whom we either shouldn't or don't want to treat that way.

The only way to break negative energy cycles is holding against it with positive energy. If they push, pull. Move with them. That way, there can be no real impact. And if real impact is the intended outcome of the initial action, at least it is those people who end up frustrated, not the intended victims.


(the picture angle) TfL campaign calm consideration life share the road Tue, 05 Aug 2014 21:32:49 GMT
something for the pixel peepers… I always wondered what pixel peeping was all about. After my recent purchase of and experience with the Fuji X-Pro 1, I wanted to see for myself after marvelling at the resolution of the sensor. So I hung my lovely vintage style silk blouse with embroidery (great for texture and fine detail) on the front room door and took a series of pictures from about 60 cm away. The ISO was set to 2000, and the images were taken under available daylight, with AWB and aperture priority, and converted to jpg in Aperture without any processing.

Click to view slideshow.

For a closer look, please follow this link:

fujinon 35mm f/1.4

Then I thought: why not make a comparison? So I exchanged the Fuji X-Pro 1 for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 and did the same series with the same settings.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4

And while I was at it, I swapped the lovely Panasonic Leica Summilux for the delightful Voigtländer Nokton M43 25mm and did the same series again, plus one image at the fabled f/0.95 aperture.

Voigtländer Nokton M43 25mm f/0.95

Happy peeping!

(edited) One surprising finding of this exercise for me was not so much the way both cameras rendered the colour differently (they are different sensors, after all)  but how one and the same camera did the same for the two lenses that I used.

Interesting is also that the Fuji set and the Olympus with Nokton set are closer to each other in terms of colour than either is to the Olympus with Lumix lens set. They also both appear truer to life than the Lumix lens shots. Possibly down to the fact that the Nokton is fully manual and doesn’t electronically communicate with the camera at all? (edited)

(the picture angle) Fujifilm Finepix X-Pro 1 Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 Voigtländer Nokton M34 25mm f/0.95 lens comparison photography Sat, 22 Mar 2014 12:24:44 GMT
what kind of a world do we live in… throngs by antje b.
throngs, a photo by antje b. on Flickr.

… sometimes I wonder. We are so liberated. Democracy. Women allowed to vote, in some countries not even for a century, yet nobody bothers to go and vote anymore. Sex education in schools. Drugs on the NHS. Equal pay act since the 70ies, yet who really cares women still earn less for the same work? Covering your face in court for religious reasons causing a nationwide debate.

Yet… yet… it would seem that wearing clothes that cover your face might actually become fashionable again to exercise your right to privacy. Unless you want to rely on non-sensical laws like the one just passed today in Hungary.

According to this new law, it is a civil offence to take pictures in public without obtaining the consent of everyone who is in the frame. Leaving aside the practicalities of it, I have quite some issues with this.

1) I won’t labour the CCTV point too much, others have done it much better than I could.

2) Street photography for the vast majority of people engaged in it is not voyeurism. It is documenting life. Life means people. And to all of you who hate your picture taken, it isn’t even about you per se. You mostly serve no other purpose than to give context. It could be just for scale. You, I’m afraid, are often reduced to merely a few lines that add visual interest to an otherwise lifeless architectural scene. Sorry to burst your bubble of self-importance.

3) If you are more than a visual element in a good picture then chances are it still isn’t about you personally. If you are sitting on a bench sipping a latte and reading a newspaper with people dashing past, the photographer most likely comments on the human condition of restlessness, and you actually serve as the conceptual juxtaposition to that. You have become a symbol of one particular aspect of human nature.

4) No true street photographer is setting out to take pictures that embarrass or demean the subject. However, if you have been captured picking your nose, even then it is not necessarily about you but most likely a visual social commentary on the breakdown of etiquette. Your mum should have taught you not to cut your fingernails in public, and if you still do it and don’t mind being seen (let alone recorded on CCTV) then I fail to see how a photograph could cause offence.

