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The American West

Jul 1st 2010: New Work, Travel

Less fabricated. I have now had a chance to do a first upload of some photos of the western section of the trip here: on picasa for (my) convenience. Enjoy.


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Hitting Stage Two

May 27th 2010: New Work, Travel

Germany is not a very big country, but makes up for that by being about as densely populated as a mall on Black Friday. It’s half the size of Texas with four times as many people. You have to put up some serious effort if you want to get lost. Walk 20 minutes in any direction and you are bound to find a path, a road, or a town. Because of the short distances and the limited space, the roads are narrow and the cars small and efficient. As a result, many Europeans living in the US become obsessed with the American road of life. The seemingly endless stretches of highways and landscapes between places. The diversity between the American cultures at both coasts and the country in between. The true bear and wolf wildernesses. And the big cars with their massive engines. I’m one of those Europeans.

Inspired both by my own desires and by the example of photographic heroes like Stephen Shore and Robert Frank, I will be driving across the US to see and experience *everything*. A two and a half months trip covering 12,000+ miles, split into three legs. A journey
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A New Face

Apr 19th 2010: New Work

The weather has been changing, with some crazy massive hail storm in between. Usually quite resilient to these changes, my body decided it did not like it this time around (am I getting old?) and so I’ve been a little out of commission for the last few days. I used the time of taking it easy as an opportunity to redesign my professional website, to put a new, fresh face on my online representation. Over the last few weeks I have come to realize that my latest series, Provoked, is not just another like the ones before, but at the heart of what I want to do. The new website needed to reflect that new direction and focus on this work specifically. After five full days of work I am now proud to present the new www.ernstbruening.com . I hope you like it as much as I do!

On a Roll

Apr 6th 2010: New Work, Thoughts

(or: unforeseen challenges of a novice artist)

Yesterday morning I had one of those holy-sh*t moments. One of those that catch you by surprise, early in the morning, just after you wake up, when you are too lazy to get out of bed and, because you are still a bit sleepy, you let your mind wonder to all sorts of random thoughts. Who am I? Why do I only count nine toes on my feet? Why is that kid upstairs crying again? Probably hungry. Why won’t they feed it? And what did they mean by the line “I used my imagination” in the movie last night? What do I need to do today? Wait, what day is it? It’s Sunday. Again? Already? How many Sundays have I had? Holy Sh*t! (<– there it is) It’s already the second Sunday since I started taking photos and the sixth Sunday since I got here. Really? Wow, it’s been six weeks in Buenos Aires and two working fulltime. Holy Sh*t! (<– there it is again) Have I actually accomplished anything? Time to do a progress review:

The last two weeks have been both rewarding and frustrating. The biggest challenge was the switch to doing nothing but photo related work. I am used to set schedules, clear deadlines, and tangible progress. And now, all of a sudden, there is none except for the little man with the top hat in the left (right?) half of my brain telling me: “you are here only for a few months, don’t waste this opportunity. You better have something solid at the end of the trip.” But what? I decided to commit myself fulltime so I can put together one or more bodies of work. But what those were about I had not determined. I figured I would come here and let myself be inspired. Well, turns out you cannot force inspiration. There is no way to say “I’ll be working creatively from 9-12, have lunch, and at around 1pm I will have a great epiphany guiding me for the rest of the week.” I had not thought this through.
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Shifting Focus

Mar 23rd 2010: New Work, Travel

(This is a Tweener Post: not much content, just filling space between more important posts, filled with some general background information and public service announcements. Enjoy)

It’s odd. I feel like I am doing less, but the days pass by faster. Has it really been four days already since the last post? I’ve been meaning to continue posting about 2-3 posts per week. Now I am glad if I get one done. It’s not that I feel bad about it. It’s just that there is simply less to post about right now: as mentioned in the last post, I have now settled and with the departure of some friends I have started to focus on what I came here for, my work. Over the last five or so days I’ve been shooting 4-5 rolls per day, which is now my target as I cannot process more than that on the chemical side. My days are spent with developing images, making (bad) contact sheets of the just developed ones (see sample below) and then going out shooting more. This leaves surprisingly little in-between time, which is spent on meeting people (only a few times per week), making coffee, running errands, a Tango class here and there, and just generally staring at photos. It is a real shift in focus. I didn’t realize how much I missed taking photos. It feels sooooo good to just go out and wander with the camera, music blasting, rolls of film in my pocket, the wind in my beard, walking into the sunset while waiting for the artificial lights to go on. And doing it all day every day is still somewhat unreal. Really? I don’t have to do anything else? So expect less travel focused posts and more art and photo focused posts.

I would like you to also note that I have added a new section to the right sidebar of this blog called “TRAVEL PHOTOS” which has links to my different photo galleries of photos of Buenos Aires. Like an album about my neat new apartment that I’ve been talking so much about. And one with photos of all the graffiti art that is literally everywhere and quite good. And I’ll keep adding more so keep an eye on that box and revisit those galleries every once in a while.

The Most Important Show Yet

Feb 16th 2010: New Work

This past weekend Jeremy and I had another exhibit which reminded me why I love the Bay Area so much: it is the winter month of February and the sun is shining, it is actually warm, we hang out outside at our show, a grill provides lunch, friends come over with beer, random people pull up with their bicycles to investigate or are dragged in by Otis. A fantastic afternoon. We sat about with the deep feeling on satisfaction of having pulled together yet another show and just enjoyed the day.

After our last show in October Jeremy and I have made considerable progress with our individual work and wanted to take the opportunity to show case that work before I’m taking off next week. As both projects are still evolving, this “Work in Progress” is meant to be a mile marker along the way, a checkpoint, a first accomplishment. And yet, if I dare say so, it’s also has been our most important show yet as this work is already turning into our most interesting, most challenging, most personal work to date. Although I guess that’s true for every show: the latest is, or at least should be, the greatest. Would you like the new and improved model? Of course you would. So keep coming back!