My father possessed a Leica for 35mm film since 1935. He was an amateur, but as an engineer also very interested concerning the innovations in his hobby, especially the technical progress of light-sensitive emulsions. 1945, shortly after the war, the precious Leica had inevitably to be exchanged against profane things like coal and food. That limited my photographic heritage to my father’s broad knowledge, an enlarger from Leitz, and a complete set for the processing of panchromatic film and paper.
1945 · Photo taken shortly after my father’s loss of his Leica · My parents with my sister and me
On my 11th birthday, I got my first camera, an Agfa Synchro-Box for roll film, 6 x 9cm / 8 images. On Christmas it was replaced by the famous Agfa Clack. Two years later, I obtained a simple model for 35mm film with the fantastic name Explorer. With the image format 24 x 36mm I started being independent from chemists and their modest labs. My lab was even more modest. But it was my own. Getting practice with developer, vinegar solution, and fixing salt, I bid goodbye to the chemist’s paper elaborations with the typical vintage deckle edge, which I do not appreciate.
In 1956, my work with lights and darks of a picture started with this box
When I lived and worked in the South of Europe, I used any free time to travel through France, Spain, Italy, North and West Africa. Mostly alone. But always with a silent companion in the shape of a Yashica reflex camera.
Under some conditions, a telephoto lens of 135mm is useful. It is not really my medium. In lonely spots, sometimes I saw me as a highwayman taking a photo at somebody’s back. In a crowd of people I felt like a thief who steals from a distance. Anyway, even nowadays in the digital era, I still keep the Yashica and the Zoom as a sort of relic. It observed many intimate moments.
1970 · South from Granada in the Alpujarras 1973 · Fiesta en Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Later on, when I worked many years in Ibiza, I finally possessed the typical equipment of an amateur photographer in the seventies and eighties. A single-lens reflex Praktica from VEB Pentacon, Dresden, and a Pentax from Asahi Optical, Far East. Both cameras were base models with 50mm lens. I used panchromatic 35mm film 25 ASA, available as yard goods from Agfa Munich, plus colour negative film and film for colour transparencies 50 ASA from Agfa Wolfen and Kodak. Black-and-white development took place in my own lab in Santa Eulalia / Ibiza. I used photo paper with a matt finish from Ilford. Colour pictures were elaborated in professional labs.
The exhibited pictures (Gallery Secret Lives, Ibiza D’Alt Vila, 1978) had been produced in sizes of 20 x 30 to 30 x 45cm. Today’s avatar photo of my website was made in 50 x 75cm. In the opening event it was the second picture, which Phyllis, owner of the gallery, provided with a red dot – sold!
The first one would be a bit delicate as avatar for a homepage, mainly dedicated to literature. Don't wonder about specialities among the pictures like short German
leather pants. Or even handcuffs and other tying-up stuff. All these things sometimes act as tricky minor characters in my novels.