Teresa's blog

Some of Our Favourites from 2013

It’s my birthday this week, and I decided to give myself a present this time. I had spent half of January marvelling at some of my favourite photographer’s reviews of 2013, which, let’s be honest, is about as great for your self-esteem as watching shots of Gisele Bündchen/Jon Kortajarena in their underwear all day long. Medium good.

I decided to do myself a favour and see what would come up if I scoured our photos from last year for favourites. And I’m really glad I did, because I was surprised and happy how many beautiful places we had been to, how many people we met, how much we had shot and how many of these shots I really liked. I have put them together here and hope you will enjoy them like I enjoyed going through our year again, photo by photo.

I think everyone should do this once a year: put together your favourite photos, or favourite memories. You’ll be surprised how many things you’ve done, how many people you’ve met, and what you’ve accomplished. Try it.

xx T

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Portraits in Berlin – Maren

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Today is the first day of snow here in Berlin, and wow, what weather! It snows, it storms, it's dark, and it's bitter cold... what better day to post another one of my memories of summer?

Remember my post some time ago, about what got me into photography? The following is exactly what I was talking about. 

About two-thirds into our shoot on a beautiful September evening, Maren asked casually how it was going, and how her photos were turning out - she may have seen me look a little worried. “Fine”, I said, “but you’re going to accuse me of making you look far too sexy.” She laughed at this as if it were a joke (which it wasn’t, really), and peeked over my shoulder to catch a glimpse of herself on the tiny screen. Then she yelled “whaaaaat?!” and then “noooo...”, and I must admit it, I was so delighted that I laughed out loud. She seriously couldn’t believe how fantastic she looked...no retouching, little make-up, just her natural beauty, someone able to see it, a camera...and of course that incredible September evening light.

In my work, this is one of my favourite little everyday magic moments to happen, when light, technology, and two people conspire... and it ends up making them both happy.

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Pieces of Summer. Berlin Rooftop Easter Party

I have been posting very little over the last few months, mostly because it was summer, and the summer is for us the busiest time in the year: we travel, we shoot, we edit, we shoot, we travel, we edit.  It’s also the time of year where I feel like I have to savour all the time I can possibly get away from the computer, which is usually far too little.

Now as the colder season is before us, I am looking forward to taking my time to go through all those photos again with more time.  I feel a little bit like Frederick, the mouse, from one of my favourite books when I was little: he risked being very unpopular while all the other mice were busy collecting grain and nuts during the summer, as he didn’t participate; in the winter, though, when the mice were slightly bored and sad and had to stay inside, he started telling them stories about what he had collected: sunshine and colours and words…
Although there is no doubt still a lot we have to learn from Frederick, we too have been busy collecting light and colour over the last few months, and I can’t wait to share them as the days grow colder and greyer.

So here’s the first memory: Maria’s rooftop party to celebrate Easter, some time in May. People from all over the world - some Berliners, some new Berliners, some visitors - sharing food they brought, chatting, getting the first tan of the year, and listening to the beautiful Swing tunes of Renard Ce Soir...

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Family Photography in Vienna – Melissa, Thomas, Sophia and Ben

It’s that time of year again: summer is over, and all of a sudden Christmas seems almost around the corner. The photos we are editing now are still full of sunshine, but when we look up, outside the window autumn storms are already brewing. (This is Berlin, after all!) 

During this time, I always get asked a LOT whether we also do family shoots - for Christmas cards, or Granny’s birthday, or just plain fun. So here it is, just to make it official once and for all: yes we do!  

A few months back I had the pleasure to photograph Melissa’s beautiful family in Vienna. Melissa is from Canada, so she wanted to celebrate and include her adopted hometown of Vienna as much as possible in her family photos. Which is exactly what we did… all during a lovely morning stroll through the beautiful old city centre.

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Look Up!

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We’re really busy at the moment, and at the rate things are going, next year is going to be an even busier year.

