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Getting stuff printed

Posted 7 December 2008 - The Hague (NL):

I can`t think of any reasons why I only now find out that I have so far printed very few of the photos I took during the Us Europeans project.

Which serves as a good reason to browse through the rich archives and prepare some stuff to show. What`s the sense of taking photographs if no-body ever gets to see them in any size bigger than 400x268px?..

This photo shows my mum who paid me a visit during one week in May, earlier this year. She arrived in Vienna and travelled along to Linz, Ceske Budejovice and Prague. The photo datums back to the last day of her visit. We are waiting for the bus to take us from New-Zealander Hamish`s place back into town, and from there to the airport.

( Prague - CZ, May 2008)
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More Ostravian factories

Posted 5 June 2008 - Bratislava (SK):

Another photo from Ostrava which is one of the few places where I do want to go back but not for the natural landscape. It`s the city landscape of weird combinations that makes me want to go back there one day. The way it is different from other cities without being particularly pretty. Vienna is beautiful but boring and, to me, uninspiring. It`s hard to say that Ostrava is beautiful, but it does have a certain charm that can moreover quite easily be photographed.

( Ostrava - CZ, May 2008)
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Ostrava - Poruba

Posted 2 June 2008 - Zilina (SK):

A final photo from Ostrava, this time from the neighbourhood of Poruba: filled with socialist-realist buildings gently separated by lots of green areas. All in all, quite a pleasant area to live, even though it looks like hell from a few kilometres away.

( Ostrava - CZ, May 2008)
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Posted Ostrava - CZ, 1 June 2008:

The good thing about the length of this trip is that it gives me plenty of time to think about things: about how they work and why they work that way. I slowly start to notice how much energy and courage are needed to investigate both facts and context at the very same time. Only one conclusion keeps coming back: everything relates to everything and every inbalance can only be temporary. There`s beauty in appalling ugliness and ugliness in striking beauty.

As a quick illustration to this idea, here`s a photo of something that should be defined as ugly. But it actually looks quite aesthetical.

( Ostrava - CZ, May 2008)
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Same old?

Posted 31 May 2008 - Ostrava (CZ):

The transition from communism to capitalism keeps fascinating me. I can`t make up my mind as to whether I find them either fundamentally different or actually unexpectedly similar. The steel factories in Ostrava used to be state property known as Nova Hut`. They have now been taken over by pan-European steel giant Mittal. Maybe Mittal cares more about the environment than the former Czechoslovakian communist regime. I doubt it though. It smells like more of the same with the label on top as the only difference. Here`s there accommodation building for workers:

( Ostrava - CZ, May 2008)
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Coal mines and steel mills

Posted 30 May 2008 - Ostrava (CZ):

Home to the most prestigious of all industries - coal mining and steel manufacturing - the city of Ostrava used to be the `steel heart` of Czechoslovakia. Whatever is left of that now is an interesting struggle for modernisation. Unemployment is high but people keep having hope for the return of better times.

( Ostrava - CZ, May 2008)
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Another crossroad

Posted 29 May 2008 - Brno (CZ):

Anybody getting bored by these cross roads yet? I keep seeing them as extremely representative for the countries I am visiting.

( Brno - CZ, May 2008)
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Back in Brno

Posted 28 May 2008 - Brno (CZ):

Whenever I leave a city or country after visiting it, I usually think that I won`t return there - or at least: not soon after. In most cases, the opposite turns out to be true. The same for Brno, which I first visited when I had to go to Vienna for a business meeting in 2004. I liked how my first name resembled the name of the city, which was enough of a reason to go and check it out.

I also usually look back on old photos and think that I would do better now. Or at least: wonder if I would notice different things during a new visit to the same place.

Back then in May 2004, Brno was a mostly empty city because it happened to be raining like hell on that day. I was walking around with my analog camera which had mis-read the ISO-value of the film I had loaded: 50, probably the default value, instead of 200. All the photos I took came out with a funny kind of coloured hue over them. Which was even more of a frustration than the defeat of the Dutch football team against Czech Republic (2-3) that coincided with my visit.

And now I find myself again walking around in Brno. Sunny, almost 30 degrees and lots of people in the streets. Not a lot of change in how the city looks and so I, once again, get drawn toward the scene I recorded in the photograph below. Once I get home, I will compare it to the photo I took 4 years ago, but it can`t be much different. Maybe my photography skills are not improving then. Maybe I just see what I already know. But even if such is the case, I do believe that I manage to stretch my conscience with the passing of time. I also believe that I need less effort to take the same quality-level of photos, which-abracadabramathematics consequently means that I should also be able to take better photos if I find the right way of using the redundant energy from the ones that take less energy for the same quality.

Anybody still following my reasoning?

( Brno - CZ, May 2008)
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To be or not to be (3)..