(edited) Summarising the preceding points so far: a street photographer wants to tell a story. That story is not about you, unless you both have agreed on this in advance and you know the deal. But then it’s no longer quite street photography. Usually you are an anonymous (to the photographer) element in the story s/he wants to tell. You are also a random element in the sense that any other person standing like you, moving like you, being in the same place in the frame as you, responding like you to the situation in place, responding differently to the situation from you, would have done, and probably has. In that sense, you are being used but definitely not with malicious intent but by people who are passionate about telling stories that I am sure you enjoy, as long as it’s not you, or after reading this maybe because it is you, in them. None of this is personal, please don’t take offence. (edited)

5) I wonder what future generations are going to make of the legacy we leave behind. All these vain attempts to integrate what doesn’t even want to be integrated, and in the process ruddering ourselves right back to the Dark Ages. Sit in the back row in university auditoriums for lectures on a particular religion, if this religion demands such, and our laws will bow to this voluntary intra-religious gender segregation for the sake of societal integration, even if it flies in the face of its own ambition plus a century of finally fruitful struggle for women’s rights here.

Sorry, this just slipped in. Back to the point. So will our photography of this age show a) a world without people, b) a world with people who have all been made unrecognisable or c) a vibrant, cosmopolitan era still full of pain, joy, isolation, togetherness, love and hate and other human afflictions, describing better than ever before how we relate to the world around us? How do you want future generations (possibly your offspring among them) to view our age? Will we be known as the stupid people back then who came up with the technology to make life-like representations of our world, gave everybody access to it, and then outlawed its use? Why have we, who are supposedly so enlightened, created taboos even more petty than that old one of not talking about sex?

6)  So, what is next? No more written news about identifiable people, either?

7)  Or street fashion that will see people exercise their liberty not to be identified. So voluntary burqas for everyone, men and women alike. Plus the vitamin D deficiency that goes along with it. I for one will be the first street photographer out there to use that as a visual commentary on our ’free’ society.

(the picture angle) human rights life photography politics Sat, 15 Mar 2014 16:47:05 GMT
was Hänschen nicht lernt…  

A saying still very prevalent in my childhood back in Germany was: Was Hänschen nicht lernt, lernt Hans nimmermehr. Meaning as much as: If you want to be really good at something, you have to learn it as a child. When you’re an adult, it’s too late.

I believed it. Back then it didn’t do me any harm. Since age 5 I’d been learning and perfecting physical skills outside the school curriculum by taking ballet classes and training gymnastics, on top of later studying a subject at university that I enjoyed equally. In terms of learning things, I was fulfilled. I hadn’t missed any chances, I thought.

When I was 22 years old, the wall came down. Fortunately, this was a decisive point in my life in that it turned everything I had just learned by way of getting on in a particular social system on its head. So whether I wanted to or not, I had to start again. The first knock to the Hans theory.

Even more fortunately, the concept of ‘lifelong learning‘ slowly but surely replaced the long-held belief that the skill set you have when you finish your education is all you’ll ever have or even be. So Hans not only could learn new skills, he is now expected to!

I also realised that whatever I had learned in my childhood and youth was valuable but that there were things that I wanted to practice more even then and couldn’t, for lack of time mainly. Like photography. More on that another day.

So fortunately on top of that, technology has come along, giving us access to – admittedly – a lot of useless stuff to waste precious time with, but also to real opportunities to learn new things, without breaking the bank on tuition fees. And along those lines, I just so happened to learn to fly. Well, the next closest thing, to swim butterfly.

I got my first swimming certificate aged 6, 100m breaststroke, just days before I started school. That was pretty much it. My mum made me learn it to stop me walking under water until I didn’t come up any more, not drowning being the chief purpose of the exercise. Done.

Having picked up backstroke and freestyle along the way during summers by the lake, more or less badly (as self-taught), I decided to learn butterfly about 2 months ago. At least to give it a go. I searched online for tutorials and found one that appealed immediately.

I started practicing about a month ago, and today I swam my first entire length. I am very proud of it. I am aware that I haven’t done anything major here, and swimming butterfly will not make me more successful in my chosen career per se. However, I have grown a bit. I have proved to myself that I am not too old to learn a new trick just because I am no longer a child.

And maybe knowing THAT will help in other parts of my life, too.

(the picture angle) life lifelong learning meaningful pastimes new skills swimming Tue, 25 Feb 2014 10:38:35 GMT
appearances forbidden world by antje b.
forbidden world, a photo by antje b. on Flickr.

Today I learned two lessons.

The first one is: don’t trust location apps absolutely. Mine led me astray to the tune of 5km and one hour of wasted time. It caused my feet to hurt, and it caused me to find the shop I had been looking for about an hour after I first pretty much walked past it.