When I came across this photo in our archive a few days back, it grabbed my attention for some reason and I found myself looking at it at lot longer than I usually do… being the professional image-pusher that I am. :)

Taken some time back with our Zenza Bronica, (an analogue medium format camera that we hardly every use), it reminded me… to look up from work every now and then, and enjoy the beauty that’s right there in front of you, right outside your door.

Have a beautiful day!

xxT

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Portraits at Lake Michigan, Chicago - Clara

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While we were in New York in the spring time, Daniel went to Chicago for a few days, to visit one of his best and most long-standing friends, Clara.

They’ve known each other since they were in their tiny teens, and even though she’s been in America for years for her studies, they still get together every now and then on skype to drink whiskey, each on their side of the Atlantic, and discuss economics and politics, as well as more personal stuff. (She’s going to Yale in the fall for her PhD in political science)

On an almost, but not entirely unrelated subject, Clara is also, in some way, responsible for the fact that Daniel and I are together; or, in any case, that we didn’t leave each other at the first bump in the road, some ten years ago.

When my first bout of doubts came along after about ten days of being together (“aaagh! This is going way too well! He must be a psycho! How do I get rid of him now!?”) he actually heard it in my voice over the phone, and consequently used the oldest trick in the book: playing it cool and feigning disinterest. Of course, that worked like a spell.

Asking him about it later, he said that this was pure strategy, something that he picked up from his talks with Clara, about girls and boys and relationship trouble: always give a girl the space she needs. Now that’s wise advice indeed. (And obviously, also works the other way round)

I don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but I love these portraits he took of her, while strolling on the beach of Lake Michigan. Bright woman. Great light. Beautiful photos. What more can you want?

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Engagement Shoot in Moscow: Linnea and Viktor

I sit in a New York appartment, the air condition is quietly whirring, but all the same it feels like it's about 27 degrees in here. All the more interesting for me, then, to transport myself back to April, in Moscow... when any ray of sunshine was greeted with enthusiasm, and the snow was taking its time to slowly melt. 

We met Linnea and Viktor on one of the first truly sunny days. They picked us up from the Metro and drove us to close to where they live - there's a lake, they said, and a monastery, so it could be nice for a shoot. When we arrived, we saw... this. How little were we prepared for the splendour of the Novodevichy Convent

We strolled around all afternoon, talking, photographing, and getting to know each other. Linnea is from Sweden and Viktor is from Russia, but you can tell there really aren't any problems in cross-cultural communication between them. They're both cosmopolitans (Viktor having lived in London and Linnea having moved to Russia for her masters in political science); more than that, you can tell from the way they interact that they're on exactly the same wavelenght. 

I'm happy to say, they got married only a week after our shoot in a small civil ceremony... All the best for your new life together, Linnea and Viktor! 

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Greetings from the Côte d'Azur!

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We're off to photograph Maria and Brent's wedding in Monaco, so we thought we'd leave you with a few pictures from our last trip to the region.

In the first photos, you'll find a few impressions of Colle-sur-Loup and the funky Hotel L'Abbaye, where we stayed. The second part are photos from a trip to the glamourous Villa Kérylos in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. Now that's a place where I'd love to shoot a wedding someday!

Now sit back and relax, and let yourself be transported to a holiday at the Côte d'Azur... 

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My Personal Guide to Berlin Kreuzberg SO 36

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This coming weekend, I’ll be attending THE HIVE – The European Blog Conference at Betahaus in Berlin, a place for bloggers from all over Europe to meet, connect, learn and… just plain old hang out and enjoy each other’s company. I’ve been living around the corner from Betahaus for the past eight years, so when Mina Moka, another Kreuzberger and participant in the conference, posted her Mini Guide of the neighbourhood, I loved the idea… and felt inspired to do the same.

So here it is: my personal, highly idiosyncratic, whipped-up-in-a-frenzy guide to my “Kiez”, SO 36, with a few darts into nearby regions. 

This map is from 1954, so don’t be surprised to see the border between West and East Berlin in there… the place where the Berlin Wall would be built a few years later.

