Pioneertown

My husband and I took a trip to LA in order to visit our friends Ben and Sarah. We went camping. One of our excursions was to Pioneertown – an old Western town motion picture set, which was built in the 1940s. It was very odd strolling down a deserted Mane Street (their spelling, not mine). Somehow it was a rare amalgamation of history and history-making. It felt more like a 1940s idealisation of the Wild West than the Wild West itself.

The town also reminded me of the German writer Karl May, who was very successful writing about the adventures of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand in the Old Wild West. Though he did travel to the United States in 1908 he never made it beyond Niagara Falls. I think he would have appreciated the make-believe of Pioneertown.

 

Red Man, Blue Sea

We were strolling along the beach one late September day. It was one of those days where half the beach population is already wearing warm things – long pants, closed shoes, long sleeves and scarves – and the other half is stoically optimizing on their sun tanning time – shivering in their bikinis. This man was special. You could see his bright red getup against the shimmering blue sea from far away. He looked neither warm nor cold. Just unique and dashing.

Resolutions

It’s been a long time since I last wrote on the blog. I’m quite mad at myself: I keep making resolutions to post regularly but then life, travels, work, daydreams get in the way. But I am back in New York now – after traveling to Germany, Italy and the West Coast of the USA – and finally managed to get a little breathing room from work to scan all my rolls of film. So I will gradually start catching up with all of the things I saw and want to share with you and to write all these thoughts off of my chest.

Whale Watch

Sometimes we go whale watching at Stellwagen Bank, a national marine sanctuary which sits at the mouth of Massachussets Bay. In the summer humpback whales (as well as minke whales and a plethora of other wildlife) come here to feed. It’s incredible. I cannot possibly recommend this enough. If you get a chance: GO!

There is always a moment on board the ship where it’s silent – the silence of anticipation. You could hear a pin drop. Then the naturalist who explains and sights where the whales might appear will say something (usually along the lines of: “I see a bubble cloud at 3 o’clock”) and everyone will run to that side of the boat and stare out at the calm waters. When the first whale surfaces a collective prolonged sigh wafts across the deck. I usually have to squeeze back a few tears. I can’t quite explain the reason I get emotional. There is something incredibly moving and humbling and groundbreaking about seeing these enormous, graceful, silent and eerily delicate whales go about eating the tons of tiny fishes they need to ingest to survive.

And there’s nothing more joyous than watching them play, flinging their enormous bodies out of the water only to smash down in a cloud of ocean spray or swimming on their backs waving their flippers around. Scientists have found no explanation for this type of behavior. But for anyone watching it’s clear: It looks like a lot of fun. And why do we presume to be the only creatures on earth out to have some?

©Sarah Girner

Vincent Truglia

The German news magazine DER SPIEGEL recently hired me to shoot a portrait of Vincent Truglia, Managing Director of Global Economic Research at Granite Springs Asset Management. It was a fun shoot and I took advantage of the beautiful view from his office on the 28th floor of a Midtown office tower. Mr. Truglia seemed a little disappointed that I didn’t make him “climb on anything”. Having worked as the head of the Sovereign Risk Unit at Moody’s Rating Agency for 15 years he has been photographed extensively (and by demanding photographers).

That very day – August 4th – the bottom dropped out of the stock market and the DOW fell 500 points. When I look at the photograph now, in retrospect, I feel like those are storm clouds gathering.

©Sarah Girner

Alex

I find it difficult to contain myself when I am around my brother’s girlfriend. She’s beautiful, wears bright colors and interesting hats… I want to photograph her ALL the time. I know that’s annoying… so I do manage to keep it together. But every once in a while I can’t resist.

Cape Cod Winnetou

It’s never boring when Jan’s around. He’s always making things. It’s one of the myriad of reasons I’m in love with him. During this particular walk he fashioned a bow and arrow out of driftwood and things he found on the shore. In this photograph he hadn’t gotten very far, but far enough to garner the support of the little boy climbing the rock behind him. As he climbed by he gave the crab-claw-stick a quick once-over, muttered a prolonged “cooool” and went on his way.

Julie

My friend Julie and I met up last week to test out lights that she had bought. But when I entered her apartment the afternoon light falling through the window was so beautiful I did steal this one quick shot with my Rollei. Needless to say it was my favorite.

I guess next time we meet I should try to re-create this…

Of Knots and Ponytails

Yet another cool, blue find on a roll of film that has been trapped in my 35mm camera for over a year. I remember this day of the summer of 2010 well. I spent the day at the New York Harbor, sipping cold beers and stalking the girl with the beautiful, gold ponytail that complemented the color of the sky.

Kerstin’s Birthday Cake