One Photo, three Ladies, three Stories
Here you will find texts to photographs we took during the Lockdown in November 2020.
For each one photo, every one of us will be writing our own story to the same image.
Stay curious, visit us again, we are looking forward to it!
This site will be continued.
Monika Bloch' s photo
Johnta opened his green eyes, his whole body trembling. "No, not again," he scolded. The air in the pillar of the old railway bridge still smelled of the sour breath, the sulfurous princes and the cold smoke of the crooked dog (the long, thin cigar) of the old bridge pillar keeper. The door fell squeaky and very slowly into the lock, the key was turned. So alarm, alarm!
Again, the old man had not managed to press the right buttons to automatically switch the signalling systems on the bridge at night. Johnta short-circuited the cables in his hands briefly (which was quite tricky) and the engine started to buzz. Slowly he took off for his round trip within the bridge pillar, adjusted here and there a lever, pressed two more buttons and scared away the pair of bats, who had already hung comfortably into one of the beams.
He indulged in an extra round, at the top of the pillar, where there was plenty of room for caprioles. He could sense the fresh air outside, faintly recalling the stars he had seen a long time ago and then had never forgotten. And he was sure that at some point he would come up with the right sentence that would be ending his work here, the magical words that he had forgotten about.
The little Sea Robot Phantasos
Conrad is terribly afraid of tomorrow. He can't fall asleep. How is he supposed to be fit and not sleepy tomorrow morning, on this very important day?
Conrad spends his summer holidays with his parents by the sea in a hotel with a pool. For a long time already he had been looking forward to the swimming course which he was supposed to attend. At home, he could so impress his kindergarden friends if he heads into the outdoor swimming pool for swimmers on their next visit without his securing blowup wings! Konrad finally doesn't want to be a coward, anymore, he will prove it to them.
At the end of the swimming course, all students must also swim in the open sea tomorrow. To prepare them, the coach went to the beach with them today and told them interesting things about swimming in the sea. What´s important, what could be dangerous and what to watch out for. If Conrad passes tomorrow the swimming in the sea without aids and also a short test about the swimming rules, he will get the little “seahorse award”. Then he will be a certified sea-swimmer! Conrad had completely forgotten until that moment that he was terribly afraid of the marine animals that would live in the depths and could drag him down. And when the coach also told them about an invisible current, which the swimmers can be sucked in a water vortex, panic fear erupted in Conrad, before tomorrow and especially for the sea. This fear was noticed by someone who is specially equipped for this, the octopus female, Athena, because octopuses can smell fear by sweat. When Conrad tentatively took a few steps into the sea with his feet, Athena was immediately alarmed and she knew: Phantasos has to take over this case, only he will be able to help. The little robot therefore immediately is setting off in the evening and swoops, he slips into Conrad's dreams. He´s coming on his underwater motor seahorse, beckons Conrad cheerfully and invites him to come along with him. Conrad is enthusiastic about everything that Phantasos is showing him: the bright red sea tomatoes, the gracefully dancing sea anemones in the underwater current and also the sea urchin with the long pointed black spines. Colorful fish wave to them as they ride from the seabed to the sea surface. That's what it looked like down here, that's beautiful, isn't it, Conrad? Phantasos inquires with Conrad. He nods radiantly at his new friend. And tomorrow, when you have the swimming test in the sea, I'm back here and watch out for you, agree? Yes! Now Conrad is no longer afraid! If you come to the beach with me, you, Phantasos, will have to accompany me. Now the little funny robot´s eyes suddenly flicker in panic. I don't dare to go to the surface! But why? Conrad wants to know from his new friend, who rides so courageously through the seas. I'm scared of the air! Conrad looks at him in disbelief and grins amusedly. What should happen to you in the air? There I´ll start to rust, and then I disintegrate into my parts, the little robot explains to him. Conrad wouldn't have had thought, that even a robot is afraid! I think now I will be able to help you, said Conrad happily. If I am going to paint you, in the air you won´t can't rust anymore, it's like smearing against sunburn. Yes, that's how we´ll do it! Tomorrow after the swimming test I am going to paint you, agree? Agreed!