As luck would have it, the boss of the company owning the shop, who I am working for these two days as a contractor, was in the very same shop as I walked in. Clearing out some products, he offered me to have one. It wasn’t what I had come there for but I accepted gracefully and was rewarded by the shop manager, who when I replied to his question whether I worked for the company that I kind of did until tomorrow, offered me a staff discount on my shopping! I dare say I made good use of it.

So this is the second lesson: Sometimes being at the right place at the right time involves being late due to looking for the right place in all the wrong ones.


(the picture angle) humour life philosophy serendipity Tue, 28 Jan 2014 13:29:50 GMT
you have been warned humanist by antje b.
humanist, a photo by antje b. on Flickr.

“It is a fact that we are not immune from finding the odd rotten apple in our midst. If I knew of such a one, he would not survive tomorrow. No faffing about. Because I’m a humanist. That’s why I think that way… All this drivel about no executions and no death penalties – all BS, comrades. Execute, if necessary even without a court decision.” Erich Mielke, head of the Department for State Security in East Germany, 1982

In East Germany we were always aware of the possibility of someone listening to what we said, even if we were not always exactly sure who to be careful around. But we knew it was there, and ‚Stasi’, if we had done such research back then, surely was up there as one of the most-uttered words in the land, not far behind ‚Scheißstaat’, I guess. But even I wouldn’t have dreamed that the head of that omnipresent snooping apparatus, a cabinet minister equivalent, no less, would seriously say something like this.

As East Germans we didn’t really get to vote for the government that installed this formidable protection mechanism for its treasured revolution against its own people, if needs must. In the end, we had to go and overthrow it, and we did.

You, and we all now, however, do get to choose the lot that governs us. Therefore it pains me to witness so many people who had the good fortune not to grow up in what is (to an extent) justly described as an oppressive regime, allow a chosen few to be given powers in the name of protecting the people that include systematically accessing private information of and about those very people they are meant to protect.

It gets worse when legislation gets passed that removes those great protectors of the people from democratic control, i.e. from control of the people’s rule. They end up giving themselves more powers yet as there is nobody there to check on them. Not even maliciously, just out of something that with time becomes a kind of self-perpetuating fanaticism, this simplistic idea of serving good against evil, and everyone is a suspect. And after a while of being in the intoxicating pull of this absolute power where they can do anything in the name of their office and answer to nobody, such people come up with such utterances, just like Erich Mielke did in 1982.

You have been warned.

(the picture angle) human rights life politics Tue, 19 Nov 2013 13:32:25 GMT
die zeit, die zeit… autumn by antje b.
autumn, a photo by antje b. on Flickr.

… is the title of the book by Swiss author Martin Suter that deliciously fills my spare moments. Even if they don’t really exist, those moments, as according to one of the main protagonists, there is no time. Rather, he says, we have all fallen prey to the illusion that change is not just observable fact. Instead, to help us place and keep track of a multitude of changes, we have come up with another dimension.

But just because time makes sense of change to our feeble linear minds doesn’t mean it really exists. For one, you can’t see it. Measuring it, the elderly man argues, is rather unscientific. Watch the second hand on a clock move, and you miss a supposedly infinite number of supposed milliseconds, and all you see for it is one change: the second hand moving on one step. Hence it’s the change that is real, not time.

I enjoy how the book challenges my perception of something I have come to accept as a given. I’m not convinced by the theory (I’m not finished with the book yet) but it feels good to rethink things I last wondered about at an age (a time?) when I questioned everything in order to find myself. Too long ago.

I like how changing your idea about time (or any other given) can help you change your entire life, whether how you are going about it is particularly clever or not, as the other main protagonist is in the process of proving (again, I’m not through yet). But after all, if time doesn’t exist, there is no need to worry about the consequences of anything, right?


(the picture angle) life literature philosophy Mon, 11 Nov 2013 12:16:38 GMT
the unexpected As I looked for something to write about, I realised that this one wouldn’t be all that different from my previous blogpost. The picture is but the motivation behind it is very similar.

It’s about seeing the unusual in your everyday surroundings. It’s about noticing the humour in certain constellations, like here with the very frank and open builders’ loo, and about fully taking in moments that delight when your mind is actually busy dealing with everyday problems to the exclusion of the life around you.

It is not about learning to see such things because that’s somehow what street photography is about. It is, in fact, the other way round: the things you would miss if you didn’t make yourself focus fully on what you caught in your peripheral vision are little treasures. They make your life richer by putting a smile on your face or by making you think, and maybe on the basis of both, act; thus defining who you are as a person and what kind of story you have to tell the rest of us through your pictures.

