Memories

Going back to Germany, to the house I grew up in, memories are hidden in every corner. Seeing things again for the first time, having a relationship with each item, that is why we have a hard time letting go of things sometimes. There is an emotional response to the things we see. When I saw my grandfathers brush, I could smell the turpentine and the stuffy room he used to paint in when I was a child.

Touching my grandmothers hat, I can hear her voice and see the patterns on her apron as it was yesterday. I can feel her sitting next to me on the stoop, watching the people go by.

Memories come rushing in with each image I see.

Time to make new memories, with my niece Lisa - the next generation. Perhaps she will remember our photo-shoot some day.

Biggest lesson in photography

The Biggest lesson in photography was an utter surprise to me. I would have imagined that is was about technique, equipment or knowledge. Some of this may be true, but what I was not expecting is how connected you have to be with your subject and yourself.

As a fairly new photographer I have gone out, learning the ropes of analog photography, trying and failing. At my darkest moment, I found myself on the darkroom floor, sweeping for the roll of film I had just dropped. I could feel the dust on the ground and thought about how bad that would be for the film, yet I continued for another 30 minutes, sweating bullets as it was not MY roll of film, but that of my daughters. I never found it and had to turn on the light eventually.

I have lost rolls of film, made many developing mistakes with agitation, chemical dilutions, temperature and time. I have mixed up chemicals, turned on the light with the canister still open and lived to talk about it. Conquering these things I imagined, would be what I had to learn to become a good photographer.

It really hit me after a recent interview with Wil Giles, who talked to me about giving form to what you are seeing, feeling and being. The connection one has with the subject, may it be a person or a landscape. The experience one has taking the picture. I knew instinctively what he was talking about. I felt it, but I could not put it into words.

Thank you Wil Giles for putting light on this subject!

Mistakes can be beautiful

Lately I find real comfort in making mistakes, and there are so many possible ways in analog photography to make them. There is no Auto mode or instant gratification. Slow progress and many ruined rolls of film and sheets of paper. Steep leaning curves and expenses one can only justify as a kind of addiction.

Double Exposure snafu

Double Exposure snafu

The shown example of an unintended double exposure proofs that mistakes can be beautiful and even if they aren't, we learn more from mistakes than we do from successes.  

Van Dyke Brown

The last time I felt like this I was fifteen years old and I just had my first true creative experience. I was high from excitement, joy and utter discovery. It is like a drug you can loose yourself into, the only consequence being a piece of art that is left behind for people to enjoy. I am changing my course in life back to that which I have known.

I already converted my storage room into a darkroom, and my house will turn into a studio, with brushes and containers filled with magical colors and potions. X-acto knives and rules will rule my household from now on. I missed it and I can answer the questions why I choose analog over digital with conviction!

Endangered

I spent 3 months in Italy this summer and got to know the locals in the village I was staying at. I adore especially the elders that gather every night at the piazza to talk to one another. What a wonderful way of life to connect. I see this disappearing, the old way of life, the values, the craftsmanship. It is disappearing everywhere in the world where convenience and instant gratification has slowly destroyed the beauty of slowing down, patience and hard work.

Next fall I intend to put on my first solo show in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre to show the images of the locals and their hard work, which is in danger of disappearing.

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy


Glad to be back in California!

The last days in Germany were cold and grey, but beauty is in everything and everwhere. However I am thankful to be back in California. 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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Stonehaus is proud to announce a feature on Rfoto Folio Fine Art Photography

Stonehaus is proud to announce a feature on Rfoto Folio Fine Art Photography. During my stay in Europe this summer, I was asked by Rfoto Folio for an interview. This is a first for me and I am extremely honored.

Interview with Rfoto Folio:
http://rfotofolio.org/2015/11/22/photographer-birgit-maddox

Check out the new gallery:
http://rfotofolio.org/2015/11/24/birgit-maddox-gallery

Thank you Rfoto Folio!
http://rfotofolio.org

The road less traveled

Where do the roads lead that we travel? It so often depends on our expectations and attitude.

When life takes a turn it might be because of the decision to take the risk of getting lost on a country road instead of the Toll-Road. Taking the long way to slow down enough to stop.

We are so busy getting there, that we don't see what is around us. So busy looking at our cell-phones that we forget to talk to each other.

Sometimes what we are looking for is right in front of us. We just have to slow down enough to see it.

A different experience

Most travelers will experience extremely crowded places, visiting the top sights in Italy, such as monuments in Florence, Rome or Venice. But even in those cities one can find Viva Italiana in the most unusual places. Places less traveled.

Santuario della Madonna de Montenero

Such a place is the Santuario della Madonna de Montenero, in Cinque Terre, high above the hussle and bussle of the crowded trains below. This place seems to above it all with views over the entire Cinque Terre region and beyond.

Or walking around on a rainy day in a lovely town called Chiavari, just a train-ride north of Cinque Terre.

taking shelter in one of the local l'osteria's an Italian tavern, serving whatever is fresh for the day.

Visiting a flea market, finding old treasures.

Or creepy puppets . . .

The experience will be real.

Puddles of joy

If we are lucky enough to witness a single lily on a pond

to watch the speed of a single drop

to be fully present when a bloom is at its peak

only then are we truly on our path.

Past and Present

Coming from the new world into the old, I notice the many things that have survived with the ages.

I imagine the people that have been here before us. Perhaps we don't have to catch our own fish or hunt deer to survive, but many traditions remind us of a time long past.

One such place is the "Alme" - dialect for common land, from the french "Allmende". These are plots at the outskirts of town, where that townspeople can lease to grow their vegetables.

I remember very old people on their bicycles with a pick and shovel over their shoulders on their way to the fields. Even today you can see people with a tiny trailer hitched to their bicycles transporting dirt or harvested potatoes.

Another thing that can still be seen is the craftsmanship of architectural details.

The amount of time that was put into the design of a door for example stands the test of time. This craftsmanship is getting lost all around the world. I do hope newer generations take an interest and make sure that the craft and pride that goes into creating something will not be lost.

The transformation of Spring

Living in California, I can still appreciate wildflowers in "spring", but for people who have not seen the sun for months, spring has an all together different meaning.

Even in writing a black and white blog, I can see the vibrance of the colors. Spring is an experience for all the senses. Smell, touch, vision combined with the sounds of bird-life trumpeting their happiness about the arrival of Spring.

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Spring is about transformation and we can learn to be inspired by the power of nature to go from darkness and cold to the fullness of life.

To keep going even though we do not know what is at the end of the road.

To weather the storm and burst into full bloom!

Mother Nature

I often wonder why we are so afraid of change, when on one hand we yearn for novelty and on the other we fight the process when faced with it. Nature doesn't discern. She freely accepts change and executes no prejudice.

She bears beauty in most unlikely places and does well in solitude.

She knows no adversity and freely merges with it.

as she reflects upon herself.