#2 [Pollux]: Fade To Grey

Berlin today:
Schöneberg, Hauptstraße 155
Grief at the day of Bowie’s death in front of the house where he lived.

TMax 400, HC110. Pentax ME super, SMC-M 35/2.8

David’s friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person. He was the best there is.

– Iggy Pop

At times you feel bad as a photographer. Especially when you want to take pictures in situations where others are in grief. Today, I felt obliged to get to the place where David Bowie lived in Berlin, knowing there would be people around and knowing that Bowie means something to them.

There were only seconds to decide what to do. I have been waiting more than two hours for my doctor to examine some of my vital organs and the daughters waited for me in the Kindergarten. Swimming lessons for the elder child and in between I went home, got the ME super with a winder and a roll of TMax 400 and a 35/2.8 and went to the Hauptstrasse No. 155 to expose the roll in the fading, greyish daylight.

I took me ten or fifteen minutes, and what’s left are mostly these pictures. There was only one moment that I felt was an important one. The couple stood in front of me, I came closer to frame them the way I wanted, and between them there was this camera operator. The contradiction of the couple’s dignity and the indifference and daily routine attitude of the operator is the story of the picture. I feel grateful both let me take their picture, but I knew I only had seconds and for sure I didn’t wanted to appear intrusive. I respected them, and probably they felt it. 

In situations like this I feel uneasy with a camera. Knowing that, I deliberately chose the ME super with the winder, which is especially loud and very old fashioned. The winder is an insult for the size of the camera and it’s purpose, but I was curious and later in the evening, the girls (five and three years old) really enjoyed pushing the shutter release button on and on.

At the scene, too many people stared into their cell phones and didn’t seem involved, probably being interested as spectators, and somehow they dominated the scene a little too much, seemingly not being affected, but this couple surely was.

The film of choice was a TMax 400, because I had not used it for a long time and forgot about the reasons I was liking it three years ago, when I started out processing Black and White film. I remember that I liked it in a 1+63 dilution, but wasn’t sure about the hazy and very diffuse light outside, so I chose the 1+47 dilution and can’t complain. But I forgot that the TMax needs longer to get fixed properly.

Gear:

  • The squeegee situation is fine. The new one works great and I will take care of it. No destilled water yet. Haven’t tested the squeegee with the frail emulsion of HP5 yet, but then again, I’m also not interested to do so.
  • New cameras in the family. Nikon FE, 50/1.4, one XA, one XA2 and a Point and Shoot with AF and a 28 lens. 
  • Two beautiful bottles for the two bath fixing process
  • Two step scales for the enlarger room
  • Winder for the ME super

Project #1: Tomorrow I am going to shoot some portraits of Lady Jacks. I’m looking forward to our evening excitedly and the rolls of 400H and Tri-X are already packed together with some heavy cameras, lenses and strobes.

Pollux on 52rolls:

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40 thoughts on “#2 [Pollux]: Fade To Grey

  1. I feel uneasy on the streets myself. Especially here in Germany many people aren’t that friendly. Although not as bad as in France.

    Some day I’ll have to get over my fear and try myself.

    Like

  2. A sad occasion, but you managed to shoot documentary images that mattered for that moment, process them, and get them out to us. That is old school press photography! Thank you for the view from Berlin!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lovely photos. I always feel uncomfortable in situations like this, but I think it is important to use photography to document all types of human experiences.

    What kind of developer are you using with the TMAX?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s HC110 in a 1+48 dilution (7’40”) – TMax really looks especially good in TMax developer, silky smooth and the tonality is very compelling, but the price/output ratio is not very economical.

      With the HC110, I was looking for a little harshness, but going for a – say – 1+160 ratio with HC110 is also possible and looks very good, but of course takes more time. Usually, I am more into Tri-X (shot with it today again), but coming back to TMax was a nice experience.

      Like

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