Entries in germans (6)


Montmartre am Main

Every once in a while, when you stop trying so hard to do something, it just shows up without you doing anything. I'm sure the gurus have a name for this kind of thing, I just call it ironic.

For many months, maybe I can even say years now (2 years plus), I've been sending our queries to German Kunstgalerie (Art Galleries) and various German artists that seemed to be interested in photography. All I've ever wanted is to find some kind of community and share/show my work with the German public. Until yesterday, nothing had happened in Germany for me.

Here's the backstory. Two weeks ago, I received an email from a very nice lady named Kathy. Kathy is an American artist that has been living and working Germany for many years. She, through many trials of her own, organized a group of artists to meet in Höscht, Germany to share and show work and mingle with the public. She asked me if I would be interested in attending and making some plates (do a demo/make some work). This was what I had been looking for through all my queries and begging for community - there it was, and she was contacting me. I had put an ad seeking Germans to sit for me for portraits in thelocal.de - Kathy saw the ad and emailed. I'm very thankful she did.

She said, "It's a totally open gathering of artists painting en plein aire along the riverside where a lot of Sunday strollers and bicyclers pass by. The artists attract a lot of attention and feedback." Her idea is brilliant and I want to support it as much as I can. I found this on a Frankfurt blog about Montmarte am Main:
The first "artspace" was probably back when Montmartre in Paris became the place for mostly unrecognized artists. Both Montmartre and Hyde Park were destined to symbolize the free artist together a group of like-minded but at the time, scorned artists. Now, Kathleen Schaefer is trying to start the premise of those two places in Germany where such a tradition was never tried out. It´s for all artists, especially the ones who are barred from galleries but who have earned through their talent the right to have their art be seen in public. At the same time an appeal is made to those "arrived" artists to support, by their presence at Montmartre am Main, the idea that the work of all artists the right to be seen. And, let's not forget the 99% of the population that does not feel comfortable entering an art gallery in the first place - they also have the right to see art in a natural and casual manner - just like at Montmartre am Main!

I totally agree. Here's her website.

Trudy, an artist set up next to me, did a wonderful sketch of me, I'll post it when can scan it. It was just a lot of fun to meet people, talk about art and make photographs.

Update: Here's the sketch she made of me - wonderful!

Quinn at Montmarre am Main - Frankfurt, Germany

Here are some of the portraits I made yesterday. I will use some of them in my project.

Helmut, a German painter.

 Karin, a German painter.
Sandra, from Frankfurt, GermanyTrudy, a German artist.Gabi, from Frankfurt, Germany


My Teaching Philosophy: It’s About Questions, Not Answers

I'm reminded daily of how much I don't know. Or, I question daily what I think I do know. I’ve often thought about doing some in-depth studying on epistemology. I think it’s a fascinating topic. Knowledge, how we know what we know, shapes our world view and accordingly dictates how we act and live.

These ideas seem to put a lot of responsibility on people who have a lot of influence. People like teachers, preachers, politicians and even pop-stars. I’m constantly being swayed by the power and potential "difference-making" of teaching, maybe even preaching. It’s something in me, and I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s just my ego, my need for attention, but I doubt it. It feels much more powerful than that. Sometimes, it feels like the same emotion of warning people of danger. Urgency comes to mind. Other times, it’s like the knowledge of revelation. Knowing something that needs to be said or taught and passing it on. In other words, it feels like I’m a participant in life, not a spectator. And I’m trying to do my part in the chain of human progression, one tiny word (or idea, thought, action) at a time to pull people off of the bleachers and into the game.

We talk a lot about the “what” in life but rarely the "why". The greatest gift education gave me was to question. Not the kind of questioning that you may relate to authority. Questioning like, “What is my purpose for taking space and sucking oxygen?” and one that has been rolling around in my head for a couple of years now, “Why did the Holocaust happen?” There aren’t any answers to these questions, not definitive anyway. However, I think people need to talk about these kinds of things - you know get ideas and philosophies out there for people to think about. We are in wars and have all kinds of problems because we don't ask or offer questions, we always think we know the answers.

