Film Photography Day 2013

I love this, more people should know about this!

1000 Words Blog

Tomorrow is Film Photography Day!

meetup banner

Lomo created Film Photography Day to celebrate analogue! My colleague, Lars Fiedler, over in Germany chatted with Lomo and we are happy to support the day with Kodak film!

April 12 will be filled with parties, events and workshops across the world. You can search for or start your own Film Photography Day celebration using Meetup. Lomo even provided a downloadable party kit! We have sent Kodak film to Lomo to include in their “Analogue Goodie Packs” they are sending out to events with more than 30 participants.

For those of you that can’t make it to a meetup, don’t worry! We have something planned!

Tomorrow, Friday, April 12 we have enlisted photographers around the world to give away Kodak film on Twitter for 12 hours!

Each photographer has one Kodak film goody bag to give away. It is an assortment of…

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Paris is always a good idea.

Certain times of the year have different meanings for people at different stages of their life. When we were younger, September usually meant the first day of school, meeting old friends and looking out for the one pretty girl that might have joined your school this year. All this slightly changes when you come to university. The basics are the same, you are still looking for the one pretty girl, only the atmosphere is a little different.

In many countries, the first week of university is glorified by the infamous “freshers” or introductory week. Whether it is a week of organized events or a month of general exploring of your new city, the outcome is the same, a screaming liver and if you’re lucky, promiscuous fornication. In reality, it is all less exciting then it looks at first but fact is, keeping up the hype is part of the tradition.

Then there are Erasmus students, and I happen to be one of them. I am one of the many exchange students roaming through the streets of Paris – magnificent streets at that: streets full of little bistros that serve beef tartar that is to-die-for. These same streets that more often than not, happen to smell of piss. Paris is a city of contrasts, a city of indulgence and a city of clashing life views.

One of the greatest things about being an Erasmus student is the simplicity of making friends. I have started my studies in a very large public university in Vienna and getting to know people was probably one of the hardest social tasks I ever had to face. This task led to me partially wasting my first year of university, but that’s life. On exchange, you are being pampered by the local Erasmus society, which organizes for you everything from pub nights, to free entrance to clubs as well as wonderful wine filled picnics.

Granted, in Paris, if you want to get to know French people and have more than basic superficial conversations with them, knowing French is indispensible. At no cost should you come here expecting that everyone will be speaking English with you. Keep in mind that this is not really due to French arrogance but also because the majority do not speak English that well and simply wont be able to really get to know you or introduce themselves.

Whether you try to take the easiest classes just to get by or the classes that really interest you is your choice, but here is what I learned: I happen to be one of those crazy people who wanted to take interesting subjects, and ended up with four out of five courses in French – three of them being Master’s courses. Am I being a complete geek who is barely leaving his flat? No. However, what I am doing is having very practical courses in consumer behaviour and product politics. Besides the fact that my French vocabulary is increasing exponentially, I happen to be in a class of a 30:4 girl to guy ratio. Not at any point of this month did I regret choosing courses that interested me. Sometimes it’s good to do the “grown-up” thing, those things bear nice surprises.

So, what’s the greatest thing about taking a semester abroad? Honestly, it’s the feeling of curiosity that is ignited in you. When you know that you only have 4 months, it’s almost like you feel that you will die in four months. You set yourself goals of visiting at least two museums per week, you try not to miss any classes or any parties, while trying to practice French grammar at least once a week. It’s a wonderful run against the clock. We should live like that all our lives, but that usually doesn’t work out. The time constraints here are a perfect practice run.

ordinary madness.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, a deep sadness overcomes you. It gathers it’s strength from all the pain and the loneliness you ever felt. It could be the second bottom of a bottle, in could be the 2 a.m. madness that forces you to wash your dishes and mop the floor like a madman. Or maybe it is just that dark haired girl that once wept for you at a train station just so that you wouldn’t leave.

You finish that second bottle of the random belgian beer a friend recommended. You try to focus on the Murakami in your hand but it is not as soothing as books used to be because now it’s an iPad or a Kindle that’s weighing down on your hands. It is decisively not enough so you resort to music, sentimental, melancholic, to die for. What will be your weapon of choice for this night? Yumeji’s Theme from “In the Mood for Love” should do it. It’s a very asian madness that you have created for yourself this night. Is it the Murakami that opened that last creaking door? Or was it the alcohol that you will end up regretting the next time you look in the mirror?

In any case, your weapon of choice is the violin, the crazy violin, the delicate piece of fine wood, the one the carves out names in your heart and in your mind. The stroke of the bow is sawing right through you, to the core and back out. It is all much less tragic than it appears, but in this very second that you read that one line, this very second that you took the one sip, it felt like a bow, a bow with an arrow. The higher notes submerge you deeper and deeper, drawing that bow is what carries you beyond every string. The contrabass in the back just plucks the doors behind you, so that you cannot escape.

