Category Archives: Germany

Hamburg’s HafenCity Universität Subway Station

The subway station “HafenCity Universität” in Hamburg was the place where I took the CE marking photo from the last post. But I liked the light installation down there so much that I took a few more pictures of it. The changing colors are reflected on the ceiling and the walls and make it look like three additional beams of light are coming your way towards the exit:

Ausgang Exit

On a weekday around 1pm, there weren’t many people there. But the two or three people I noticed all seemed mesmerized by the light and the colors. One other guy was also taking some photos but left quickly. The platforms look very symmetrical, except the escalators are installed only on one side of the stairs. This bothered me a bit because except for the escalators, the whole place offers perfectly symmetrical photos.

Blue Friday

Once again, I couldn’t resist correcting the symmetry in post processing. For the blue image, I mirrored it along the middle and copied it over to the left side. But because that looked too artificial, I removed some parts of the copy and let the original shine through. So it still isn’t perfectly symmetrical but you can only notice it when you look very closely. A bit of an Easter Egg, I guess.

CE marking

Normally, I like to show things as they are when I take photos and try not to simplify my photos too much. That’s why I don’t take many abstract photos. Most abstract photos I know are somehow constructed from the ground up and photography is only a small ingredient in a much longer process of the art creation. I can appreciate the result but it is not something I have much interest in doing myself. However, sometimes I find patterns that when photographed really up close lose their original context. Almost every time I take such a photo, I end up throwing it away afterwards. But there are exceptions. Here’s one:

CE marking

I took this photo in the subway station “HafenCity Universität” in Hamburg. The entire length of the platform is illuminated by a dozen giant plastic containers full of LEDs that change colors. I noticed that when looked at from directly below and framed properly, the colors formed a contrast with the white underside that resembled one of the famous paintings by Piet Mondrian.
When post-processing the picture, I enhance the colors in the bottom left rectangle to make the yellow more vivid than it was in the original picture. I also enhanced the contrast on the round CE marking stamps to make them stand out more. I thought about removing them entirely but decided against it because without them, the photo doesn’t look like a photo at all anymore. Maybe that’s the point of abstract photos but it looked too abstract for my taste.

Random Architecture in Düsseldorf

After my visit to the Ständehaus in Düsseldorf, I decided to explore the city a bit before taking the train back home. The most famous street in Düsseldorf is probably the Königsallee in the center of the city and it wasn’t far to walk there, always guided by Google Maps. Along the way, I passed a tall, modern, oval office building called GAP 15:

Graf-Adolf-Platz 15

It turns out that the name is actually an abbreviation of the address, Graf-Adolf-Platz 15. The building incorporates another historic building on the ground level. During the past couple of years, the all-glass facade had to be repaired twice because windows had fallen off and impacted on the street below. Luckily, nobody was hurt. No windows fell of while I was taking my photos although I have to admit it would have been an interesting “last shot”.

Barcode Facade

The Königsallee didn’t appeal to me from a photographic perspective at all, I guess mostly because the weather wasn’t too good so the light wasn’t beautiful and also because there was some sort of demonstration going on with lots of weird people and police blocking the view. However, towards the end of the Königsallee, there was a big construction site where they are building a new subway line and some new office buildings. I went up a little observation tower to get a better view of things and got this interesting perspective on the facade of a building under construction across from the Steigenberger Park-Hotel. It reminded me a lot of a barcode or QR code, many abstract interrupted black and white lines.

Inside the Ständehaus

Living in Cologne is not exactly optimal for someone who is into photography because most museums in Cologne are dedicated to ancient history and especially the Romans. So I’m already used to traveling elsewhere when I feel like going to a museum. Düsseldorf is fortunately not far away and regularly has very interesting photo exhibitions. When I read about the upcoming Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition, I decided to go and see it. But I never really got around to it. After already being extended, it is going to close next weekend, so for me that meant “now or never”.

Woman behind Arch

The exhibition is located in the K21 Ständehaus in Düsseldorf, a beautiful building with a long history. It was used as the parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia until 1988 and after that converted to a museum for contemporary art. I don’t like taking photos of the photos in an exhibition, so I took some architecture photos inside the building. What I really love about this museum is that they allow photography and give you a little “photo permission” sticker at the ticket office. Although I don’t understand why you need that sticker, it’s free and you don’t have to sign anything so they could just let everybody take photos.

In Orbit

The top floor currently houses the installation “in orbit” by Tomás Saraceno, which was unfortunately closed because it took some damage from the extreme heat that has beleaguered Germany for the past couple of months. Still, the giant mirroring sphere and many nets looked fascinating from below.

Webs and Rhine Tower

Large white walls and a glass roof made the museum’s interior very bright and almost dictated a high key look for the photos. Almost all I had to do while processing the pictures was reduce the color saturation for all but the most dominant colors and increase the contrast in a way that pushed most of the photo towards white while also retaining some black areas. It is a look that I haven’t really used before, but I’m happy with it so I might further experiment with it in the future.