Close to Home
Some of our blippers live or travel far and wide and share photos from their exotic locations. Others enjoy sharing the details of their lives close to home.
One such blipper is Christin (aka Chrissel), whose mostly black and white images of the ordinary-made-extraordinary have earned her quite a following.
A life close to home
Christin lives in a 5000-people village in Germany at the border with Poland and the Czech Republic and seldom strays far away from it. She was born, christened and married in that village, and raised her own family of three (two daughters and a son) there. She is soon to become a grandmother, which she admits “feels kind of weird.”
The big family house belonged to her grandparents and is now shared with her sister, husband and their six children, as well as her parents. “Our spaces aren’t big,” she says, “but it’s always been enough and it’s cozy.” Her extended family is just minutes away, “through our neighbor’s chicken farm.” Christin doesn’t drive but loves biking or taking the train.
With her own children grown and a husband who works away from the home, Christin is often on her own and loves reading, knitting, crocheting, and of course, photography. A constant companion she adores (as her followers well know) is her cat Elli whom she found at a shelter and calls her ‘angel with four paws.” Elli often joins her in her trips up North to visit her husband.
Photography as solace
When asked how she got started on photography, Christin says she’s always taken photographs and made old-fashioned albums – as did her parents.
But eight years ago, she went through a rough patch. “Life got really dark and hard and I wanted to see and keep every little moment that made me smile and feel that my soul was still alive.” She adds that she thinks it was “like therapy -- without a therapist! To this day, I still feel peace and I smile when taking photos.”
Learning English also helped keep her sane. She often reads books or watches movies in English and enjoys doing crossword puzzles. She indulges in the lost art of writing real letters and cards. Christin is happy to report that everyone survived the crisis and that it made her stronger: “Before it, my world was small: I was a mum and a housewife and loved it with all my heart. Having grown up in the former GDR and without TV, the world never seemed big; I had to find my way and I did… slowly.”
Christin’s photographic skills are self-taught and she’s never taken a course. She recalls going on an outing once with a group of photographers but didn’t enjoy being told what to photograph and how: the only photographs she liked from that outing are the ones she took “secretively.”
B&W as a signature style
Most of Christin’s photographs are in black and white. She credits Blipfoto for helping her discover that style after she joined the MonoMonday challenges. She prefers b&w shots because “they often speak more and are more intense. Sometimes color can distract from a story a photo wants to tell.”
She also likes that old-fashioned feeling that results from monochromatic images: “it feels like I’m bringing something alive from the past and that just appeals to me. It feels like art too.”
She does shoot in color and if you look hard enough, you can find some colored renditions in her journal as well.
What advice would you give blippers?
She hesitates a bit before simply stating “you should love taking pictures.” She adds that everyone is different: some, like her, just go and see if they can ‘feel a shot;’ others need more of a plan or an idea (like the challenges Blipfoto offers) to be creative; others yet just like the idea of doing a journal and not missing a photo that tells of their day.
Mostly, she says “everyone should do it the way he or she feels right and good about it. It has to make you feel happy.”
Christin was encouraged to join by a friend who enjoyed her photos. It took her a few weeks until she was ready and brave enough for it. To Christin’s self effacing persona, joining such a platform seemed too big, too public, and she wasn’t entirely trusting either the internet or her own skills.
She has not regretted her decision. She says her love of photography has grown here and she’s learned to believe in what she does, not the least of which by learning from what others post.
“I’m a person who always feels safe and good about a certain routine,” she says. “There was a routine in our family life: same times for meals, same times for bed – with a story before. Now blipping belongs to my routine. And,” she quips “I hate changing routines.”
But, what keeps her here beyond the discipline of posting daily is the community and the friendships she’s made. Blipping and sharing her life is an integral part of her day now, as are some newfound friends – even penpals! “If I left now,” she concludes, “I would feel like I’m losing friends and that would be so wrong!”
Remarks collected by Michele (aka Alsacienne)