Kurdish protests in Düsseldorf

As always, if you have questions, objections, worries or praise, and especially if you found your picture and want it removed, feel free to contact me. I will get back to you as soon as possible. You can also read my full disclaimer, if you are interested.

 

Film has one disadvantage that I normally see as an advantage: Processing it involves more than just copy & paste. A lot of effort and skill goes into developing film and especially with black and white things become rather slow nowadays. Labs usually take a week to process it and the results are often appalling, because they just don’t do it often enough. Those who shoot film in this digital age usually develop their own black and white, including yours truly. If I take pictures on film I don’t expect to see these pictures the same day, unless I make a specific effort to develop and scan them quickly, which almost never happens. The days of good old Tri-X in D76 for newsprint are sadly over.

In October last year serendipity brought me into the middle of the Kurdish protests twice in a row without having planned for it. I usually don’t read the newspaper – it’s just death, destruction and the anticipation of the Third World War these days anyway – and so I didn’t even know that these protests were anticipated. On the 10th of October I happened to walk past the building of the German Confederation of Trade Unions right at the time when Kurdish students occupied it. I took pictures with my XA and my Rollei while the newspaper photographers with their DSLRs looked at me strangely. The next day, on the 11th of October on the way to a Paul Klee exhibition I walked into the real thing, a large demonstration with about 20.000 supporters in attendance.

A couple of boys who grinned into the camera at some point asked me whether they are going to be in the newspaper. I looked at my gear and said “No, probably not, I’m shooting film.” Well, maybe those boys won’t be in the newspaper, but they might be in the history books when everyone else’s pictures got erased because their hard drive died. If you shoot film you don’t shoot for a one day spike in visits on your social media profile, you shoot for posterity! And that’s exactly how I approached processing these pictures. I took my time, let them sit in the drawer for a little while and waited until I was sure I had caught all the rolls that had pictures from these events before showing them to you.

And with this I have almost reached the last roll I shot on my trip in autumn. Just one more roll of cosplayer shots and I am done, 3 months after the fact. It might seem slow for all those digital shooters, but for me it’s just the right pace.

Taken with: Olympus XA, F.Zuiko 35mm f/2.8 and Rolleicord V, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 75mm f/3.5.
Rollei RPX 400 and Tri-X stand-developed in Rodinal 1:100.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Kurdish students occupying the building of the German Confederation of Trade Unions.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Some of the protesters showed their face, others weren’t sure whether to hide it. They left peacefully and were not arrested.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

The police was there, but they didn’t have to intervene.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Banners, flags and pictures like these were carried among the protesters. One of the more common ones not shown in any of the pictures here was “Women who fight are women who live.”

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

And even the smallest were in attendance.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

A seemingly unending stream of people was walking past.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Chanting for support. At some point one of the organisers shouted “We are in Germany, so let’s speak German.” And everyone switched to German.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Also some of the German political parties – mostly the left wing ones, Linke, MLPD – were walking among the protesters to show support.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Whole families were out and about.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

What an intense look this girl gave me!

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

And of course one could see Che signs.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

The banner says: “Stop weapons exports to the Near East. Solidarity with Rojava and all oppressed peoples.”

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Just because it’s a protest doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun – even if the young man in the foreground looks very serious indeed!

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

Some of the Marxists.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

“Stop the genocide,” was one of the most common banners to be seen.

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

© Lilly Schwartz 2014

The last protester was walking rather slowly.

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