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Berlin Notes — Writing about the Creative Art of Living. Photography, thoughts on psychogeography, art, and creativity.
Potsdamer Platz by Sean P. Durham, Berlin, 2021 Copyright
Potsdamer Platz by Sean P. Durham, Berlin, 2021 Copyright

Architecture can offer a lot of variety in composition, and give you the opportunity to experiment with different settings.

Many photographers get into street photography. It’s an easy access situation, a bit stressful, but offers all types of opportunities to practice your chops.

The difference between a con artist and an everyday criminal is that the art of the con never resorts to violence or intimidation.

A con artist must possess intelligence, high interest in their subject, and the ability to sustain and control how the person being drawn in will react at the next step of the game.

Today, many of the scams online are similar in nature. The con artist calls a person on their phone, or sends an email. The next step is to gather information that can be used to steal a person’s identity.

Often a juicy offer is…

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Creativity is the central aspect of being human. Without it, a person experiences a poor life. The soul wanes into the darkness, and can no longer illuminate what’s good and promising in the world.

The mind falls prey to the prism of information that we see on the internet. The media chews at our souls, regardless of the fear it creates. It promotes what’s bad and pessimistic in the world. It’s a fear monger.

This frightens me. I often write about the antidote to this fear. To act, create, to walk, to explore life. …

Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

The practice of psychogeography has been around since 1955, when Guy Debord and the Situationist Philosophy movement began to experiment with walking through the streets of Paris. As they wandered aimlessly along the streets, they made notes about how they felt with each new encounter. Architecture, streets, corners, they allowed every aspect of the city of Paris to seep into their thoughts, so they could examine them.

The main interest in psychogeography is to walk through a city without an aim. To experience the city, or village, without intentions of going anywhere in particular. …

Photo by author.

The way you look at the things around you makes all the difference. The way you approach the settings on your camera makes all the difference.

If you own a camera and a lens. It doesn’t matter if it’s A 50 mm, a 35 mm, or 24 mm-105 mm. If you own a mobile phone with a camera, you can take photos and use your creative powers to get the best from simple equipment.

A camera and one lens and the world is yours.

To overcome the problem, I’ve set my self the challenge of finding small corners of Berlin where I can treat what I see, and how I look at it, as if it were out in the countryside.

Small portions of green, bushes, patches of grassy park, and streaming waterways that create the peaceful corners separated from the concrete structures.

It works for me, and I think that you’ll find the same idea useful if you are looking for a change of what you view through your camera lens.

The geek, or equipment nerd, has been beguiled and wooed by the marketers who are selling prestige rather than tools.

The real tools of photography are all within yourself. You must find them, and develop them.

I look at the crappy photos and learn. I ask myself what happened when I took a great shot, lovely composition with nice frame, but the ISO was ruining everything with noise. That happens. I was taking some good shots alongside a Berlin canal. The Bellevue Ufer is a beautiful spot for a slow walk on any day, rain or shine, it always has something interesting to offer. I didn’t compensate for the clouds that came and went faster than a canoe shooting the rapids.

Standing close to the canal bank, the sun was bright and constant, so I set my camera to take a shot of this guy on the Corona Bike. He was about to pass, his face and top half of his body would hit the sunlight coming through the trees as he passed. It would all happen in a moment. I took the shot, but hadn’t noticed that the sun had gone behind the clouds. I was already looking through the viewfinder, framing the shot in my imagination a moment before the bike and figure slipped into the frame. A dark…

david Bowie in Berlin
david Bowie in Berlin
David Bowie — Illustrative use

I normally like reading some of the humorous threads on Reddit. It always seems to me that the people who populate that platform have a sense of humour and a feel for reality that is entertaining. A good way to start a day.

But, I then saw I had an email with a link to a YouTube video that a friend of mine and a choral group, Every Voice Counts, had made.

I like music, it builds the soul. Music has a grammar that we can all learn quickly. And where words are symbols that we must all learn to…

Sean P. Durham

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