Friday, September 28, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

In other words

"I am three". This is how Charles Mingus fabulous autobiography "Beneath the underdog" begins.
It is an amazing text and in my last production "DRAMA - love songs and other jazz" we choreographed and expressed the text through the dance. There were different stages how the dance and text worked together and in this short clip you can see the combination of tap and a visual projection of the text.
The dancers are Laura Mogalle, Thomas Kolczewski und myself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Portraits of the week

Last week Markus Voigt, a good friend of mine and great musician asked me to photograph a few portraits of his for his website. I gladly did so and we had a nice session in a theater on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg. Here are three shots that I really like.
I did the all photographs with the Fuji X-Pro 1 and the 18 and 35mm lenses. It was my first portrait session with those cams and again I really liked it. I only worked with available light and it was quite dim at the theater. But the X-Pro is just perfect for those conditions.

Friday, September 7, 2012

New photo website

The last couple of days I have been busy updating and redesigning my website. I think the outcome is really nice and you can check it out here.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Urban Landscapes #1

Last week I started my new project "Urban Landscapes", capturing the the symbioses of people, architecture, street life and nature in a city. My main subject  for the next weeks will be Hamburg followed by Seattle in the fall / winter.
I love to roam the streets with my camera and explore the city in new ways. I usually go for long walks, carrying 2 bodies with a 28mm and a 50mm lens. Sometimes a 35mm. My favorite camera right now is the Fuji X-Pro 1. It's light, has remarkable image quality and is very unobtrusive for shooting on the streets.
Here are some pictures. Enjoy…..


Thursday, August 30, 2012

6 years ago Tap Dance project: about_tap vol no 2

While going through a bunch of old photos I came across a tap dance production I did in 2006. It was called "about_tap vol no 2" and it premiered very successfully at Kampnagel, Hamburg.
It was basically a staged, live portrait of six tap dancers of different generations and cultural backgrounds. The show mixed photography, spoken interviews, choreography and jazz.

The title was in reference to a film called "About tap" by George T. Nierenberg, which was a documentary on 3 tap dancers (Chuck Green, Jimmy Slyde and Steve Condos). As a youngster I watched that film a million times and it was a huge inspiration for my dancing.
With my show I wanted to create a staged and more abstract version of a tap dance portrait and their dancers. The idea was to photograph and interview each dancer in their hometown and ask them about their opinions and feelings about the dance form but also their career and life. It was a very personal and biographical show and I was lucky to work with some of the best dancers around.

In Paris I interviewed Sarah and Leela Petronio, Brenda Bufalino in New York and New Paltz, NY. Josh Hilberman in Boston, Pia Neises in Cologne and a self portrait of me in Hamburg.

In pre production interviews, footage and music where put together and were a starting point for the choreography. Later we all met in Hamburg for 4 or 5 weeks to put together the show and perform it.
It was a unique experience. Every dancer generously gave me personal footage and background information on their dance lifes that got mixed together into a full evening show.
It was very successful back then and I often feel that it should be revisited sometime. Very good memories.

Here is a video clip of the show and a couple of photos that were taken during that creative process.
Enjoy, Thomas

Brenda Bufalino chair bw sharp
Brenda Bufalino in New Paltz,NY
Sarah Petronio near Paris
Leela Metro60
Leela Petronio, Paris
Josh Hilberman, Boston
Pia Portrait Rheinterrasse17 pp sharp
Pia Neises, Cologne

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Full wedding documentary shot with Fuji X-Pro 1 and X-100

Final thoughts on the Fuji X-Pro 1 and X-100 for wedding documentaries.
Yesterday I photographed a whole wedding documentary only using the two Fuji cameras. I only used the X100 (35mm), the 18mm(27mm) and 35mm(50mm) on the X-Pro1.  For backup, I had a second shooter on my side with Nikon gear, so I knew I would be covered or could easily switch system if things don't work out well.
But it did work out very well, so I wanted to share some of my experiences:
One of the best things about the X-Pro 1 to me is the combined use of OVF, EVF and Liveview which just works seamlessly together. The camera is set with the eye sensor turned on, hanging around my neck. This way, the screen is off when hanging down at my body. As soon as I raise the cam I can either take it to my eye and work with the OVF or EVF or use the back screen. This is super convienient and allows me to use the camera any way I want to instantly.
I love using the back screen for taking quick snapshots from angles were it is inconvinient to look through the finder. It also gives me a more casual street shooter style of working. Almost like using my GRD for street work. The OVF is my favorite because I can compose and frame pictures that way best. The clear view and abstraction from the actual photograph gives me more creative power. The downside of it is, that for example with a fast lens like the 35mm f1,4 stopped down open wide it can be crucial to get accurate focus on something like the eye when doing a portrait. That's when I change to the EVF and I can precisely see how the picture will turn out and if focus is where I want it to be.
So all three modes have advantages and disadvanteges but I really like to make use of all of them. In a way it enhances my creative workflow while shooting.
Battery life. That is a big thing because obviously you don't want to run out of juice during a long shooting day. I came with three full batteries but only used one and a half, which surprised me. i thought they would drain faster. I shot exactly 745 frames on the X-Pro 1 and that is not too bad at all. Of course I wish it would have a battery like the Nikon D3 where you don't really worry about changing batteries too much. On assignment the power off function is turned off so I won't miss any shots by waiting for the camera to wake up. In between use I just switch it off and I make use of the fast power on feature even if it consumes more battery power that way. And yes, start up time is another thing that could be improved.
Image quality. Like I said in earlier posts, I really love the way the X-Pro 1 renders photos. I use it only in Jpeg mode and love the outcome. I have played around with a few of the color settings but for this shoot I went back to the Standard setting. Skin tones look great, color and contrast is perfect for my use. I only use auto white balance and I am very happy with the results. It seems the most accurate camera I have ever used regarding WB. I still process my color photos with Color Efex though to get the specific look that I want for my wedding jobs.
For a few shots yesterday I also used standard black and white mode. The outcome is pretty good for a digital file. Great tonality, rich blacks and well controlled highlights. And after using the BW jpeg with NIK Silver Efex Pro they got the right look, less digital and more film like. I also noticed that Silver Efex Pro works great with monochrom files. Sometimes better than with color files. Yes, you lose the ability to apply color filters in post production but grain, contrast and brightness look perfect. So the combination of the in camera bw jpeg engine and later developement in Silver Efex seems to deliver great results. Maybe Leica had a point when bundling the Monochrom M9 together with Silver Efex.
 So all in all I am more than happy with my X-Pro 1 and X100 setup for professional wedding assignments. Next week I will have another gig and use this combo again. Will I ditch my Nikons? By no means. They are powerful tools I know i can always rely on. But I try to leave them in the bag as much as possible.
Enjoy the pictures and thanks for looking, Thomas