Brian Kipp Photography: Blog en-us (C) Brian Kipp Photography [email protected] (Brian Kipp Photography) Sun, 24 May 2020 11:02:00 GMT Sun, 24 May 2020 11:02:00 GMT Brian Kipp Photography: Blog 86 120 Prague and the Czech Republic May-June 2012 I was so pleased to learn that Antonin Kratochvil was teaching a course in his home town of Prague.  I studied with Antonin in Tuscany just two years ago and enjoyed his pursuit of honesty and his freedom from constraints.   I arrived to find that we were staying in a small hotel with 8 rooms, originally built over 400 years ago.  The hotel was comfortable, staff were friendly, and it was a great accommodation.

I shot for two days before the course started, doing all of the traditional "cliche" tourist stuff.  The first day of the course Antonin cautioned us to escape those cliches as quickly as possible by choosing a topic for the week.  I chose to shoot "Evidence of the Communist Era in Czech Republic".  At first I shot in town, the Museum of Communism, the Party Headquarter, the Zyzkov Memorial up on the hill, the Police Museum and various examples of Soviet architecture.   Later in the week I traveled by train to Milovice, which is where the Soviets built barracks to house their 300,000 troops.  To my dismay, these barracks are being renovated into apartments in a development called "Eden Gardens".  Bad karma!

I also traveled to Pribram, where I visited a mining museum and a Gulag Work Camp.  This camp housed about 1,600 prisoners, who put in hard labour mining uranium for the Soviets.   When they died, their bodies were dispatched to a nearby mine shaft.  It was a moving experience, I was fortunate to be the only visitor so I was able to take my time, and experience my emotional response without distraction.

Had a good time with Sule and Oliver, two photographers in my class.   There was a big Beer Festival in town, and we took it in one night.  Made some movies and had a great time.   I also enjoyed our class assistant, Michaela Danelova, very much.  She is a young press photographer and was responsible for arranging all of my travel.

When the course ended, i grabbed a train to Ostrava, on the Polish border.   Michaela's father Pavel is a photographer in that city, and he was kind enough to show me around and set up the photo opportunities that i was seeking.   I visited an amazing Mining Museum, formerly a working mine, which was full of equipment which I found very photogenic.  I also went to a very large blast furnace where they used local coal and iron ore from Sweden to manufacture heavy iron products for many year.   We had an extensive tour of the facility, and I was very lucky to have my own tour guide who spoke English.

Czech Republic is a beautiful place, and I recommend it to anyone as a destination.  

[email protected] (Brian Kipp Photography) Czech Michaela Milovice Ostrava Pavel Prague Pribram Mon, 11 Jun 2012 06:12:02 GMT
Italy April-May 2012 This was the first trip for some time where I was in the company of friends.  I was unsure what impact that would have on my photography, but I welcomed the promise of company and shared experiences.   I was not disappointed.  My friends Chris, Deb, Bob and Penny, had rented a villa outside the town of Certaldo, just 30 KM from Florence, with comfortable accommodations for all of us, and a great location for exploring Tuscany.

Another nice surprise was that the other two men in the group had just acquired Canon 5d cameras, and needed some help getting acquainted.  Each morning the men got up early and went out shooting, and came home to a waiting breakfast, the ultimate luxury!   It was fun watching these guys discover the joy of their cameras,  and helping them where I could.

Each day we went to a new town in the afternoon, Siena, Florence, Certaldo, San Giamano, Montalpulciano, enjoying good food at each stop.  We cooked our meals at home each night, enjoying the company, the breeze and the view.

At the end of the week, I spent a night in Florence, did some shooting there, then took the train the next day to Venice.  Chris and Deb were also in Venice, so we continued our joint ventures some of the days.  i met Elizabetta, a friend of Elke's, who acted as my guide for the stay.  It made a huge difference having her help, and I will try to arrange similar facilities when i travel in future.   Elizabetta taught me the history of Venice, and showed me places that the tourists do not go.

My favourite place was a distant island called Burano.  The men fish, and the women make lace products.  It was a charming place, and i will certainly return for a longer stay.

After my week in Venice I had three days in Rome, where I did all of the tourist sites that I missed the first visit.  Loved the Pantheon the most, and I found a museum near the train station that had an amazing collection of Roman art including lots of mosaics.

A good trip, my fourth and possibly last visit to that country.

[email protected] (Brian Kipp Photography) Certaldo Italy Pienza Tuscany Venice Mon, 11 Jun 2012 05:53:36 GMT
Cuba February 2012 Just got back from Havana, where I took a course with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb.  This is my fifth trip to Havana, and finally changes seem to be in the air.  Street vendors on most corners are selling vegetables, fruit, juice and other wares.   These vendors are all licensed by the government, so that a share of their take goes into the state coffers, but the change seems to be bringing a sense of hope to the islanders.

The course was interesting because most of the attendees were from Norway and other parts of Scandanavia.   Alex is with Magnum Photography, and employs a "multi-pictures within a picture" approach.  He divides the frame using architecture or landscape features, and presents a number of scenes in a single photo.  The scenes are thematically linked, creating a very interesting perspective.   Trying to do this during the course proved very difficult, but was satisfying when success was achieved.



I stayed in a private home "a casa particular" and my landlord proved to be very interesting.  In his living room was a photo of him and others conversing with Che Guevara.   Turns out my landlord Jesus Parra was a founding member of Che's Column No 8, which was so effective in defeating Batista's troops.  I took a copy of the picture, cleaned up the dust and damage, and sent back to him.  No way of knowing if he received the photos.

We had an assistant from Havana at the course, a well-educated and traveled Cuban with amazing local knowledge.   I plan to return to Cuba next year and I will get this fellow to locate a driver to take me all over the island, Trinidad, Santiago, and other places.






















[email protected] (Brian Kipp Photography) Cuba Havana Webb photography street photography Sat, 25 Feb 2012 20:11:07 GMT