Let's calculate: How long have I served several gentlemen faithfully? It was a beautiful motorbike, red with black and lots of chrome. The parts surrounding me were bright and shiny. Every year I was examined for my "state of mind" and later also more often in the workshop, which I knew very well by now. But every time after some black and greasy hands had screwed on me, everything was fine again. In winter I had a holiday. Could finally rest a bit. But as soon as the first rays of sunshine appeared on me through the blind window panes of the garage, I knew it would start again, soon.
I scurtailed all the curves up and down the mountains. First in the Black Forest, Feldberg, Belchen, Schauinsland, Kandel I knew already inside out. Then it became more interesting. We went to Switzerland, past many lakes, high up the passes and then also to Austria.
Gee, that was fun! My last owner was particularly daring. He took the curves so tightly that he slammed his knees along the tarmac. I was a little scared and anxious. Sometimes thought of simply denying my service. But what would have happened to me then? I didn't want to land in the scrapyard. Never!
At some point, however, he overestimated his speed. Downhill, he flew out of a bend. I got dizzy, everything revolved around me until I finally landed at the foot of a big fir tree. I was alone. The parts around me no longer existed and my lord, he had not survived.
Later I was pulled out by heavy equipment. What now? I heard I was going to go to the scrap. I couldn't allow that to happen. I took all my energy together and created two little green lights.
The people around me were completely confused. Now I became interesting. Many came to see the phenomenon. An art student was so enthusiastic about me that he was still tinkering with me and gave me the name Robbi. So, I came well-guarded in a glass box. It is located in a tunnel underneath the station. I am blinking, waving now at everyone who passes bye. From time to time, I am also photographed. I like my retirement.
Margit Gelhard's photo
With long legs, he staggers along the edge of the forest. Energetic, almost furious. Everything that has accumulated in his heart flows through the long legs into the big steps, through the foliage carpet, directly into the cold, damp earth: disappointment and pent-up feelings, accumulated resin and this deep feeling of being lost. He had never thought he would go that way. How many years did he stand there, reliably, with a large canopy of leaves in the summer giving shade? How often did the little donkey rub its back on the trunk and writhed well when all the insects, the dust and the lint fell from its fur to the ground. Now it flowed, the resin from the pores and it crackled in the main branches.
He thought back to the moment when the big fir tree came along by helicopter and the big hole that the three men had already prepared. It shuddered at him. The new tree stood hugely, spreading its branches powerfully and then it was decorated. Fairy lights, lametta, cardboard hearts from the children of the nearby kindergarten, colorful gift parcels packed by the bigger ones from the schoolhouse by the creek and many white paper stars. The Samichlaus and its two Schmutzlis stumbled out small clouds of breath with zeal, and in the corners of their eyes a tear froze, with joy over all the splendor. The expansive fir tree made the little Samichlaushouse look small, but the glitter of the lights and the decorated branches showed everyone that this was a very special place.
But he, he had had enough and set out on his way without even looking back. How smooth and even its trunk was, how dense and light the branches, which now devoured without leaves and clearly visible in the sky, even let the stars shine through at night.
His rootwork scurplendes a bit in the foliage – would there be a new place here or there to find a new home? He stops, looks around in peace and wants to take his time to root again.
Oh, I can´t believe it! Have you been waiting for me?
For all these years?
Thought I would never see you again, as you had always been looking out for the young girls and women, maybe a jealous man would have come up with the idea to ..... Well, I didn't want to imagine it. The greater now is my joy to meet you here. May I take photograph? You're still beautiful. Sure, thirty years ago you were a little slimmer, but now - that's yours! You´ve been wondering for sure why I just had left you behind at that time and never came back. I had my reasons. You´ll remember, I had introduced you to some of my boyfriends and just feared that after this you would resent me. And then I got a job offer, which I couldn't resist to take and moved away from here. Believe me, it was not easy for me to leave you all alone here, but I hoped that another one would come to see you in my place and you would not miss me so much. I've travelled around the world a lot, but I've never found a man like you, again. I´ve never forgotten you.
You hadn't told me your name that time. Will you do it now? Oh, you're called Bark by your last Name, beautiful name! No, I didn´t meet such a man in Africa, Asia or anywhere else. You are absolutely unique.
