Another Street Sign

With the way the talking heads in the media are ranting and frothing at the mouth about religious fundamentalism you would be pardoned if you thought it was a new phenomenon. Of course it’s not, the ebb and flow of violent pious beliefs is a historical fact.

One day’s crackpot is tomorrow’s martyr.

On a lighter note; a sure way of recognizing a photograph shot with a medium format film camera is the so-called waist-level shot – so named because the camera is held just above the waist and you look down into the viewfinder to focus and a fine example of what happens is this picture.

The picture was shot about 22years ago so it is also a fine example of the continuity of religious bigotry.

If there is one thing that I find exceptionally hard to understand it’s the large swaths of angry people who believe that their belief in a loving god demands that they abuse and persecute those who don’t have the same beliefs, when in fact such overweaning narcissism is an anathema to all religious teaching with the possible exception of Satanism.
Bronica SQA, 80mm, Kodak Tri-x, asa 400

Street Signs

Still with film in the land that time forgot.

Here is a little proof that the Catholic pedophile story was out in the open a long, long time before the early part of this century when the avalanche of abuse stories could no longer be ignored and the world was forced to take notice.

Like yesterday’s photo, this one was also taken in 1994, that’s about seven years before the Australian police and politicians caved in to public pressure and decided they could no longer ignore the fact that boys had been repeatedly abused by the clergy, who under the auspices of the courts had been operating as their legal guardians.

I met and talked to this man after I saw him three days in a row moving slowly up and down a street in Perth, Western Australia. He told me that he was being treated as a crank and trouble maker by the authorities, and while the police at first had tried to stop him from carrying his sign they had soon realized that due to lack of interest from passersby it was easier to just to ignore him.

Castledare, Clontarf, Bindoon and Tardun were all Catholic boys’ schools. All of them had been quietly closed by the 1970s without any priests being charged, that was to come later, much later.

 

Bronica SQA 80mm lens, Kodak Tri-x, asa 400.

On Film, Ism’s and Rituals

Once a site of resistance, the Peace Wall in Prague is now a place where insignificant individuals desecrate symbols of resistance for reasons of narcissism. Let’s face it, the mass of tourists who feel a need to write on walls such as the John Lennon Peace Wall are those who come late to history via a homogenized journey but want others to think they would have risked life and limb if only they had been born earlier, or in a less salubrious location, or under an oppressive regime, or didn’t have to go to uni, or….

The folk law version I heard from the locals back in the mid 1990s was that during the communist era someone did the original graffiti/paintings and the authorities painted over them, and then more were done, the authorities would removed them and back and forth it went. Finally someone who was caught repainting the J.L. mural was badly beaten, which resulted in the violent protests of record.

Ironically, Wikipedia gives a different, more homogenized and palatable version, but by the 1990s tourists had begun to do what organized oppression could not, they were taking the wall away piece by piece, paint chip by paint chip as souvenirs to put away and forget or were tagging what was left with rather stupid minutia.

The wall looks much different today, I guess because it’s now a site of entertainment, an ode to the corrosive power of any dominant ism no matter the label

The reason for these pictures is that I have begun to regress and have once again fallen in love with film. Not for the nostalgic reasons so popular today or because film is better, but for the ritual of loading film, taking light meter readings and being restricted to the amount of shots (12 in the case of this camera) to a roll of film. These actions slow everything down, makes me more selective and contemplative about composition and why I want to shoot the image. It also costs 30 to 50 cents a shot and a lot of work goes into making the final picture so each image is important. The process is therapeutic you might say, in its own odd way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lennon_Wall

Bronica SQA, 80mm, Ilford HP5, developed in Rodinol. 1994

ANARCHY-PRIDE-HITCHHIKE

ANARCHY-PRIDE-HITCHHIKE

 

If any one thing exemplifies the reason I needed to reorganize my library of images it is today’s post.

Having spent the week moving pictures around and doing very little else I decided that the last post of the week would be a photograph from my favorite shoot of 2015. My memory for pictures is good, but reality and memory are two different animals. The picture is from a large group of individual portraits I did in a single evening. In my memory the shoot took place around February/ March whereas it actually took place in November 2014. As this was a very specific set of pictures I knew where to find the folder but more obscure shoots under the old system would take a lot of looking to find.

It’s easier now, although the filing system can and will be further refined. But it is the sheer volume of images that has surprised me, not that I’m blind to the amount of times I press the shutter release, but the massive amount of people, places and objects that needed to be properly categorized for easy access has been mind bending.

 

This picture was shot with Ilford HP5 6x6cm roll film using a Bronica SQA camera with a 50mm wide-angle lens attached. The film was developed with Adonal (A Rodinol clone) developer and pushed 1 stop to help alleviate anticipated problems with fogging, because the film was very old and very much out of date. It may not have been my favorite shoot from 2015, but it is still one of my favorite shoots in recent years.

Films Resilience

For those who love film, here is a story of incredible ineptitude that produced (I think) a great result.

This photograph was shot in a dimly lit room with the halogen light source coming from the right hand side. I was using a very old medium format rangefinder camera, so focusing was nearly impossible due to the bad lighting. Add in a further complication of a faulty shutter in the camera, which meant the light meter reading was useless. If the mechanical and logistical problems weren’t making things difficult enough. The film stock had an expiry date from six years ago, the film developers expiry date was six months ago, and my lackadaisical attitude to water temperatures during baths and washing was recipe for total failure. One would expect the film to be at least heavily fogged and more than likely blank. Well, it is very fogged but there was something to work with, something that has a charm and humour impossible to replicate with a digital camera. Why, because we would see the problem in real time and immediately compensate.

This picture would have been deleted

Makes me wonder how we managed back in the day..

Fuji GS645S Professional, 60mm, f4, Ortho Classic Pan 400asa 120 B&W film, Adox Adonal Developer (with an extra 2 minute developing time, because I thought, with all that had gone on previously, it couldn’t hurt)

It’s One Way to Protect Nature

Having been busy with other things today we are left with another picture from a long time ago, from back in the days when film was plentiful and the only option available.

It was a Saturday afternoon and I was wandering around the business district of Perth in Western Australia and I remember being drawn into this carpark by the subtle graduations of light in this vast empty space. Then I saw this tree and it was such a great metaphor for the way we treat nature that it demanded to be photographed and I couldn’t resist.

This photograph is nearly twenty years old, but as relevant today as it was yesterday, proof that in a world of fast moving change, things aren’t changing that much.

The film is Tri-x and the camera my beloved Bronica SQA with what looks like the 50mm wide-angle lens.

The Streets of New York

It seems that all I do now is slink back to the past, and while that’s not essentially true, there is an element of truth in it.

Yesterday’s post was about a happy accident in the computer where as today it’s about one in camera. Scanning old negs (which I’ve been doing all day) has the benefit of letting one relive times gone by. Scanning is a slow process and therefore there is time for reflection. This picture was shot using a very old German made Beier bellows lens camera from circa 19 – who knows. It’s an odd camera that allows you to choose either a 6×4.5 or a 6×6 negative size, which is sort of funky and forward thinking when you think about it. A minor problem can be that it’s possible to shoot as many frames as you like without winding on the film as the lens and the camera back operate separately and this is what happened here.

The initial picture was shot down around 43rd street in New York, but I have no recollection of who the man in the second shot was, but the composite works.

While the picture was shot using the 6×4.5 option, my scanner has a problem with the odd shape of the exposures from this camera and always wants to crop in weird ways, and modern technology being what it is, it always thinks it knows better.

The film is Tri-X