May 242014
 

Today the American architect Christopher Alexander is paradoxically best known for the applicability of his “Pattern Language” to the description and construction of computer programs. Basically he developed a hierarchical system for the description of patterns. A pattern is something like an archetypical solution for an archetypical problem in a certain problem domain and a given context.

Patterns are related to other patterns, and a certain situation can match more than one pattern. Patterns can also be contained within other, higher level patterns. That sounds pretty abstract and that’s right, but this kind of abstraction makes patterns so useful. Christopher Alexander for instance used patterns to describe how Good Architecture according to his best knowledge and individual style and taste should work.

In his Pattern Language he described how cities should be distributed across regions or how living and working areas should be intermingled with common spaces to create neighborhoods worth living within. The next step was the distribution of buildings and negative space, how that can create living or dead places. The pattern language is nothing more than a formal notation, usable in any field, but what Alexander used it for, was the blueprint for a beautiful world adapted to the needs of people, instead of the other way round, as is so often seen in modern architecture.

One of his smaller patterns is that we should build our homes piece by piece, including things from our past, things that mean something to us.

Recently I saw a house that perfectly fits Alexander’s patterns. It is full of things that have grown over time, have been made by their owners, and you immediately feel at home in such a place. It has character and it is above design. Sure, you can employ an interior designer and although someone really good (and most likely really expensive) can create something similar, something more refined, polished and maybe even more balanced, probably even a piece of art, it will always be just something bought. It won’t be the same thing. There is a “quality without a name” that money can’t buy.

The Song of the Day is “Money Can’t Buy It” from Annie Lennox’ 1992 album “Diva”. Hear it on YouTube.

May 222014
 

I’m tired. I had a confusing and stressful day and this is the third attempt at writing a coherent post. Finally recognizing my condition, I’ll refrain from philosophy and politics and instead keep it short: Here’s a wall in Slovakia that for some reason attracted me and made me take an image 🙂

The Song of the Day is “A Wall” from the Bat For Lashes album “The Haunted Man”. Hear it on YouTube.

May 212014
 

In terms of architecture, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, all the parts of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, are really just the same. This church could be everywhere in that whole region.

The door was closed, therefore I’ve taken the image through the glass of a window. 1/6 s, f4, ISO 500, the E-M1 and the tiny 12-32 did just fine. The window was slightly out of the main axis, but otherwise I am pretty satisfied.

By the way, in this case I held the front of the lens flush to the glass, in order to avoid reflections. Therefore stabilization was not so much of an issue. In general I can report though, that the combination of OM-D E-M1 and Panasonic 12-32 somehow feels even better stabilized than the same camera with some of my other lenses. Odd, huh? After all, it’s the sensor stabilization at work here, and that should be independent of the lens mounted.

Well, maybe it is just the size and weight of the lens and the way that my camera is balanced with that lens mounted. Maybe I hold it in a more stable way, maybe nothing of that is true and I simply imagine things. In any case I can say that it might probably be slightly better, and for sure it is not at all worse 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Saint Behind The Glass” from the Los Lobos album “Kiko”. Hear it on YouTube.

May 202014
 

Fashion is maybe a concept that I have grown too old for. Fashion always interested me and for a few periods in my life I have followed it with passion. These were also cases of a process being more important than its outcome.

Have you ever thought about painting cat’s whiskers in your face and going out like that? You’ve done that in carnival? Really? And now? Would you do that now in mid-May? And if not, why not? One doesn’t do that, huh?

Fashion is the kind of conformant deviation that herd animals allow themselves to enjoy. Wearing old fashion or non-fashion means staying behind or outside, being rejected from the herd.

Well, apart from the fact that trend setters and fashion makers by necessity have to do just that, and in their case fashion gets created out of non-fashion, apart from that, just not caring about fashion can be incredibly liberating.

Not caring about fashion means not caring about other people’s opinions about things that only relate to me. Mind you, I don’t suggest ignoring other people’s opinions in general, much to the contrary, but if I like my walls painted in bright colors (as I do), then I have them painted in blue and green and yellow, with red and white furniture, and if the world cries “Garish!”, I just relax, smile and enjoy to be free.

Why this post is called “Lucky” you ask? Oh my, just because. “Lucky” by Kat Edmonson is such a nice song, I had to use it 🙂

Hear it on YouTube.

May 192014
 

Over the next few days you will see a series of pictures taken on a recent short trip to Slovakia. So far none of them was particularly successful on Flickr and maybe they induce nothing but a shrug in you as well, but that is not the point why I take them.

So, what is the point? Actually I don’t take these images to have them seen and acclaimed by as many people as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy success (whatever that is) as much as everyone else, but I don’t need it to sustain my image making. That happens due to an inner necessity.

Truth is, I don’t make images for you and I don’t even make them for me. I don’t print and hang them, I don’t sell them, the most use I get out of them is as the odd wallpaper on my devices. I make images for no one.

I make images because I can and because the act of making images is utterly enjoyable.

It’s the process, not the result. Does that sound odd? Time wasted? Think twice. Living is a process and death is at the end. We live our lives because living is enjoyable and certainly better than not. Thus, even if that were the only example of a process being more interesting and important than its result (hint: it’s not), I guess it’s a pretty convincing one 🙂

The Song of the Day is “For No One” from the Beatles album “Revolver”. Hear it on YouTube.