Mini Stories is a series of very short blog posts describing behind the scenes of my favourite photos. I either posted them on my Instagram or kept them hidden for months in old folders. I will talk about what or who inspired me to take the photo, under which circumstances it was taken, and what it means to me.
The name was born during a visit to BMW Welt in Munich, where I saw “The Mini Story” – an exhibition about the history of the car – MINI. It perfectly fits the format of my posts. They are short and sweet. The purpose is to document special moments, sparks of inspiration, which build this blog.
Published Mini Stories:
Botanical photography is a beautiful combination of science, technology and art. I follow the work of many photographers in this field and in this post I would like to draw your attention to Samuel Zeller – a photographer based in Switzerland, who published a wonderful book “Botanical”. It is a collection of photos taken in botanical gardens across Europe. What is unique about his project is the new perspective. Most of the photos were taken outside of the green house, through the windows. The glass between the lens and the object adds a new dimension. His photographs are inspired by works of impressionists and sometimes it is hard to say if it is still a photo or actually a painting. To achieve the distortion effect he takes advantage of blurry, opaque glass structure. Smooth lines and shapes are created by water condensation caused by high humidity in tropical houses. Interestingly, he doesn’t show only the plants, but also their (unnatural) environment. Windows and glass doors are used for framing the photo and to create geometric composition. There is a contrast between the cold metal elements and organic shapes of plants. Sometimes it looks like those plants are trapped in a prison and that they are pushing the window trying to escape. I couldn’t ignore the colour palette. The green tones are used as a background, and warm reds and browns are added as accent colours. As it happens with many inspirations, I didn’t actively plan to use it, but I had those images at the back of my head. When the opportunity came I was ready. One day strolling around Frankfurt’s Innenstadt, I saw a restaurant, which windows were the perfect object to try this new style. My photo came out dark and moody, but I managed to use a lot of components from the “Botanical” collection: metal frame, old glass, green tones in the background and red accents. This is definitely one of the favourite photos I have ever taken. I realised that I should try to take pictures not only inside the greenhouse but also outside and to look not only at the exhibition but also at a venue. Now I see much more. I pay attention to the door, windows, handles. It appears that many gardens have beautiful architecture hidden in the botanic jungle. Opening the door to the greenhouse feels now like being part of the book Alice Through the Looking Glass – there is a completely new universe inside and when I look through the lens I forget about the real world around me.
It all started with a photo. A young woman was posing in front of the mirror and there were many more mirrors behind her on the wall. Initially, I thought it is a famous gallery, museum, or restaurant. The idea to visit such an unusual place was instantly born in my head. Unfortunately, she only mentioned that it was taken in Maxvorstadt or Schwabing (in Munich). I can’t even remember exactly. I tried to find this photo many times but it got lost in millions of others posted every day on Instagram. The mystery remained unsolved. On a cold Sunday in January, I was strolling along Schwabing. No city plan, no idea what I want to see – quite unusual for me. On one of the main streets, completely unprepared, I saw it – a passage with a gallery wall. Instead of paintings, it was full of mirrors. Dirty walls and old black and white tiles were not exactly what I expected. But it didn’t matter, since there were so many shiny mirrors in metal and wooden frames of different sizes. Not surprisingly, there was another woman there taking her portrait photos, so I had to wait for my turn. However, it doesn’t seem like it is the most popular place, not yet! This exhibition is the prelude and invitation to antique store Kunst Oasis nb. 58. On Sundays shops in Germany are closed and I was not even aware that it was there at the time, so I couldn’t visit it. I guess I will have to do it the next time I am in Schwabing.