Recently I was chosen together with a couple of other photographers to be part of Hamburg’s container port anniversary. It’s been fifty years of highly technologized globalization! Yay for Hamburg!
The marketing department contacted @igershamburg to select photogs and we met at the Terminal Burchardkai for an extended behind the scenes tour of the port. And boy, what a tour it was! We went up to a container gantry crane, where the star warsian driver’s cab is located a lofty 50m above ground. Initially I thought that the technology is simply kind of brutish, a lot of steel and heavy engines with little sophistication. Wrong I was!
Each crane is stuffed with a datacenter of its own, so that the whole process of unloading the containerships is gaplessly connected to the ordering party and obviously the logistics centre that is in situ at the terminal.
For me personally, I was quite overwhelmed by the shapes, sizes and primariness (if that’s a thing) of the colors and honestly struggled to get interesting shots, even though it was enormously interesting to me personally. I do hope that you like the images, though.
Yesterday I went to a friend who – amongs a wide variety of other things – builds traditional bows and arrows. The idea is craftsmanship, i.e. building the weapons from scratch with traditional materials like horn, sinew, wood and leather, albeit with modern machinery. He has built dozens of bows and scores upon scores of arrows, which are intricately detailed and deadly as f*#@! The sheer beauty of them is fascninating and almost touching. The details in fabrication and painting work on all senses. These bows look great, sound and even smell good. Moreover, there is a sense of danger about them that makes touching them very special.
A modern carbon fiber bow says deadly with more immediacy, but I doubt that it is possible to have the same level of attachment to a modern tool as you can have towards these new, but traditionally crafted arms. The process of making the more complex composite bows takes up months as it takes a lot of time for the animal glue to set.
While it is easy to appreciate these arches of mayhem in person, it is quite hard to photograph them appropriately. This is my first attempt. The idea was to go from overview to detail. Bows (and arrows) are long and pointy constructions that do not lend themselves easily to image formats that are popular at the moment. A panorama might lend itself and I am going to attempt that at a later stage. But for now I tried to present them in the context of the workshop in which they were built, going ever closer to mimic the process of a visitor who first encounters these little marvels of aptitude. In going from form to detail I relied on a single flashgun pointed at the low-hanging white celing, which emulates soft daylight. I guess it works out nicely.
Today, some friends took me out to the Elbphilharmonie to make some images. A beautiful, icy-cold and bright winter-day persuaded me quickly to join them. We were not alone. That is actually the reason why there are only a handful of pics in here today, there are quite some more nice images on my hard-drive, but they usually have some person who is tack-sharp in the frame and I shy away from publishing pictures of strangers that I haven’t asked for their image.
Claus and Marion took me to Hamburg’s Harbour Museum, which is a registered society that buys, mends and of course displays important objects of the harbour’s technical past. There is a stunning assortment of exhibits that speak to the history of the harbour and we enjoyed a tour of the freight-ship „Bleichen“ (more on that in a later post).
Today, my brother, my nephew and I went to the Prototype Museum in Hamburg, where no touching and no flashing of the cars is allowed. It’s a shame. At least they should disallow the other tourists to stand in the frame I want to shoot.
I like wishful thinking for what it’s worth (not a lot), so I could almost exclusively resort to details. In black and white. Highly post-processed. Here they are, enjoy!
Here is a small photo essay about the „Eisbrecher Stettin“ the oldest coal-powered ship still working. It is run by a public charity that keeps it up-and-running. At least once a year for the harbour birthday they polish it up even more, because it takes part in the celebration. Here are some images that capture the raw spirit of this eighty-three-year old quaint boat, which acquired the status of a technical monument in 1982.
More info on the boats and the charity can be found here.