obey the photographer

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Last Monday I went to Cologne for a meeting and used to opportunity for a quick walk through one of the pedestrian zones right in the centre. Not exactly the best place to take pictures – people just seemed to go from one shop into another – but I tried to make the best of the situation.

All pictures taken with: Olympus Pen E-PL3 and Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 ASPH.

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

A tourist looking rather professional there with the Kölner Dom in the background. Whenever I see the Dom I remember the factual tidbit that the Allied forces didn’t leave the Dom standing for its historical or cultural significance, but rather to have a good landmark for further bombings …! Of course I learnt that while watching a WW2 documentary on English TV. You just wouldn’t get such information in a German WW2 documentary. English TV late at night seems to only consist of war documentaries or soft porn and so I had plenty of opportunity to watch those English WW2 documentaries in my first week in England. After a full week of watching WW2 porn to drown out the crazy children of my host family I was actually so sick of the children and the WW2 porn that I moved house – a place without children and TV. What a relief! That first week of English TV was enough for the remaining 4 years of my time living there and even when I lived in places that had a TV later on I tended to leave the room when my flatmates were watching. I have only watched TV a couple of times since.

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

These guys were actually rather obnoxious capitalist idiots expecting to get money from tourists for having their picture taken. If you wanna earn money, how about pretending to be able to play a guitar, like we did back in our punk days? Punks today aren’t what they used to be, that’s for sure.

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

I resisted the temptation of going into the Lego shop. I have enough expensive hobbies …!

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

This guy was selling little figures that would cling to walls and windows. He didn’t look too happy with his job.

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

A few years ago I heard this great dialogue in a curry sausage shop down the road from my old flat in Düsseldorf:

“One curry sausage with shashlik sauce, please.”

“A shashlik sausage then?”

“No, a curry sausage with shashlik sauce!”

“So, a sausage with both curry and shashlik?”

“No, just the shashlik sauce.”

“Never mind …!”

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

I kept running around the station to find a train called “STR”, which would normally be a tram. There were no tram tracks anywhere though, neither in front of the station nor at the back. In the end I gave up and took a regional train. I guess STR must have been the subway. Talk about confusing!

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Cologne, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

I was waiting for the train back towards Neuss. Kommerz means something like “bent on selling, no matter what”. Especially when talking about music or art it’s usually a negative judgement on someone selling their ideals. “Ohne Ende” means “without end”. Kommerz ohne Ende precisely sums up what I saw in the touristy area of town, so this sight made me chuckle a bit.

Neuss, Germany | © Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

These girls were running after the train in Neuss. I used to go to school in Neuss, but since I left school many years ago I hardly had any reason to go there apart from passing through the train station. The explanation is that Neuss stinks. This actually goes beyond the obvious, since it literally stinks as well: Depending on the wind it smells either of the oil refinery, the Sauerkraut factory or the sewage treatment plant. People who grew up there don’t even smell it anymore – I guess they tend to think that other places smell strange because they don’t have a funky smell. For me it used to be real torture, so if I need anything while I’m staying with my dad I tend to go to Düsseldorf instead of Neuss, and that although it takes 15 minutes longer and also costs a bit more. Since I remember Neuss as a place with a ton of crazy people – the whole spectrum from ridiculously rich to the worst junkies – it might be worth exploring for street photography though. Maybe next time I’m in the area.

Comments

  • Ralf D.

    Hi Lilly, the third picture is nice: what is the little girl looking at? Also the seventh one: sorry, not Lego… – but the right moment. One of the girls skeptical, the other one joyfully – recognizing a friend? And the last one – will she catch the train? Well, I like these little stories (even if they only exist in imagination). And I like the coincidence (Kommerz ohne Ende). By the way: do you like Curry Wurst?

    • Lilly Schwartz

      Thanks Ralf. Actually, I don’t know what the girl was looking at. As far as I remember there was nothing there. It’s not as if kids need the outside world to experience joy though! I also like such stories and those are exactly the kinds of things I like to document. Just people walking or standing is usually a little boring for me, but if there is a story I get excited!

      I used to like Currywurst, but since I’ve got a ton of allergies now I can’t have it anymore. In retrospect I actually think that they are mostly rather disgusting, especially because of the quality of the meat in the sausage. Just like all fast food one can only tolerate that sort of stuff if one is used to it and addicted to flavour enhancer. As soon as you get off the flavour enhancer for a while even the smell becomes repugnant!

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