what convinced me to stop cutting people out of pictures
And since you asked about Vienna... We always try to get to the Mozart Cafe for Schwarzwald (Black Forest) cake and a Wienerwald franchise for the roasted chicken. The first is a bit too touristy, and the second is right up there with Denny's for quality, but when I [Ben] was growing up, these were first on the list of my family's annual pilgrimages. The food is solid, simple German, and you have to work really hard to get a bad meal in Vienna.
We have a deep connection to the city through my family's history in the wine and furrier trades, but both were interrupted by the Nazis. After the war, my Jewish step-mother went back to the fashionable townhouse she grew up in and saw her mother's piano still sitting in the front window. When she knocked, a pre-war neighbor she vaguely remembered answered the door, exclaimed, "We thought you were all dead!" and slammed it in her face. It took 30 years, but she got a reparations pension from the Austrian government of 350 euros per month--in compensation for two multi-million-dollar businesses! So we have mixed feelings.
And I really don't mean to rain on a parade, but the other thing is that we usually get there in January, when all those massive imperial boulevards turn into bitterly cold wind tunnels. But as long as you dress really warm, it's a great city to wander. And the local white wines are spectacular! And the countryside around town is some of the most beautiful on earth.
Great notes on photography! And you reminded us of our first time in Vienna, when we were standing opposite the arch by the Lipizzaner stables, trying to get a photo of the horse-drawn buggies coming through. We set up the shot, then suddenly, an Asian tourist stepped right into the middle of our photo with her iPad camera held aloft. We grumbled and groaned until finally she left, and we got our chance. But when we got home and compared the photos, the shot with her in it not only said so much more about cultures and the foibles of human beings, but was actually pretty hilarious. Nowadays, we go out of our way to include people in our photos, the more eccentric the better.
Damn you are self aware and observant and willing to learn and grow - how cool is that! So many people would have just continued to grumble, but you went with the flow and became a sort of street photographer of interactive art. Just adore and look forward to your reading, I do! And thank you for the shoutout!!
I just found your newsletter through Jolene's, and I'm so glad I did! I love your commentary on landscape pictures with/without people. I've definitely spent many trips sighing while waiting for people to move out of my frame, so I'm going to try to keep this post in mind in the future!
Also, I've been to Portugal many times (I'm from the US but have lived in Madrid for six years now), and have recommendations for Lisbon and pretty much the entire southern coast of the country if you're interested!
I'm so glad to see you are in better spirits, and the photos match that mood, as they began to be filled with joy, vibrancy and connection. Ending on a contented note with a cat in the lap is a sweet finish.
What a wonderful piece, Sam! The pictures are gorgeous and your switch from ‘without people to with people’ and your writing of seeing and experiencing the show with new eyes was so beautifully expressed. Also: I wish I could remember where I first heard our mantra, I’m glad it resonated, and thank you for the mention.😊 ps - still have to send you the email!
Great post! All your pictures are wonderful, but the later shots which include people absolutely leap off the screen with their dynamism! I'm not much of a photographer, but thinking about it, my first choice would always be to not have any people in the frame, too!
My husband (and I'm used to this now) would always surprise me because he would actively wait for people to arrive in the frame! His thing is to capture people engaging with their landscape and environment, and, if the shoot's in a work setting (be it corporate or artistic), with the tools or locations of their trade.
Great article as always Samantha. I really like the first one personally since I like Colours. But I got to say, it seems like all the artists did a great job in expressing themselves with their art pieces.
Thanks for sharing your splendid photos. Last year we saw Japanese artist Kusama's Cosmic Nature installation at the Bronx Botanical Gardens. There is something liberating about seeing large sculpture in nature.
Reframing seems to be a theme in some posts I'm reading, and it’s been a theme in my own life with a particularly annoying situation with a neighbor. I appreciate your candor and allowing us to see you change in perspective, on several levels. And the photos are wonderful glimpses into this art installment. Wish I could visit!
Nora Zeid’s illustrations are so awesome! And the kitty... oh lords. Cuteness overload!
I love the simplicity of this post. And that last photo of you and Nick is adorable!