About a month ago, Photogen.lu had challenged its members to take part in a ‘street battle’. The purpose of the get-together in Luxembourg City was to roam the city centre and take photographs of the people there, then meet up again and share images and experiences. Most of the photographers went for the candid approach, in which you photograph scenes happening in the streets where people are not aware of being photographed. I decided to do the opposite and approach people directly.
I think it’s easier to decide on a target group. If you can photograph anybody, you’re likely to end up not being able to decide who to approach. If fewer people meet your arbitrary criteria, it’s easier to pick somebody from the masses. In this case, I focused on people with greying hair.
I had a memorable exchange from the workshop in Arles in mind that day. I had asked Serge Picard how I could make my subjects feel more comfortable. He answered: ‘Why on earth would you want them to feel comfortable?’. My goal for the day then was to get out of my own comfort zone by approaching complete strangers and getting them out of their own comfort zone in the process. I went around addressing people, briefly told them that my photography club had given me a mission and asked if I could take their portrait. If they agreed, I first took a regular close-up portrait. Having a camera with a ring-light pointed at your face can be a bit intimidating, so I didn’t want to come straight to the point. The photo I was after was one of my subjects pulling their favourite face. Once a person has agreed to having their portrait taken, the first picture is just a means of breaking down a barrier. After that, it’s much easier to persuade your subject to do something silly or unusual.
In case you’re wondering why there are only men in the gallery: none of the women I asked for a portrait agreed!
A couple of photographers from the Photogen community decided to meet up in Luxembourg City on the evening of May 1st for a 'nightwalk'. Since I happened to be in Luxembourg that week rather than when my volcano-free schedule had planned, I drove up to the Kirchberg to join the others: -Kiischtii-, deBaemm, m-otiv, MB-Photos, McQueen, and Mexx. (Mouseover the photos to see the who's-who in the captions.) We walked from the LuxExpo down to the Philharmonie, where Ben took a great group photo of us, using the combined light power of 4 PocketWizards, 2 580EXs, 1 430EX and 2 SB900s.
Some of us wanted to go see Iron Man 2 after the get-together, and with only 20 minutes to go before the screening, we realized that we had covered quite a distance on the way down from Utopolis. Doesn't feel like it when you can just drive the distance in a car! Oh, Iron Man was crap by the way. But at least it inspired me to take another photograph, which I'll blog about next week.
Such a cute couple. I had a great time at Lynn and Tim’s wedding last summer. Tim used to work with my aunt and that’s how we got in touch. As usual I went to see them and we discussed the details of their wedding well ahead of time, so that everything could go as smoothly as possible on their big day.
Once again, Olivier Kerschen assisted me throughout the day. It’s great to have an assistant with you who knows the way you work. We started the day at Lynn and Tim’s home with detail photos and some shots of Lynn getting ready. The church in Obercorn in which the ceremony was held wasn’t far from their home, so we could spend a good deal of time with Lynn and still meet Tim at the church, early enough to confirm with the priest the decisions Olivier and I had made when we had scouted the church on an earlier occasion.
The ceremony was great, with some brilliant solo performances by the choire and lots of emotions.
The reception and dinner were at the Claimarais in Belgium, a lovely hotel-restaurant with a beautiful parc surrounding it. We stayed with the couple and their guests well into the night: the dinner was followed by catchy music by an Italian trio, and the family and friends had come up with some priceless games for the couple in between the dances.
We took the couple photos of Lynn and Tim on a separate day, which allowed us to visit a couple of locations. We started in the Grund in Luxembourg city, which looks great in summer; then we moved on to the Schueberfouer, the yearly Luxembourgian funfair for some photos in a more unusual and exciting setting. Finally we drove to an abandoned warehouse to finish the shooting with a modern, gritty edge.
What an awesome wedding. Kirstin and Christophe made sure that their guests would have a marvellous time, and the great atmosphere made being their photographer a great experience. Christophe is a user on photogen.lu, where he and Kirstin had seen some of my work. In fact quite a few members of that community were present at this wedding, apart from myself and Christophe, there were his brother-in-law Alain and of course Olivier, who assisted me throughout the day.
We arrived at the church well ahead of the couple to give us a bit of time to reevaluate the positions from which we’d photograph – children from the church communion had built a symbolic space rocket which remained set up between the altar and the congregation. It turned out not to be a problem though, the Belair church is fairly spacious. The ceremony was one of the most beautiful and entertaining ones I’ve witnessed this summer. Both the bride and groom are members of church choirs and they’ve been friends for a long time with the priest that ministered.
After the ceremony Christophe was made to showcase his talent with the accordeon and Kirstin hers as conductor. Quite a fun interlude! After Kirstin and Christophe had shaken hands with all the guests at the reception we drove to the communal park in Hesperange that I had already visited with them beforehand, to shoot their couple photographs. The weather played along nicely, a slightly overcast sky makes it easier to balance artificial and ambient light. Like before, it was Olivier’s job to make sure the light was held in position just where I needed it.
The dinner was in a lovely restaurant near Altwies, called Le Moulin. We took the group and guest photos outside the restaurant in front of the picturesque brook before moving inside the luxuriously decorated converted mill to cover the dinner, games and emotions for the rest of the evening.
Alison and I visited the Kasematten as part of a touristy visit of Luxembourg. I've been there a couple of times, but it's the first time that I've seen a bat hang from the ceiling of one of the tunnels! The little guy didn't seem to be bothered by all the people passing through there (most of whom didn't notice the animal was there), and it didn't even move when we photographed it close-up with flash.
This summer a handful of photographers from Photogen.lu met at the Schueberfouer (like last year) to hang out, test the rides and chat. I decided to film rather than take pictures this time. It’s fairly busy there and I didn’t have my shoulder-rig yet; my apologies for the shakiness. I still have loads to learn about the whole SLR-video thing.