I’m a student again! Today was my first day as one of the new kids at the Neue Schule für Fotografie. It’s a full-time course and I’ll be finished, all going well, in October 2021. But I’m taking it one day at a time. There are only another 3½ years to go. It’s all in German.
Today I learned about “Pictoralismus” and “Neue Sachlichkeit,” of photographers like Albert Renger-Patzsch, Karl Blossfeldt and Josef Sudek, and I found out that shooting with film and then developing it is a helluva lot more complicated than I thought it was. Lessons are from 10am to 5pm but I suspect I’ll be doing a lot of DuckDuckGoing when I get home to translate the technical terms and find out what they mean.
My classmates seem nice, a mixed bunch, young and old, but all very friendly. There were no obvious ISIS terrorists among them, unlike the last time I went to school. I’m hoping the stuff I learn sticks in my head longer this time around.
I have homework already. I have to take pictures of two everyday items, like a cup and a teabag or a spoon, capturing their beauty and emotion and function, and anything else. It would be fine if I could just use my regular camera, but they have to be shot on film. I’m not sure the 1950s Praktica FX2 I got from the antique shop downstairs will work.
I’ve lots to learn and I’m looking forward to learning it. I’m not hitting reset on what I do at the moment, but maybe wandering down another road a bit to see if it leads anywhere interesting. It’s time to go exploring.

UPDATE: Thursday, March 15, 2018 – Now I know there are two sides to life – outside the darkroom and inside the darkroom. I’ve been spending time on the inside, developing films, making prints and generally trying to mix toxic chemicals accurately for the desired results – in the dark. The films have to be rolled into their development containers in absolute darkness or they’ll get ruined, but otherwise the darkroom is really just a room poorly lit by red or orange lights. They don’t screw up the photo paper we have to use like normal light would. It really is a whole other world.
Otherwise we’ve been learning about the history or art, paintings and photographs, of horses’ legs, perspective, theory, design and dabbled in philosophy. Yesterday I created my first abstract art masterpieces. It’s all mad interesting. I’ll keep ye posted as I go along.
For now though, above you’ll see a picture of my lovely class, and the very first proper picture I ever made from start to finish! It was taken in Kreuzberg with a Praktica FX2, developed in Mitte with chemicals, lights and hours of time. It’s just the first of many.


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