Posted 27 May 2008 - Pardubice (CZ):

.. a tourist. A whole caravan of people has come by during the last three weeks. It has been a great pleasure opening up my travel to so many friends and sharing a bit of my experience with them. I guess my brother Matthijs has seen quite a bit of what I am actually doing during all of this year. We stayed with local people and he could easily join in on the interviews without changing how these would otherwise have run.

With my mother, the experience was a bit more holiday-like: staying in pensions and eating out in small restaurants. We did cross quite some distance: all the way from Vienna to Prague with two stops inbetween. During the last night, we stayed with a New Zealandish guy I had met earlier on my trip in Sicily, which was a nice end of her week in Austria and Czech Republic.

Sanne joined me last Saturday to travel from Prague to Prague in a week`s time. It was almost like a week of holiday, with the exception that I still somehow needed to squeeze in the interviews. We spend lots of time on trains, travelling slowly and seeing landscapes pass by - all very enjoyable.

During the last weekend, five colleagues of work came over for a weekend in Prague. Good to see them again and to hear about how things are going in the office while I`m not there. Sharing a couple of Czech beers obviously added to the experience.

Now, I`m back on my own which felt a bit strange at the beginning but it`s pleasant as well. I can once again follow my own schedule - or rather: catch up with it. And also: feel like I am a participant in the country I am visiting rather than somebody intruding foreign territory. I will spend some more reflections on this `intruding` concept during the next couple of days.

About the photo: didn`t know what to think of it. Then grabbed my camera to record it. That`s how things go when you`re a photographer.

( Kutna Hora - CZ, May 2008)
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Ugly but interesting

Posted 26 May 2008 - Kutna Hora (CZ):

One of my colleagues advised me to go see the bone chapel in Kutna Hora. I did and it looked interesting. I did not take any photos, because when it comes to photography, I prefer scenes like this one:

( Kutna Hora - CZ, May 2008)
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Industrial city

Posted 20 May 2008 - Usti nad Labem (CZ):

I sometimes cross random untouristy places on the way from one city to another. Passing Usti nad Labem and staying over for the night was one such experience. It`s quite an industrial city, but more so than the city centre of Prague, it made me feel like I was seeing an interesting segment of everyday Czech life. On top of that, I found it more photogenic.

( Usti nad Labem - CZ, May 2008)
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Mountain excursion

Posted 19 May 2008 - Trutnov (CZ):

A nice excursion to the top of the Snezka mountain and also a few meters past the Polish border to eat Bigos and Zupa Zurek. Magnificent views!

( Snezka - CZ, May 2008)
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Cross road in Trutnov

Posted 18 May 2008

It`s been quiet on Dailyphoto for a few days which I will blame on the many visitors I have had during the past weeks. Time to catch up with some photos. This one is from Trutnov, another nice cross-road:

( Trutnov - CZ, May 2008)
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Expo in Luxembourg

Posted 15 May 2008 - Cesky Krumlov (CZ)

For the first time in ages, I am not running behind on posting Us Europeans articles, which gives me some time to focus on other things. Finding ways to use the Us Europeans project in different ways once my trip finally comes to an end.

One thing is becoming more and more likely: the 300 portraits will be exhibited at the European Commission in Luxembourg, and hopefully in some other venues afterwards as well. I should soon have a concept of what I want the exhibition to look like and will keep readers of the PhotoLog informed on the progress.

( Cesky Krumlov - CZ, May 2008)
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Sesame Street effect

Posted 31 October 2006 - The Hague (NL):

I like it when things are clear and organised at first sight. But especially in photography or music, it's nice to have background layers which gives the whole some depth. The background layers should typically be more complicated and bring up questions with the audience, or possibly a predicted emotion, or a perceived task of what they are supposed to do next.

Below photo is maybe not the best ever example, but it does provide a rather clear overview of something. Then try to find all the cars in the photo (next step would be to count them..) and be amazed how many there are if you look well! PS If you like doing this, try to find how many people you can find in the first photo posted under 17 October (with zebra crossing). Seems to be zero but it's much more than that!

( Prague - CZ, June 2005)
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Posted 14 December 2005 - The Hague (NL):

Some people seem to think that life is one big puzzle. Nothing wrong with that, except when their life is all about Sudoko. Sudoko as a way to relax, Sudoko as a way to avoid other people on the way to work, Sudoko before and Sudoko after. Sudoko is inondating Holland.

Life may indeed be a big puzzle but why not take a look outside and allow yourself to get puzzled about what you get served in everyday life (as long as you don't hide in a Sudoko paperback). Take a look at this photo, try to figure out what it is. Are the lines convex or concave? Is there any underlying message? (Photo: Prague - CZ, June 2002)

( Prague - CZ, June 2001)
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