Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Close Enough For Murder

Well there I was, a dental appointment and nothing more to do than walk home, so I planned ahead, took the SW and thought I'd have a go at getting really close, as in . . 

Da-Da . . 

Close Enough For Murder . .

Gee Boss - You're SO Handsome

I know, it is a bit stupidly dramatic is that statement, but well, with the above I really was close, as in the minimum I can focus with the SWC/M
I was also at pavement height and given it has an eye-level viewer, I had to trust the lens scale and so on. You can actually see the reflection of the lens hood in the bottom of the photograph - it is the dark object in the central third - that's because it was rested against a window, and the camera canted up to take in this awful poster on a BT shop window! 
Incredibly (to me) this was taken handheld at 1/15th and f16 . . . no cable release. 
On the lens scale on the SW this gave me a hyperfocal guesstimate (at this distance) of between just under 12" (0.3 m) and 14" (0.35 m) . . . so, 2.5 inches to get it right!
Personally, I don't think any other lens in the world could have done it as well.
I'm not sure what it is I like about it either . . .
Is it the fact that her tombstone teeth match the jambs, mullions and transoms of the reflected windows?
Is it that she looks more pleased than a very very pleased person?
The way the chap appears to be floating in clouds?
Or is it the way her hair has been rendered?
Whatever, this is a scan from an actual print, which was onto Ilford MGRC Pearl, developed in Kodak Polymax. 
I like the tonal qualities a lot.

But on with the main thing - so there I was, fresh and clean, scraped to within an inch of my gums and in Dundee City Centre . . . I walked up Reform Street, avoided the rowing junkies, past the boozers in The Counting House, turned left into Ward Road, popped into The Howff (an ancient city graveyard dating back to medieval times) but decided there was nothing there for me, so I popped out, headed along Ward Road again, and I took some pictures.

This Is A Contact Print

It lasted literally 30 minutes and I had finished the whole film; it sort of looks it too, with little regard to composition, just on-the-fly snaps, all centred around the old BT building, which takes us up to frame 4.

Ugh, Sisters Are, Ugh, Doin' It For, Ugh, Themselves, Ugh

I am not sure what it is that I dislike about these horrible window posters.
Is it their cheesy grins?
Is it the whole 'empowered sisterhood' thing that is so cleverly and endemically marketed for women these days?
I dunno, but by frame 5 I had had enough and moved on to more posters advertising BT TV stuff.

Hmm, Ward Road . . . Very Interesting!

And in frame 6, well who's that peeking out at us?
Yes, it is the great Scots actor James McEvoy - I know he's got to live, but superhero films from the man from State Of Play and The Last King Of Scotland?
C'mon James, you can really act man!

The BT Portal

Anyway there I was contorted and squatting and attracting the attention of a lazy security bloke, so I decided enough was enuff and off I went, only to spot the weirdness of frame 9. 
It was like a warped Universe all in one spot:
"A Different World"
And light reflecting from over the way, though to be fair, I didn't even know it was there till I developed the film and found it on my shoulder, like a bluebird of happenstance . . .
This is my second favourite of all of them - it's a basic reflection photo, but there's a lot going on and the semi-opaque window frosting has added an air of otherworldliness to the photo . . well it has to my eyes anyway.
Anyway, fed up of being stared at like a freak with a strange box, I packed up and headed towards home and some more traditional shots.

Old Mills Die Slowly

Frame 10, and the entrance to a mill, vandalised nicely.
There's a grey message sprayed across all four doors that looks to me like an overlay on the negative - that's weird as well. 
I was close to the doors - less than 6 feet (!) - and I slightly canted the camera - you can see that at the left side in the verticals - it makes things a little 'off', but I like it anyway.
Dundee used to be full of old mills, but they are disappearing at an alarming rate now - it is a crime - cultural destruction of the same sort as happened in the Middle East only this time by men in suits bunging handy backhanders . . .
It isn't as bad as what happened in the 1960's but it still shouldn't be happening - you'd think, in 50 years, we would have learned something.

Anytown USA? Nah Mate - It's Dundee

And finally my final shot of the day and third favourite. The sunlight was incredible - it was so good it wasn't even Scotland - reminding me of the light gifted to some of the great 60's US landscape photographers. 
The place was at the junction behind The Verdant Works carpark. 
If you're ever in town, go and visit it - it is a Mill, and has been semi-restored to give the full history of Jute and it's place in the rise and fall of Dundee - money well spent in visiting it - it's outstandingly interesting.
So there I was, like a primed mullet, teetering on a wall, stared at by drivers and nosy-parkers (geddit?). 
I got my verticals about right and snap - 1/125th at f16. 
It is razor sharp.

And feeling very smug, that was it - another 15 minutes to get home, but I was pleased at how intuitive the camera had been to use.

So where does that leave us in Part Three of this exploration of the Hasselblad SWC/M? 
Well . . . if you have the money, or have robbed some grannies of their life savings, and are in two minds, I would say (if you're sure you can handle the fact that you really have to re-think your approach to everything, and don't mind not being able to see what you are truly doing) go for it
Get one
Even if only for a few months if you don't get on with it - it does make you think. It isn't a camera to be taken lightly - it forces you to concentrate on the photo-making process in much the same way a Large Format camera does, except this doesn't necessarily need a tripod, or dark slides, or a dark cloth, or a mule . . . 

And that's all until the next episode, where many miles are walked and a schoolboy error renders a bunch of frames useless.

Oh, and remember, Bingo starts at 5.30 sharp. There's tea and biccies too, and if you are very lucky Michael (remember him?) is coming back with some more sounds of the 60's - he's got Pet Clark records and everything!

Shitbangers . . where did I put my Small Faces CD?


  1. Excellent, Phil. That SWC is the best buy you've made. Man and machine in perfect harmony, etc. And it's so sharp! How the feck did Zeiss manage that? And why didn't they do the same for my Distagon?? The teeth/windows thing was well-spotted - kind of looks like she's picked up the whole building in her gob! And I like what you did with Arnotts gate on the contact sheet. Still think you should do a Blurb book of your reflections.

    I know what you mean about "today's women". I've never seen so many empowered females power-walking and running through the town. You just have to look at them to see they're so strong and independent that they don't need no man. Let's see how that plays out for them when they're on their death beds surrounded by their cats and their one remaining female friend from uni. Must...fight...my...mysoginistic...tendencies. AAARRGH.

    P.S. Might be late for the bingo. It's me hip.

  2. Thanks Bruce - yeah, a marvel in glass - every time I use it (well, so far) I seem to have a picture I really like from each film. As I say, not for everyone though, but if you can think:
    "Come and 'ave a go, if you think you're weird enuff!"
    then it'll work. It can be hard having to get so close to things, but actually even from about 6 to 20 feet I think you have a non-lost, more documentary feel if you know what I mean,

    As with all things needed in the world, balance is good - we never can seem to get it right can we?

    PS . . I'll save you a place and a chocolate hob-nob.

  3. I like the first picture a lot, Phil. The structure, the shapes, even the shadow of the lens hood is perfect; all topped with the so unnatural grin. Well done!

  4. Thanks as always Omar . . I'd like to say it was my masterly photographer skills at work (my arse, as they say!) but sadly, it was all happenstance. I was really kneeling on the pavement and just guessed focus and jammed the lens hood up against the window . . . but then again, isn't that half the fun. No 'chimping' for me, oh no, I like the thrill of the chase and the extra thrill when something works better than you expected that you only get with film.


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