“There is a certain life to your photographs that extends beyond the organic matter.” Wow, does he really mean what he’s saying? That’s what went through my mind when I first read his review of my portfolio. And regardless how truthful these intriguingly flattering lines may be, they helped me understand that I can be a photographer, that Delta will be with me on this journey, and that perhaps something magical will come alive in Karpfenland.
Portrait of a Cultural Landscape
Karpfenland is the name of the region in which I live and strive to capture. It’s a landscape created by pond farmers – half artificial, half natural, half useful, half beautiful. A calm yet dull terrain soaked in mist, reminiscent of Edgar Wallace.
I’ve always had a sense of the morbid. This slightly veiled, romantic mood that sedates you like a pain killer. In which everything is good for a short time. A deceptive peace. But peace nonetheless.
Delta enables me to capture and convey this atmosphere exactly the way I sense it. Even through the monitor, I get the feeling that these images are made of velvet.
The textures and structures of Karpfenland’s man-made landscape, the organic nature of its muddy waters, thick fog and moist earth – it is all made tangible by the grain.
A quality that’s not only aesthetically pleasing but also liberating. Call me lazy, call me an amateur, but I don’t like tripods – and shooting Delta at ISO1250 frees me from this burden.
Now I can work with landscape the way most photojournalists work. Handheld. Instinctively. Finally free to let my mind wander, and to ponder who shapes whom more: man the landscape, or the landscape man?
A few weeks ago, I did a bike tour down the Aisch river – this is the river that gave the region its shape and along whose course pond farmers, for centuries, created their land – and guess what, after having seen Karpfenland only in the rain, fog, and twilight for the last two years, on this trip, I finally saw the sun.
Since then I have been asking myself: Is this also Karpfenland? Is it another facet? Another chapter? Or is it a new story? If it’s part of the original project, then I need to figure out how to use Delta in the sun. And if it’s going to be a distinct project, then I need to ask myself: Is Delta the right tool? Whatever the answer will be, a thought begins to form: I want to let Delta glow!
From day one, it has been my goal to create a photo book. Something palpable to hold in your hands. An essay that combines thoughts and visual impressions. A reason to “schmöker” again.
To conceptualize this book, I created a website, wrote articles, started an Instagram account and talked with companions and friends. This has helped me to figure out what the story of Karpfenland is about and to choose the right photographs, so that I can tell its story with the right depth.
Today I think I’ve reached a crucial point in my journey. I must decide whether I’m ready to do the book, or whether I need to keep working on its content, by either embracing new moods, or by delving even deeper into the melancholic.
What do you think?
Thanks for reading. If you’d like to get in touch with me just check my Instagram account.
My name is Daniel. I am a Creative Director and amateur photographer based in Heroldsbach, Bavaria, Germany.