Here is my view of Cologne and Photokina. Starting, literally, with my view: from my hotel room window. Hotel windows in Europe don’t treat you like small children. They actually open, and allow you to look out, to hang out to take photos (something I’ve often put to good use), or even to fall out (something I haven’t managed yet…)
There are other items that strike an American as different, on arriving in Germany. Here’s a tall glass of beer, ordered and drunk at seven in the morning. There were several other beers of various sizes and types being consumed in this airport cafe at the same time. Not something the American Puritan Ethic would be too comfortable with. I was still working on cappuccino at that time of day.
And here is a smoking room in an airport! One of several, of varying sizes. This meets the needs of nonsmokers, by having a ventilation system with negative pressure, so no smoke escapes. But it serves the needs of smokers too; something we don’t seem willing to do in the US.
A new airline is a new opportunity to abuse the universal graphics on the safety card. Here are a couple of my favorite from Lufthansa. The first appears to be directions for using an automatic milking machine. This is something I might expect from Swiss Air, but not from Lufthansa.
Next is an illustration that appears to be telling you that if you have legs this nice, you are free to have them in the aisle. This illustration is way too hot to be willing to date Stumpy, the dot-headed, no-hands-or-feet fellow on US signage.
Germany is not all beer, cigarettes, and hot signage, however. Here’s a photo studio, complete with an iMac, and diffused lighting, on the street across the river from the Cologne Convention Center. They don’t seem too concerned about the threatening weather; if you aren’t willing to do something outside in gray weather, then in Northern Europe, you won’t be outdoors much between September and May. No nude models on this set; though I have seen them in street shoots in this neighborhood previous years. Nice smile from the computer operator, however.
I hope this fulfills the promise of local color. I’ll try to move on to actual photography news in my next post.