Archive for the ‘Press Photography’ Category

The one photo book that influenced me most

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

I guess every photographer has a “starting point” early in life, a key event that actually made him want to become a photographer or -as in my case- even a press photographer.

For me, it’s easy to pin-point that event in my life. Back in the 1970s, when I was in my early teens, my parents purchased a coffee table book, “The best photos of LIFE” (German edition). On 304 large pages it presented a superb collection of the finest press photos available, most of them in black & white, shot by some of the best press photographers the world has seen. All the big names were there, and we know today that these are the pioneers of photojournalism: Alfred Eisenstaedt, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andreas Feininger, George Silk, just to name a few. Of course, I did not know anything about them or photography or journalism at that time. But I did like what I saw.

680 press photos from all areas of life, exploring the entire LIFE archive of more than 18 million photos! Ralph Graves, LIFE’s final editor-in-chief, explains in the introduction that it was “a nightmare, and a privilege, to make the selection”. He covers the period from 1936 to 1972, the short lifespan of LIFE magazine. Despite the enormous amount of photos available, the twenty chapters of the book help to structure the selection, from “The Moment” to “The Telling Picture” and “Fun in Life”. And the editors did not just focus on the big moments in photo journalism; they also show simple yet beautiful details of everyday life.

Book Cover: Die besten Photos aus LIFE

Anyway, I saw this book, and I was hooked. I knew immediately that THIS was what I wanted to do for a living. Photo journalism meant notonly to be in the middle of the action and to capture the most important moments for the history, but also to show the people and their lives as they were. This job enabled a single individual to present his (sometimes limited) view to the world. An idealistic view of our job, sure, but fascinating nonetheless.

Life went on. I entered photography. And I forgot about the book.

When we moved to our new house a couple of months ago, I found it in the basement between other books. I opened it – and was hooked again, after all those years. I spent an hour looking at the superb photos. That old feeling came back, and I knew I had done the right thing. :-)

Thanks to the Internet, you can probably not only snatch a copy of this book on eBay or Amazon*, you can also view the most important photos online, in the TIME & LIFE picture archive, where the images are presented in cooperation with Getty Images.

There is some truly amazing stuff to be found there, even more so if you think about this being an “all film” archive coming from a time with no (or very little) automatic camera functions. Breathtaking.

I swear, this book is worth its money. You won’t regret it.

*Ralph Graves (Ed.)
Die besten Photos aus LIFE
ISBN-10: 388102073X
ISBN-13: 978-3881020732

Russian Space Shuttle Buran in Cologne

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

My colleague and friend Oliver Staack of Lichtbildwerk sent me a couple of shots of the Russian Space Shuttle Buran as it got loaded onto a freighter in Cologne, Germany, a few days back. The shuttle was on its long way to the Technical Museum of Speyer, where it will be on display next to a full-size Boing 747 Jumbo Jet, and other 70+ aircraft and helicopters.

Seeing this huge object (half plane, half rocket) on the Rhine river is certainly a rare sight and a good opportunity for some nice shots, even for a well-seasoned press photographer. In the twilight of the approaching sunset, Oliver took a long lense and captured the big bird with the Cologne Dome, the traditional landmark of the city, in the back.

Space Shuttle Buran in Cologne
Oliver Staack/Lichtbildwerk

Buran Shuttle in Cologne Germany
Oliver Staack/Lichtbildwerk

Space Shuttle on Rhine
Oliver Staack/Lichtbildwerk

I know Oliver for ages, really. He is passionate about photography (and filming), and he has been working as freelancer in the Cologne area for almost two decades by now, covering The Netherlands, Belgium, and the rest of Europe. Please feel free to contact him anytime with suitable photo assignments.

Thanks, Oliver for sharing.

Oktoberfest – 2nd week

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Out little local fest called Oktoberfest is moving fast into its second week. Personal damages so far have been minor, but I got my usual Oktoberfest cold – it’s warm and cozy during the day, so you take only light clothes, and hot and sweaty in the tents, and then, when you get out (probably a bit drunk), you underestimate the coolness of the air. The cold hits you hard one or two days later. *cough* But other than that, the first Oktoberfest week was great.

By now we also survived the scared second weekend, which is also widely known as Italians Weekend, because usually the fest is packed with Italians who drive all the way to Munich in their motorhomes, flooding the Theresienwiese and the rest of the city. Fortunately, the rainy weather cleared up on Saturday, so that at least the grass next to the Oktoberfest could be used for a nap. The locals call this area also the “throw-up-grass”. Uh, yes, they are right. The wind blew a slight smell over to me, and it was not a good one…

Oktoberfest - taking a nap
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Oktoberfest Sleeping
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Oktoberfest - Drunk beyond belief
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

These photos were taken on Sunday at about 3 pm, so one can only imagine what might have happened in the morning, right after the tents were opened. By now I can safely say that I will be glad once this Oktoberfest is over again. Which is funny in a way, because you anticipate the Fest starting around May/June once the reservations are assigned, then come the Wies’n Warmup fests and events, and then – when it’s finally there – you have enough after half of the time.

Anyway, if you are still planning to come over to the Oktoberfest, please don’t let these photos stop you! The weather is fine, the beer is good, and the mood is great.

Rainy Oktoberfest

Friday, September 28th, 2007

It has been pouring rain over Munich for two straight days in a row now. The huge beer gardens outside the Oktoberfest tents are empty, where otherwise they would be packed with people having a good time. And it is not just raining, no, temperatures have dropped to 7 °C (45 °F), so nobody wants to do anything outside, be it watching the people or taking a nap on the grass below the Bavaria monument.

But inside the tents the action is as hot as always. You hardly notice the weather. But it gets a bit cramped as everyone is trying to get a table early in the afternoon. Expect problems even at 3:30pm if you have not got a reservation. In this case you can only watch out for the areas without reservations (“Reservierungsfreier Bereich”) where you can get a space, at least in theory. Or you ask politely one of the waitresses whether they are aware of some space for your group.

Anyway, here are a couple of shots from this week (including those taken on the first weekend). Enjoy!

Oktoberfest in rain
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Oktoberfest auf der Theresienwiese im Regen
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Frisbee Oktoberfest München
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Oktoberfest Wellenflug at Night
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Oktoberfest in the evening
Mark Zanzig/zettpress