conversation about the sea

My conversation with photographer Franca Perra about a life near the sea:

I live with the northern sea and Franca comes from the sea of the south. Franca says, if you want to “meet” someone in the digital world, you have to stay authentic, then magic occurs even in this fast world and you learn something about the other person and about yourself. That’s true. I know the northern sea and the sea of the south both from childhood on well. Franca’s words and her pictures showed me that in the end, there is no gap between them despite all the differences, no gap between the two worlds I grew up in.

Franca is born near the sea and in some way she comes from the sea. Her mother used to call her flower of May, but she preferred the name her grandmother gave her: little sea spider. Franca has the sea in her soul. As a photographer with an architect training she thought a lot about why people so urgently want to live near the coast. Franca: “In the end we all have this inner voice which drives us to the sea, some kind of instinct of our earliest childhood probably. It seems that we all have to revive the experience to see and feel the sea again and again.” Even if it’s through looking at Franca’s pictures.

The sea of the south and the sea of the north are two different worlds, with different horizontal lines, lights and dewiness, with so many varieties. Franca told me, that she is always caught by surprise when suddenly a slight difference occurs in the air. At her home, at the isle of Sardegna, the summer light is very sharp and the air is hot. The sea in these days is peaceful without clear distinction from the sky. What remains, she said,  is a blankness full of nothing and yet full of all thinkable possibilities. Her isle is a land of the wind like my north too, a strong wind, called the Maestrale. Franca: “There is a small, nearly unknown, sparse and dry island near Sardegna, impossible to live on, because of the hard wind and the drought, with wild garlic and no shades for shelter, just some sea-gulls and wild rabbits.” She loves this place, the different lights, the smell, the wind, the sparse vegetation.

If she is to long away from home, she feels the absence of the sea. If she is traveling, she is always seeking her southern sea and she finds it in the northern sea on her journeys in Denmark, Norway, France and Netherlands. In the North she describes the coast as different:” The horinzon is more open, but the light is barred. The colours reflect a nostalgic light with variations of a soft colour palette. The sea here is imposing, the coastal line is unstable. The landscape is ephemeral with the sea and the tides assiduously leaving the shore and the flint naked, the sea is molding them continuously, painting an abstract canvas, an authentic land art.”

Franca told me, that while she was bowing to the sea with all its weather changes and its infinite lights and tides, she realizes that the desert land of the south is not so different from the lonesome northern steppe. The mild horizon from the north shaped by the fog is not far away from the southern humid cloud cover of the Mediterranean Sea. Franca: “What remains different and captivating is the alterability of the light, that defines landscapes, inner landscapes too, that have the capability to renew themselves continuously in my mind and have the power to inspire me.”

© all pictures Franca Perra, all rights reserved

More about her wonderful work on Behance , or have a look on her Instagram account.

An inspiring week my dear followers! Take good care of yourself, Melanie Kettner

postcard from Norway

This week nordic summer inspiration with Davies Zambotti and her postcard from Norway. This beautiful series displays so well the nordic air with all its facets, the colour of the sea and the play between light and deep, chilly and beneficial shadow. Davies is an Italian photographer and film director, who already worked on many film sets as “The International” from Tom Tykwer.

© all pictures Davies Zambotti

Learn more about Davies artistic work here. When I look at these images I immediately have to think about nordic summer holidays. Wonderful early summer days for you my dear readers! Here in the North we enjoy the first warm days, Lavender smell, giant blooming chestnut trees, a clear wind and a freezy sea and darkish blue lake….

the luxury to take time…

To start an inspiring week we want to show you the delicate landscape photography of Morgane Erpicum. I love her soft tones and the message the images are holding. The light, soft, calm atmosphere has a magic nucleus that talks to the beholder.

Frustrated with the unreliability of her memory, Morgane attempted to revive her travel experiences and share the feelings they inspired her through painting and writing. Morgane:” I always had itchy feet, and an insatiable curiosity for different cultures and landscapes. In October of 2015, my husband gave me an Olympus OM1 35mm. I was immediately seduced by analog photography’s grain, textures and wonderful latitude. Since then, I have been documenting my escapes on film, wandering the world in pursuit of a sensation of belonging and serenity.”

Her photographic stories are immediately recognizable: a very minimalistic eye laid upon the regions she roams, panoramas showcased by singular, soft colour palettes, clear geometric lines and authentic emotions. Through her landscape and portrait work, Morgane continually explores the fine line between observing and staging, in order to tell human and emotional stories – mostly within the realms of improvisation.
Morgane: “Film photography provides me with the luxury of taking time. While digital seems to have an almost immediate expiration date due to the advent of social networks, the long waiting time between the snap of the shutter and the reception of the image allows me time to reflect and review my photography with fresh eyes.”


