elephant ride sri lanka

explanation and summary of #WordlessWednesday


What was it about?

As previously mentioned, I have stopped pursuing this project further. I came across this initiative about half a year ago and although I don’t usually take part in any activities of this kind, this time it appealed to me. Why? I had read that the purpose of the exercise was to share (only your own) photos that tell a story or it is up to the viewer to “interpret” a story. And I think that’s a very good idea.

I didn’t have an agenda, but perhaps there was a certain undertone: wherever we go in this world, we may see things that might seem unusual to us, but if we think about them, we find them in one form or another in our society again. We all resemble each other more than we often realize.

As an afterthought, I would like to mention some of the parameters according to which the selection was made and also a few photos that didn’t make it. Because they are not good enough, may seem too trivial, only mean something to me because I associate them with memories, or because they have no meaning without appropriate text.

Types of photos shown

A typical example of the latter is the photo below. It is meaningless as a photo and yet it has a very special meaning for me. I would have titled it: “An Unusual Wedding”. But that wouldn’t have explained it. Why is? When my wife and I traveled around Sri Lanka for 2 weeks a few years ago, I contacted a private chauffeur in advance. After a few e-mails, it was clear to me that not only would the car be fine, but more importantly the driver. The day after we arrived, his brother got married. A marriage between a Sinhalese and a Tamil woman. Something that years ago would have been unthinkable. We were guests of honor at this remarkable wedding. The photo shows the place of honor of the newlyweds who had disappeared onto the dance floor. They had put their cell phones down.

Two cell phones and no one can tell which one is Tamil or Singhalese owned.

sri lanka wedding

So different and yet similar

I often had the opportunity to travel to distant countries, sometimes rather rare destinations like Nicaragua, Afghanistan, or North Korea. Unfortunately, all my photos from that time have been lost. I had paper prints made from some of the slides and used them.

A photo like the one below is also meaningful to me: it prompts you to reflect on how you would change as a person if you chopped off the heads of dozens of fish every day or were enveloped in the smell of fish from morning to night.

fish vendor sri lanka

Even a photo like this may seem disturbing at first. And yet it makes you think. Don’t we eat fish? No poultry? Of course, we do, we just leave out the awkward part โ€“ looking at the fringes.

fishermarket sri lanka

A picture like this also makes me wonder what it feels like to make your way on a colossal elephant during rush hour in a larger city. In any case, you will be respected ๐Ÿ˜Š

elephant ride sri lanka

A theme that I am also very interested in and that I often treat in painting is “a spark of unreality” in a real environment like in the picture below. It’s not manipulated (like the other photos. I’ve never used photoshop). At first glance, you might think a leg would be missingโ€ฆ.

zebu photo

The Japanese gentleman in a typical Japanese outfit and music case in the mountains of Austria also has that special touch for me.

japanese man in the mountains

Seeing or capturing something surreal in a situation was also a concern in some of the photos shown. Our everyday life is full of the “surreal” and we often don’t notice it anymore.

happy deer family photo

monkeys and lotus photo

But personally, I prefer photos that don’t need any explanation, but rather live through their inherent mystery, coupled with the imperfection of the technical aspect.

north west china people


The WordlessWednesday project has also lost its appeal for me insofar as most people either post completely irrelevant photos of their four-legged friends, use photos of other people or use it for stupid advertising purposes.

The topic of WordlessWednesday is now finally closed and thank you again for your interest.

Of course, as always, I was happy about the feedback, but I was a bit surprised when a post gave a reason for racist statements. But those were the absolute exceptions.

A photo for #WordlessWednesday – no words, just pictures. Allow your photos to tell the story.

related postings 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17



12 responses to “explanation and summary of #WordlessWednesday”

  1. swabby429 avatar

    Thank you for your explanation of Wordless Wednesday. I previously believed that most bloggers use such posts as filler for break days because they had not planned any written content. I like your definition better.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much! Sure it was a project which changed a lot on the recent months. “Fillers” sure could be found often.

  2. luisa zambrotta avatar

    Thank you for the explanations ๐Ÿ™ I am sorry for your decision not to continue with this project because your photos were really meaningful

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed! ๐Ÿ™

      1. luisa zambrotta avatar

        My pleasure ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

  3. julianeus avatar


    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you so much!๐Ÿ™

  4. Martha Kennedy avatar

    Here’s my judgment on judging, something I realized about myself only this year when a woman ruined one of my paintings for me. I’ll never have skin that thick, even when I understand that people show off, “I’m so cool I can find the deep meaning in this thing” when they effing can’t. What they can do is throw cliches or their own projections onto something when they should, instead, just look at it and appreciate what it is. I often think of a line from the film Artemesia where she and her father are looking at a painting by Caravaggio, and she’s expounding. He says, “Shhh. You say too much in front of a painting.” Inevitably we will experience things subjectively; I think we need to remember that.

  5. graham mcquade avatar

    Good to hear the thinking around your recent series, Friedrich. Though I do disagree with your view that the photo from Sri Lanka wasnt interesting to others. Without explanation it is intriguing and lets the viewer make up their own interpretation, if they so wish. I think this happens to varying degrees with most imagery, even in representational art and certainly in the abstract work that you and others produce.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      You are absolutely right, Graham: in the end it is always our imagination that gives the picture meining and content.

      For me, comments and explanations are always a tightrope walk. On the one hand it can be an intervention in the perspective of the viewer, but on the other hand some viewers need titles or references (and asked for it). Of course, artists like you don’t need them. May you forgive me!

  6. MichaelStephenWills avatar

    A fascinating review. I myself do not participate in challanges and understand why you dropoped off….there is more than enough to provide daily blog subjects.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you! Yes, i don’t think I will run out of content in the near future. All the best!

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