Happy Mis-takes…

After I finally had gotten around to collect the few rolls of film I had shot over the last two or three years and had them developed last week, I also got back some unexpected double-exposures. I rarely bring myself around to play around with double-exposures on purpose, so when they happen by accident (= by me being sloppy with marking exposed rolls of film properly), I do enjoy them. Here are a few I cropped out of a continuous 15-frame-or-so-negative. I think these date back to summer 2016 or 2017… Not sure. North sea, Norderney.

All shot on Portra 160, lab-scanned.

Also, I just switched to wordpress block editor. If something looks dodgy in the layout, let me know. Still getting used to the new editor…

Oberlaa

I’ve been taking the Leica out on dates lately. Slowly, slowly I’m getting back in the mood to shoot some film. A few recent shots from a walk in Oberlaa. One of the first days where you could feel spring arriving.

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Also found some really old stuff on rolls of film I hadn’t developed for something like two and a half years. Might share some of those too…

Kodak Portra 160, lab scans.

 

Wienfluss

Some projects find you. Like this one – walking the Wien river from its source until where it meets the city. The city of Vienna (=Wien) has its name from the river Wien. It originates in the Wienerwald just outside Vienna and is about 34km long. After watching a documentary about the river, we decided we wanted to go and see one of its sources, the one from which, legend has it, empress Sissi on a hiking tour through the Wienerwald had taken a sip of water and liked the taste so much, she had her coffee brewed with this water every day. Just the kind of wishes you get granted when you’re an empress… The Wien river has many sources, but this is probably the most famous one.

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The well has been encased, you can easily find it in the woods and also have a sip of water from it. It is said that drinking this water will bestow you with inner beauty.

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Once we had found the source, the idea to follow the river until it meets the city kind of started as a joke, but after all the whole of this river is not really that long and winds through a nice landscape. So for the last three Sundays, this was our “project”.

Idyllic Wienerwald
Wienfluss near Pressbaum
Wienerwaldsee
Forest clearing near Purkersdorf
Wienfluss in Purkersdorf
Close to the flood retention basin in Auhof, Vienna
Flood retention basin Auhof, Vienna

Almost the whole of the river is heavily regulated right from the start. Before the river enter Vienna, there is a huge flood retention basin to protect the city from the quick rising waters. Most of the time, the river is tiny and does not carry a lot of water, so it’s hard to imagine it can swell within minutes to a dangerous white water river. That’s why the flood retention basin looks so out of proportion with its concrete and steel structures. It’s really fun to explore.

Wienfluss-Weg
Wienfluss next to the motorway
Wienfluss in Hütteldorf

From Hütteldorf towards the city center the river runs next to the underground U4 and is kept in a concrete/stone bed. Just before Schönbrunn it is lead underground, comes up again and runs along the U4, until it disappears underground in the Stadtpark and then finally flows into the Donaukanal near Urania.

U4 Hütteldorf

Here’s more info about the river: Wienfluss

All images iPhone 6, processed with Vsco.

#VisibleMending or How to Slow Down Fashion

My Mum always bought high quality tights for us kids. She used to hate those itchy-scratchy thick, uncomfortable, cheap tights she was made to wear when she was a kid, so she made a point of sparing us this experience. I had two pairs of wonderful cotton tights – a yellow and a white one. They must have been quite expensive, and my parents never had a lot of money anyway. None of this was on my mind when I decided, about 8 or 9 years old, it would be a good idea to take off my shoes, wearing those aforementioned tights, to win my games of Chinese jump rope (or Gummitwist in German, or Gummihupfen in Austrian). Of course, jumping around in the street didn’t exactly help to make my tights last; I completely ripped them open.

So my Mum made me mend the holes in my tights. I hated it back then, but that’s how I learned basic mending skills. She always mended clothes, that was normal. Every kid in my class wore clothes handed down from older siblings, clothes that were mended and amended to last longer, fit someone else. The idea of buying a piece of clothing to only throw it away after a few times of wearing it didn’t exist in my world. And I never got comfortable with it, even before I learned about fast fashion and how it is even possible to produce clothes so cheap people would rather throw them away than repair them and wear them to death.

Fast forward 30 years. Approximately. I’m back to mending my clothes. For different reasons. It is an act of resisting fast fashion and mindless consumerism. It is also an act of slowing down, being mindful and present. Moving my hands. Creating, being creative. Enjoying the concept of wabi-sabi – seeing beauty in something imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It also means I get to keep clothes I have worn so long they now carry memories and feel like a second skin.

I especially enjoy mending jeans, and mending them visibly, so the mending itself stands out. Jeans fit best and feel best once they are worn in, start to fade. Their indigo dye ages so gracefully and carries the imprint of their aging and fading away. This combines so well with the japanese art of sashiko and boro. Sashiko is a kind of reinforcement stitching or functional embroidery that was used to reinforce worn parts of clothes or other textiles. Boro means textiles that were patched and repaired, often over and over again.

To me, using these old techniques on my clothes, most of them fast fashion, but worn over years and years, feels like slowing these pieces down by making them last much longer than was ever intended. It means also slowing them down by not needing to buy something to replace them, thus buying less clothes and also slowing down the cycle of fast fashion.

Here are a few examples of mendings on jeans I did over the last year:

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This was my first go at sashiko. The stitches are quite irregular, but I liked the look of it.

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Blown-out bottom; you can see added signs of wear and tear on the stitched up part. The original textile will continue to wear out and the patch underneath will eventually surface. Once the sashiko stitches will wear out, I will add to the mending and reinforce it again.

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Small and easy repair on the bottom of a leg. I used vintage denim to patch the hole, a tiny scrap of jeans I got from my partner’s Mum, who is a seamstress and happily passed on some collected pieces of denim scrap for me to reuse.

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Reinforcement of a whole area that had become really thin and worn. It will also continue to wear out and the patch I stitched on on the inside will show eventually.

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Another blown-out bottom, also the mending itself has added some wear and tear over time and more and more of the patch underneath is showing.

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My latest piece of mending with quite minimal stitching. Don’t know if it keeps up, but if not, more stitching will be added.

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Not classical sashiko mending, but a classical embroidery stitch to cover up some worn out areas.

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Same here, the pocket seam was frayed and I reinforced it with a variation on buttonhole stitch, plus herringbone stitch for the other worn out areas. The whole bottom will need some fixing up soon, before it blows out completely. It’s easier to mend before there are actual holes.

If you have questions or thoughts about mending clothes or repairing your jeans, just let me know. Also, there are a lot of ressources out there all over the web. Check out these hashtags for inspiration: #denimrepair, #visiblemending, #sashikodenim, #repairdontreplace to name just a few.

 

How To Change Your Mind

Recommended reading: How To Change Your Mind – The New Science of Psychedelics by Michael Pollan.

Michael Pollan explores the history of psychedelics and shares recent research.

It’s a really interesting read and covers perspectives on psychedelics from different angles like history, politics, society, psychology, neurology, etc. mixed with personal insights and experiences. My guess is you’ll most likely learn a few things about psychedelics you don’t know yet.

As far as I know, there is no German translation yet.

Another recommendation is Michael Pollan’s Netflix documentary ‘Cooked’, where he looks at food and cooking. Every episode nurtured the nerd in me (for everyone who knows me – yes, there’s also a part about fermentation).

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What is School for?

I’m a subscriber of Seth Godin’s blog, so this is how I came across this video. I ask you to watch it. I think Seth Godin raises important questions and explains things about schools that are worth knowing. Answering that question, what school is for, is important to understand where school comes from, and even more important when it comes to change school into what it needs to be.