Morgane: “Stereotypical offspring of the Y generation, living in a hundred-miles-an-hour society that no longer takes the time to catch its breath, I like to step back to contemplate each shot. This cathartic detachment from electronics permits me to focus on the essential” – a mentality portrayed through her rudimentary travel style. No Internet, no telephone, no batteries and no constraints, she is free to wander as she pleases and savour the extraordinary feeling of being, in harmony with herself and the world around her.

© all pictures Morgane Erpicum

More about her stunning work here. Meet her on Facebook here and on Instagram here. An inspiring week dear followers! Take good care of yourself! Melanie Kettner

Kim Høltermand’s nordic vision

This week on NORTHLETTERS: Award winning architectural and landscape photographer Kim Høltermand from Denmark, based in Copenhagen. I like the cool calmness in his iconic artworks, his nordic clearness in lines, forms and colours. Northern buildings and countries are the subjects to his eyes showing us the special nordic mood. Clients include Adobe, Apple, Behance, HTC and Alfa Romeo. He is featured f.e. by DEZEEN, Ignant, VSCO and in publications such as Port Magazine, Dwell, Oak the Nordic Journal, Architecture d’Aujourd’hui (AA) and Cercle Magazine.

© all pictures with kind permission

I honestly must admit that I have a strong focus at the moment on these beautiful colours he uses in this selection of images. I like the combination of soft colour patterns and clear, geometric shapes in sceneries like film settings.

More about his intriguing work here. His interesting instagram account you can find here.

An inspiring week dear followers! Next week I will present you a poetic landscape photographer and world wanderer.

Take good care! Best! Melanie Kettner

the colour green outside….

This week I’m enjoying the colour green outside. In Hamburg this colour is nearly bursting at the moment, luckily also at the centre, where we are living, the surrounding seems to be a giant park. Even if the sky at the moment is dark grey, nonetheless or maybe because of it, the green nature is striking. I discovered Haarkon, a beautiful website with the topic green, plants and travelling of the photographers Magnus & India, based in UK. They have a soft spot for plants and like to find greenery in urban spaces. They work for Ikea UK and Woolrich.They began a self-initiated Greenhouse Tour of the World and they’ve got no plans to stop any time soon. I really like this idea and the soft green tones they discover.

Here some impressions of Haarkon from their trips:

© all pictures Haarkon

You can read here more.Don’t miss their beautiful Instagram account.

Have a wonderful weekend dear followers! Soon here two very interesting photographers! Take good care! Melanie

the simple things….

The wonderful vegetarian food blog “Krautkopf” is my vegetarian inspiration at the moment, it is written by Susann and Yannic, two photographers from Berlin. They create simple, balanced meals for every day, a wide range of very creative and fresh recipes with seasonal ingredients and influences from all over the world.  Susann ad Yannic have a written a beautiful cookbook named after their blog. They combine food and interior pictures in an atmospheric way:

Krautkopf: “We never buy anything other than whole spices, and freshly grind them with a mortar and pestle, so that they only release their full taste during the preparation stage. The same applies to all of the grain we use. Freshly ground wholemeal flour tastes stronger, is more filling and contains a greater number of valuable substances. This by far is the overriding principle: everything as fresh and unprocessed as possible. In our kitchen, we try our best to forego convenience products and produce many sauces, spice pastes, stock and spice mixes ourselves. You can find a collection of these basic recipes on the Basics page. We also keep an eye on our sugar consumption. Refined sugar contains no nutrients whatsoever and puts a strain on the body. That is why we prefer alternative sweeteners such as rice syrup, dried fruits, honey, coconut and whole cane sugar, as well as freshly squeezed fruit juice. We tend to use rice syrup most regularly. It does not contain any fructose and so has less sweetening power. This form of sugar isn’t healthy either. But at least our alternatives also contain a few vitamins, enzymes and trace elements.”

We share their philosophy. Susann & Yannic: “It is the simple things that make life worth living. We love cooking with original products – especially those that are seasonal and from local farmers. This means that we associate every season with a particular taste and feeling. Our recipes, which draw influences from all over the world, are simple and honest dishes. Food that not only fills you up, but is also good for you and makes you happy. We want to share our passion with you, infect you with that passion and provide you with inspiration. Because we believe that cooking connects people and brings them together.

I think I will try their recipe of a beetroot chocolate cake:

© all pictures Krautkopf with kind permission

You find the recipe here. And their thai coconut soup is a good idea for our lunch at the agency. Really delicious recipes, don’t miss them. I’m completely in love with their summer salt: A salt with chili peppers, herbs and organic limes. You can download their App here. And have a look in their stunning cookbook here.

