About the Showroom
Welcome to my virtual photography showroom and my favorite black-and-white pictures! Because I love authentic photography, I like to present all of my photos created in spontaneous situations. That always includes an inevitable subluminal imperfection, which ensures the beholder his assumption that the position he is observing is not staged—and in most photos, it is not. The situation occurs organically.
Ideally, every subject in the picture seems unaware of the camera. Some of those here showcased photos might seem tedious at first glance. That’s why I like to include the background story behind each black-and-white image, which might reveal the emotional charge those pictures have for me.
— Christian Köhlert
Photographer & Media Artist
STREET KIDS IN BANGUI
The first black and white picture I like to present here is a snapshot I took in Bangui, the Central African Republic’s capital. This place is one of the world’s poorest counties, and due to various conflicts that emerged there periodically, it is pretty hard even to travel there.
One of my favorite black and white shots is the photo of these two boys loitering in front of one of the city’s few gas stations. While everyone else seemed to be pretty shy regarding the idea being portraited, those kids just came to me pretty self-confident, demanded to be photographed, and were striking poses like professionals.
Panasonic GH2 | 50mm Canon LF Lense | F1.4 | 1/1000 | ISO 400
A RANDOM SHOT OF A LOVER
Here is one of my favorite black-and-white photographs. May I introduce you to one of my best friends and ex-partners? Antje is hard to come by when it comes to photography.
The photo above is one of the many shots I took during our Italy vacation with my back then-lover. Antje never felt too much confidence in front of a camera. So it took me a couple of days till she accepted me running in front of her like a Paparazzi without showing any resistance.
Panasonic GH2 | 25mm NOKTON Lense | F1.2 | 1/2000 | ISO 200
MY BELOVED PASTA MONSTERS
CALIFORNIA DREAMING, MALIBU
Somehow, I managed to find the perfect spot to park my motorhome just behind Malibu beach’s fancy houses. For a couple of days, I was living next to Hollywood stars and celebrities. This beachfront is the place were series like “Two And A Half Men” were produced. So imagine how surreal this scenery appeared to me.
One of those evenings, a massive cloud formation was closing in, which created fascinating color effects during sundown. Nevertheless, this very picture is B/W. It still showcases some excellent contrast elements. This photo is a beautiful remembrance of a unique road trip. You can see even more pictures I shot during this period of my California journey.
Panasonic GH4 | 24mm Canon Lense | F2.8 | 1/1000 | ISO 300
Sundown portrait in Oregon
During my stay in Oregon, I documented many daily life situations. I made a series of my friend Berry working in his gardening service or playing with his band “JaSkaMon.” Still, this picture is iconic to me and my time in Oregon. I took this photo almost at the end of my visit, so my friends were already used to the situation where I continuously pointed my camera.
Because of that, Berry gave absolutely no attention to the camera. I guess he even expected me to take a picture of the sundown, but instead, I focused on him and took this picture of a man meaningfully starring in the sunset.
Panasonic GH2 | 25mm NOKTON Lense | F1.1 | 1/80 | ISO 800
A BEAUTIFUL STRANGER
Here is another top member of my favorite black-and-white pictures. In 2016 I met a friend at Lake Tahoe in Nevada. Before we separated, he asked me if I ever picked up a hitchhiker along my road trip through the U.S.A. I replied that I had never been able to do so, but I would not mind.
This question was like a preparation for what would happen soon after. Only a few miles in front of the border to California, I spotted a friendly-looking guy beside a long, straight, right in the middle of nowhere. It was perfect for stopping and picking him up.
I told him about the synchronicity that had just happened and that my friend I had just departed from was appropriately the reason why he was sitting in my car. This confrontation immediately triggered a long and intense conversation lasting for the next 5 hours. When our paths split, we gave each other honest hugs like old friends.
The camera took a photo of us, as you can see above. I had placed it on the dashboard to capture a time-lapse recording. We shared my pizza from last night’s dinner, and my companion rolled us cigarettes. This encounter resonated very deep inside of me. It felt like I just had met an old friend from a past life. This photo is the only documentation of this beautiful moment in space and time.
Panasonic GH4 | 24mm Canon Lense | F16 | 1/25 | ISO 100
Girl in Guerrero Negro
In late 2016, I was in the middle of a road trip with my friend Jens. We were southbound to the tip of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico when his tooth started to hurt. So, we stopped in Guerrero Negro, a small town in the desert, to find a dentist.
After Jens got his tooth pulled, we decided to stay until he fully recovered. The next morning was a big surprise because it was an important day in Mexico to celebrate the revolution for independence. The whole city was on its feet. I grabbed my camera and took literary thousands of photos. One particular shot that I immediately started to like most was a random picture of a small girl looking out of a car.
Panasonic GH4 | 24mm Canon Lense | F2.8 | 1/2000 | ISO 200
SURFER DUDES AT “THE WALL”
“The Wall” is a notorious surf spot on the Baja California peninsula. Living at this remote beach in the desert was a unique experience. The community consists of all kinds of surfer dudes looking for the most exceptional waves the Baja Califonia offers.
Finding new friends and travel mates has been pretty comfortable there. After we left “The Wall,” we formed a pack of six people. Two guys came just came north from San Diego. Two other boys we took along traveled from New Zealand to surf the Baja California. This constellation lasted for more than two months, and what an excellent time we had together.
Panasonic GH4 | 24mm Canon Lense | F2.8 | 1/80 | ISO 300
Hippies at Reid's Farm
What a time that was! Undoubtedly one of my favorite black and white pictures. Reid’s farm was a free camping site close to Lake Taupo in New Zealand. This place was a breeding ground for a new traveling hippie community. I wrote a whole article about my life in this tiny paradise. Unfortunately, it got closed meanwhile.
During my stay at Reid’s Farm, I took thousands of photos, but the image you see here is the most iconic depiction of life, like this little valley along the river. All individuals in the picture were like me, long-term visitors.
Panasonic GH2 | 25mm NOKTON Lense | F2.0 | 1/1000 | ISO 200