(the picture angle) humour life photography street photography vision Thu, 31 Oct 2013 12:54:01 GMT
that which takes us by surprise colourful by antje b.
colourful, a photo by antje b. on Flickr.

It doesn’t have to be anything major.

Sometimes all it takes is a pretty young woman in a bright dress running across a traffic light and then past you with a hand full of brightly coloured balloons in a grey and dull part of London while you have your head full of your next work assignment, worry over catching the airport bus for your next flight, the fact that it will be another short night before another long day at work…

… to make you forget all of this and smile and just enjoy the moment.

(the picture angle) awareness everyday joy life mindfulness observation photography Wed, 23 Oct 2013 07:22:49 GMT
a word of caution

Beware of how you judge those who do not appreciate you.

Madeleine Delbrêl

(the picture angle) life relationships Thu, 17 Oct 2013 05:39:16 GMT
it’s all in the angle Between clouds by antje b.
Between clouds, a photo by antje b. on Flickr.

This picture is not from today but the sky looked equally stunning as I returned from a job late this afternoon. I don’t enjoy flying the way I used to but I do love these moments of beauty and wonder.

Back under the clouds and looking down from a certain height during the approach to London it occurred to me that the underground trains (when they run above ground) are like silver worms snaking their way past each other and through holes that on closer inspection turn out to be tube stations, swallowing and spitting out tiny living creatures at every stop.

The typical terraced and semi-detached houses, inhabited by equally tiny creatures, look dinky and cute like the wooden toy houses I used to play with as a child, strung up along arbitrarily winding streets.

It would seem to be a useful perspective to remember when on the ground there is something or someone that or who appears overwhelming.

(the picture angle) flying free freedom life peace perspective tiny Tue, 08 Oct 2013 14:33:35 GMT
nightmare scenario I found myself in a group setting, could have been a private view or a party, and there was an interesting factual discussion going on.

I wanted to comment and started to speak but was cut off by the others keeping on talking regardless. I spoke up but to no avail. In the end I was shouting at the top of my lungs but it was as if I wasn’t even there. I felt frustrated, angry, close to tears.

Then I woke up to the BBC news channel.

I had switched it on before falling back asleep this morning. :-)

(the picture angle) anxiety dreams humour life Fri, 04 Oct 2013 06:12:19 GMT
right through the heart…
right through the heart, a photo by antje b. on Flickr.

… and sometimes, on top of all of it, it costs a lot of money.

A team of lawyers on one side, charging a round 400 an hour, Swiss Francs and Euros respectively.

A team of lawyers on the other side, picking apart the expenses of legal team one, all the while charging their own fees, probably in the same ball park.

Fighting so hard that the only thing we didn’t hear about was the two people getting divorced, even though one of them sat in on proceedings.

In a room full of people at least two of whom were charging a full day for the pleasure – or humiliation? – of justifying themselves.

Via Flickr:
A 350m long stretch of the former German-German border near Helmstedt in Hötensleben. The metal boulders had been tested and proven efficient at stopping any kind of vehicle attempting to break through.

(the picture angle) business divorce legal profession life marriage relationships Tue, 01 Oct 2013 15:55:59 GMT
a new beginning Without breaking with the old, it is always good to remember that we can (and in many cases have to) start over again.

See it as a chore, or see it as an opportunity.

You decide.

Or in this case, I.

Let’s see what happens. :-)

(the picture angle) life motivation positivity Mon, 30 Sep 2013 09:31:26 GMT
True to life but is it a good movie?

