The World is a Magic Place

I See You, Surrounded By Darkness

fine art fashion photographyI was traveling light with my mind focused on my personal history when I came across you, the girl without a history, without a memory. It seemed that you were destined to perceive the now without any dilution through memory or apprehension. You saw it as a curse, but I cherished your clear eye. I am glad, though, to get you out of there and into a new context of life. We all are our memories, and if we cannot access them it is like through difficult surgery an important part of us is removed.

Fashion often seems to deny memory and the past and the sole idea that there is something other than the now seems to be repulsive to it. But as an art form fashion has to slow down and focus, and fashion photography is the best instrument to achieve that, to achieve the racing time to slow down, the racing time, that wants to run away with our lives. Let us hold on to this moment a bit longer!

The Sorcerer’s Tree

Robert Wilde - The Sorcerer's TreeOne day, I was walking the hills northeast of LA with a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean below me, I noticed a small, dark cloud in the otherwise blue sky. If you live in one of the northern states you may find clouds nothing special, but here in California we can go through a hole week without seeing a single one of them. And if there are clouds, they are small and white, like little sheep hopping over the deep blue sky.

That cloud was small, but dark, and moved at a brisk pace towards the sun. As if it wanted to swallow it. I felt a little bit anxious when I saw it, because the cloud’s shadow on the ground was dark and black and moving towards me.

Then the cloud reached the sun, and at the same time the shadow of the cloud reached me. It swallowed the sun, and it swallowed me. It got dark.

I fell.

When I came to, I was lying on something soft. It was cool, and I smelled the faint, rich smell of undergrowth. I opened my eyes and looked into the dense web of branches intertwining over my head.

I sat up. Looked around. I was in a forest as deep as one could imagine it. Tree stems formed a green hall, and my eyes got lost in a somber distance.

I got up on my feet, and walked on the soft grass. There was a bird in one of the trees. His voice didn’t sound like a regular bird song. It was as if he was relaying a message to a distant master.

And then I felt the presence of something. I looked around. The branches of the trees touched each other, shivering. A deer hopped away into the distance, disappearing in the underbrush. Even the buzzing of the thousands of insects had stopped.

Where was I? What forest was this? I had never seen anything like it. How could I ever get back to where I came from? I turned, but the forest was just as thick on all sides. So I just started to walk, knowing it was a silly thing to do, but I just couldn’t stay put. Something pushed me forward, and my feet obeyed, and I walked.

I walked for hours until I finally came to a a tiny clearing, where a tree stood that seemed to glow from inside out. The wind had raised a bit and I could hear voices whispering in its branches: “Stay! Stay!”

I approached the tree. And the forest fell silent again. Then I heard the steps. They were coming from afar. From behind me! I turned, but there was nobody. Then I heard the steps again, and again they were coming from behind me.

This went on for a while, and whenever I turned, the steps stopped and then started again behind my back. Only closer then they had been before. Something was coming at me, and it didn’t want me to know from which direction.

Again I heard steps behind me. This time I turned around very quickly, and there stood a tall, dark figure, dressed all in black furs, and a black beard cascading down his front.

“What are you doing in my forest”

It seemed the voice was not coming from him, but from within my head. The tall man had extremely large eyes, in which played red sparks like buzzing insects chasing each other.

“I see”

I hadn’t said a word, but he seemed to know everything.

“What is this in your hands?”, he asked.

I looked down and suddenly I was holding my camera. I just saw the image of the tree disappear from its rear screen. I hadn’t even been aware that I had taken a picture.

“It’s a device to record your desires and dreams”, I said.
I wasn’t sure if he had even heard me. Talking to him seemed like talking to myself.
“You know that this is my forest”, he said

“I don’t know how I got here”, I said,”And I can’t find my way out.”
“There is no way out”, he said, and turned around, and walked away.

I saw my camera hang from a branch… who had put it there? Then I noticed it was my branch… it was a branch growing out of my trunk. The branch was me… what had been my arm and the hand holding the camera… The wind grabbed my upper branches and I whispered “Let me go!”

Then I heard the other trees. They all whispered in the cool evening breeze: “Let me go! Let me go!” All those wanderers that had somehow reached this forest, and couldn’t find their way out. As a last resort I looked into my mind to find anything, anything… I found the image of an ocean, a wide panorama, and I didn’t know how it got into my tree mind, as there wasn’t an ocean here in this forest, and I had never seen an ocean…

Then the sun set, and birds flew over my top branches, colored in rose colors by the parting sun. And the night fell, and I clung to the image of the ocean, and I fell…

…I fell onto a very hard and rough surface. Something loud and dangerous was rushing towards me, I felt, while I still couldn’t open my eyes.

