It's a crisp Fall day outside in Cologne, Germany, but you wouldn't know it by touring some of the booths indoors at Photokina. Shocking displays of colorful flowers nestled among the lush, verdant greens of leafy palms and tropical broadleaf plants compete with top-of-the-line cameras and throngs of gawkers for space on the show floor. In short, it's literally a jungle in here.
In one of those unplanned episodes of serendipity, many of the booths this year at Photokina play host to tropical themes and jungle motifs. The amount of vegetation imported and planted temporarily next to Sony cameras, Tamron and Zeiss lenses, and Panasonic products is nothing short of mind-boggling. Every greenhouse in the country, and possibly several along the equator, must be represented here. While the displays are indeed impressive and eye-catching, it makes little sense in the way of displaying and demonstrating the capabilities of the camera hardware that's obscured by so much greenery.
All we can figure is that someone, somewhere must have decided that rain forests were "in" this year, which must have sent booth designers scrambling like rabid chimpanzees to make it happen before the show opened. The jungle themes evoke the same feelings of wonder that standing in line at a well-designed theme park might bring (though more Disney's Animal Kingdom than Jurassic Park), even if the incongruities between setting and purpose are maddening. Since we didn't want to let all of the amazing set-building go to waste, we ventured deep into the jungles of Photokina, so that we could share the wonderment of an indoor rainforest with all of you at home.