Along with the new year, more and more Christmas trees are appearing on the streets of Hamburg. At first they make their entrance alone, being dropped here and there, but soon they form assemblies or piles on the sidewalk near street corners and intersections, huddling together as if to find strength in numbers to avoid the unavoidable pickup by the waste collection crew.
There is an ebb and flow to this seasons of postchristmas: The city’s cleansing department arranges to pick up the trees on two scheduled dates after the usual end of christian Christmas festivities on the 6th of January. Even before this, the first lone trees can already be seen as early as New Years Day, as if eager to get out of the houses and appartments. Their numbers peak around the appointed collection dates, after which the trees all but disappear from the streets. The best trees, however, appear later, sometimes much later.
Unable to rely on strength in numbers, and slyly displaying their former owner’s trangsgressive behaviour of missing the scheduled dates for pickup, these rare specimen of bone dry latecomers can appear as far removed from Christmas as Easter, contrasting with a surrounding changed by the coming of spring and the distance from the holiday season. These are the prized, clearest expressions of postchristmas, which require persistence and sheer luck to find.
Lately I have been experimenting with rephotography, the precise reproduction of an earlier photos perspective to illustrate the effects of passing time. Often, historical photographs are used as the basic material, but of course you can use any photos, even your own.
Shown here are photos of the Morris column advertising “Kultur in Hamburg” in Moorweidenstraße, one taken during the first winter of Corona in early 2021, the other taken in late summer of 2022. They illustrate the effect the pandemic had on cultural activities in the city.
On June 30 we finally left Yukuhashi for Hamburg, arriving back in our usual dwelling on July 1. Little bleary, worse for wear and tear, but happy to be back. We had left Europe as two and came back as three to a place that had changed as well, arriving one and a half months later than we had originally planned.
Coincidentally, our flight with JAL was the first one by that airline between Japan and Europe since the Covid-19 outbreak. Things seem to slowly creep back to some measure of normal, and we too are trying to fit back into our usual lifes. But like the river you cannot step in twice, things are not quite the same anymore, making us accept new roles to fill from now on.
One role that I nevertheless intend to continue to play on this stage will of course be the humble photographer. In Yukuhashi, I exposed and developed 38 cartridges of Fujifilm Neopan Across 100 II, with the last two rolls of film developed on the morning of our flight back to Hamburg. Whenever I will find the time for it in the next few weeks I will work on editing a small spread of pictures showing what we saw in Yukuashi between March and June. Other projects — more on those later — are forthcoming as well.
Exhibition shown at the nachladen (Sternstraße 17), December 7th, 2019 to January 4th, 2020.
On display were 12 b&w risograph prints of Christmas trees after Christmas. At the exhibition’s opening around six o’clock, my brother Frank read from a text he wrote for the catalogue accompanying our exhibition.