And the light shines through, clearer then ever, the dust particles are the ones that make this moment so divine. Something as simple, as filthy as dust can make it or break it. As you know, light is more beautiful when it needs to fight to be noticed. Well this lover of mine has put up quite a fight. In this godforsaken place called church. The light just hit the chandelier, the fake chandelier with the electric light bulbs, the energy that wasn’t. The imitation of everything that is wrong and wretched about this place.

Anyways, it is just a joke. An ordinary madness.

 

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the loneliness among us.

The more I try to understand the world of creativity, the world of art, the more I come to the conclusion that we are all in need of stories: stories to tell, stories to listen to. The fact is, our civilization was built on stories; what we now call the study of history, used to be – and still is in some cultures – the tales and fables that were passed on from generation to generation. Stories can be told in different ways: photos tell stories as well as paintings or sculptures. It is not only about words. All you have to decide is what kind of stories you want to hear or what kind of stories you want to tell. Well, I have a story for you.

During the summer of 2012, I felt like I just had to see the premiere of Master and Margarita, a novel by the Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov at the theater in Vienna. Most normal people go to theaters with someone else; because, quite honestly, the only people who are alone at theaters are over 60. That did not bother me for two reasons: first of all, the seats were almost sold-out, and so between going alone and not going at all, the choice was obvious. Second, finding a fellow university student who is up for going to the theater on a Sunday morning to see a Russian play happens to be a rarity.

So there I was, sitting in the front row of a little balcony in the wonderful Viennese “Burgtheater” and waiting for some kind, old lady to come and take her place next to me. Yet that is not what happened.

At this point in the story, I would like to tell you that I am the biggest fan of clichés. If you think imagining what your relationship and maybe even your kids could look like as soon as you meet a cute/ interesting person is freaky – trust me, I am worse. Maybe worse is the wrong word. I simply like stories, yes, some of them involve romantic encounters and others obsessive promiscuity. Those stories, as rare as they are, do happen.  Some we usually exaggerate in our freaky little heads, but the fact is, they are real.

Just before the play began, a dark, curly haired woman sat down next to me.  She had a gentile figure and the real signs of her age were only to be seen in the depth of the expression on her face. You know how you sometimes try to observe people without them noticing? Well this was one of those moments, except in a theater booth, it happens to be quite difficult. She definitely looked older than me, so I estimated between twenty-five and thirty years old. I wasn’t yet quite sure if I thought she was my type, but the different ways this would play out already started going through my head. Pretty quickly, I came to the conclusion that it would probably end the way it always does, with me playing with some stories in my head and eventually going home. So the play began.

For those of you who have read or seen Master and Margarita, you know it is an intense piece. Considering that it revolves around the bureaucracy, the hypocrisy and the human characteristics in the Soviet Union, it was not something easily digested. At the end of the first act came the first awkward silence. Boy, do I hate those. I couldn’t stand it for very long so I started a little chat with the woman next to me. I remember coming out of that theater feeling like a hero, simply because it happened to be one of those few moments where I actually made the effort to start a conversation. Sometimes you have to have faith that the person next to you might have something interesting to say.

A wonderful surprise followed: Roxanne turned out to be a 25-year-old PhD Geography student from Romania. She just recently came to Vienna and was very excited to have gotten a seat for this performance. We talked about the play, the morality, faith, god and human flaws. The more I listened, the more stories started to play out in the back of my mind. Could this be the moment that we all wait for? Well, as I sit here, writing this story, nothing much really happened but the event itself reminded me that we should be brave. We should be brave enough to follow the simple urges that tell us to find emotional or psychological closeness to other people.

After months of meeting girls who barely had an opinion on any genuinely interesting topic, I was in awe. The age was a big factor, but even at 25, it is hard to find a woman who will start talking to a stranger about where humanity has gone wrong and what we as humans should try to change. This went on during the whole break and for another 30 minutes after the play was finished and the room was empty. I was already trying to think of the best way to develop this theater visit into a coffee with my new acquaintance, but sadly it didn’t quite go that well. As we were saying our goodbyes in front of the theater I did the cockiest thing I could have possibly done. Instead of asking for her number or her email address, I gave her my silly little business card. I told her, if she ever felt like going for a drink, she could call me. Smart move, eh?

By now you are probably thinking, what a silly little child I am. You are probably right. However she did write to me, and even if due to the course of life and daily business, we have not met yet, I do believe that there are profound conversations that will follow. The point is, it is a story which I will remember for quite some time and maybe even conjure up another ending for it, the next time I tell it.

Just keep telling stories, it is worth living for.