Saturday, 5 October 2019

Heading North...

Waking up at 6am on Saturday morning sounds like a crazy plan considering the fact that I do it every day during the week. This time however it was something special on the way - A photo trip with my good friend and excellent photographer Jim Leonard, who came up with this idea a few weeks earlier.
The day before I packed my Rollei, Holga (yes, just two cameras this time) and box of films. It was still dark and pleasantly mild when I left my place. An hour later I met Jim. We packed our bags into the trunk and soon after that we’ve been on the road to Belfast. 
Forecast was rather unfavourable. Once we arrived, to our surprise, Belfast was literally shining. The streets were filled with beautiful light reflecting off buildings and illuminating surroundings. It couldn't be better.

Belfast © Artur Sikora

I don’t remember when last time I was wandering the streets just for pure photography and enjoyment, without any other particular purpose. 
What made it special however was the fact that we were not on our own. We have met a fantastic local photographers who showed us Belfast from completely different perspective - Sean Allen, Patrick O’Lean and Alistair Prentice. 
(Links to their websites/public profiles are at the bottom of this text so please have a look) 
Walking, photographing and listen to great stories... Just a perfect day! It was also a great experience to see them in action portraying strangers on the streets in such an interesting manner and with full confidence. I was surprised how positive all approached strangers reacted asked to being photographed.
And of course I was the odd one avoiding people and pointing my camera towards concrete and brick walls ;)

Belfast, Gate in Peace Wall © Artur Sikora
Belfast, Peace Wall © Artur Sikora 
Belfast, Divis Street © Artur Sikora
Belfast © Artur Sikora

This is just a glimpse of what I photographed over there. Still have 2 rolls of films to process (out of 5 in total). This includes photographs of couple of architectural gems. 
As usually all images will be presented soon on my social media: FB, Twitter, Instagram and also LinkedIn. 

At the end we visited Ulster Museum and extraordinary exhibition 'Temporary/Permanent' by Frankie Quinn, marking the 50th anniversary of the erection of the first Belfast peace wall. Exhibition is open until 10th of November so go for it if you will be in the area.

© Artur Sikora
I guess we were very lucky with weather. Late afternoon, as we got back into the car, heavy rain started...  

At the end I wanted to thank here Jim, Sean, Patrick and Alistair for wonderful day!

Thank you! 

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Convert – world of photography and ... cameras

There was a long time with no posts. To be honest not sure if people still read blogs… They probably do but whole attention has shifted to fast changing images rather than anything else. 
I also have to admit that I had not much time to write about anything for the last half a year or so. All my projects are on hold due to work and family related duties. One can say that there is always a moment for casual photography… well, that really depends on circumstances .

So ... first post after over 6 months will be mostly about cameras for a change rather than photographed subjects ;) but there are a few photographs to look at as well.

Let’s start from the beginning. Couple of years ago I decided to switch my photographic equipment which I am using for professional purposes to mirrorless system. It was all about weight,  outcome quality and other features unavailable in DSLR world (at least at the time when change has come).
This move took a while but I enjoy every single minute with it. My backpack lost about 40% of its weight and technical quality of work at the same time went up incomparably.

Weight was the main factor when I started to consider similar change with my film cameras I am using for personal purposes… personal projects and rather rare negative film based commercial assignments. 
It was especially important due to my recurrent back problems and the fact that I cycle and walk most of the time. I definitely had to get portable analogue equipment .

I sold my Hasselblad 500cm with its two lenses at the beginning of this year. 10 years with  this wonderful but relatively heavy system came to its end. Shooting hand held, which is the way I work a lot when photographing for personal purposes, was limited rather to 1/125 with Hasselblad. Even 1/60 was very risky with its large mirror. It was also a bit awkward to carry around.
I needed more flexibility.

I decided to go for Rolleiflex T with 75mm f3.5 Tessar lens.



Very small and light camera. At the moment even 1/30 of a second is easily doable handheld. Completely different experience. Now this camera is often in my bag or over my shoulder and it is not a burden anymore. I could come back to my long forgotten routine of photographing Dublin. Of course as long as weather is good. Also thanks to easily accessible and affordable filters I could rediscover my way of photographing and getting stronger contrast which I love. 

© Artur Sikora 
When sun is up which happens more and more often these days - Dublin is beautifully illuminated. I can see places I am passing by almost every day in completely different way. New perception, new way of seeing and completely new way of transferring this vision into celluloid material. 


Chancery House designed by Herbert Simms in 1934 © Artur Sikora
Kiosk designed in 1934-35 by Herbert Simms
 as part of the development of Chancery House housing scheme
© Artur Sikora

That wasn’t the end. I needed wider angle. Equivalent of Hasselblad 50mm lens.
Long research and I ended up with Fujica GS645w Professional equipped with 45mm f5,6 lens.



