[Memories] Typeface Research

What do you do, when you have to wait for your test films to be developed? For me it’s drinking lots of coffee and researching typefaces for the book.

Wait, that’s not normal? Well, it’s normal for me. Wait, it has nothing to do with photography? Well, it has to do with designing the book, so at the end it *has* something to do with it. Plus I said that the blog will be a record of the journey from idea to finished product. But enough with the defensive justifications and on with the show…

Large format Leipzig postcard via Sludge G

I was born in the former GDR, so I thought about using a typeface, that was used in the GDR during my childhood. Turns out there was only one state-owned type foundry: VEB Typoart, located in Dresden. They used to have a typeface called Leipziger Antiqua – which caught my eye, because I was born (and still live) in Leipzig.

Reading through a couple of articles I discovered, that there was some sort of Type nostalgia for old East German pre-1989 typefaces. Thanks to that, there are now several modern digitized version around:

Leipziger Antiqua by profonts


Lipsia Pro by RMU (Ralph M. Unger)

» http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/rmu/lipsia-pro/


JAF Lapture by Just Another Foundry

» https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/justanotherfoundry/lapture/


Now I “only” have to choose… oh dear. Price will probably battle with appearance.

Fortunately I found a website, where you can test those for free (for 1 hour), or rent them on a monthly basis. I guess I’ll layout the book with something similar and finalize it with the rented version of whichever typeface I’ll choose in the end.

Finally a project for 2016

It’s been quiet for quite a while. The 52 rolls project is over, but I still have a lot of rolls left. I didn’t have a clear idea what to do in 2016, that is until now.

I joined a 14-week photography workshop at the local Academy of Fine Arts. Subject for the whole workshop is “visible invisibility” and for that I’ll explore my childhood memories – something invisible (memories) made visible (through photography).

The Camera

Voigtländer Vito BL | 1956–1960 | Color-Skopar 3,5/50mm

The camera I’ll use for the project is a Voigtländer Vito BL, that was built during the mid to late 1950ies. It was the camera of my great-grandfather and is the camera of my very first photography related memory. Looking through the viewfinder, the smell of old leather, the somewhat hard to press shutter release.

It was handed down for generations, until it landed in my hands a couple of years ago. Being that old it’s not surprising, that it doesn’t work perfectly. There are multiple issues with film transport (overlapping frames), aperture blades sometimes not closing correctly (overexposure, weird light lines) and light leaks. I thought about trying to service the camera before, but now that I’m doing a project on memories I’ll use it as it is. Memories aren’t exact, sharp or even clear.

Film, Approach and Presentation

I’ll use the leftover expired film and maybe try to track down film, that was actually used during my childhood: ORWO. I guess the future has a lot of eBay auctions in store for me.

It will be interesting to go out and not just shoot, what I find interesting, but instead go to a specific place here in Leipzig, Germany (good thing I still live in my childhood city) with a specific memory and try to visualize it. Sounds hard and to be honest a little bit scary as well. But I guess there’s no growth without challenge.

At the end there’ll be an exhibition (no pressure) and maybe I’ll make some sort of magazine or book out of it for me as well, so I’ll have something more tangible after the exhibition is gone.

Final Words

And best of all: I’ll use the blog to share the progress and have a record of the project at the same time. Wish me luck! Oh and if you have any advice on expired film, broken cameras, exhibitions, book making, or anything else – I’d be happy to hear it.