My second summer back in Europe led me to the ocean of the Algarve, in Portugal. The Toscana in 2016 was fantastic – but also a little tiring. This time I just wanted to relax and soak up the sun and ocean breeze. And I wanted to stay in the same bed for longer than just two nights.
I was not disappointed. After some consideration my choice of city fell on Lagos. Lagos is not too far East of the Algarve, where the party tourism booms, and not too far to the West, where it is becoming increasingly more uncomfortable to enjoy the ocean without a surfboard. If you do have a surfboard, of course, it is all the more enjoyable in the West.
Apart from two days on the road Lagos is where I spent these two weeks, to a point at which I came to know even the tiniest street of the city, and most of the shortcuts to get from A to B.
This was a great experience in terms of photography, as well, since I knew I’d have the chance to go back to a scene I found interesting during better light. That, and I didn’t feel the pressure of having to shoot everything that looked interesting immediately. I could leave the camera in the bag and focus 100% on my eyes and what lay before them first. Even better, – considering I dragged along the sumo wrestler among the cameras, the 2kg+ Mamiya RB67 – I could just leave this brick of a camera at home and use it very consciously later to photograph scenes I’ve seen before. The other photos were taken with my Fujifilm X-Pro1 and my iPhone 5.
The album photobook
In the end this was one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever done – life-changing maybe –, mostly for personal reasons not related to photography. As the year before, I wanted to keep my memories in the form of a photo album or photobook, which I have finally finished binding a couple weeks ago. For convenience, I made a leporello style book again, but this time smaller in format. I also liked the idea of glueing real prints into the album, so I accounted for the increase in thickness by designing the folds in a way that would make the spine equally thick. The resulting book is massive in thickness with its 6.5 cm spine, but very light in your hands. As a hardcover, I chose a half-linen style, with a tipped-in postcard I brought from Lagos and a map of the Algarve as “endpapers”.
What can I say – I am very satisfied and know I will thank myself over the next years many, many times for making this album, whenever I pull it from the bookshelf and relive my memories.
And where are the photos?
Below is a little preview of a selection of photos from the album. For a better view, here is the album on my site.
This summer was my first summer outside of Japan in many, many years. Europe seems to have this image of people setting work aside each summer and taking weeks and months of holidays. Luckily, I found this to be true! Having been out of Europe for so long, I decided to travel around my backyard for a bit and went to Italy, Vienna and Munich.
The main part of my trip was in Italy, going down South from Milano to Genova, spending some time in the beautiful Cinque Terre, a passing obligatory glance at the tower of Pisa on the way to Firenze/Florence, and then on by car exploring the infamous landscapes, wine hills and villages of Tuscany and just chilling out. Before flying to Vienna, I spent a day and night at the ocean in Civitavecchia.
Taking photographs was not a main focus of this trip. Whereas when I travel usually I try to bring home the best photos possible, this time I just tried to relax and take photos only when I felt like it – and not when I didn’t. Sounds like common sense, really, but I believe some of you will understand the urge of having to take photographs of something, even if you don’t really “feel it”.
Letting go of this compulsion led me to
1) take mostly photos with my iPhone instead of my “real” camera, the Fujifilm X-Pro1, and
2) take a lot of very unimportant photographs, at least from a travel/tourist perspective. This is because often I saw something that I liked much more than the obligatory shot of chapel XYZ: What attracted me was the quality of light rather than the subject.
An old-fashioned photo album
Last week I finished binding a big leporello style photo album, into which I glued a selection of photographs from this trip. I can fold that one out to as big as my apartment is and beyond, if I wanted, to see all the photos lined up in a nice timeline of my trip – but to be honest, the book is too damn huge and next year I will make an album half the size…
So, where are the photos?
I have uploaded some of the photographs from my trip to an album on this site – below is the summary. Enjoy!
I’m happy to announce my BLACK ICE exhibition in Tokyo from 2014 Oct. 17th to Nov 1st and the reception party on Oct. 18th
It is my first exhibition after 2 years and going to be themed around my recently released book “White Snow on Black Ice”. Of course, the book itself will be on display, as well, so everyone will have a chance to experience it without the need to commit to buying one, if it’s not sold out by then anyway.
BLACK ICE photo+book exhibition
by Holger Feroudj
Duration: Oct. 17th to Nov. 1st
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat. 19:00 – 3:00
Venue: OFFICE Gaienmae
BLACK ICE展示で最近手作りの自分で出版した「White Snow on Black Ice」という写真集／アーツブックの上、本から取られた画像が違った風に大きいプリントとして展示されます。
This exhibition is based on my recently released handmade art- and photobook “White Snow on Black Ice,” and will show both the book as well as abstract large format black and white photographs taken from the images in the book.
Synopsis of the book:
“‘White Snow on Black Ice’ is the result of using photography and book design to capture the invisible bond of memories connected to places of my past I have rich memories tied to. Places that make me re-live certain events, painful and happy alike; however, memory does not work like a video recorder. Memory changes upon re-living it. The harder you try to see and remember, the deeper you go, layer by layer, the more likely you are to re-write your past without even realizing it. Until you feel that you really experienced it.
Using a multilayered design with a special kind of reflective printing on black paper, the process of browsing and looking at these photographs of the frozen ground I experienced so much on supports the feeling of how memory works.”
Both the exhibited photographs, as well as the book, give a deep impression on the fallibility and bias of our memory.
The story of the Fox
Not a part of the BLACK ICE series, I depended on it to keep the series together when on a wall instead of in the book. The fox is a print of mine that I come to love more and more as the years pass – I already shot it like 7 years or so ago. It’s like only now I get to know the little fella with his glance straight into my soul better. This is also the reason why so far it is the only print that I explicably offer as fine art print on my little store: holgerferoudj.com/store/shop/prints/fox/
Some of the other prints I have have to stand the (emotional) test of time first.
When I went to Germany last winter, for the first time after more than 3 years, it was only natural to take my camera and use photography to connect to what I was feeling when re-visiting all these places I had rich memories tied to.
Acting out of intuition at first, I pretty soon knew what I wanted to say – my vision was clear and I worked every day on this Germany project I had on mind.
This book here is an initially unplanned side project, a sub chapter of this larger Germany project.
At the core, I was looking to capture the invisible bond of memories connected to these places of my past. Places that make me re-live certain events, painful and happy alike; and yet, memory doesn’t work like a video recorder. Memory changes upon re-living it. The harder you try to see and remember, the deeper you go, layer by layer, the more likely you are to re-write and change your past without even realizing it. Until you become convinced of it. Until you feel that you really experienced it. Crazy huh?
With this in mind, not articulated yet, though, I set out to take photos…
Back in Japan, I then spent a long time with these photographs, putting them on my wall, living with them while focusing on other things. I went into the incubation phase I mentioned before in “The Yin and Yang of Creativity.”
One of those other things I was focusing on is learning how to make proper books with my own hands. Materials, techniques, binding, gluing, folding… Using ancient manuscripts and modern textbooks as a guide. Fascinating stuff, and powerful. (And fun!) Sure, you could merely have your photos printed in a book and that’s it – as many people do -, and that’s fine, but a book can be so much more than that.