Photography and Geekery around Lake Geneva: Part 1 – Lausanne



I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days around Lake Geneva. It was the perfect opportunity to combine two of my passions, i.e. film photography and my love for all things “phantastic” (art, literature, film). In the first installment of blogs about my trip to Switzerland I want to share some of my experience in Lausanne. Expect some tips for analog photographers. Also, you can win free entry to Lausanne’s awesome photography museum. Read on to find out more!

When the woman in my life had to travel to Lausanne for business reasons I decided to come along so that we could spend some time around beautiful Lake Geneva together. Whilst she was busy doing businessy things during the day I was free to explore Lausanne and take photos.

Graffiti on junction box.

Lausanne has a plenty of street art

Lausanne is beautiful, yet not overly “sanitized” or snobbish as you might expect from a country whose reputation is that of being filthy rich and “clean”. The city has a very French flair to it, in fact it is pretty much French-language only, which I found a little surprising for a country that boasts of no less than four official languages. However, I got along pretty well with my basic tourist French and when needed everyone I talked to could switch to a little English, even though I hardly ever needed to.
There is one way to remind yourself that you’re not in France and that is to approach a Zebra crossing. Motorists *will* stop to let you pass. Try that in France, and you’re dead.😉
The first order of the day was to find a place to re-supply. Photovision (www.photovision.ch) right in the city centre has a very good selection of films as well as a range of (expensive) used analog gear. They do stock Leica, so be careful with that credit card. A roll of Tri-X put me back 8,50 CHF. Expensive but then again only twice as much as a café au lait in the coffee shop across the street. Whilst I had my coffee I pondered what to photograph. I looked around and my gaze fell on an electric junction box, which was covered by a brightly coloured graffito. Street Art it was then, and lo and behold, Lausanne has plenty of that. I spent the day looking for stickers, and posters, graffiti and signs.
I had no shortage of subjects, but that also meant a later trip back to the photostore to get a roll of Portra (11,50 CHF – ouch!).
I was walking most of the time although Lausanne seems to have a pretty decent public transport system (I used the Metro a couple of times). The city is built on the slopes of the hills leading down to the lake and thus feels like it was built on several levels. Bridges and stairways are frequent, always leading to new places to explore. The city has some old medieval parts, but quite a lot of the buildings in the city centre are from the art nouveau era, yet the atmosphere is not old and stuffy, but quite active and alive. The weather was fantastic (I got badly sun burnt – so bring sun creme in summer), and all the cafĂ©s and restaurants had tables outside. Should you want to go shopping, be prepared that it won’t be cheap as this is Switerland after all. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Manor department store also had a range of Instax films as well as some Kodak consumer film and (oddly enough) a few rolls or Lomo redscale.

MusĂ©e d’ElysĂ©e:
The city also has a museum for photography, so I took the opportunity to pay it a visit. The MusĂ©e d’ElysĂ©e is near the lake, located more or less in the Olympia park, which belongs to the Olympic museum. The park is dotted with statues featuring athletes, so quite a few photo opportunities here, if that’s your cup of tea. The photography museum is big enough to keep you occupied for a while, yet not so big as to be completely overwhelming. When I was there it featured an exhibition of young photographers from all over the world. Some really good art was to be seen, and I noticed that quite a few of these photographers were using film or traditional techniques. What I found a bit annoying was the lack multi-lingual descriptions with the photos, but then again most of the images would speak for themselves. The museum shop has loads of photography books, so, again, careful with that credit card (Me? I resisted).

Musée d'Elysée

MusĂ©e d’ElisĂ©e, Lausanne’s museum of photography is housed in a beautiful historic building.

Win a free ticket to the MusĂ©e d’ElysĂ©e!

Overall, Lausanne was well worth the visit for me. A beautiful city in a stunning landscape, good food, and plenty of things to see and photograph. In case you’re considering visiting Lausanne, I have an incentive for you. As this year marks the 30th year of the MusĂ©e d’ElisĂ©es existance apparently every visitor gets another ticket valid for the rest of the 2015. I would like to give my free ticket to you! Here’s what you need to do.

1. Please share a link to this page: on your blog, on Facebook, Twitter, whatever.

2. Write a short tip for photographers on the road in the comments section. Think of things such as: Do you have a fool proof way of keeping your rolls of film safe when on the road? How do you get inspired for photos when visiting a new place? Do you have a special method on how to approach strangers when doing street photography.

3. Among all the entries posted until July 31 st 2015 I will select one entry I personally like most. You will need to supply me with a postal address to which I can send the ticket. My decision is final, it is purely subjective, so please no moaning.

4. If you win,  you will need to provide me with a postal address, as the ticket is a physical ink-and-paper one. I will not use your address for anything else and  will not share it.

5. Any questions? Feel free to ask!

Meanwhile have fun looking at this gallery of photos from my visit to Lausanne.

Lausanne Street Art

3 thoughts on “Photography and Geekery around Lake Geneva: Part 1 – Lausanne

  1. ” Do you have a special method on how to approach strangers when doing street photography.” I usually take the photo then run! in all seriousness if I want to obviously take a photo of someone I will take the photo then as the person in the foreground weather they are ok with me having a photograph of them. Great blog good to see that people like you are keeping film alive, would love to learn them ways one day.

  2. Hi Zak, thanks for your comment. Shooting film is easy and fun. Used gear is rather cheap to come by. Some of the analog, manual lenses go for a fraction of what you’d have to pay for digital gear of the same quality. The differences in film types, and the ins and outs of film development can look a bit daunting at first, but I suggest to just get started and learn along the way!🙂

  3. Pingback: Photography and Geekery around Lake Geneva – Part 2: The H.R. Giger museum | A Kraftwerk Orange

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