On Saturday I took the bus with ML to visit a gallery near the Place de Clichy, “Le Bal”. For the next few months they are showing works from Japanese photographers from the 1970s in particular those associated with “Provoke” magazine.
Daido Moriyama is perhaps the best known artist from this period. A few months ago I read his autobiography “Memories of a dog” where he explains how he became a photographer. It was hard: for his first important shoot he used cinema film a friend had scavenged for him and which he loaded into film cassettes by spending hours at night in a cupboard. He had dropped out of multiple different schools and started out a graphic designer, making business cards for bars and restaurants, before discovering almost by accident what he really wanted to do. I can’t say I like all his photographs but there is certainly some great stuff in there. Looking at the show, I can imagine how much a shock these photographers must have caused in Japanese society in the 1970s. And maybe they are still a bit shocking today as today we have now become too concerned by image quality and sharpness.
So why are we here? Well I thought I would go up there and take a few photographs of the expo using a roll of Bellamy Hunt’s “Street Pan” film made in Belgium and shipped via Japan. Why not? To complete the circle, of course. Two fun things happened: I tried a certain lens which is known to have a bit of distortion; and secondly after developing four rolls of other film beforehand, the JCH street pan got a bit stuck on the steel reel and got a few scratches. Both these factors of course added something to the photographs. Next time, I will be more careful. I was in that part of town twice this week, on Thursday evening as well. Here is what it looks like at night, on Tri-X:
And here are a few photographs of the expo, in Street Pan with my bendy 35mm/1.4 lens:
Actually I don’t think these pictures really do the film justice. It is actually a very fine-grained, contrasty film. It looks great outside in proper light:
I am not sure Moriyama would use it if he was still shooting film, it is too nice :-). But I plan to make some tests in the next few weeks…
That’s it for this week! Next week: back to 50mm :-).
Technical notes: Camera: a Leica M6 with a Summicron-M 50mm, Voigtlander 35/1.4 . Film is TriX/TriX1600/JCH developed in HC110 dil. B @ 6/14/5 mins. Why use anything else -:).