Extremely light camera, perfect ergonomic design and incredible optics. Also scale focusing system made it obviously point and shoot medium format camera created to photograph architecture or landscape :) 

Berkeley Library designed by ABK Architects in 1967
© Artur Sikora
Miesian Plaza, Recently renovated building 
originally designed by Ronnie Tallon of Scott Tallon Walker Architects 
and constructed in two phases during the 1960s and 1970s
© Artur Sikora


Glandalough © Artur Sikora

I am using both interchangeably and looking forward to get back at some stage to expand my ‘Unfulfilled Dreams’ project. I miss visiting modernist classics for pure photography and education purposes. I just need a time for it…

This is not the end of course. My very reliable and also heavy large format camera Sinar F2 has also gone. This was a camera which I wasn’t using anymore due to its weight and complexity of setting it up on site along with very heavy tripod needed for it.
I ended up with two excellent super light custom made 4x5 pinhole cameras with perspective correction. 



Well, I am thinking about getting proper, small and portable 4x5 camera at some stage as well but that’s the future…

Arts Building designed by ABK Architects in 1978
© Artur Sikora
Former Saint Nicholas of Myra National School,
Carman’s Hall, Dublin (
1936-39)
Building designed by John Joseph Robinson and Richard Cyril Keefe
© Artur Sikora
Achill Island © Artur Sikora


And that’s enough for now. I hope to prepare more substantial text next time. Thank you!







Wednesday, 26 December 2018

The beginnings ...

This morning I opened the box with collection of my old negatives. Some of them from 2008/2009. Yes, that was the moment when I started my adventure with analogue photography. About 2 years earlier this medium became my form of so called visual expression. Surprised? 
No, I wasn’t born with camera ;) I got my first one (smena 8m) when I was about 8 years old but after exposing a few frames, film broke in the camera. It was never processed and I  didn’t bother to use smena again.
It’s all started rather about 2007/08. Initially street mixed with architecture. Modernist concrete structures were always my favourite subjects since then…. approached in a bit different way than I do it now. 
Here you can see short series of frames exposed around Berkeley Library in 2009. All mages on Fuji NCN400 black and white C41 film, Mamiya C330 Pro.
I didn’t process negatives myself back then. I decided to play with a few months later. And then it was like a flood …. Roll after roll, cameras, experiments and so on…
Below photographs are ‘remastered’ if I can say that. I rescanned all frames in higher resolution using much better scanner and software than I had available 10 years ago.



© Artur Sikora
© Artur Sikora
© Artur Sikora
© Artur Sikora
© Artur Sikora
© Artur Sikora

Thank you!

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Back to the East...

August 2016 ... 'Journey to the East...' (please use this link to read old blog post). 
That was a very hot summer. Strong sunlingt, blue sky and incisive shadows from early morning. Perfect weather for Holga .
Last night I found a few more photographs from that time. As usually these images had to mature to be ready for presentation. 
... 13 photographs which I decided keep in drawer until now.
Eastern Poland: Hrubieszow, Zamosc and Lublin once again... and its mostly old buildings sometimes typical for this particular region.


Lublin © Artur Sikora
Zamosc © Artur Sikora
Hrubieszow © Artur Sikora
Zamosc © Artur Sikora
Zamosc © Artur Sikora
Hrubieszow. Abandoned factory 'Hakon' © Artur Sikora
Hrubieszow. Abandoned factory 'Hakon' © Artur Sikora
Hrubieszow © Artur Sikora
Hrubieszow © Artur Sikora
Hrubieszow © Artur Sikora
Hrubieszow © Artur Sikora
Hrubieszow © Artur Sikora
Lublin © Artur Sikora

Thank you!

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Destruction of architectural heritage

Couple of years ago I photographed two significant buildings representing influential movement in history of architecture… 'Along The Canal ...' (Please click this link to read described post and see mentioned photographs.)
Today these structures are gone, flattened , destroyed…
Dublin (and not only I am afraid) already has a record of treating valuable buildings  in a shameful way in past century. 
'Dublin Disappearing Over Night'  ... Georgian Houses back then. Modernist architecture now.
Incredible, vital concrete structures are endangered being replaced by shiny glass blocks.
This time not overnight but on equally massive scale and it seams to be unstoppable.

...

Bord Fáilte headquarters designed by Robin Walker (of later Michael Scott & Partners) in 1961.  

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora
Fitzwilton House designed by architects Emanuel Shoolheifer and Don Burley and completed in 1969.  

© Artur Sikora
© Artur Sikora

And some time before that...

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora


Thank you!


Sunday, 18 November 2018

Postcards from Ballymun...

Beautiful, sunny day. October 2010. 
Camera loaded with unusual for me material - Velvia 50, colour reversal film...
Now it's like a traveling in time... especially if Ballymun has changed so much since then.
That was a moment in time when every corner of now 'Old Ballymun' was so inspiring.

Yes, it's another blog post based purely on archival materials initially rejected. It basically must have evolved in me and I had to grow into the decision of showing it...   


© Artur Sikora
© Artur Sikora
© Artur Sikora
© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Up in the mountains ...

Looking through old negatives I came across a few photographs from before 7 years ago which I rejected for some reasons. I think it's a good moment to bring them back to life. The more so now that I think the initial decision was bad.
Wicklow Mountains  February 2011...

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora
© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora