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Germany, photography, travel

HAMBURG: Things and People

17/08/2014
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“To live fully, we must learn to use things and love people, and not love things and use people.” 
-John Powell-

Watched a viral video the other day of a speech from a marketer from the food industry. Her straight forward approach to the world of advertising garnered more than a million views and gained world wide attention because of the uncomfortable topic, but particularly because of the way it made us as consumers feel.

No matter how ignorant or aware we become, consumerism is an active part of our culture that seems to place the dollar sign first and humanity second.

These photos taken in a fun fair in Hamburg, Germany illustrate how the bright lights, the flashing symbols and the large billboards can subtract from the person behind the machine. Have they become part of the machinery, working like clock works or metal parts? Or are they simply an under valued necessity, required but not overly fundamental to drawing people to these fun fair stores.

My favourite photo of this series is of the man in the giant corn cob. Attempting to present a joyful, festive mood, he seems discontent, distracted and almost insignificant against the size of this dominating vegetable.

I did very much enjoy this fun fair though. We came across these bright lights on our sole night in Hamburg. A very fun night, full of candy, sweets, pretzels and sausages. Kate, Rach and I were very lucky to have experienced this truly festive part of Germany and to be overwhelmed with the electrifying power of bright lights and human pleasures.

Have a number of projects on at the moment! Collaborations with fellow creatives, family photography and putting finishing touches to our ‘studio space’ has been keeping both Vess and myself extremely busy!

Stay Tuned for some rad pics coming your way!

Keep Creative

val copyValerie Bong   –  Founder & Content Executive
Val is an Arts/Commerce student currently based in Leeds, UK. As a photographer and documenter she loves celebrating the beauty of the world. With her love for capturing special moments she specialises in fashion, wedding, family and event photography.

Website Twitter / Linkedin 

fashion, Germany, travel, val

Munich Travel Thoughts

06/06/2014
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Talent

Photographer: Rachael Defoe
Location: Munich
Model: Val Bong

Hello there!

Before embarking on my UK adventure and subsequent ‘Eastern Europe trip’, ‘travel’ always seemed like such a large quest and an intimidating adventure full of difficulties and unknowns. To be honest I was never keen on living out of my back pack (I’m still not very keen), away from familiar places and faces and from everyday comforts. But my willingness to try something new and to push pass initial hesitations has proved extremely rewarding. 

Very similar to the way I feel about these photos taken by Rach from Suitcase home in Munich, a beautiful city in Germany (looking forward to posting more pictures soon). I was feeling extremely under the weather from a cold I had developed after being in rainy Hamburg. A runny nose, sore throat and a small acne breakout did not make me feel up for taking pictures, but Rach pushed and persisted (for those who know both of us, it’s really difficult for me to say no to Rach!) and I am so happy with the results. With all hesitations pushed aside I agreed to lie next to a running river bank, stick myself in a tree and let my hair run over twigs and branches. 

Sometimes we miss out on some of  the best experiences, simply because we allow our fears or hesitations get in the way. More and more, I realise, from chats with other travellers that the best experience are found in the most unexpected places. Following local Austrians to a hidden bar, staying a night in a Japanese monastery, being cared for by a Thai family in their village or watching a movie in a secret London location are my own stories and stories of friends who have pushed pass their doubts to experience something new, wonderful and exciting. 

So let us not let the ordinary become our normality.  Push forward to try new things, to go new places and to see the world with new eyes. You never know what you’ll find! 

Congratulations to Kaitlin and Fiona for winning our TGI Friday’s £50 giveaway!

Enjoy your mate date on us on behalf of the wonderful people at TGI Fridays! 

Much Love

val copyValerie Bong   –  Founder & Content Executive
Val is an Arts/Commerce student currently based in Leeds, UK. As a photographer and documenter she loves celebrating the beauty of the world. With her love for capturing special moments she specialises in fashion, wedding, family and event photography.

Website Twitter / Linkedin 

Germany, travel

BERLIN: TOP THINGS TO DO

05/05/2014
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“Paris is always Paris and Berlin is never Berlin!”
(Jack Lang)

The beauty of Berlin is of a quality like no other. Rustic and rich, with life and vibrancy, Berlin is a city, pulsing with creativity, history and culture, which attempts to remember the past, yet to not be held back by it.

We found ourselves participating in the Free Alternative Berlin Walking Tour on the second day of our stay in Berlin. Rated on trip advisor as the number #10 and recommended by friends as one of those ‘must do’ activity while in Berlin, we spent a good part of 3 hours staring at intrinsic walls, walking to hidden bars and experiencing the underground culture for what Berlin is known for.

