one day at a time

day 17: taking the plunge

taking the plunge

taking the plunge Β© Verena Fischer 2011

The other day I read in a book by David Hurn and Bill Jay called “On being a photographer” the tip that your camera is the best excuse to go to places where you’d feel uncomfortable without it. Hurn describes the situation of a ballroom dancing competition where he’d feel very out of place if he’d just walk in there without his camera. He wouldn’t know the culturally appropriate things to do or to say; he wouldn’t know any people and someone might ask him what he was doing there and all of this would disconcert him greatly. With his camera however, he can be out of place and be accepted easily by people.

Yesterday I had the perfect opportunity to put this tip into action when I was taking pictures of the building housing a public indoor swimming pool in Berlin Wedding. The building had lots of really strange and creepy graffiti on it, so I was walking around the building taking pictures of it. Then I noticed quite a few young people standing in front of the building and they didn’t exactly look like the usual swimming pool crowd. They were trendy kids with piercings and strange alternative clothes, smoking cigarettes with a certain “cool”. And since when is it cool to hang out at a public swimming pool in a city like Berlin? My curiosity was aroused.

Still, I was hesitant to go inside since I didn’t know anyone. I just stood outside near the entrance taking pictures of a door that was marked with the sign of a space travel agency – another indicator that this was no ordinary swimming pool – and listened to the conversations of these kids to find out what was going on. Apparently there was some sort of exhibition. And then the penny dropped: the building is now used for exhibitions and young artists have their studios in there! Indeed, my camera was my ticket to get in. I just walked in there as if it was the most normal thing, looked around as if I was looking for someone I knew and then (still slightly hesitantly) walked past some people following my instincts. I didn’t look at the exhibition and just took pictures of the building, walked around and even looked at the studios of some artists. It all felt very adventurous and if anyone had asked me what I was doing there I would have had an excuse “Oh, I’m just taking some pictures, do you mind?”

Keep in mind though: if you want to take the plunge, check whether the pool has water first! Especially if you want to do things like venturing into abandoned buildings. You don’t want to end up all alone in a building that is unsafe!


10 responses

  1. SaraPey

    Okay, now I desperately need to try that! I’m going to pick up my camera and run out the door!

    August 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm

  2. This looks like a very interesting place (and sounds like quite an adventure)!
    I have to admit I’m a bit shy about situations like that, but I’m glad that you were brave about it – you’ve wound up with an amazing shot! πŸ™‚

    August 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    • I have to say that I’m also quite shy about these things. I didn’t get myself to talk to anyone for example. Glad you like the photo!

      August 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm

  3. brilliant! will definitely bear that in mind. πŸ™‚

    August 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm

  4. After oooing and ahhhing at the leading lines the next thing I noticed was the empty pool. Good for you going outside your comfort zone – GREAT image.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog πŸ™‚

    August 30, 2011 at 4:42 am

  5. The lines and the combination of cold and slightly warmer colors make this photo interesting. Well seen and well made. And it is good you took the chance to enter this building, otherwise this photo would have not been made. The room seems clean and in order, I think the swimming pool is not in use just temporary.
    PS: did you take any photo of the artist studios? just curious, sorry.

    August 30, 2011 at 9:58 am

    • I think they keep everything quite clean, because they have people coming to exhibitions. Upstairs I found quite a bit of rubble which suggests that the place hasn’t been used as a swimming pool for quite a while. I didn’t take pictures of the artist studios since nobody was there and I couldn’t ask for permission to take pictures of someone’s work! Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

      August 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm

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