Berlin map from 1954 courtesy of Berliner Stadtplanarchiv – double click it to see it bigger!

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  1. Betahaus – co-working space and location for The Hive. Just a stone-throw away at Moritzplatz is the Prinzessinnengärten, an urban oasis and total must-go in the summer. There is a garden with a small plantation of herbs and vegetables, as well as a Café where you can sip your drink in between flowerbeds.
  2. Würgeengel – Classic Cocktail bar with a slightly worn charm.
  3. Luzia – Hip bar with a beautiful bare-bricks interior; in the evenings, it’s usually impossible to find a seat. 
  4. Modulor – Paradise for artists and crafters. Three floors of DIY supplies, from paper to styrofoam, from gouache to crayon, from leather to metal… it’s all there. In the same building, you can find coledampf’s, a shop for kitchen utensils that’s also a restaurant. Great for a tasty lunch!
  5. Henne – A legendary old Berlin Wirtshaus, where even JFK apparently already enjoyed one of the famous chicken halves. This is what you eat here, half a chicken, either with bread or potato salad, washed down with your choice of beer. Prost.
  6. Drei Schwestern – This restaurant is housed in an old red-brick building that used to be a hospital and is now a cultural center. They serve fine German/Interntional cuisine, a bit pricey in the evenings, but the lunch menu is a very good deal. Most of all though, they have a lovely garden in the courtyard, which is nice for sunshine lunch or a drink in the evening.
  7. Markthalle Neun – A former market hall that was revived only recently and now houses an organic canteen (only lunch), as well as a bustling, mostly organic market on Fridays and Saturdays.
  8. Goldener Hahn – Very good slightly upscale (for Kreuzberg) Italian restaurant. I particularly like the starters, often genuinely Italian stuff like veal kidneys with garlic. They have just openend a bar next door, where you could enjoy your aperitivo or digestivo, or head across the street after dinner for a drink at the cozy Lerchen & Eulen.
  9. Pony Hütchen – My Favourite for vintage furniture, lamps and bric à brac. Sometimes you can also find gems in their collection of old dresses and shoes.
  10. 1000stoffe – A small and delightful little store for colourful fabrics.
  11. Baretto – A tiny Italian Café with some of the best espresso in town.
  12. Cafè Nest – The waitresses can afford to be snotty, as the Weekend Brunch for something like 12€ is really an all-day feast. You may have to reserve a table.
  13. Salon Sucré – not even the strange opening hours and the frequent “closed for holidays” sign can keep me from loving this French bakery, with the best Croissants aux Amandes I’ve ever had outside of France. I find the fancier (and a lot more expensive) tartes and cakes less satisfying… the buttery almond-filled croissants on the other hand are perfection.
  14. Café am Engelbecken – The coffee is only so-so, but with that location (right on a small lake in front of a derelict church), who cares?
  15. Five Elephant – Personally, I think the coffee here is way overrated, but the Cheesecake is probably the best in town.
  16. Schuhtanten – A small store for women’s clothes and shoes. It shares a small garden with a home deco shop next door.
  17. Lindt – My absolute favourite for Vintage clothes. Carefully selected by the lovely lady owner, there’s a huge amount of dresses from the 60s to the 80s, waiting to be tried on. (Technically, by the way, this is already Kreuzberg 61… just so you know!)
  18. Bully’s Bakery – ok, ok, this is definitely in the Neukölln area, so way off limits for an SO36 guide… but Bully’s Bakery is just too much of a favourite to be left out. Delicious espresso, and equally tasty Danish and Cakes.
  19. Burrito Baby – While we’re in Neukölln, we might as well enjoy a vegetarian Burrito and some delicious Rose de Jamaica Iced Tea.

 

I’ll have to leave it at that, even though a dozen more places come to mind… Let me know if you have any suggestions for more good places in the area!

I hope you enjoy this little Guide and it proves to be helpful! If you try out one of the these places, I’d love to hear how you liked them… let me know!

xx Teresa

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