Apr 272017

In most of Austria and Germany the Nazis have destroyed all synagogues. Not so in Prague. It has a few of them, some still operative, all tourist attractions. I can’t remember which one it is, that is at the center of the old Jewish cemetery, but when you’re there you can’t fail it.

It’s always the same, regardless of being among hordes of tourists (like in Prague) or being almost alone (like in the extensive Jewish section of the central cemetery in Vienna): the feeling is always one of age and neglect.

In our own cemetries, the space is expensive and most graves are given up once the last paying relative has ceased to do so. Then the grave is sold to someone else. The result is, that almost no graves are neglected. It’s simply too expensive.

Those Jewish cemeteries are different. Nobody has been buried there since before WWII. Most of them have been vandalized by the Nazis. Much damage has been done and nobody was allowed to rapair it during the war. Most of the time nobody was left to care after the war. Other buildings would probably have been torn down or replaced, but those cemeteries, while not fulfilling their original purpose, are monuments.

When I’ve been in the Jewish section in Vienna for the first time, it was basically a jungle. Since then the city and private organizations have done a lot to cut back the growth, to clear the original paths and in many cases even to restore the graves. To a certain degreee this can be done. You can re-erect fallen stones, you can restore the inscriptions on a few graves of prominent citizens, but you don’t even want to restore everything. It’s a monument of a monstrous destruction after all. Taking away all the traces would help nobody and it would only cover the past. Thus most of the graves are left in this spooky, unnatural condition.

And that’s exactly what it looks like.

Apr 262017

Like in Lisbon I brought the “Big Gear”, the E-M1, the trinity of PRO zooms and, because it’s so small and easily fit into the bag as well, the 7.5 mm fisheye.

Well, forget fisheyes for Gothic and its straight lines. Baroque it is. That’s the style the fish was created for 🙂

We’ll come back to this lens a few more times, in cases when it can’t get wide enough, but when straightness is not a criterion. The fish will never be a “normal” lens for me, but while I used to struggle for seeing its applicability, it now is normal to recognize the moments. It’s just another tool.

Apr 252017

It won’t have escaped your attention, I was in Prague last year, and you can be sure there’s more to come.

Weather was much less than ideal, far from how beautiful it was in Lisbon the year before, but I still got away with a lot of material. I finally ended up with 104 processed images. I won’t strech them one per post until mid-summer, but I suppose we’ll need almost two months to wade through.

Apr 232017

Prague, the third-largest city in Europe, immediately after Rome and Constantinople. When? At the time of Emperor Charles IV (1346–1378), long before Contantinople fell to the Turks, more than a hundred years before the Age of Discoveries, almost a hundred years after the last crusade, long before Renaissance, in the outgoing Middle Ages. Trade with India and China went through its traditional routes across Middle East and along the Silk Road. It was a time when Christopher Columbus’ grandfather may just have been born.

Not many cities can claim a history like that.

Apr 212017

This is some Grand Hotel in Prague’s Wenceslas Square. The hotel is not yet grand again (but they’re busy) and the square is not square at all. It’s actually more like a long boulevard. There used to be a horse market in the Middle Ages, and before buying a horse, you could try riding it there. At least that’s what I read. Perfectly explains the shape though 🙂

Apr 182017

In fall 2008 we moved from “the country” to Villach. There we spent three years in one apartment until we finally moved to where we live now.

In a way I miss living in the country. I took many, many more images of trees, flowers and landscapes there. No wonder, but …

Today we have an exception. This tree is a hundred meters off the main road entering Villach from the south, maybe 150 meters further on is our apartment block. It’s near all shops, it’s only minutes to the next five supermarkets and so on, but it is almost as silent and rural as “in the country”.

Still, it makes a difference whether you only drive by those trees or if they grow in your garden. You give more attention to those in your garden 🙂