Monday, August 23, 2010

Christopher Street Day in Stuttgart

Years ago when my mother visited me in Germany and saw a very colorful, rainbow-like umbrella standing in the corner, she made a comment about the Rainbow Coalition (Jesse Jackson was running for president) and about gay pride. Having taught American studies, I was aware of the former association, though why she should think that I would be supporting Jackson was beyond me. But the reference to gay pride had me puzzled. She explained it to me, saying that rainbow umbrellas and bumper stickers are often seen at the gay pride parades in Richmond.
Well, now I can say the same holds true for German Christopher Street Day parades as well. They are a real spectacle.

It was the weekend after our Worldwide Photo Walk, the weather was great, and the parade was a feast for the eyes. I was not the only photographer there.
 This man marched in the parade and took pictures of the onlookers.

Now call me naive or innocent or whatever, but after photographing dozens of transvestites, I was relieved to see a nice looking woman walk by. Friends made me have a closer look at this golden girl and convinced me that too many features were masculine to be a woman.

"What about this one?" I asked.

Same thing, Jim. It didn't look like s/he was having a good time, but you never can tell.
Having become aware of the importance of lighting and background to taking good pictures, I positioned myself for the afternoon. It wasn't until I got home and had a look at the pictures, though, that I saw how lucky I had been on a couple of shots.

See the beautician's shop in the background?
It promises permanent make-up, eyebrow plucking and permanent hair removal!
And it is for him and her. This guy looks like he's going in there now.

This is one of my favorite images from that afternoon. The simple lines and elegance of the hat make me think of a Grace Kelly movie.
A month ago Fynn and I went to an American football game here in Stuttgart. We didn't see any cheerleaders like these in their mini Lederhosen.
As I said, it was a very colorful parade. Even the Gay Goths seemed to get away from the plain black for one day.
Across the street from me a float went by with this poster on it. The young men in front look like they might have just walked right out of it and onto the street.
And these young women walked into a wonderful patch of sunlight as they left the Schillerplatz, where the open-air disco was about to start. My mother was right about the umbrella. See it?
My mentor Jim Palik joined Christian and me for an afternoon of picture taking at the junkyard one day. There he gave us the task of trying to take a picture of a pile or mass of things yet still have something stick out and catch the viewer's eye. There must be something dominant in every picture, he says. How's this, Jim?
And don't forget to go for a detail shot as well. This seems to say it all.
After several hours and many hundreds of shots, I had found my favorite subject. I would guess that this person was over two meters tall (6' 6") in high-heels and looked fantastic in the purple wings and perfect make-up. During the disco, she patiently posed with young and old, reminding me of the ritual photo with Santa at Christmastime.
Maybe this blog entry has too many pictures, but I couldn't narrow the selection down any more. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

1 comment:

  1. Not too many photos at all. These are beautiful. They capture it. The one with those GORGEOUS young men walking into the poster is fantastic - they COULD be in it. And the holding hands of course. Classic, Simple. The woman in purple is my favorite too - very elegant. Hint from my hubby (who had a gay uncle and spent some time in bars) : Adam's Apple. And I thought I was the only one who didn't know about the rainbows - P Street in Washington when I comment, out loud, in a sex shop, about how rainbows are coming back in style. Damon just about dropped dead with embarrassment. And yeah, I was already pretty conspicious as the only female in the shop!

    Like the cheesy short Lederhosen too - but mostly you've captured class. Love it. Thanks.