I really have no idea how this blog keeps going. Every time I post a new piece, I breathe a sigh of relief, which is then quickly followed by a stab of anxiety – what will I find to write about next? Every so often, help is at hand and one of my fellow TMKers comes forth with an interesting post which means I can sit back for a few days and just watch the stats grow, with increasing joy. Eventually though, I am pretty sure we will have exhausted every available angle; I mean Steve only took a finite number of pictures and even though he continues to post new ones periodically on his ‘sleepyard’ tumblr, there will come a time when there is not much left to say. However, whilst I can still (amusingly) link a Jansen-related song title to at least one of his photos, then I shall continue to post these pieces…… 🙂
Last year Steve posted a picture of a Venetian hotel room on his tumblr page, which caught my eye; it had a hazy sense of the surreal about it, a room which seemed from another time and place. The faded grandeur of a distant era, the curtains billowing in the soft breeze from the window, and intriguingly, the photographer’s reflection caught in the mirror as he clicked the shutter. There was a softening to the image, where the clarity seemed to leak and blur which I found beguiling – so much so, that I now have the same image hanging on my bedroom wall.
The photograph was part of series of shots that Steve took whilst on a trip through Europe during a tumultuous time in our history; the Berlin Wall had recently fallen and the former Soviet countries were starting to open up. These images were taken using a widelux camera with a 140 degree self-panning lens. I assumed the “softening” was all part of the appeal of the camera, but it is actually a fault – or at least a happy accident – possibly from being hand-held. Whatever the reason for the blurring of the image, I think it adds a beautifully surreal and almost sensual feel to the images. Never has Venice seemed more alluring……
This shot of an arcade in Vienna almost takes my breath away. It is as if the viewer is about to fall through the rabbit-hole and emerge blinking into Wonderland; again, a beautiful consequence of the “fault” of the softening, which I find so seductive and lends the image a filmic quality.
Even Steve’s “holiday snaps” manage to avoid the usual touristic trappings and instead offer us a view of the places he visited through a distorted lens.
Regular blog readers, and those of you who inhabit the shady world of tumblr, may be familiar with some images Steve recently published from the recording sessions of ‘Catch The Fall’, at the Manor Studios in Oxfordshire. Thanks to the technological jiggery-pokery of the widelux camera, Steve was able to take a shot of a room and literally jump in to view, whilst the lens was panning. This shot, along with others showing Richard Barbieri and assorted musicians, appear to be free of the softening effect (or “fault” depending on your view) I so admire, so I can only assume that the camera was placed upon a solid surface whilst the shutter was being clicked….?
If you are a bit of a photography geek with lots of time of your hands (really it’s nothing to be ashamed of…) then I would seriously advise you to spend a few moments perusing the internet for information about the widelux camera. It is a thing of archaic beauty and I truly wish I had one in my possession. As does Steve – apparently, he gave his away a few years ago.
Steve has published images using the widelux camera on his website and ‘sleepyard’ tumblr page:
You can purchase limited edition and signed prints from the ‘imageshop’ here: http://www.stevejansen.com/imageshop/