Last night I have finally published my first three projects: B/W, Color, and Pinhole. Kind of frightening to make your images – this is to say: yourself – seen by everybody; on the other hand this is exactly what I wanted to do. It’s funny to see how such a step into the open seemed the logical and urgent thing to do for me and how at the same time the prospect of doing it scared me to death. Steven Pressfield in his book “The War of Art” makes an encouraging comment in this regard: “[…] if you’re paralyzed with fear it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.” And so I did.
The photo above is from B/W and shows a so-called Kranhaus, one of three similar buildings lining the banks of the river Rhine in Cologne’s old harbor area. I was fascinated by the architecture, a reminiscence of the large cranes which back in the days were used to lift heavy freight from and into the hulls of cargo ships. The light conditions weren’t good, but I thought the grey sky and deep hanging clouds would counterbalance the strength and symmetry of the form and the almost clinical atmosphere of the stairhouse. I shot Ilford FP4+ and after developing it in Rodinal (1+50) the (intended) graininess of the picture added to this effect.
This is what I love when shooting film. It’s a process which makes you think beforehand: What kind of film did I load? Does it fit the scene I’m imagining? What kind of developing process will make the most out of it? All this slows you down and I experience this as a very relaxing and enjoyable exercise. Almost like a game. The image will materialize in your head already before you press the shutter release. Sure, when shooting digital you better go through the same process, but it’s tempting not to. Film kind of forces you into it – at least this is how it feels for me.