It was my turn last night to pick a movie for the evening. My choice, after some internet research, fell on ‘Take This Waltz’. I took along someone who takes a keen interest in cinema and knows much more about it than I do. The review read well enough, and it resonated with some of my own life experience.
Only after inviting my friend to come along did I read the comments to the review which ranged from 2 walking out of the movie to 2 who adored it. Needless to say, the majority of the remaining comments were on the side of those walking out.
Let me say ahead of all else that I quite like Michelle Williams. Yes, I did watch Dawson’s Creek back in the day, and I liked her there. I also like that she didn’t, as opposed to co-star Katie Holmes, marry an established Hollywood actor to get movie roles offered. Not saying Katie didn’t deserve them.
Having said that, when my friend appeared to fall asleep about 20 minutes into the movie, I couldn’t blame him. I did like the photography, lots of shallow depth of field and colours reminiscent of polaroids, but to be fair it was pretty for the sake of being pretty a lot of the time rather than taking over part of telling the story.
Let me not comment on the acting, as I am not really qualified, but the movie moved along very slowly. Okay, it is about a woman who’s been married 5 years and meets someone on a trip whom she’s attracted to, who turns out to live across the road from her. So far, so contrived. But it may happen.
In some more polaroid-y shots the movie goes on to show us how she grows more ambivalent about her husband as she feels more and more drawn to the guy across the road. All those scenes drag their feet, but then again, having been through something similar, that’s how it is in real life. It’s not usually some cataclysmic event that makes you fall in love with someone else than your spouse. It often, I think, is lots of trivial moments that add up, and none of them are to the point. Nor was the movie. In that sense, it failed in my friend’s opinion and succeeded in mine.
Okay, so being unfaithful isn’t nice, it isn’t comfortable, it is only done for reasons known to the person who does it, not the observer. That’s life, but does it good cinema make? Clearly not, by majority vote.
Leaving that aside, some observations of my own on the actual story.
If you don’t have much to talk about with your spouse because you are not interested in what they do for a living (coming up with recipes for chicken dishes worth turning into a cookbook) and you can get your only affirmation of your position in their lives by getting physical at the most inopportune moments, please don’t accuse them of having nothing to talk about over your anniversary dinner.
Also, if you don’t know what you want, like: ‘I am writing, but not really…’, don’t expect others to find you interesting beyond your physical attributes. No wonder that after leaving your husband for someone else, soon it’ll take threesomes both ways to keep the spark alive, and finally even that will fail.
Finally, maybe alcoholics are the best people to take life advice from, especially when they crash into some rubbish bins across the road with some chickens after having been reported missing. In vino veritas. Or in any kind of alcohol, for that matter.
However, I agree with my friend, as good as the scenes with the alcoholic are, they do not compensate for the time sitting through the rest waiting for them.

(the picture angle) Tue, 11 Sep 2012 08:47:00 GMT
what size are you… the stand-off...
With a somewhat heightened awareness for things that deviate from the truth, I spotted this scene. Well, that’s not quite correct as I am seeing it all the time, to the point of not really paying attention to the fact that the mannequins in this department store or any other as well as most high street fashion shops have visually very little in common with the women spending their hard-earned cash in them. I am not talking about the degree of undress seen here, I am talking about size – as you might have guessed.Shops sell fashion from sizes 6 or 8 to 20 or 22. So why only show off the merchandise on mannequins that must surely give every woman looking at them an inferiority complex? What would be wrong with having displays of the wares addressed at the women who actually do the shopping? Surely someone size 16 would like to see the fit of a pair of jeans she likes on someone that looked a bit more like herself?I know it’s all about aspiration, shops don’t sell reality, they sell dreams. And of course, even the silliest girl knows that she won’t part with £120 for a pair of jeans and immediately look like the model strutting her stuff in them in the poster. But surely, women these days are smart, educated and worldly-wise enough to know that real dreams and aspirations have more to do with achievement and personality, not inches.


There is one women’s magazine I know of that from the beginning of this year has only used real-life women to model in any of their features – exluding adverts, of course. Personally, I found looking at the magazine (targeted at the mid-20ies to late-30ies woman) and the version aimed at women from 40 – which I am, after all – very empowering. Of course, these women get styled and photographed as professionally as ‘real’ models but they come across as much more genuine and true to life. Not everyone apparently agrees but hey, I’m part of the readership, so I assume my opinion counts. I love it, and I hope Brigitte manage not only to stick with this policy but to set an example for others to follow…

(the picture angle) Sun, 02 Sep 2012 15:15:00 GMT
Photojournalism, dead? or immortal? – The Photo Society Photojournalism, dead? or immortal? – The Photo Society

(the picture angle) Wed, 18 Jul 2012 12:48:00 GMT
postal voting…

… has been getting a fair bit of press for all the wrong reasons, like being linked to election fraud.

Really, though, it is meant to give people who are (most likely) not around on election day the opportunity to still cast their vote.

This very concept implies that postal votes need to be cast well in advance of the actual election. Or at least that seems obvious to me. To those who don’t see it that way, let me explain:

The London election for mayor is on 3 May 2012.

I am freelance and when I work, it’s mostly abroad.

The likelihood of me not being in London on any given day is fairly high, so I registered for postal voting.

