End frame: Broichbachtal 41 by Manfred Geyer

by Ann de Bruyn

‘Your own photos are never enough.’ Robert Adams’ observation (from his book Why People Photograph) has adorned my profile page on Flickr since I joined in 2006. Community is important for a variety of reasons. Since the death of my wife at the end of 2015 I have spent a lot of time in the woods, often exploring the quite dense woodlands within the suburbs of north Leeds. I know I want to be among the trees. I know that carrying my camera enhances and intensifies the experience. When I am surrounded by the trees I know what I am doing. When I consider the many, many photos I have brought home I sometimes wonder what is the point.

One reason I keep checking the Flickr app (and website) is to see the photos posted by Manfred Geyer. He posts regularly and takes good photos in a variety of genre. But what I welcome most of all are his photos of wild, disorganised foliage.

Manfred’s photos of wild, often bare bush or chaotic, layered foliage always strike me as fresh, stimulating. Week after week, photo after photo I am quietly amazed that Manfred has produced photos I find so satisfying out of the most unpromising material.

I think there is quite a subtle and profound process of experimentation going on in Manfred’s photos of foliage and wild bush. I think he probably started out with an intuitive grasp of tone, pattern and a love of being surrounded by natural growth. The formal and structural experimentation that governs Stephen Shore’s urban photography is probably a model for Manfred in his photos of towns, villages and houses. Lee Friedlander is, perhaps, a more immediate model for Manfred’s nature photographs. Perhaps, like me, he’s been excited by the almost chaotic drip paintings of Jackson Pollock.

Every few days I see new and intriguing photos of nature by Manfred Geyer on my social media feed. Every so often I am stopped in my tracks. Something in that stream of photos takes my breath away and makes me exclaim ‘why didn’t I think of that?!’

That was my reaction when I first saw one of Manfred’s beautiful triptychs.

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