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Author: H. J. McCracken

52 photographs #26: On the waterfront

52 photographs #26: On the waterfront

In total, I spent almost ten days in Copenhagen, most of those spent in meetings at the University. But I did have some time to walk around town and look for photographs. 

Looking back on those photographs now, I don’t feel I was particularly inspired. There are a lot of photographs of sea and people on bicycles.  Here is a photograph that does not feature either the sea or a bicycle. 

It’s nice that we can see out 

I can only hope for better better photographs in other cities…

52 photographs (2018) #25: In the round tower

52 photographs (2018) #25: In the round tower

Now, Copenhagen. Walking around on the city on a Saturday evening just after I arrived, I came across a round tower in the city centre. Inside, it looked like this:

In the round tower…

A smooth brick floor curves resolutely to the top of the tower. Some soft evening light shone through the windows.

Of course, I discovered once I got to the top that the Rundetaarn was once an astronomical observatory, built in 1642, thirty years before the Paris Observatory. Peering through a window near the top one can see instruments and telescopes. Today, the centre of Copenhagen, like the center of Paris is no longer an ideal location for observations, at least of celestial objects. 

52 photographs (2018) #24: In Zollverein

52 photographs (2018) #24: In Zollverein

After Bonn, I spent a few days visiting friends who live near Essen, in the Ruhr valley. Here one can find the remains of the massive Zollverein industrial city, once the largest coal-mine in Europe. The main coal-washing hall has been transformed into an enormous museum telling the history of the Ruhr valley dating right back to prehistoric times. It is a beautiful and and encyclopaedic museum.

So in the west, this is the story of our age: factories transformed into cultural artefacts. In the museum, countless photographs testified to the terrible conditions at the factory. And it’s not just photographs: one can see embalmed lungs shrivelled up by emphysema. Of course, such places still exist elsewhere in the world, and an epic film from Wang Bing a few years ago shows the hard life to be had in Chinese steel mills.

But today, the control room on the main floor at the Zollverein coal-washing plant has become a cafe.

In Zollverein

Today, Zollverein is quiet, the machines are stilled, and the dials are all at zero (as you can see from my previous post).

Next: Copenhagen.

Leicaphilia moves the reading on the beam away from zero!

Leicaphilia moves the reading on the beam away from zero!

Thanks to a passing mention on my favourite philosophical corner of the internet photographic Universe the measurement on the beam has been moved away from zero (with a light fall, with lumps, at 5:30, as policeman Fox would say). But as these days I’m trying to keep to my promise of publishing at least one photograph per week with a short text does mean that my longer articles are swamped. So here’s small list…

Before leicaphilia moved the beam (in Zollverein)

Sergio Larrain and Valparaiso
Eugène Atget, his life
Atget’s legacy
Josef Koudelka at Beaubourg

I was happy to read that Film Ferrania have almost resolved their manufacturing problems. Shooting unique special films like their P30 emulsion is one of the best reasons I can think of to shoot film. Here’s my article about P30:

Discovering Ferrania’s P30 film

And about that film/digital thing? I think I still agree with most of this.

Thinking about photography…

More longer articles to come before the end of the summer, I hope. There’s Geoff Dyer’s excellent “The pleasure of looking at good photographs” which I mean to say something about…