I was fortunate to recently meet, and quickly befriend Elke. She is a cleaning lady in my building where I work. She asked if I would make her portrait. I gladly said, "Ja, Klar". She spent a couple of hours with us today making photographs, drinking espresso and talking about our lives. Although I'll use her image in my series about the German past (and she knows this), she is a very kind and loving person. I don't meet many Germans like Elke. Vielen dank für alles Elke.

Elke Wössner Putzfrau - Viernheim, Deutschland 23.08.08


The Anne Frank Exhibit

Anne Frank ExhibitOn Sunday, Jean, Summer, Denise and I jumped on the Straßenbohn and went into Mannheim. We walked around and enjoyed the people - pure C-A-N-D-Y, very delicious. There were two young German girls that came running up to us saying, "Engländer, Engländer!" I wasn't quite sure what to make of them. They were probably about 12 or 13 years-old. At first, they seemed to be interested in Summer's Converse bag. We finally realized that they were doing a project for their English class; they wanted to record us speaking English. Once I understood that, I told them to get their recorders ready - and then I said, "I want to know why more Germans can't be as friendly as you are and why they don't remember Kristallnacht here in Germany." I can't wait until their teacher translates that for them - maybe it will start a dialogue! They were puzzled but immediately played it back and were listening to it as we walked away. Several minutes later, they caught up to us again and had us clap (applause) into their recorders - we happily obliged. We were speaking in German and asking them to say "Hallo" to German people as they walked by and to see how many responded positively - few did - it was an amazing, quick sociological experiment and those girls gave me hope for the future of Germany.

We were hungry after all of this and had lunch at a Turkish Döner. Ein Der Turkei Pizza mit Lamm Fleisch (Döner) rocks!! I had the Turkish buttermilk called, "Arayan" - it's a cross between buttermilk and yogurt drink, very popular with Turkish people and very tasty. After lunch, we headed to the synagogue to see the Anne Frank exhibit.

Although we went to the Anne Frank Haus in Amsterdam in 2001, her story never ceases to amaze me, lift me up and sadden me all at once. It's like she knew that she wasn't going to live very long. Her passion and dreams were waiting to be realized, but were dashed and destroyed by insane, possessed people. I hope she can see the positive influence her work and life has had, and will continue to have, on people all over the world. She was an amazing human being.


The Great Commodity: Time

Time Waits For No Man

Here I sit in disbelief that it's the 7th of October! Where is the time going? It's a little bit scary, especially being aware that we are here for a very limited time.

We had plannned a trip to Trier, Germany this weekend but we cancelled because of the tremendous amount of work we have to do here in the house (still). Although Trier is less than 2 hours away, we are surrounded by boxes and "stuff" that need to be put away and we can't avoid that. Saturday is the day you have to go shopping (food) because everything here is shut down on Sunday. The point is, we have to get settled before we start running off to France and Italy (all of the countries) - but WE WILL (eventually).

The "reality" of Europe is starting to hit us too. It is very expensive here and there are a lot of cultural "issues/barriers" here too. Lately,

I've become preoccupied with the German people (and attitude) pre-Holocaust. I've been reading about the anti-Semetic attitude in the 19th and 20th Century of the people here and some history of the village we live in. There are 31 death camps within an 8 hour drive of our village, I'll try to visit all of them in the next three years.

I'm interested in what makes the German people the way they are today. If you've lived in Germany you know what I'm talking about.

More to come...


Exploring Mannheim (Again)

We trained into Mannheim today (yesterday). Mannheim, at least to me, is a secret as far as tourists go. In other words, there are very few tourists - I like that. I like that a lot. The city is loaded with things to do; shopping, eating, looking at art, history, listen to people on the street corners ranting and raving or just people watching. It's a great city. I've always wanted to live in a place where I could sit in the cool shade on a sunny day and drink a Milchkaffee while watching people. Now I do!!

"Milchkaffee, 1.70 Euro, Mannheim, Germany"
August 19, 2006

I love to people watch in Mannheim. There are so many people! It's like New York or Paris to me that way. More than watch them, I like to try to capture the nuances with an image. It's hard to do, I'm still thinking of ways I can make this happen...
This is shot through glass, but Germans through glass look very interesting to me. Germans love to stare at you... I do it right back and take pictures.. they last longer!

"A German Through Glass, Mannheim, Germany"
August 19, 2006

"Lucky on the Straßebahn, Mannheim, Germany"
August 19, 2006