The other day I got a bunch of film rolls developed, and I finally got to edit and upload a few photos I took last April 25th, during the fourtieth anniversary celebrations of the Carnation Revolution.
This is worth reposting as there’s only one week to go on the Indiegogo fundraiser:
RU+A (Facebook link) is a project that aims to qualify a run-down area at the center of Porto by inviting local visual artists to paint the area stores’ metal shutters in an event that will be taking place September 15th. There’s also going to be some live music in the street, a graffiti workshop and more — even possibly a barbecue.
Friends, Joana and the RU+A gals need to provide all the materials (paint, brushes & etc.) and all the permits for that event to happen. They’ve set up this fundraiser for both private and small-business sponsors. Perks include, besides a shout-out / some advertising for you, unique traditional portuguese ceramic tiles painted and signed by one of the artists. If you can, please help them out! Time is running out!
After a few years of relative distance, in 2012 I went again on a camera-collecting spree. Recently I got an Asahi/Pentax Spotmatic SP from the 1960s, along with an East German 50mm Carl Zeiss clone which might be the best lens I've got (testing on my DSLR suggests so!). I exposed a couple of rolls in it, and I sure liked the results.
Here are a few photos taken around Rem Koolhaas' concert hall. These are somewhat touristy, but what the hell — I like them. Nostalgia for the years of public money spent on lavish construction projects?
Taken with my Voigtlander Bessa-L and an adapted Tamron 28mm lens that makes the camera look quite badass.
My mind was somewhere else at the end of the roll of so I briefly opened the camera before rewinding, ruining some of the exposures. Oops, my bad. Anyway, when I took the film to the lab I specifically requested that they digitize every single exposure, no matter how awful it looked. And as (unfortunately) expected, they instead decided to curate my own photos for me, so I had to digitize some of the damage I found interesting (examples one and two) using my own terrible flatbed scanner. Next time I'll take my business elsewhere.
More photos taken with the Voigtlander Bessa-L, this time without the faux black & white.
This photo makes perfectly clear how the Industar lens, made before advanced optical coatings were commonplace, is soft: the diffusion in the edges around the sky isn't due to any kind of post-production effect. The soviet lens does hold very well in the other pictures, though.
Recently I bought a Voigtlander Bessa-L camera body, getting it for quite cheap at a used cameras shop here in Porto. I found it the kind of incredibly well-made object I had to own, but of course a camera body is useless without a lens, so I had to find one. Voigtlander has incredible wide-angle lenses for it, but at more than $500 that's more than I ever paid for one, even for my frequent use Canon DSLRs. I scoured eBay for cheap compatible Soviet lenses, and found a mint Industar-61 LD for $30. At 55mm, it's perhaps too narrow-angle for use with a finderless camera, but luckly I have the viewfinder from my Yashica Electro35 kit, with 38 and 58mm guides, so the final setup works like a charm, even if it looks like a retro mutant camera.
Since M39 (or LTM — Leica Thread Mount) lenses are incredibly expensive unless you go for the Soviet stuff, I'll also want to try a couple of M42 lenses I own, and perhaps stay on the lookout for a M42 wide-angle. If you plan on doing the same, beware though: you need a real M42 to M39 adapter, not the cheap stuff sold in kilograms on eBay. Since M42s are SLR lenses, in order to focus properly (or at all!) they need to sit much farther from the Bessa-L body than where a simple adapter would place them. The proper adapters will cost around $50 and are rare so you'll need to Google for them — just confirm they're around 2cm thick in order to compensate for the flange distance!
The Bessa-L having no finder means you have absolutely no way to focus other than estimating distances and dialing those in — which is yet another good reason to use a wide-angle lens. As I took my camera for a test walk I had to make do with what I had, though: an overcast day and the slow 100 ISO film (so I couldn't stop down the aperture much) made things even more difficult. Anyway, I'm pleased with the first results. The lens seems a bit soft but still better than expected considering how cheap it was, and the exposure metering seems almost as accurate as its reigning champion in my collection — the Electro35, with its analog rather than discrete shutter speeds (a feature which will always be on top of my digital camera wishlist). And I'm especially pleased I didn't make many focusing mistakes.
The Bessa-L is becoming my favourite film camera from my colection, even if using it is highly technical: that means serendipity is strong with this one.
This day in 1974 a military coup ended the fascist regime that had dominated Portugal for forty-eight years — the longest duration of a 20th century far-right government anywhere in Europe. The ‘Carnation Revolution’ and the period that followed went on with admirable restraint, given the stakes involved and the Cold War context. Thirty-eight years later, in the face of rampant corruption and economic inequality, some argue the April 25th fell short of its aims (eg. reforming the judicial system or preventing private monopolies) and is still a work in progress. The revolution day’s frontpage in the image proudly states “this newspaper didn’t go through any censorship commitee”, while today press freedom quite often caves to the subtler censorship of corporate pressures. But despite all that, today is a day of celebration.
Update 26/04: It didn’t last. Showing that ‘freedom’ and ‘popular initiative’ are only tolerated in their dedicated national holiday, city police again evicted Es.col.a early this morning. And it seems that this time the Mayor’s office ordered the destruction of the building’s plumbing and facilities, furthering the destruction of public property inflicted by those who were elected to protect public interests. But I guess nothing can stand in the way of dogma, so scorched earth it is.
This piece of retro advertising is almost perfect (-ly wrong) on so many levels. And I love the texts — “For responsible work” / “Porto Cigarettes — the base of your decision”. It only lacks one thing: booze. Pedro Quintas
What is College good for? I’ve recently had a student ask a somewhat more brutal form of the question the author mulls about — “Why do we have to learn this?” (‘this’ being, by the way, a short tutorial on sound recording in the context of a Multimedia Lab course with a very high amount of audiovisuals in its syllabus) — and found myself unable to provide an answer. I always figured someone who goes to college has a interest in learning stuff, no questions asked (much less when the ‘stuff’ is a downright obvious part of what you commited yourself to study for three years). ···
In the United States, the advertising industry says the middle class is over. ···
Nobel laureate Paul Krugman on the ‘rule by rentiers’. No better example than the recent Portuguese election, in which the media (owned by people with a vested interest in the privatizations-to-come) conspired not only to utter demonize the outgoing PM — the only way to ensure a ‘stable’ government by the right, given the overall perceived mediocrity of the right-wing leader and new PM, Pedro Passos Coelho —, but also to present the IMF’s prescriptions as palatable and inevitable (and a good 80% voted pro-IMF, fucking A!). And of course, not content until the country descends (or, as the media would put it, ‘ascends’) into a kind of feudal post-democratic ‘Berlusconianism’, pundits now call for a new ‘modern’ Constitution, stripped of such ‘nagging aspects’ as electoral and labour regulations, then freely available to the MPs and the lobbies to change as they please. And it seems people will gladly take it, as envious dreams of bling are the true opium of the masses. Boing Boing ···
On a lighter note, about one year ago two players fought a three-day, eleven-hour battle in the Wimbledon lawn. The fifth set of the match ended 70-68. ···