Quiet Moments

At heart I am a bit of a minimalist, and I do love a good photorealistic painting, which is why the late Jeffrey Smart has been one of my favorite painters ever since I first saw his work in Sydney back in 2003.

So it would come as no surprise that I look for similar-style scenes to photograph. It’s the precise positioning of every element in a Jeffrey Smart painting that I find most engaging. Unfortunately, the very mechanical nature of the photographic medium under normal circumstances prohibits such fine placing of the elements at least for someone of my Photoshop skill level.

Photography does have the decisive moment, but that’s more about capturing a fleeting moment, a slice of time as it flashes by. What appeals to me in this picture is its contemplative restfulness. We can see that this isn’t a fleeting instance of action but a period of quiet stillness, made visually enjoyable by what we know as the appeal of vertical lines, disappearing perspectives and frames within frames. But without what Kandinsky explained as the tension within the frame, a tension that’s supplied by the almost perfect positioning of the people, it would be a dull lifeless image.

If it was a painting it would be ­­possible to correct the problems of left leaning, but in a photograph, despite the wonders of PS, when you correct that problem, other dimensions change, so more work is required.

The end result would be different, more constrained image, and not a picture I like.


FujifilmX20, f5.6, 1/250sec, ISO200


Art, Wine and Entertainment

September is the beginning of what is commonly called the gallery season in Berlin. Over the summer months Berlin experiences a mass influx of tourists and a mass exodus of locals. After the end of the school holidays the city once again gets down to the serious (only kidding) business of doing business in both, the fashion and art industry.

I like visiting little galleries and usually try to find the time once a week to stroll through Mitte and check out a few.

An interesting story from one visited last week involved the theft of a painting from the front room of a small but expensive gallery while the gallery owner was talking to a couple in the back room. A few of the local shop owners saw the thief walking down the street with the painting and while they thought it unusual for the piece not to be covered no one thought to do anything.

I guess this begs the question, is Berlin such an art-loving city that people will steal to own something they can’t afford?

Tip for new players, if you can get on their mailing lists, the galleries around the Ku’damn serve very good wine and often some nice snacks. Exhibition openings are after all a social event, the real business takes place later when we, the riff raff have moved on.


I found the photo border online, offered for free by some nice people at:



24-70mm, 1/50sec, ISO100.