And with that I’ll like to share….

Val’s top 5 things to do while in Berlin

1. EAT a Doner Kebab
Berlin has the second largest population of Turks outside Turkey in the world, hence the number of kebab shops and the creation of the infamous Doner kebab. Pretty much a pocketful of juicy and tasty goodness, this kebab is packed full to the brim with lettuce, meat, sliced from a rotating skewerand optional chilli sauce and is perfect for a cheap snack on the run. For the authentic traveller, don’t be afraid of eating supposedly ‘non German’ meal, the creator of the Doner invented the Doner kebab especially for busy Berliners so they could have a meal they could carry with them.

2. VISIT a Market
Berlin is known across the world as the hub of vintage markets and vintage sellers. We unfortunately were unable to catch some of the more famous markets, but managed to get to a Turkish market which had delicious Turkish delights, live music and lots of cheap food! I also tried my first Ginger Shot. Which literally made me cry, but acted as a quick remedy to a cold I had caught in Hamburg.

3. WALK to the East Side Gallery 
Such a beautiful place of culture and art, this section of the Berlin Wall remains as a momentous reminder of the divided and difficult past following the Cold War. Acting as an outlet of hope, with messages of peace and freedom for a better future, the East Side Gallery is the largest open air gallery consisting of 105 paintings by artists from across the world. Walk along and be amazed by the talent and the messages of the human spirit .

4. FREE walking tours
The alternative Berlin tour was my personal favourite, but there are many walking tours around Berlin on a daily basis. Sandemans FREE walking tour is also great quality. Informative, witty and very caring guides, the FREE walking tours are probably one of the best way to get your bearing around a new city. Some things to look forward to; Hitler’s bunker (which is now a carpark), the last Nazi architecture building, Check Point Charlie and Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial.

5.  GET LOST in the streets 
Finally the best thing to do is get lost and wander the streets. A recommendation for many cities, but more so in the city of Berlin, where each street corner is alive with art, cool cafes and quirky shops. Just a little tip, bring a guide book or a map after you’ve had your wander, Berliners were not very helpful when we asked for help (would could just have been our own experience) as many did not speak English or pointed us in the wrong way! Definitely one of the best cities to have a casual wander in!

This by far is not the best summary of what to do in Berlin in 24 hours. But I give you my humble recommendations coupled with my own pictures from the Alternative Berlin Walking tour ! How stunning is the street art? Can you pick out your favourites?

Val

Talent

val copyValerie Bong   –  Founder & Content Executive
Val is an Arts/Commerce student currently based in Leeds, UK. As a photographer and documenter she loves celebrating the beauty of the world. With her love for capturing special moments she specialises in fashion, wedding, family and event photography.

Website Twitter / Linkedin 

Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Prague, travel

11 cities in 28 days

30/04/2014
Day 10 Vienna -4


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Hello friends and fellow travellers. 

I decided to do a quick check-in  to show you a sneak preview of what to expect in the next couple of posts from me(Val!). I was initially hoping to post as I travelled, but lack of consistent wifi proved to be a major drawback to my plans. I am now back in my home away from home, Leeds, overcome with the amount of essay writing, laundry, grocery shopping and exercising that I need to catch up on. Some of you may have seen a few of my travel pics on BigPictureStuff Instagram , so you may have a rough idea of where I’ve been but I can not wait to show you more pictures.

In order through the amazingness that is Eurail we travelled to the following cities and countries;

1.Belgium (Brussels & Brugge)
2. Germany (Hamburg, Munich & Berlin)
3. Austria (Vienna)
4. Hungary (Budapest)
5. Czech Republic (Prague)
6. Poland (Krakow) with a random stop over in Slovakia 
7. Austria (Salzburg)
8. Netherlands (Amsterdam)

Never thought I would be able to say I have been to so many cities and countries in 28 days, but we did it! I am beyond excited to show you the photos I took (Kate and Rach, who were my amazing travel buddies, said they can’t imagine my face without a camera ) and to tell you about the people we met and the things we saw. So to make sure I do get as many pictures to you as possible, I aim to get to you a-post-a-day, so stay posted and you can have your own little travel adventure through BigPictureStuff!

Don’t forget to ENTER the Hidden Socks Club giveaway we already have 60+ likes on the instagram photo, so LIKE BigPictureStuff facebook page, or follow Big Picture Stuff Instagram get in the draw to WIN! Winner will be announced THIS FRIDAY

And for those avid and experienced travellers out there, can you guess where each of these places are? Have a go!

xo Val 

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” 
― Gustave Flaubert