My eyes popped open. The horizon was wide, and the ocean in the last light of the day. Two angry lights were racing towards me. I rolled to the side. The blurting horn sound distorted as the car passed me by. My right arm hurt where it had protected my camera when I rolled off the highway. The housing still had hit the ground and there was a scratch.

And I saw an image, a single image on the display, of a magic tree… that felt so familiar the way it raised its branches… it was me, the tree in the picture, it was me, before I became that tree… and then it was not me… it was the sorcerer’s tree… dangerous to anyone who found it…

I hung the camera over my shoulders, and looked at the sun setting in the Pacific far below. I went to my car and found a sticker on it “Abandoned vehicle. Scheduled for towing.”
The sticker was three days old. Had I been away this long? I unlocked my car, and drove off the mountain to the last, red rays of the sun that smirked at me, painting me in rose colors like passing birds, as it disappeared into the Pacific Ocean.

Swimsuits and no Water Falling from the Sky: California

Swimsuit fashion California Robert Wilde

Here in California we are always told how great the weather is here. This gets followed up by stories about countries where it freezes outside, and where water is falling from the sky. And other fairy tales like graves opening, and their inhabitants walking around (which is why there are so many security guards everywhere. They are a security risk).

But we in California can do better than to fall for these stories. Weather? There is no weather. Weather is an imagination TV stations came up with so they can show a man gesticulating in front of a USA map for ten minutes, which is very cheap to produce. All those maps with clouds and thunderstorms on that map are fake. Rain? They are making it all up!

Water falling from the sky. Only a crazy New Yorker can believe that. But here we are in Los Angeles.

If you want water in California, you have to do a pilgrimage to the ocean. And the best clothing to wear for this procession is a bathing suit. Which is pictured above so you can really believe it that it’s true.

What makes a good print

Robert Wilde-floating-in-space-750Getting a good print from a good image is an art in itself. What you see on a screen had a very wide range of tones from all black to bright white. It has a great dynamic range because the display can easily turn up or down the light in certain areas through its pixels.

Paper on the other hand just reflects light. Black and white lie much closer together. And this is the crux of printing: how do I get something with a wide range of tones onto a paper that can only show a small range of tones. This is why every image that needs printing has to be re-edited for the specific task of being printed.

Other moments include getting sharpness and color right. The eye accepts a lot of things on a screen as it is, in a way, an out of this world surface. Not real. But paper, an image, that’s a real object, and the eye judges much harder on that. Now you know what keeps photographers up at night: beautiful women and the task to get them on paper without losing anything.



Exhibition “Going into Space” : A New Golden Era

In Orbit - floating in space

Space is the last big adventure waiting for us. The final frontier to cross. We are working on it.

Or, are we, really?

Since Apollo 17 landed on December 11 1972 and departed three days later we have not been to the moon. For 44 years no man has left earth orbit. After the euphoria of the moon landings not only Science Fiction authors were expecting a landing on the Mars soon, and manned expeditions to explore the solar system, and beyond.

But maybe there’s an app for that? Don’t we rather need rocket valley than silicone valley?

The current displays of space technology like the space station are barely scratching the skin of space. The probes and rovers exploring Mars and the Jupiter moons look too much like your neighbor kid’s remote control toys to be exciting.

Nasa has an annual budget of 18 Billion dollars: this is about 0.5% of the federal budget. For comparison, in 1969, the year of the moon landing, the Nasa budget was 1.92%, and in 1966, preparing for the moon landing it was an incredible 4.41% of the federal budget.

Which would mean Nasa, preparing for a manned mission, should have 9 times of today’s budget, or 162 billion dollars annually. If we were heading for the moon only. But we want to go to Mars and beyond. So the budget should even be bigger than that.

Wherever the government spends, this puts the signs out for the private industry where to put its research. The cost of the new F 35 lighting fighter jet, that can land like a helicopter, is, as a total package, over 1500 billion dollars (1.5 trillion). And this is just one plane. This shows clearly how big an amount of research and engineering is going into weapons, and what a tiny drop of research of testing is going into space technology.

Amazing achievements have been done by weapons manufacturers, almost none in space technology. Imagine if a big amount of money would go towards space technology. After the 44 year standstill in space technology we’d experience an incredible surge in propulsion technology, energy technology, and a system of orientation in space. How much new tech could come to us by shifting money to that goal.

By the way, a mission to Mars would cost about 80 – 100 billion dollars (spread over several years), as stated by a Nasa expert panel. This is pocket change compared to what we spend on the military. The new F 35 LIghting has a (current) program cost of 1500 billion dollars – 1.5 Trillion.

