Sunday, September 10, 2017

Christopher Street Day Polit-Parades

I've shot five Christopher Street Day parades since 2010. It is always more fun to do it together with friends so that you can share the fun with them. Almost everybody is in a good mood and the people in the parade are dressed in showy clothes or colors. That all makes for a wonderful photo opportunity.

Life is full of colors

The rainbow can be seen everywhere at the parade

Once again in 2017 the weather was perfect for a parade, and I was shooting with a couple of good photographer friends. We set up early in a good position to have interesting (or blurred, as we chose) backgrounds and we were in the shade most of this hot July afternoon.

Choosing a good background can add a lot to a photograph

Good lighting always attracts my eye

Over the years I've learned to look for certain types of motifs. A favorite one is a suitable background for a foreground star. This is one of my favorites; it was taken in front of a hair salon where you can get your eyebrows plucked or hair permanently removed:

This one - also from 2010 - always makes me think that the guy in the foreground is the one on the poster.

Speaking of posters: This shot from 2011 is one of my all-time favorites. On the billboard is a Lucky Strike ad that says "Smoking can cause death."

Here are four more shots from 2011. Can you tell why I paired the background with the foreground?

Other times you just get lucky and are in the right place at the right time.

 Whenever I see someone filming fireworks, a parade, or a concert with his phone, I try to get a shot of it.

I made a book out of my photographs of reflections in car windows and bodies. My eye is still trained on such reflections. I think they add a nice distortion to the picture that make the viewer look twice.

Spectators and participants can often provide interesting contrasts.

I love paying attention to facial expressions during such public displays.

Much of what one sees at the parades is not real - and yet somehow breathtaking.

Or just plain fun!

Having fun and bearing witness to the important cause of gay rights is the name of the game here.

Did I mention the alcohol consumption at these parade? Yes, there is a bit.

As in every parade, there is a band with a bass drum. I always try to capture myself in its reflection.

My partners in crime this year were Andy, Andrea and Conny. Thanks, guys!

Super Andy

Andrea and Conny with their 70-200 zooms.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Photographing concerts, Part 2

Music and photography: Bringing arts together

In the Kulturhauptstadt Stuttgart, where 7.4% of the working residents reportedly work for cultural institutions, there are many opportunities to visit concerts of every type - from high culture to sub-culture.

As luck would have it, I got to know one of Germany's top jazz drummers soon after we moved to Stuttgart in 2002. Torsten Krill's children have grown up with mine in the east end, so we have had many opportunities to discuss his music and I've enjoyed hearing him play in various bands over the years. I didn't know much about jazz before I met Torsten, but I live to learn about new directions in music through people I become close to.
For many years Torsten played and recorded with Cécile Verny, who is a favorite jazz singer of my friends Lilo and Wolf Neumaier in Freiburg, so there was that unexpected personal connection when I met Cécile after a concert in Stuttgart.

Torsten backs up Ron Spielman at Stuttgart's premier jazz club, BIX.
Through Torsten I got to know and create with Simon Fetzer, who is a master cabinet maker and gifted musician. Over a period of two years he worked on a CD which he produced in his free time out of the urge to create a handful of songs that detailed his musical journey.

Simon Fetzer records our song "brb jail" for his CD Fetzer
He had written nine songs and translated the lyrics into English but needed some support from a native speaker. Torsten put us in touch and we met a dozen times to discuss the words and music. I contributed three texts as well.
Both his parents died during this period. The tenth song on the CD, "Freefall", was written last and expresses his philosophy of dying. All proceeds from the sales of the CD Fetzer go to the foster child organization called PLAN International. A couple of photos I took during the recording session also made it into the CD booklet. Torsten's music publishing company, frimfram, produced the recording.

Torsten Krill and Simon Fetzer discuss the mastering of the new CD
Simon is a wonderfully warm, generous human being who lives life to the utmost. Now he is into paragliding, so he regularly flies to South America to follow that passion.

On Dec. 20, 2011, when the CDs arrived, he came over and unpacked them at my house.
Not every musical encounter is as fruitful as those I had with Torsten and Simon, but personal contact and interaction with the musicians is certainly my goal whenever I can manage it.