Last Sunday, together with good friends, The Significant Other and I visited the exhibition of contemporary German painter Christopher Lempfuhl in the Museum Würth in Künzelsau-Gaisbach. Frequent readers of this blog know that I love shooting street photography in an exhibition. Taking my recently acquired used Leica M for a spin, I gave myself the challenge to shoot a small reportage with only a 35mm prime lens. One exhibition, one lens.
Shooting with just one lens is a great exercise for any photographer. It helps to concentrate on figuring out where to position yourself and your camera in relation to the subject and what you want to include in (and leave out of) the frame, whether to move closer to or farther away from the subject to accomplish that (“zooming with your feet”), how to frame the shot, what to select as primary point of focus, and so on. All of this helps you to figure out what the strengths and weaknesses of a particular lens and its focal length are — what it does best, whether it has any particular characteristics which can be used intentionally for visual effect and what subjects or situations it is most useful for.
Shooting in this exhibition in an art museum that doubles as corporate headquarters of the Würth group (a worldwide operating company that focuses primarily in the wholesale of fastening and assembly technology products) did just that for me. This collection of photographs shows the versatility of a 35mm lens, with which you can shoot architecture (outside also landscapes), portraits, closeups, but which is also wide enough to show the context of the environment you are shooting in. It is great lens for documentaries (used by many of photography’s greatest). And should you ever consider bringing only one camera and a single prime lens on vacation, this should be it.
Christopher Lempfuhl is a representative of a contemporary realism. He ventures out into the open air to capture the same light moods we photographers love and try to capture on our film or sensors. He is an all-weather painter who says “I love color masses” and applies the oil colors thickly. He works only with his hands, completely without brush or spatula. The results are light-flooded land- and cityscapes created through relief-like, thick application of paint that are three dimensional, and from a distance, almost photorealistic.
Apart from thoroughly enjoying the exhibition I also loved totally simplistic photography with the Leica M and the 35mm Summicron lens.
Wish you a great Thursday!