The polling cards for non-postal voters arrived in the mail around late March, if I remember correctly. Let’s be generous and say they arrived at the beginning of April. I received, about a week later, a letter informing me that I should get worried and call for assistance “if I have not received” my “postal voting papers by 27 April”. A Friday. Seven calendar days before the election, and just before a weekend. Say I didn’t get the papers. The earliest anyone could do something about it is by Monday.

Assuming also that I opted for postal voting because – remember? – I would presumably not be there on Thursday. And – in my case – not on Wednesday nor on Tuesday and Monday, either. That’s my chance to vote gone to hell.

If then, as in my case, you are also away all the week that the postal voting papers are being sent out, you can see how tight time gets.

In my case, I did find the papers on Saturday 28 April. Now it’s Monday, and I’ve finally had time to fill in the ballot papers, spending too much time again considering who to vote for. Stupid me for taking it all so seriously, right?

Now I’m not sure if I trust the Royal Mail to get the letter to the right place on time. I may take the envelope to the polling station in person on the day. But then again, just like the Monday to Thursday job in Holland didn’t happen, anybody can call me now for work on Thursday. So either I pay at least one day’s fee for my right to vote, or I waive it altogether.

I used postal voting to cast my vote in German elections while I already lived in the UK, and I always had plenty of time to fill in the papers in a considered manner and send them off without worrying the time would be too short for my vote to make it into the count.

Receiving postal voting papers within 4 business days of the election is clearly not enough time.

That should worry people just as much as the alleged fraud, because it may mean that people who are perfectly entitled to it, are robbed of their vote, because either their filled-in ballot papers are still in the mail when the counting begins, or they themselves were already gone by the time their papers finally land on their door mat.

(the picture angle) Mon, 30 Apr 2012 06:39:00 GMT
why I seem to be using hipstamatic all the time…


I have been asked by friends and have subsequently asked myself why I have put my camera away and have for most of this year taken pictures exclusively on the iPhone, and recently, even more ‘limiting’, with the Hipstamatic application, rather than editing the images afterwards in Snapseed (the very best iPhone photo processing app in my book).

Maybe I have to go back a little bit, and this first thought is actually confusing the picture even more but bear with me if you will.

Before I got my iPhone 4S in November last year, I had heard and read so much about the iPhone, and mainly on Twitter had witnessed a fair number of pro and semi pro photographers turn into complete iPhone nuts. Forgive the term but it seemed to me like so much hype, and who would, having much better equipment, even choose to make technically worse pictures than he or she could, right?

At around about the same time I felt I needed to reassess my own photographic path. I had learned a lot about equipment and to take better pictures in terms of composition and using manual camera settings, thanks to someone who turned out to be a true mentor in that respect, after all the jokes we had cracked about that word in the beginning. However, I increasingly felt that I was taking pictures fulfilling someone else’s criteria of a good picture, needing someone else’s approval (another personal weakness of mine), and in the process I grew somewhat alienated from my own work and in fact stopped taking pictures altogether for a while.

This realisation combined with that dinky new toy with its lots of brilliant (or trashy) apps allowed me to get over the confusion of not knowing what kind of photographer I was by getting me to play again. I am now taking pictures like I did with my little plastic 16 square exposures on 12 exposure film camera that I got for Christmas at age twelve or thirteen or so. Technically as good as a plastic lens, heads to trees for focus settings, and clouds to sun for exposure would allow you to be; the more important thing being what was in the frame.

Hipstamatic is even more limiting. You have a ‘lens’ and a ‘film’ combination and no control other than choosing that combination. I find right now, this very fact allows me to focus exclusively on composition and, even more so, on the mood I want to capture through it.

This is my argument for all those people who moan everywhere that cheap apps ‘make any picture look nice, no matter how bad it is’, thus devaluing ‘good’ photography, i.e. pictures taken with expensive (and hence still somewhat exclusive) gear.

I disagree on two counts.

Good camera phone and app pictures still require skill. True, if you take a bland flower picture in gritty b&w, it might add a certain interest to the picture that it wouldn’t have in colour. Why? More contrast, focusing on the main thing without colourful distractions around, making it possible for the viewer to find connections: I remember those flowers in my grandma’s garden. We had lovely times there. I miss her. It’s getting under the skin. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. I rather think it’s using what you have available to achieve a certain purpose.

