Travel

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Photo Field Trip - A Photography Festival in California

Do you remember that feeling when you were a kid, or maybe a young teenager… .that feeling of exuberant joy, and wonder about the world? Maybe because the boy/girl you liked had tentatively smiled at you, or because you got a really good grade in your worst subject, or maybe because the world was just so far and wide and all open for you and full of great things to come. Remember it?

Well, that’s the feeling I had at Photo Field Trip.

It’s a Field Trip for grown-ups, and for photographers specifically, and something that its founders (a wedding photographer, a DJ, and a TV producer) dreamed up as the perfect antidote to your typical photography conference. It’s about learning and growing your business alright, but instead of a bleak conference center, you’re in a California oak forest, with easy access to the beach; instead of the speakers standing up on a stage, so clearly on a different level, you share space in a tent or around a fire; and instead of stiff small-talk with competitors over drinks, there is a dress-up party in which everyone is invited to be exactly as weird as they are.

That’s the thing, really – there’s an atmosphere of letting everyone be just as they are. You can pretty much chat up anyone at any time (including the teachers), and it’s totally o.k. to not know how to do something, or loose your cool. (Arguably… loosing your cool is part of what this is all about!)

The people I met – Emma, Melissa, Allison, Kat and Leo, Elli, Marissa, Boo, Robert, Jaime, Armando… - all turned out to be generous, warm-hearted and thoughtful people, and hanging out with them was truly what Field Trip was all about for me.

And here’s the best part: I’m going back. In ten days, I’ll be there for Photo Field Trip 2016, and if it’s half as much fun as last year, I’ll be a very happy girl. xxT

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Back Home

This week, we finally came home after eight crazy weeks of travelling, shooting, and editing on the road. We had truly amazing times, in Austria, Andalucia, Rome, Brussels, and Stockholm. We loved every bit of it!

And now that we’re home, I am SO grateful. For sleeping in my own bed. For buying groceries at the market. For cooking my own food, every day (or enjoying Daniel’s cooking). For being able to meet my friends on a moment’s notice, and laugh or cry with them over lunch. I’m even grateful for the terrible Berlin autumn weather, which reminds me that time passes and seasons change.

I’m grateful I got to travel all summer long, and I’m so happy to have such a great place to come home to. xxT 

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Sailing Trip to Santa Cruz Island, CA

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you may know that we recently came back from a five-weeks trip to the U.S., alternately known as “Our Honeymoon”, “The Trip” and “The Mini-Sabbatical”.  While the name and given occasion for the trip varied during the planning process, its goals were always clear: 1. to go somewhere we hadn’t been before, 2. to meet new people and reconnect with far-away friends and 3. to go with the flow and be as open as possible to whatever adventure may come along.

To make it short, we had the best time. (And I’m going to be posting bits and pieces over the months to come).

What turned out to be the most striking thing about our trip was that out of five weeks of travel, we had paid accomodation for two nights. Two. For all the other nights and days, we were very incredibly thankful to have friends, friends of friends, relatives of friends, friends of relatives and even almost total strangers provide us with a place to stay. Which truly still fills me with gratitude every time I think of it.

One of the people who hosted us so graciously was someone Daniel knew a long time ago – Sevan. He is the son of Daniel’s mom’s best friend Bettina. The two women and their sons used to spend the summers together in Salzburg, Austria, and the boys, naturally, grew to be friends. When they were ten, however, Bettina and Sevan moved to Paris, later to L.A. – and the boys never saw each other again. That is - until now, 20 years later.

Sevan, his fiancé Zoe and their daughter Kalea welcomed us into their home with truly open arms, and it was wonderful to watch Sevan and Daniel snap right back into where they had left off at ten – a quiet and mutually respecful companionship.

So when Sevan - who’s a firefighter and paramedic, and lover of all things outdoors - invited us to a two-day-trip on his old sailing boat, there wasn’t a doubt in our mind that we had to cancel our other plans, and go. Daniel had never actually set foot on a sailboat, and therefore the idea fell perfectly in line with our wish to do things we hadn’t done before.

It was also to be the boat’s last trip with Sevan, since time to sail is scarce and the costs of keeping it are high.

In preparation, Daniel and I bought ridiculous amounts of food at Wholefoods, and Zoe (who sadly had to work and couldn’t join us) lent me some of her warmer sportsclothes, that I was going to be very thankful for later. Other than that, we boarded the boat with very, very, very little knowledge about the sea and sailing.

And pretty soon, things started to go just a little differently than imagined. From the time we set foot on the boat, things didn’t work, failed, or broke. It was something of a running gag, the way lines snapped, got tangled under the anchor (which took about an hour to untangle), and parts of the boat unceremoniously broke off (and were taped and hammered together by Sevan, who proved to be a genius of improvisation). Oh, and I got pretty seasick, too. Surprisingly, none of this was able to lessen the enormous fun we had (although I did wonder at times whether we were going to make it back o.k.)

