In March »Office« was the topic for our second portrait. We went scouting at Caritas Mall »Carla« (first three images). Thanks to the generosity of the employees there, we obtained permission to shoot there during the hour before they opened the doors to the masses.Three days later, we showed up with enthusiasm, a general idea of what to shoot, loads of gear and little time. Once more: »don’t let good light ruin your picture«. When there is no time, one really only has two options: either everything needs to be checked and nailed down before the shoot or one has to KISS (keep it simple, stupid). Otherwise much of the positive energy is eaten by all the wrong things (an SB800 under a vow of silence for instance). Consequently, we picked a test shot as the final picture from when we were both still relaxed and hadn’t set up the light.
The (rather late) October portrait for »Project 12« was taken in January and finally edited only a few days ago. It is of Julia, who is not only a close friend, proper hiking buddy and HR professional but – and this points to the root of the lag – godmother to my daughter, who was born in November. Julia recently moved into a new flat and redecorated it, so we decided it was an suitable setting.On new year’s eve she at one point donned a turban, looked stunning and someone took with a camera phone – and as we had the gear in place anyway we thought it was worth recreating the opportunity. At the end of our 5 hour session we were both pretty happy but also pretty knackered (and one of us still needed a haircut – desperately).
In 2014 »Project 12« gets a slightly different spin and is now »Project 12R«. The plan is to take 12 pictures of Rosina. Starting in February, we shoot one photo a month that derives its theme from the events of her preceding weeks.
The first installment involved a poster for a party that was stuck onto many distribution boxes. We narrowed it down to two location options that were close to each other: one spacious and quiet, the other at a busy tram stop in the middle of an equally busy crossroads. We decided to opt against comfort and for better looks, which unfortunately meant I had to shoot from the tracks with trains rattling in from three different directions by the minute. Thus, I was constantly shifting my light and tripod and Daniel, who was kind enough to act as assistant, not only patiently braved wind and coldness but in addition held on to the contraption for the black background with cars whooshing past very close by – thanks a lot Daniel!
In September I photographed my friend Rosina for »Project 12«. It was a new experience in a couple of senses:First of all, Rosina is a designer by profession and it was as interesting as instructive to take a picture of someone who is both meticulous and knowledgeable when it comes to composition, colours, set design and furniture. I enjoyed it tremendously as it allowed me to concentrate on the lighting.
When I last photographed my friend Theresa, she had just secured her first job after graduation. A year later, the resourceful health and safety professional sticks to the good advice my friend Rob once expressed: the best time looking for a job is when you have one.Since a picture is mandatory for almost all job applications in Austria, we put my spacious living room to good use one last time before I had to move out and shot some formal portraits. Luckily there’s also one to sneak into »Project 12«. This, that and the relocation got into the way, so it took me way too long before I managed to get round to editing (and seeing the barber).
My good friend and physiotherapist Valentin Rosegger is about to open his own practice and asked me to provide some visuals.I gladly obliged, because in the past I received countless hours of Valentin’s skilled treatment and profound advice. Creating the images for his information material was a great way to repay the services (and I could also sneak in my – late – August portrait for »Project 12«).
Since the beginning of the year Anke, who teaches German Literature at Vienna University, and me tried to put an idea for a portrait into practice, which for this, that and the other reason never quite happened.So there was a vacancy in »project 12« since at least the beginning of 2013 – when, by the end of May, somehow several things just fell into place: a friend of ours gave Anke a bunch of hefty peonies in a colour she absolutely adored and that coincidentally also matched a dress in her wardrobe.
In February this year, I met up with author Karin Peschka (whose story »Watschenmann« recently won the Wartholz-Literaturpreis) to discuss a portrait. We agreed to wait for spring and in mid May I took the Lilo to Eferding, where we were lucky enough to experience some of the rare sunny moments this year. After a lovely family lunch in a beautiful garden, we went over to the former family run restaurant and explored the house from top to bottom.The building’s arresting atmosphere provided photographic opportunities galore, so we tried to realise a few, starting in the attic, working our way down through the kitchen into the basement and back up into the »green room« (where I also took the May-portrait for »Project 12«).
The library of the Viennese Arbeiterkammer (Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour) is quiet, well stocked, has a sensible policy on water in the reading room and comes with a garden, so on most days this is where I work – and so does Mirko. He is an architect and writes his Ph.D. on Peter Eisenman and Rem Kohlhaas (which is a a funny coincidence because I am writing on Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas). Most of the time we share the better parts of our days and in the past year we went from being just library-buddies to being lunch-buddies, too.A while back I had made a mental note about a lovely spot in the Arbeiterkammer lobby/waiting area and had hoped I could use it for a portrait one day. With the extraordinary architecture (by NMPB-Architekten) surrounding it, what better subject could there be than an architect who even happens to spend most of his working hours in that very building? So for my April portrait for Project 12 I am grateful that, despite his super busy week, Mirko was willing to sit in the gorgeous sunset light for me.
Shortly before Christmas I visited Alex, who is a metalworker. He kindly paused building a motorcycle to turn my old cymbal boom stand into a light stand. I took the opportunity to take some welding and grinding pictures of him, his friend Lippo and his little apprentice.At this occasion I also completed my »Project 12«: Alex is my final portrait for 2012 (with Lippo adding a nice touch through sending some flying sparks up and down the room).