12 Hours – 12 Photos – 1 Series.

Saturday 11 June 2016 – 11:00am

For anyone who doesn’t know what a Photo-Marathon is, it’s a photographic competition whereby the participants are required to take photographs according to given subjects.

So, it’s not your physical condition that counts, but your creativity in being able to provide photographic solutions to the various topics within a given time frame.

It’s a very exciting and challenging way of improving your photographic and particularly your creative thinking skills.

fotomarathon.de

Start: 11:00 – James June Biergarten, Karl-Marx-Allee

Motto: Jenseits aller Grenzen – Beyond limits / Borders

Start number: 431

What are borders/limits but arbitrary lines? State limits, moral borders, limits in the perceptions, limits in the system?

1.1: Über sich selbst hinauswachsen – To outgrow oneself

1.2: Grenzengänger – Border crosser

1.3: Die Schere im Kopf – self censorship

1.4: Auf der anderen Seite des Zaunes – On the other side of the fence

Photo 1: Über sich selbst hinauswachsen – To outgrow oneself

As always by the Fotomarathon the first photo had to include the start number, in my case 431, and how better to outgrown oneself I thought than with self-education, reading, so off I went to the local library to find an encyclopaedia with at least 431 pages in it.

The light wasn’t perfect, but when taking part in a competition such as a Fotomarathon it’s always about making compromises, because nothing will be absolutely perfect, there just isn’t the time.

Satisfied with idea/photo: ★★★★★

Photo 2: Grenzengänger – Border crosser

This is the entrance to the “KØPI 137”, a squat on the Köpernicker Straße, beyond his point is a different world, a tribe of heavily tattooed street performers, to go through these gates is to cross a border between the accepted/expected and the alternative.

Satisfied with idea/photo: ★★★☆☆

Photo 3: Die Schere im Kopf – self censorship (Gib’s mir! = Give it to me!)

What is censorship?

It’s the removal of material deemed unacceptable because it may challenge society’s status quo, and self-censorship the act of doing it oneself to ones own work.

But what to do with all the filth and troubling material one has deleted during the sanitising act?

Answer: the rubbish bin, the one calling out to you with a dirty and depraved mocking laugh “Give it to me, hahaha !!”

Satisfied with idea/photo: ★★★★☆

Photo 4: Auf der anderen Seite des Zaunes – On the other side of the fence

The are fences everywhere, but surely the most famous of them all was the Berlin wall itself?

And what was on the other side of the fence?

Someone looking at you, as you were looking at them, searching for exactly the same answers.

Satisfied with idea/photo: ★★★★☆

Station 1: 15:00 – Karibuni, Herzbergstraße

2.1: In guter Nachbarschaft – being good neighbours

2.2: Ein jeglicher nach seiner Façon – Live and let live

2.3: Nicht gesellschaftsfähig – Unpresentable

2.4: Küssen verboten – No kissing allowed

Photo 5: In guter Nachbarschaft – being good neighbours

And how do you become a good neighbour?

I cycled past a tree on the pavement, there are thousands here in Berlin, but with this one someone had lovingly dug it over and planted flowers in a selfless act for everyone to admire on their way past.

Surely that was being a good neighbour.

Satisfied with idea/photo: ★★★★★

Photo 6: Ein jeglicher nach seiner Façon – Live and let live

I found this to be one of the most difficult subjects to realise, particularly as I had just seen what would become photo 7 strewn across the street, and I couldn’t imagine finding anything better for that one.

So I cycled up and down the street, the poor end of the Frankfurter Allee, looking for a solution to photo 6, until I eventually noticed that one of the last shops was a head shop, offering bongs, water-pipes, all the paraphernalia the heavy drug user would need except the drugs themselves.

So to get the effect I wanted I attached my DIY tilt/shift lens and waited until an ordinary family walked by, oblivious to their surroundings, because I could then blend them out, leaving the thin line of focus necessary to read what the shop was offering.

Satisfied with idea/photo: ★★★☆☆

Photo 7: Nicht gesellschaftsfähig – Unpresentable

And who exactly would like to be presented with a meal such as this?

Surely it crosses all limits of what is considered edible, because not even a passing dog seemed that interested in it.

And what was on the other side of the fence?

Someone looking at you, as you were looking at them, searching for exactly the same answers.

Satisfied with idea/photo: ★★★★☆

Photo 8: Küssen verboten – No kissing allowed

Time was running out, 4 hours isn’t very long when you’ve still got to eat, take 4 good photos and you are in the middle of nowhere without a map, but you still have to get to the next check point.

I cycled over the bridge and thought that the tracks would make a good picture, and then it occurred to me that kissing an oncoming train must be beyond someone’s limits, somewhere !!

And what was on the other side of the fence?

Someone looking at you, as you were looking at them, searching for exactly the same answers.

Satisfied with idea/photo: ★★★★☆

Station 2: 19:00 – Alte Böse, Marzahn

3.1: Der perfekte Ort – The perfect place

3.2: Paralleluniversum – Parallel universe

3.3: Das Ende der Welt – The end of the world

3.4: Mamma es gibt grenzen! – Mom, there are limits!

Photo 9: Der perfekte Ort – The perfect place

This is the photo I’m least happy with.

When I saw the list with the fresh challenges on them, I was sitting outside in a Biergarten just having finished my drink, and my first instinct was to somehow take a picture of a half-full wine or beer glass, but unwilling to order myself another drink, I foolishly decided not to, I thought I would find something on the way.

I passed this, a Gartenkolonie and quickly took a picture of it, thinking that it’s better to have something rather than nothing, and I was still convinced anyway that I would find something better later.

Satisfied with idea/photo: ★☆☆☆☆

How wrong I was.

Because I suddenly saw this:

Photo 10: Paralleluniversum – Parallel universe

I was cycling to the desolated spot opposite the Molecule-men on the other bank of the Spree, when something inside me told me stop and to just look up, and that’s what I saw, and  if anything screamed out “parallel universe” to me, it was that, it looked so other-worldly with its mirrored bottom.

I couldn’t believe my luck, but as the light was rapidly fading, 2 minutes later it looked completely different, and very ordinary, but it also unfortunately condemned me to photo 9.

Swings and roundabouts.

Satisfied with idea/photo: ★★★★★

Photo 11: Das Ende der Welt – The end of the world

The end of the world for what though?

For civilisation as we know it?

I imagine then that it would look rather like this then, as the last few remnants of humanity gather for a quick BBQ on a Saturday afternoon.

Satisfied with idea/photo: ★★★☆☆

Photo 12: Mamma es gibt grenzen! – Mom, there are limits!

And what shall we validate?

Life itself?

For surely even that has a limit.

Satisfied with idea/photo: ★★★★☆

Endziel: 23:00 – Else, An den Treptowers

What a day !!

It was very tiring, it’s difficult to keep the concentration up over such a long period of time, and all those good photographic intensions are soon forgotten about as sometimes eating takes priority over any artistic ambitions.

It’s a marathon, and it’s all about the pacing, it’s not about capturing one extremely good image at the cost of the other eleven, it’s about capturing 12 relatively good photos.

And are they good enough?

I’ll leave that up to the wisdom of the judges.

But if not, I’ll learn from the experience and put it all to good use next year !!

Other

All 12 Photos on Flickr

Exhibition of all entries:

Saturday, 30. July und Sunday, 31. July 2016

Magazin in der Heeresbäckerei, Köpenickerstraße 16/17, 10969 Berlin

© Andrew James Kirkwood – 2016