Secondly, the exclusivity of the gear is mostly less dictated by the skill in making good use of such equipment than much more by the size of one’s wallet or bank balance.

It’s knowing why you are using it that way. We have a saying in Germany that even a blind chicken will find the odd grain. This happens to iPhone shooters, but it also happens to more high-end gear users than would care to admit to it.

Another reason why I like the limitations of what I am using now to take pictures is my attempt not to try to document facts, occasions, buildings, … whatever, but to get back to taking pictures that evoke emotions. I don’t need pixel-peeper-satisfying full-frame sensors and £6000 lenses for that.

I cannot remember her name (my biggest fallacy) but David Land, now editor of F2 magazine, talked in one of his classes at my BTEC course about a US photographer who took amazingly haunting pictures with a Brownie. Blurred, having you engage with the picture to figure out what was going on, with enough detail present to satisfy the search.

Now that you know, maybe my pictures don’t look that nice anymore, but hey, I’m trying, and I’ll never stop learning.

My final reason to explain why the iPhone is my first choice in most cases: it’s just ready to shoot so much faster than my camera…

(the picture angle) Thu, 29 Mar 2012 14:24:00 GMT
the love of (self-) important men… I once knew a painter. I liked his art.


He made me a present. It was a painting called ‘The Kiss’, and he said it was inspired by us. He gave it to me for my birthday.

Except he asked me to let him show it in an upcoming exhibition. It would be marked as ‘sold’, and I would get it afterwards.

Then he gifted it to me again for another occasion. Maybe Christmas. I should check my journal but I can’t be bothered.

Then he gifted it to me again, I think. I hope you guess what follows. We broke up without me ever actually getting my present.

One day long after our break-up he rang me one Saturday to meet in one of our regular late breakfast places in Hampstead. One of the nice things about being with him were extensive informal weekend morning walks.

He was very friendly and only got around to business shortly before we were ready to leave. He then offered me to hand over the painting or to repay me the £1000 I had lent to him over the time we were together. It was clearly very obvious what I would go for as he had someone at his bank on the phone to make the transfer right there and then.

Before we left, he confided in me that anyway, he had sold the painting to a bank for over £3000.

He must have loved me very much indeed.

He did give me a very dull (compared to the original colours) and tiny print of it. No. 2 or 3 of a run of 100, it’s a bit smudged. The print has the same place of pride in my flat as Picasso’s paintings had at Dora Maar’s place when she died. I seem to remember they were found under her wardrobe.

(the picture angle) Sun, 11 Mar 2012 13:08:00 GMT
make a smile go around the world…
happy face
Originally uploaded by antje b.
… it really is so easy.Yesterday I went to collect a parcel that couldn’t be delivered to me the day before, from the local sorting office. “Local” on a London scale as is still a 25 minutes walk or several bus stops away.Normally, the sorting office opens really early but closes at 1pm. For Christmas the normal red card left to inform of a failed delivery had been replaced with a blue one with snowflakes on, but the most important change was made to the opening times which had been extended to a generous 5.30pm.


As I collected my parcel after returning early-ish from work, I told the young man behind the counter that although it clearly was extra work for them, I really appreciated the new opening times and thought they were a great idea.

He beamed at me, said something along the lines of it making their work easier, as well, and that he would pass the comment on.

I left the sorting office also with a smile on my face, and it stayed with me as I pondered how easy it really was to be nice to people, and yet also how rewarding.

It is so easy not to comment on things well done. It’s just become an expectation, and usually, things only get said if something doesn’t work.

A case in point was the conference I was interpreting at just that very day of yesterday. After the meeting the interpreters weren’t given a glass of champagne, as happened recently at a similar event, but someone from the organisers came to the back and told us that there had been very positive feedback about the interpretation, commenting about what a change that made from the normal ‘no-news-is-good-news’ attitude.

That made me smile and feel appreciated, and I managed to pass this feeling on to the young man at the sorting office. And hopefully, he, too, would get an opportunity do that to someone else at some point.

I used to be one person who would respond more strongly to things that went slightly wrong than to things that went smoothly. Thanks to my currently slightly readjusted brain activity, I find myself being more relaxed in dealing with mishaps and much more willing to express my appreciation for the opposite.

In that sense let me send a smile to the one(s) who made me seek help about negativity.

Pass it on. Generously. :-)

(the picture angle) camera phone happiness life in general life lessons philosophy photography Sat, 17 Dec 2011 06:04:00 GMT