from the war zone

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© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

All pictures taken with: Zorki 4K and Jupiter 12 35mm f/2.8.
Ilford Delta 3200 EI ~6400, stand-developed in Rodinal 1:100, 4 ml for 75 min.

The first thing I did in 2014 was to shoot a roll of film. After having the most delicious duck legs out of the dutch oven we walked to the nearest S-Bahn bridge at Bornholmer Straße to see the fireworks just before midnight. The bridge is called Bösebrücke, which literally means “evil bridge” and it looks rather old fashioned and sinister. It seemed rather fitting, since the neighbourhood was the opposite of peaceful. We constantly had to avoid people who were throwing firecrackers and somehow there was a dangerous feeling to the proceedings. From afar we could hear sirens, police cars (see above), ambulances, fire engines. New Year’s Eve is a busy night for all of them. At the bridge we were expecting to see the TV tower, but with all the smoke from the fireworks and with the general mist it was all but invisible. Last year the view was definitely better.

In the end I just tried to take pictures of the crowds and I have to say that it was rather dark, even at these high ISOs. I even gave it a little push when I developed the roll yesterday, but quite a lot of the pictures turned out too dark anyway. It also wasn’t a lucky roll at all, since it ripped in the camera in a way that made it impossible to rewind. As a result the film got badly scratched when I pulled it out and I had to spend quite some time removing the scratches in Photoshop. I was actually rather impressed with the outcome though, since the last two were so horribly scratched that I thought I wouldn’t be able to save them. Content Aware Fill and Clone Stamp are the best tools for this. I wonder whether there can be something done to prevent the film from tearing in the Zorki though. I haven’t counted properly, but lately I’ve had quite a few of them rip, 4 or 5 in the last 3 months maybe. It probably has something to do with the cold and also with the fact that the Zorki isn’t really meant for Western film canisters. Certain brands seem to tear more easily than others as well. Of 15 rolls of HP5+ only one ripped and that one had been soaking wet for half an hour. Of 18 rolls Kentmere 4 tore so far and my first roll of Delta 3200 ripped as well. This time at least I noticed when the film ripped and didn’t continue taking pictures on the last frame.

After I finished my film and we had seen enough of the madness of the celebration we made our way home. On the way back the dangerous atmosphere didn’t really improve. The whole experience showed that people are rather mad and inconsiderate actually. They threw firecrackers at us on purpose and quickly it really started to feel like we were in a war zone. At some point there was so much smoke that it was hard to breathe and shortly afterwards another bunch of idiots threw firecrackers at us just in front of our house. No surprise that I was rather on edge when we came home and needed a cup of tea to calm down.

Were those pictures worth all the stress or should I have saved the roll of Delta 3200 for the subway? I’m in two minds about it. I certainly didn’t enjoy the morons with the firecrackers! However, I think the pictures reflect the mood and especially the first one really turned out quite well.

Comments

  • Jeff

    Hi Lilly, I agree the pictures turned out really well and I especially like the first one too. I have a Zorki 4 but have only ever put one or two rolls through it and certainly didn’t develop it myself. So I admire your dedication to your photography. I haven’t developed my own film for many years but I can recall the reward that patient processing brings. Thanks for posting!

    • Lilly Schwartz

      Hi Jeff,
      I’m glad you like the pictures! The Zorki 4 was still from the 50s, right? I have a 3C from 1956 and although it’s beautiful it’s not very practical I’m afraid. It’s even less compatible with Western film canisters and therefore a little bit of the image ends up on the sprocket holes. And then there is this infuriating film forward dial, which has cost me many a fingernail! So I can understand why you’d be neglecting your Zorki 4. By now the 3C sits on the shelf as well, since the lever of the 4K is so much more comfortable and it’s a better fit as well. Developing my own film has so many advantages. It’s cheaper, faster and I can decide how exactly I want to process the pictures. Especially the added control is what I enjoy about it. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • great photos, great use of your Zorki (combined with delta3200). I find the first photo something surreal and of course I like it. I like n° 7/9/11 as well. I was told that in the 50s/60s films were thicker than now and maybe this has to do something with your ripped films.
    robert
    PS: yes, I agree “people are rather mad and inconsiderate actually”

    • Lilly Schwartz

      Thanks Robert! Yes, surreal is the word! I believe Delta 3200 gives it a rather sinister atmosphere actually also because it was so very dark. It’s the first time I used the Zorki in such low light and I’m quite pleased how it worked out. I have to try more of that!

      Interesting what you say about the film being thicker in the past. That makes total sense. Of course emulsions don’t need to be quite as thick now with the improved sensitivity! Shame that it makes my Zorki so unpredictable. I’ll have to make some statistics to find out which film works best.

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