With the daily infection rate on the rise again here in Germany, Covid is still dominating our lives, and somehow also my blogging. A couple of days ago, The Significant Other and I visited the Documentation Center of Nuremberg’s historic Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Our first trip to a museum since the start of Covid was the opportunity for some photographic, distanced obervations…
From 1933 to 1938, Nuremberg was the city where the Nazis held their annual Party Rallies. Still visible today are the remains of huge structures in which these propaganda shows were put on display. The exhibition in the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds provides a comprehensive view on the history of the National Socialist dictatorship as well as the Party Rallies.
The principal remaining structure of the Nuremberg Rally Grounds is the never completed torso of the Congress hall, that was supposed to accommodate 50.000 attendees (this wikipedia entry shows some exterior images). In here, the Documentation Center opened in 2001. The permanent exhibition “fascination and terror” explains very well the causes for the Nazis raise to power, the people-manipulating activities of this populistic dictatorship and the fascination, that these gigantic annual events had on the hundreds of thousands of attendants. But it also puts a spotlight on the terrors of the regime, that cumulated in the holocaust and horrors of the second World War with its millions of casualties and vast destructions.
I photographed intentionally in black&white, as I wanted the capture the dark mood of the displays, embedded in a combination of modern steel and glass architecture within the old brick and concrete halls of the Nazi Congress Hall, that was modeled to resemble the Colosseum in Rome.
It made for some interesting Juxtapositions, the images of the cheerful mass rallies, and the silently contemplating, socially distanced and masked observants.
I photographed with my Leica M and the Elmarit-M F/2.8 28mm. Working with a single lens, I fully leveraged the advantages of a light package (not unimportant when you walk three hours through a museum) and a fast prime, that allowed me to shoot without flash in those very dark rooms. Also, being limited to a single focal length, I was forced to “zoom with my feet” and train the eye to search for scenes and compositions that benefit from the wide angle perspective of the 28mm. Before going, I decided on the 28mm because I thought it to be the best lens to capture the atmosphere of the socially distanced observations in a museum during Covid times.
It was fun being finally out and about again, visiting a museum (albeit masked – a bit less fun) and doing some indoor street photography, for which I have given me the assignment to capture the dark mood of this exhibition, further enhanced by the Covid implications.
Have you given yourself a photographic assignment lately, shooting only with a single camera/lens combo? Don’t be intimated , put on your mask (together with proper social distancing the principal way to contain the spread) and go out and shoot.
If you look for more tips and inspirations for your photography, check out my free Learning Center.
Wish you a great Friday!