Baltimore by a zugunruhe

Baltimore is a city I've been wanting to visit for a long time.

I can't say that I knew anything about the area until I became obsessed with Dan Deacon, Death Set, and anything connected to the Wham City collective over a decade ago. I realized that this place was fostering a scene that clicked with me for some reason. 

The first time it hit me that the fascination was real was in 2009 when I flew to Chicago to see the Wham City Round Robin tour with my friend, Miranda. Split over two nights in a reclaimed church, the event consisted of 8-10 bands in a near circle, trading sets every few songs. The idea was that there was no front row and it was pure party. The two nights, Eyes night for slower and visual music and Feet for the dance and punk acts, were my first introduction to Showbeast, Future Islands, Beach House, and many others including my re-intro to Jana Hunter, the Houstonian-turned-Baltimorean that had left for greener pastures. The bands were driven from city to city in retired school busses that were fitted with engines that could run on discarded vegetable oil. There were frequent posts on multiple bands' Myspace page asking for oil donations to keep tour costs low.

Whenever this city is mentioned in the news, it carries the Rust Belt narrative of a former industrial city, ravaged by crime and unemployment. Straying more than six blocks from the harbor in Inner Harbor or Fell's Point could affirm those views. I can't speak from a deep pocket of knowledge but I can speak from what I've seen here and in other cities in the area.

I usually find a strong community of people that pulled together after the bottom fell out of the only industry in town. During boom years, poor commercial planning led cities to lean on one prosperous industry (cars, steel, etc) and once it started to wain, companies cut their losses. This left a void where well-paying jobs and futures existed and is now being filled with anti-capitalist sentiment and a lack of faith in a system that failed them by individual narrow vision.

What this does is create a community that is detached enough from current prosperous industries that there's a lack of influx from Young Urban Professionals to skew the cost of living or cultural landscape. This leaves a city that's large enough to have a scene while leaving artists to have the luxuries of low rent and strong community. 

There's something about cities that lost their charm that breeds these new cultures. New York City in the 70's and 80's gave us inventive punk, Seattle gave us grunge, Omaha set the course for indie bands in the early 00's, and Baltimore produced some of the most amazing and weird content I've seen in years. The infrastructure is there, there's a surge of young spirits from colleges, and all that's missing in some cases is the right confluence of minds.

Having that isolation can be key to creating something wonderful.

Baltimore is wonderful.

Framing by a zugunruhe

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Living in NYC has given me an appreciation for how the surface of a city evolves.

How structures decay, how paint cracks, how advertisements fade, how posters are torn, how the proximity of salt water affects discoloration, how taggers write over others' tags.

Everything comes together in such a beautiful symphony of color and texture, caused by both time and human intervention, that I wanted to capture it in some way other than an iPhone photo here and there (although you can find many on my personal IG: @adamziegenhals).

I will admit that introducing the frame to these photos feels kitschy and hokey. My aim wasn't to make a bunch of Instagram shots and postcards, but to focus the view where I felt a confluence of the project's aim. In the process of shooting—hours spent wandering neighborhoods—I found the frame useful in highlighting what I wanted to capture. It sometimes became the subject itself, leading to some of my favorite shots.

I had the idea of lugging around a frame to do this project for a while, but finding these amazing, albeit beat up, gold frames in a SoHo trash heap kicked things off. How better to frame instances of disregarded beauty, than with an actual discarded frame?
 


Gallery


Framing
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Dreamscapes by a zugunruhe

Dreamscapes concentrates on the lucid views created by the midnight sunlight. While these photos don't capture full light during normal night, they represent the ominous daylight that lingers waiting for the summer solstice to arrive.


Dreamscapes
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Lightwaves by a zugunruhe

During my first weekend in Skagaströnd, I trekked out to the nearby seacliffs at night and climbed out to the edge with my camera, a light, and a long Pavement playlist. Also a few beers. Sitting on the edge of a cliff with strong winds at the end of winter in northern Iceland requires a few beers. 

Lightwaves is my attempt to bring color and beauty to the power of the ocean that surrounds Iceland. Driving along the coast and living in a seaside town, you become aware of how menacing and incredible the water and its tide can be. This collection was produced to add a new face to those crashing sounds.

I spent four nights getting the Lightwaves method down and I'm incredibly proud of what I have to offer here. I was blessed one night with a strong showing of the northern lights which blend perfectly into the background of a few shots.

All photos were taken from the sea cliffs outside of Skagaströnd and are not photoshopped. The only post-production techniques used were minor Lightroom tweaks to correct what Adobe does to Sony raw files.


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Nes/Skagaströnd by a zugunruhe

From March until May I was granted a stay at a wonderful residency in Skagaströnd, Iceland. While my stay was interrupted by a visa issue (turns out Europe is a complicated mess of imaginary lines), I was able to hop in and out of the country and experience this quaint seaside village for most of March and May.

I had no idea what to expect when I applied. Having an extended stay in one of the most uniquely beautiful countries I've ever been to allowed me to take the time to fully grasp the features of Iceland.

The washed brilliance of the muted colors, the smell of salt, and the hoards from the newly burgeoning tourist industry I was happy to escape. Everything worked together to give me a perspective that cherished isolated moments and landscapes.

As driving through Iceland is like transporting yourself through a different planet every twenty miles. It was nice to have a more static environment to work within.

I was able to complete a handful of projects that will be out soon. Including a video trilogy (of sorts) based on Icelandic literature (of sorts).

Photos:
Iceland - South
Iceland - North
Lightwaves
Dreamscapes

Videos:
Lyngbakr
LoveDeath
The Space and time You Have Is Real part 1 (soon)
The Space and time You Have Is Real part 2 (soon)

Skagaströnd


NES


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