Our plan was to cross over to the Channel Islands and spend the night on the boat, to return in the morning. We sailed for something like six hours, one hour of which I used to sleep off my seasickness under deck. When I awoke, the light was low and magical, and you could see the islands coming closer. We anchored (which sounds easier than it was) and climbed into the dinghy we had been dragging behind the boat. We were supposed to take it for a spin to another beach, but – continuing the running gag of things going wrong - the dinghy’s motor died and was unwilling to be coaxed into working again. So as it was getting dark, Sevan rowed us to the closest stony beach on Santa Cruz Island instead.

Setting foot on Santa Cruz Island was a strangely magical experience. The island is largely uninhabited, and while it is far from uncharted, arriving on a deserted island via a small boat felt somewhat primeval. A few steps onto the beach, we surprised an island fox – a beautiful small creature indigenous to the island, and threatened by extinction. It ducked under a piece of wood, eyeing us shyly… and after having checked us out for a few moments, went on its light-footed way.

We strolled inland for about half an hour, until there was no light left and we were surrounded by pitch-black dark. (Those ghostly photos of Daniel carrying the water bottle and me looking up to the sky are from that time, with ridiculously high ISO.) Making our way back to the beach, we noticed right away that the waters had changed – the tide had come in and there were high waves coming at us. I was a little bit reluctant to part with my camera, but Sevan convinced me to put it in the water-safe box in the dinghy’s belly – some very good piece of advice, as I’d find out soon.

Sevan pushed us off against the waves, slung himself into the dinghy, and right away started yelling at Daniel: “Row!! Row!!”. Which Daniel did, straining against the waves which were coming at us relentlessly. I sat right in front, and saw those waves coming at us… whoa, this is going to be a big one… coming closer, closer, closer… WOOSH. The waves broke right over our heads and smashed down on us, Sevan all the way, yelling: “Row! Row!”

It probably took only about five waves until we came through into steadier water, but to see those waves coming at us, all the way wondering whether the next one was going to sink us, was certainly an experience. We were all completely soaked from head to toe. But also strangely exhilarated. What a wonderful day. We were soaked and cold, but as we toasted with beer and Ginger Ale, we were all very thankful and happy. As the boat rocked us to sleep, I slept like a stone that night.

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Moscow High – Personal Project and Exhibition

Last year we had the enormous pleasure to be invited to Moscow by Simon Mraz of the Austrian Cultural Art Forum, and spend ten days in Moscow to shoot a personal project, titled Moscow High.

We had spent a few days in Moscow earlier (maybe you remember this engagement shoot). And while we were strolling the streets at night, especially in the fashionable clubbing district around the old Red October Chocolate Factory (near the Red Square), we noticed the large amount of women, single or in pairs, always in high heels and super-fashionably dressed, who were on their way to the clubs. While the scenes in the clubs themselves often revealed boredom and loneliness – with a lot of staring at cell phones going on - the vibe on the street was one of anticipation. Walking in their skyscraper stilettos with unflinching professionalism , the women seemed concentrated and determined, as if they were on a mission. Like athletes before their performance; performers before the show.

The fruit of our exploration of this subject are right now part of an exhibition in the House on the Embankment, Moscow, and an exhibition in Vladivostok will follow in January 2015.

You can read a detailed project statement and description of our work on our website (in German), here.

And here are a few of many of the images we took in those cold Moscow spring nights. Enjoy!

xxT

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Artists Portrait in Moscow – Eugenia Kokoreva

I met Eugenia in Moscow at Simon’s, where she was preparing her exhibition. We had no real way of talking – she speaks only a few words of German, and I only know one sentence in Russian: “I am a photographer from Berlin, may I photograph you?”. No great help in a conversation.

Nontheless, we liked each other, and I knew right away that I’d like to photograph her for my series of women’s portraits in their homes. Simon translated, and Eugenia agreed, and two days later Daniel and I set in a cab, the paper with the adress written in Kyrillic letters firmly clasped in hand. We drove for a long time – everything in Moscow seems far apart –through grey periphery, and of course with absolutely no clue where we were.

All the better then, to arrive in a quiet street, patches of snow and birch trees here and there, at the Artist’s Commune. It’s a house specifically for artist, where they both live and have their studios, from back in the times of the USSR. Almost all of the people we met had been living there for over thirty years, some closer to fifty years. 

Eugenia was warm and welcoming, she showed me her studio and her paintings, and with the help of a tiny German dictionary even related some of the stories linked to her paintings: her stay in Israel, her family’s fate in the Holocaust, and the fact that the little girl standing next to her father in the snow, holding his hand, was herself as a child.

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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

A Rainy Day in a French Chateau

It’s such a rainy day today, and for some reason, I had to think of another such day, a little while back… a rainy day in a French Chateau, somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

We were on our way to Dominique and Maxime`s Wedding in the Beaujolais region of France, driving from Nice, where we had spend a few precious sunny days… Yes, I admit, combining work and pleasure is one of the definitive perks of this job!

I wanted one stop-over on our way north, to arrive relaxed and ready for the big day… which is how we happened upon this gem of a place: the Chateau d’Uzer. The day we spent there it was pouring with rain, which made it almost impossible to go out… and all the better for us. We spent the day reading, listening to the rain, leafing through the photo books on the coffee tables, and wandering about the Chateau in happy appreciation; enjoying the form and colour of things, and listening to the rain.

Wishing you a happy rainy day…

xx T

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