In 1969 the USA was involved in two actions that were of great visibility. It was leading a war in Vietnam, and it was putting the first man on the moon on July 20th 1969. With this enterprise, far less costly than the Vietnam war, the USA achieved world leadership. All nations looked up to the USA for putting a man on the moon.

Today US troops are wasting their energy in lost countries in the middle east. With far less money the US could put a man on Mars, gain an important technological advancement and the the admiration of the world it has lost over the past decades.

Science, research, and space exploration: this will be the beginning of a new golden age. Once the final frontier to space has been stepped across we’ll see a rise in science, art, and economic power that will dwarf the rise of Europe at the beginning of the modern age.



“Going Into Space” Fine art photography exhibition by Robert Wilde at the Soho Gallery. Opening today, May 7th 6 – 9 PM 9893 S. Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills CA 90212.



The Ghost Bride

Editorial photography - fashion magazine

This is a fashion editorial about a man falling in love with a ghost of the wilderness. This is a supernatural bride. The union is taking place in the middle of a wild landscape. He silently fades away and in this picture the veil is floating all by itself. He has become invisible as a human being, and become a part of the wilderness.

Star of Bethlehem late, and shows up over California

New Year 2015

Even stars can be late, and not only movie stars. The comet so much expected seems to have misread its star maps and showed up late and not over Bethlehem, Israel, but over Malibu, California. It is an astounding sight, and so I take it as a New Year’s greeting. I wish a successful and fulfilling year 2015 to all my readers.

Exhibition – Vernissage – Opening Today in Beverly Hills: LA SAMURAI

Yume - Dream of a Female Samurai

Today my exhibition LA SAMURAI will open at 5:00 PM at the SoHo Gallery in Beverly Hills 90212, 9893 S. Santa Monica Blvd.

Theme of my images is the modern day, LA version of the classic samurai warrior, and how the fighting spirit has transformed from the most cruel days of a Japan of almost 100 years of incessant warfare to a civilized western city of the twenty-first century. Civilized? One needs only to scratch a bit, and the old warrior jumps right out. It is part of us, and we may put layers of culture on top of it, the underpinnings will not change. The warrior is written into your genetic code.

The images consists of many layers of different photographs and different textures and have been digitally painted on with texture, shape, and color. I also love to work with textures and digital blend modes that shifts sets of colors just like our modern society has shifted the psychological colors of the modern day civilized but not so peaceful LA samurai.

Nature, Wilderness and Jewelry

Fashion shoot jewelry in nature Robert Wilde

The trees close in on the little piece of precious metal that glints in the sudden ray of light that managed to get through the thicket of branches. Close to the floor of the forest, the soft grass smells like the ground on which paradise rests. I can feel it bend and elastically support my step as I carry my lighting equipment into the forest.

This fashion shoot is not about a fashion shoot about clothing. It is about a different kind of fashion. A fashion of jewelry, small, precious pieces of art with symbolic and to many magical meaning and value. Mercedes Shaffer, the artist of this line and my client, receives a lot of inspiration from nature – it was just natural to photograph her collection in a California forest protected as wilderness.

Nature’s creations and a beautiful woman’s creations in poetic and esthetic symbiosis.

Samurai in LA

Samura armor Los Angeles

What are the odds of this happening? I was working on my new exhibition project called LA SAMURAI, when I needed some additional information on Samurai armors. Turned out that they had already entered LA, over a dozen of them, waiting for me at the LACMA, where there was beautiful exhibition on Samurai armor.

I can’t put a number to this chance. But I was surprised I didn’t encounter Toshiro Mifune at the exhibition, the Japanese actor of many of Akira Kurosawa’s samurai movies. The way this was going, I expected him to turn up.

The exhibition is in one, bit room, kept in the deep, gory red of flowing blood. The first scene that came to my mind as I entered was a well fitting scene from Kurosawa’s RAN (War). A defeated samurai leans against the wall of his defeated castle, hold his chopped-off left arm in his right hand, staring into the empty. Japanese war culture has fascinated at all times, and above all the the era of one hundred years where there was constant fighting among many daimyos, who were ruling small chops of Japan and trying to increase their share by chopping off the some land off their neighbor’s land (and a few hundred arms, legs and heads in the process).

My own Samurai project is transferring the warring spirit into a present where fighting is our daily bread also, just not with sharp swords. The samurai has also deeply influenced the esthetics of the modern video game industry and our outlook on the warrior. The samurai is not a figure of the past. He’s all around us, roaming the city in a different armor, using different weapons, but still putting the same cruel zeal at work to win the fight.