Are you really happy that I am visiting you here, even though there is now a fence around you to protect you safely from me? The fence is not an obstacle for me. It doesn't bother me. I am running my old paths and woe, someone gets me stupid.
It's a pity, but I have a bigger distance ahead of me, today. Excuse and don't be angry with me. I am so glad that you are doing well and that I have found you, again. Very soon I will come back, promise. I now live very close to you. Please, wait for me!
Listen to the trees
Karin closed her eyes and waited to see what picture she would see today. She enjoyed this hour with her therapist to immerse her in new layers of her consciousness and let go of her problems for a short time.
Mum had given her a voucher for five visits to Manu for Christmas. She felt that Karin urgently needed therapeutic support and relaxation. At first Karin had been really angry, what did Mum actually think? This was typical again: falling by the back door into the house, not addressing anything, and indirectly prescribing to Karin what she had to do. That's what Mum thought was good and meaningful. For three months, the letter with the voucher on the shoe box in the front room had been laying under the red ceramic box. When she grabbed the rappel again and thoroughly cleaned up her apartment, the letter fell into her hands. She had completely forgotten it. Displaced, Manu would say. Did her Mum forebode her separation from Fabian?? And then she wisely foresighted given her these vouchers? Maybe Mum was more empathetic than she had previously thought.
Even today came the same picture to her as last time: Karin wore a wide, bright dress, walked through a beech forest and sat down under a particularly old tree. This time, she felt like it wanted to talk to her. When she told Manu about this picture, the therapist encouraged her to ask the tree what he wanted from her. To her greatest astonishment, she did, and didn't feel stupid, Fabian would have said it in disgust.
When she returned home, she decided to follow the tree's suggestion. She wrote on a piece of paper, what she most wanted, burned it in a bowl, and found a tree in a nearby forest that particularly pleased her. Underneath it she scattered the ashes of the note, sat down and waited, while leaning against the trunk of the tree. And really, she felt that the tree spoke to her.
On her next visit to the forest, she had a notepad and her camera with her, photographing trees, guts, leaves, everything she liked but had never noticed before. The many thoughts and suggestions that flowed as if by itself to her paper here under the trees, complemented the wonderful photos and she dared to make her secret wish to write her first book: "Listen to the trees".
Eva Heimböck's photo
Imagine a light´s coming up...
In three weeks, the deadline for a short story is running out. This is a prerequisite that Karin could be assigned a seminar "Writing short stories" in the autumn semester. Only the top ten will be taken. Now the picture was laying in front of her that the random generator had assigned for her as input. Lamps could be seen on it, which seemed to hang inside, but somehow in the forest. Cool, Karin had thought and leaned the photo on the screen on her desk. This is not a problem, I love such images that stimulate the imagination where everything is still possible.
Of the three weeks, 18 days had already passed. The photo was still leaning on the screen, but Karin's joy at it had given way to unspeakable frustration, which had poured over her in self-deprecation in recent days. I can't think of anything, but this stupid seminar, why did I choose this, I can't even write, Karin sobbed into her favorite cushion, the one with the cat's head and the protruding ears made of grey fur. The next moment, she boxed into it and threw it into the corner of the room. I will study something else! Now the anger was out of her and all her energy with it. She sat in front of her desk, the photo still leaning on the screen, as if it was waiting for Karin to finally deal with it. And what kind of story should I write?? About lamps that hang in the room, but somehow in the forest? Who has been thinking of such a stupid thing?
Karin took the photo in her hand, turning it back and forth, hoping to be inspired by it to get a story. But then she opened the desk drawer, pulled out the little silver handicraft scissors and cut out the lamps including cables. The rest of the photo ended up in the bin. Imagine the light´s going out, say what would you do? She hummed the old song. She threaded the cut-out lamps onto a red-and-white butcher cord, stretched them through the room and was satisfied. “Bled kannst sei, oba z'helfen muast da wissen, her Austrian Grandpa's favorite saying came into her mind. (You can be stupid, but you should know, how to help yourself) True, she grinned happily. I let the seminar go, I wasn't really interested anyway. Mum had always wanted me to make something out of my writing talent. No, enough with writing, studying German is something breadless! Thank you dear lamps, now a light has come up at me. I will mention you in my biography as my first installation!