They have worked on a number of new recipes for their cookbook and have captured these culinary stories with their beautiful photographs. A seasonal cookbook with 65 recipes, dishes with influences from all over the world, prepared with natural and original products. More than half of the recipes are vegan, lactose and gluten-free. I think it’s worth ordering, it’s becoming one of my favorite cookbooks, even if you don’t understand German, as their pictures are a great inspiration!

Take good care dear followers! After Easter holiday I ‘m having a short break and will be back soon! Yours, Melanie Kettner

kind of good ghosts

These poetic and really inspiring artworks of my husband are on the walls in our agency in giant dimensions. I love living with them. They don’t stop giving some energy to me, day by day, they are like some kind of good ghosts. I love the black and white and non-colour scheme with soft colours in between in these pieces. Some might look like a painting, but they are all photography work. This one is near my working desk:

Girl without head 1

I adore this series, we have it in our dining and conference area: You can have a look on the whole series here.

Let there be light

And this one is really amazing, when you see it in real. It’s on the wall in our entrance area:

Girl without head II

And this one is a Lady I love.  My readers already know her from my Facebook site. She is so dreamy and poetic and elegant:

Black Swan I

© all pictures Thomas Kettner

Don’t hesitate to contact me, if you are interested in one of these art woks as fine art prints. They are sold in a limited edition. More of the work of my husband here or follow our team on instagram here.

A wonderful weekend dear readers! A quote for you regarding letting go troublesome thoughts: Often in everyday life we don’t have enough trust in ourself and our fate. We therefore are very easily scared by our own rushed thoughts. In mindfulness the breath is a very important anchor to hold on. Try to be aware of it and to resist fearful considerations. Just trust:

“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens.” Mandy Hale-

Take good care, Melanie Kettner

the brown table

Besides his experimental and multicultural kitchen work for his famous food blog “The Brown Table” Nik Sharma is writing a column at the San Francisco chronicle, named ” a brown kitchen”. I want to show you some of his wonderful pictures as an inspiration for summertime coming and as and idea of cooking with less meat, and more fruit and vegetables. Summer for me is the time for making marmelade, fruit tarts, fresh salads with wild herbage and eatable blossoms and the perfume of self-made baguette and brioche in the kitchen…I think Nik’s recipes and images are a wonderful push to go on a greenery market this weekend, have a look:

I recently saw the episode of “Chef’s Table” about Alain Passard, the Chef of the restaurant L’Arpege in France. One day he decided to cook without meet, a very daring decision in a country like France. He feared to lose his Michelin stars, but he didn’t. This shows how delicate and full of fantasy a vegetarian cooking might be.

© all pictures Nik Sharma with kind permission

More about Nik`s blog here and you can read his column here

More about Alain Passard here. In the meantime he is cooking vegetables and fruit with a little bit of chicken and fish. His restaurant surely is a very special address for dinner, when you are having a trip to Paris.

An inspirational book for a cooking without meat is “The Green Kitchen” by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl. To begin with, David and Luise explain all the ingredients of a their cooking and this will help you to make the right choices while your shopping or helps you furthermore to do some of them by yourself. You will find more recipes on their blog here.

Have a wonderful weekend dear readers! Take care! Melanie Ketters

fragile pieces of passing time

Juliette Bates is a photographer and artist based in Paris, France, she won several prizes and had many exhibitions. This week: my last winter post with some pieces of her surreal and mysterious series named Histoires Naturelles, a real fairy tale story about nature, the passing of time, the fragility of existence full of meaningful symbolism:


© all pictures Juliette Bates with kind permission

More about Juliette’s work here.

I hope spring is coming soon! Soon we will present some of my favourite pieces of my husband we live with at our flat. Living with art, having a glance at it every day, is so inspiring and rewarding. Take care dear followers! Yours, Melanie

A different Iceland by Tommaso Sartori

This week I want to share with you a surrealistic Iceland in a monochrome and dark colour palette with some red images in between. The photographer of this exceptional Iceland series is Tommaso Sartori, he kindly sent us his magic impressions of this spell bound landscape. Tommaso is an advertising and editorial photographer based in Paris with really interesting artwork in his portfolio. Some of his clients are HERMÈS, Patek Philippe, Sergio Rossi and Wallpaper. Let’s have a look:



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© all pictures Tommaso Sartori with kind permission

more of Tommaso’s portfolio here.

Here in the north I’m still enjoying the chilly air, love walking with our dog for ours. But it’s kind of a soft promise that it isn’t dark anymore in the mornings and evenings,  such a magic bluish atmosphere during these hours I love most, lately with a giant nearly yellow moon. Take good care of yourself dear readers! Yours, Melanie Kettner