Categories
History

“The Diaries of Friedrich Kellner”

Photo of Friedrich Kellner in 1934. Scanned from family album by Professor Robert Scott Kellner

I am reading the recently published second and final volume of the biography of Adolf Hitler by German historian Volker Ullrich. It is entitled Hitler: Downfall: 1939-1945. Roger Abrams, writing in the New York Journal of Books, calls Ullrich’s work “a remarkable treatise on the malevolence of power in modern times.”

Early in the volume, Ullrich commends the diaries of Friedrich Kellner. Kellner was a court official in the western German town of Laubach who had no special access to wartime information. Kellner was repulsed by the Nazi regime and kept detailed diaries based on what he read in the German press and by talking to people. He hoped his diaries would be a warning to future generations about blind faith.

Ullrich explains that Kellner’s diaries “show that it was entirely possible for normal people in small-town Germany to see through the lies of Nazi propaganda and learn of things like the ‘euthanasia’ murders of patients in psychiatric institutions and the mass executions carried out in occupied parts of eastern Europe.”

The Kellner diaries were published in 2011 in German and now are available in English. The diaries are also the subject of a touching 2007 TV documentary on YouTube created by Kellner’s American grandson.


Sources:

Ullrich, Volker. Hitler: Downfall (p. 6). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Categories
Photography

The Elusive Search for a Small, Light Full Frame Camera

Scott Kelby explains that size and weight are not good reasons to switch to mirrorless cameras from DSLRs:

It’s time to face it — the new full-frame camera bodies from Nikon, Sony, and Canon aren’t really that much smaller (if at all), and if they are lighter, we’re talking a few ounces (not pounds). This isn’t awesome because one huge reason so many people were attracted to mirrorless in the first place was the dream of a super high-quality camera without the bulk and weight of a DSLR. That dream is fading away as many of the new bodies being released are relatively close in size and weight to their DSLR counterparts.

Kelby goes on to add that if:

you actually want a legit super lightweight mirrorless body and lens, you almost have to leave Sony, Canon and Nikon full frame and go with a crop sensor or Micro 4/3, like a Fuji or a Lumix with a fixed pancake lens (nothing wrong with Fuji’s, Lumix or Olympus cameras btw, all three make great mirrorless cameras), but if your goal is a lightweight carry-around camera that takes great photos, why not just use your iPhone’s camera instead?

This post resonated with me. I own a Canon R5. There are times I am happy to carry it. But quality Canon RF lenses are both heavy and expensive. For example, Canon’s RF 50mm F1.2 L USM lens weighs over two pounds (950 grams) and costs $2,299. That’s a heavy and expensive kit.

Sometimes, I want to go light. For those times, I have the Ricoh GR III. The Ricoh is small and light. It fits in the palm of my hand. It has a fixed 28mm f2.8 lens and a crop sensor. I think it takes better pictures than an iPhone, especially in low light. But the Ricoh lacks a viewfinder and the ability to change focal length. The screen on the iPhone is great and the iPhone 12 Pro offers three focal lengths.

If you want a small, light full frame digital camera, Leica has two options available: the Leica M and the Leica Q2, each with either a color sensor or a black and white sensor. However, Leicas are expensive. And the Leica M lacks autofocus. I know not everyone values great autofocus, but I sure do. The Canon R5 autofocus is amazing. And the Leica Q2 — like the Ricoh GR III — has a fixed 28mm focal length lens. But the Q2 is much bigger and heavier than the Ricoh GR III. The Q2 won’t fit in a pocket but the Ricoh GR III will.

I would love a small, light full frame mirrorless camera with a viewfinder. But right now, the options don’t seem appealing.

Categories
Photography

Photography Books

Over the years, I have collected books filled with images that have moved me in a lasting way. I am sharing a list of them here. I will update the list over time.

When I arrived in Paris twenty-five years ago, at the age of nineteen, the city I encountered sang to my senses. My heart and mind were immediately stimulated by its light, vibrancy and texture. The French language entered my ears like music, and suddenly communication seemed not merely functional but a celebration of feelings. I quickly grasped that in order to understand Parisians I would have to speak French well; otherwise, I would never be able to get to know the beautiful, mysterious women I was seeing everywhere I looked.

Peter Turnley, An Affair of the Heart, (page 13) 2000

I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.

James Nachtwey
Categories
Photography

Why Photograph?

Today, I’m posting another in an occasional series of quotations exploring why people photograph. Is photography important today and if so why?


In a deeply personal way I feel an image is a poem about time, about “staying the moment.” Photography can defeat time. Images can keep the memory of a loved one alive, hold a moment in history for future generations, be a witness to tragedy or joy. They can also change behavior, stimulate understanding and create a sense of urgency that will move people to action. Photography is the universal language that speaks to the heart.

Sarah Leen, former Director of Photography, National Geographic quoted in Time

Categories
Movies

‘The Art Dealer (L’antiquaire)’

The Art Dealer (L’antiquaire) is a beautiful 2015 French film about a young Parisian woman portrayed by Anna Sigalevitch. She’s searching for paintings stolen from her Jewish family during WWII.

Louis-Do de Lencquesaing who is in the hit French series Spiral does a nice job portraying the woman’s husband.

The cinema-photography is excellent and the slow uncovering of unflattering facts reveals what war brings out in human nature even among those not in power.

Categories
Movies Podcasts

‘White Noise’: A Poignant Look at the Alt-Right

This chilling documentary offers an inside look at white nationalism in the United States (the alt-right), including Richard Spencer, Lauren Southern, and Mike Cernovich:

The documentary was directed by Daniel Lombroso. Lombroso was interviewed on this episode of People of the Pod podcast, which is produced by AJC.

Facts matter.