The Dizzying Descent…

電車

[sing along if you know the words...]

One of the themes that runs through a great deal of my Tokyo shots is this ’tilt’. To me it has always about the geometry – if the lines / curves running through a frame are strong the shot works. My theory is that by tilting the world off it’s normal axis these lines / curves stand out more because the viewer is thrown off by the angle, and it requires effort to take in the scene. The first glance might not immediately reveal the reality of the shot, and at that point the geometry is more obvious.

There are a couple of obvious problems: the explanation sounds like a bunch of “art wank”; it’s very easy to overuse or abuse.

Still, i’d always imagined it would be fun to do a gallery show with only these shots and see how many people gave up and just tilted heads to compensate!

[This one doesn’t really work for me – there is too much dead space in the top right of the frame. If the effect in the bottom left was repeated top right… but there was no light.]

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Red Shift

荒川線_0008

According to the original file name this somewhere out on the Arakawa line, and given the skyline, over in East Tokyo.

It’s taken with Ilford SFX 200, a bit of a gimmick (is that the second time i’ve used that word today?) film, which is hard to use without a rangefinder. At the time i didn’t really understand how best to focus to compensate for working at a different wavelength… Consequently a lot of the pictures have this “mysterious” soft look, which leaves you searching for the point try to be made. In this case you’d have to hazard that it was in someway related to the pointlessness of life, and the inevitability of death. Or something equally existential.

Live and learn. As someone like Goethe would no doubt say, “Bildung!”

Stretched

鷺沼

Dread to think how many of these shots i’ve taken. No doubt most find them dull / uninspired. For me they are endlessly intriguing (when they go right…) With inspection the wash of blur gives way and yields up all sorts of little details, and fragmentary glimpses into other spaces. In this one, the passengers of the stationary train on the next platform, the elongated shadow, the hard lines of the door… yeah, i guess it’s just me!

赤鬼

ザポア

Old unpublished shot from 2008.

Taken along the counter, presumably with the standard hassie 80mm lens. Given the volume of the mirror slap it’s pretty much impossible to stealthily sneak a shot. The best you can hope for is a lot of background noise, and looking the other way.

Aka Oni (a sake bar / izakaya) in Sangenjaya was for many years one of my favourite treats. Everything was expensive, but the dude running the place really made an effort to make it worth it – and generally it was. I’d guess he left about five years ago, and it was never really the same. The focus on quality turned into a more gimmicky attempt to try new things. Oh, Japan! You never seem to be conservative about the right things…

[Aside: take the 三軒茶屋 challenge – on a Mac (using Kotoeri) work out which kana to type for ‘sangenjaya’ such that all four kanji are the first choice!]

Ilford

As previously noted, i’ve made the move over to Ilford. And have ended up liking a combination of HP5+ and Delta Pro in various situations. Up until i’ve mostly been working blind. That is, developing the negatives, but not having any way to scan them. And, while it’s nice to have the occasional wetprint made, it’s not really a great solution for getting stuff out there on the net. (Pipe down at the back there Storey!)

Anyway, now i have a scanner i’ve been looking at some of the negatives.

Here’s a little chunk of 1-to-1 grain from the middle (Delta 400 Pro pushed to 1600 using Ilfotec DD-X at 20C):

Lovely and soft! I’m really rather happy. The only issue is that Ilford need to work on their quality control / consistency. They aren’t great at getting the film rolled, which seems to result in the film markings turning up really close to the exposed frame.