I'll go to the art academy as from autumn she typed it into her phone, pressed to send and immediately went offline. She didn´t owe her Mum any explanation.
What we see is not always true. Even animals take advantage of the phenomenon of sensory illusion by adapting perfectly to their surroundings in order to confuse their pursuers or thereby make prey.
An African legend tells of a butterfly that fluttered into a Mopane forest while fleeing from a bird. Exhausted, he had to settle on a leaf and would have been completely lost had it not been for the leaves to turn into the shape of butterflies at that moment. It was saved.
In Botswana we drove in a Landrover one kilometer out on a salt lake without leaving a trace. Everything around us was just white. Suddenly the driver stopped and asked, "So, and who will find back now?" We would rather skip the story of his experience a year ago, when the vehicle slowly sank and they only came out with great difficulty. In the distance we thought we could see bushes and pointed in this direction. Now completely concentrated he drove on, but the bushes did not come any closer. We had fallen into the trap of the Fata Morgana. Without a compass we would probably have been lost.
In New York, I had the opportunity to visit a gallery where the famous Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, exhibited her paintings, textile sculptures and installations for a short time. In the queue, a man from New Zealand told me that he had waited four hours in the freezing cold and blizzard the day before he was let into the Infinitiy-Room for just one minute. So, I took the half hour of waiting time that was now in front of me freezing, patiently. Finally, inside the building, only four people were allowed into the room for these 60 seconds, in front of which we were now waiting expectantly. The door opened, instantly I was enveloped by red balls. Hesitantly I went a few steps further without knocking on anywhere. There was no bottom, no top, no left or right. The color changed to white, yellow, blue, green, then red again. Far too fast the spectacle was over again. Outside, I had to reorient myself. Only a few visitors were allowed into another room. Except for a ladder that was pointed upwards in the middle, lit bright blue, everything around me was completely black. Uncertainly, I moved towards the light, the color of which also changed here. It wasn't until I stood right next to it that I wasn't on my own anymore. A look down gave us the feeling of being pulled into a hole. The ladder seemed to go into the endless. Magical experiences, just by the skillful setting of mirrors.
The optical illusion, it was only discovered in 1889 by the German psychiatrist and sociologist Franz Müller-Lyer.
We find them in many areas of life.
Our senses should always be on guard.
Family Lamp takes a break during the evening walk
They've been on the road for quite a while, the lampshades with their friends. All four children, completely torn apart already by playing in the forest, gave themselves impatiently.
"Let's take a break and refuel a little bit," father Lamp suggested. There is a protected shelter at the front, there will be a good place to stay. The lamps and their friends took off the cables and hung themselves in the devices off the ceiling.
They swung quietly in the light breeze. "How nice it is!" said Mother Lamp, "finally feeling relaxed and enjoying a different environment. One becomes quite dizzy, if one is hanging all day long only in the same place, having nothing to do.
And then in the evening, always this hustle and bustle, having to be on the go and immediately bring a glow into the bulb, that´s going to kill me one day." She rocked energetically back and forth. "The Krauskopf is hanging on the long cable again! He's so playful. I'm surprised how long it will take until he´s finding out the right cable length. It's not that we all have to have our children on the same level, but they should be slowly fitting into the scheme. Her friend says, “but I do hope, very much, that he will find out one or the other off the other two. "Sometimes a bit more variety than these eternal forest walks would also do us some good,"says FatherLamp, "I always think the floodlights, are in a good position. They've made it, they are there, where the coins are rolling, there, where the important people are. But we should have been on the road with more power, but it's too late now – not to change, but still to regret." The adults went silent, rocking and looking into the twilight. Soon it will be time to uncable yourself for the way home.
Monika Bloch' s photo
Now they have finally listed it!
It used to be called simply Waldbad because it was in the middle of the forest. At first, it was actually just a pond enclosed by hedges, where the changing rooms, toilets and a small kiosk were located. Today we would call it a natural swimming pool. Over time, however, the pond was transformed into a large pool and the first rows of trees thinned out to create a larger lawn for sunbathing. It was fed from the village stream, so the water was always quite clean but phew, what cold water! But as a child I knew no shyness.
