Anyone else at their wits end from being incessantly bombarded by Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads and emails? I can’t wait for this extended torture to be over. I ranted about it already last year, but things seem to have gotten worse with the extended pandemic. It is cruel and unjust punishment to take advantage of all those stuck at home in front of the pc but flooding the inbox, phone, and even TV with all the sales. Why of why? It’s not just the online shops anymore, but the service industry has also jumped on the bandwagon, and much to my horror, so have the photography platforms and services. Good heavens, as if we had the time, space or the money to burn!
Le’t talk about winter – and begin with the more pleasant aspect of it: photography. For those of us into zen photography and minimalism, this is the perfect season to indulge. The photograph above is definitely not new but is is one of my favourites as it was a turning point for me as I embarked on my life in Berlin. When I first left Berlin back in 2006, I was glad to turn my back on this city and leave the much hated winters behind. I craved for warmth and sunshine, and was only too eager to return to the tropics. Fast forward 15 years later, I actually like winter now as long as I am well-equipped with my camera! I still crave warmth and sunshine, just like my cats, but there are ways of getting around that and there is nothing that music and a good cup of coffee won’t solve!
Winter is just about the only time you can indulge in poignant minimalism and I found myself awaiting the first snowfall this weekend just so I could point the camera lens at it again. In the meantime, let me remind you why I fell in love with winter minimalism:
As Germany braces itself for the whiplash of the Fourth and Fifth Wave of COVID-19 with the emergence of the new Omicron variant, events are shutting down all around the country, gatherings are being clamped down on, travel restrictions are back up for some countries, and the list goes on ad nauseam. I can’t help but think back to December 2019 when we were told that by Spring 2020 it would all blow over. Bullshit! It just got started and if anything, things got worse. Then December 2020 rolled around and were told that 2021 would be the revival and recovery year. Well, for a few short weeks in June and July it certainly felt that way. Heck, even those with mental health issues like me began socialising again in August. Now here we are again, December 2021 and on the verge of another disaster, with COVID-19 burnout, and being swamped by booster shot campaigns. We laughed at the film Groundhog Day a few decades back, but guess what, the joke’s on us! Where, oh where do we go from here?
The pandemic is not the only source of unrest in Germany at the moment, and the rest of Europe for that matter. This week marks the transition of power and the Angela Merkel era official comes to an end. Her legacy will be overshadowed by the political disaster created by the pandemic, and the country is at its most disunited since WWII. The civil unrest and disillusion can be felt at all levels and in all sectors, with all concepts and precepts of public service and institutional management being rendered incompetent and inapplicable.
Winter 2021 is the walking definition of a mystery box that can explode in your face and all hell will break loose thereafter. With tension building in Eastern Europe, and between the UK and France, we are in for a bleak rough ride.