Why do I call it Buddy now? Just imagine, in the 1950s, for the first time after the Second World War, a swimming match was held in our historic baths between Germany and Italy. Carlo Pedersoli was on the Italian team. He looked like a young god. Carlo swam a European record and later even took part in the Olympics. This athletically built Roman and ladies' man was none other than the later Bud Spencer from the film "4 Fists for One Hallelujah", which most of my age will probably remember. Now that our old forest pool had become a modern steel pool, a new name was needed. That's how it came to be called "Buddy" today. For the inauguration, the actor, who had grown old in the meantime, even came from America himself. Our old Waldbad became famous overnight through the press.
The changing rooms, however, were never changed, only painted once to prevent the wood from weathering. Even the curtains have survived all these years. Maybe they were changed once, but the colours were always the same.
What have I experienced there? I could tell you a lot of things. So much goes through my mind. I can still hear the noise of running around, playing hide and seek and ... I'll tell you this much: this is where I had my first kiss! Well, it didn't stop there, of course. He looked like Mark Spitz. How I was in love! And later - one night we even climbed over the hedge and swam in the moonlight. So romantic!
Oh yes, I associate my fondest memories with this "Buddy".
So it had to be listed!
Loosely based on a true story
by Margit Gelhard
We have experienced so much!
In a moment he will come, the famous filmmaker with his whole crew and will shoot scenes where we are the centre of attention. Not the stars and starlets of the film circus, no us, the wardrobe curtains in the old bathhouse. Who would have thought it!
For almost a hundred years we have seen everything there is to see around summer bathing: lots of naked skin, shiny from sun cream or water droplets and of course swimwear from many decades. People took shelter behind us to change clothes, but much more often than you might think, also to get emotions back in check. In moments of fizzled declarations of love, after a big argument, in despair at not being understood, that's when you don't stand upright on the wooden boards and look out at the river. You want to crawl away, hide, be alone, cry a little or at least kick the side boards with your foot.
We gave lovers the necessary cover for a first kiss or a shy embrace. And puffed ourselves up for more privacy when things got heavier with the liking and hugging and kissing. And sometimes we saw them again, the lovers, first as couples, then as families.
We were there for all those who needed us - for generations. Regardless of where they came from and whether they came back. We do not judge, we only observe and try to classify what our task will be in the next moment. A little more appreciation would do us good. But most of the time we are hardly noticed. And yet - without us it would be very different here.
So today we are in the limelight, or maybe not? Are we just scenery and staffage or will there be that moment when we can fill the screen in our nostalgic glamour for a few moments? Where we are perceived for what we really are: Contemporary witnesses from 100 years of bathing culture with diverse stories and experiences.
The wedding day
"Look, Hasi, there it was, in number 54! I can still see you today..."
"No, but surely not, it was 56, you can believe me. Women remember things like that!!!"
"You've never had any connection with numbers! And now you want me to believe that..."
"What, I have no connection to numbers? But now it's thirteen! I still know by heart the phone number I used to call you in the dormitory. Zero six six two, twenty three..."
"Wrong, totally wrong! That's not even the right area code! I'd like to know who you used to call while I was studying. Surely it was Herman, I sensed even then that you had something going with him!"
"Are you crazy?"
"Me? Ha, my ass! Now I finally have proof of your infidelity!"
"Tell me, do you have sunstroke? I packed your sun hat, where is it now? It's not in the bag!"
"I'm not a little child to put on that ridiculous sun hat. You want to make me a laughing stock and make sure no one looks at me? Admit it! And by the way, I threw that stupid hat into the Limmat!"
"And now, what do we do?"
"Now we turn off the stupid dictaphone and send the recording to Mr. Therapist as proof!"
"Yeah, that's what he gets for claiming we can't argue."
"Exactly. We can, but we won't. Now let's celebrate!"
"Where? At number 56, like when you gave me...?"
"No, Hasi, in number 54, how many times do I have to tell you....?"
And if they haven't died, they're still celebrating each other today.