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

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Kino Kijów / Kiev Cinema

Kraków. March 2017. On the way back home.
There was still a few hours left to plane departure so I decided to spend it walking with camera (Polaroid SX-70) and visit a few architectural sites. Kino Kijów (Kiev Cinema) -  building designed in between 1961-63 by Witold Cęckiewicz and opened in 1967 was one of them. 
It's one of the finest examples of polish modernism. It was also the biggest (960 spectators), most modern and the first widescreen cinema in Poland back then.
Kiev Cinema is a part of complex with beautiful Hotel Cracovia designed by the same architect in 1965.

Original photographs of the interior of Kiev Cinema on the pages of  'Witold Cęckiewicz – monograph' 

Kiev Cinema - Rear Elevation
 with fragment Hotel Cracovia 
(1965) in the background 
© Artur Sikora

I was especially intrigued by a beauty and simplicity of the form of southern elevation (image bellow). I made a photograph which I wasn't entirely happy with. It was lacking something... 
Just a few minutes later I notices an elderly lady slowly walking towards the building. That was the time to make another approach. I visualised wonderful contrast coming in ... monumental concrete wall and somehow fragile, tiny old lady... Quick focus adjustments and now just await for the moment the lady will walk in to the right position. Click....

Kiev Cinema - Southern Elevation© Artur Sikora

In January 2018 this photographs was published in Black+White Photography magazine (digital edition) - B&W Photographer of the Year 2018 competition edition - selection of the judges’ favourites.

Now copy of the same photograph can be viewed on the wall of Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery as a part of RHA 188th Annual Exhibition (until the end of August)
Wonderful show definitely worth a visit if you are around.

Thank you!

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church at the Airport

Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church at Dublin Airport, designed by Andrew Devane and built in 1964 - Another building within ‘Unfulfilled Dreams’ project.

Being at the airport a few times a year I never had a chance to see it in other way rather than from the distance. Now I could touch it, feel the surface of each brick and concrete. Incredible experience.
Especially in such a day - bright, sunny, clear sky. It could not be better. Beautiful, simple building enriched visually with strong shadows which gives another dimension to it.

What beside the walls? Very simple, almost minimalistic atrium surrounded by straight columns followed by quiet interior with discreet, subtle illumination from stained glass windows.
All pure and majestic ... Absolutely wonderful …

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora
© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora

You can have a look at photographs from two other buildings designed by Andy Devane I visited while ago:

Saint Fintan's church in Sutton 
AiB Bankcentre 

Thank you!

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Strolling in the snow...

I spent a few days in Eastern Poland over a week ago. Very short and almost unexpected visit to Hrubieszow and area. Whole place was covered in snow. Temperature just below 0C during the day and a bit lower at night with snow fall. 
White streets every morning and the most beautiful meadows, forests and nearby villages where snow stays all the time.

I recently realised how much I enjoy visiting places related to my childhood as I am getting older. That must be natural process … 
The same about spending more time with parents I usually can see only once a year. 
My perception of surrounding has changed over the years and I can see more I suppose then I used to when I was not even 20. Lots of memories comes back. I appreciate things I did not back then.
Now I always have a camera (or a few) with me which makes it easier to memorise it in the way I want to.
Entire short stay was filled with long walks with my father where we could talk a lot and I could soak in surrounding nature with all senses. Wonderful experience.

'A must selfie' with my father ;)

Landscape, old churches and houses or rather whatever left ... this is what I was focused on.
All materials are processed now. Need to scan everything which is actually the most time consuming part. I will slowly present all photographs on my so called social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (please follow the links) 


Saturday, 10 February 2018

Saint Fintan's Church

It took me a while to write these few words and first of all to get back to this abandoned blog. Truly crazy last 7-8 months with lots of work and not much time (if at all) for personal photography but here it is - I got a chance to make a few images of a building I was interested in for a few years now.

Saint Fintan's church in Sutton designed by Andrew Devane (of RKD Architects), built in 1972.
Classic, beautiful example how to deal with concrete, how to make it look great and and how to shape it. It’s not the first building designed by Andy Devane I am visiting. I am sure you remember photographs of incredible AiB Bank Centre in Ballsbridge … (please use this LINK to see images)

All photographs were made with Hasselblad 500c/m with Distagon 50/4 and two rolls of really good films - Rollei RPX 25 and ADOX CMS 20 which caught my special attention. 
I exposed Adox at ISO 16 and processed both films in Kodak Xtol as usual. Result was truly impressive. Beautiful , clear negatives with strong contrast and incredible tonality.
It was especially important in case of concrete structure like Saint Fintan’s church.

Time for a few photographs...

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora 
Add caption

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora

© Artur Sikora

Thank you!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

3rd Place Winner - Monochrome Photography Awards

Truly wonderful news arrived this morning…
I was awarder 3rd place in International Black and White Photography Competition - Monochrome Photography Awards, Professional Architecture Category.
I can’t say anything else except that I am really really happy :)Below is the winning entry... 

Image was made with large format 4x5 camera and Fomapan 100 black and white negative film.
I wanted to transfer a very specific look of the place into my image. That's why I visited this location a few times.
Finally I managed to photograph it in the way I wanted... after third or even fourth approach. A few frustrating moments but it was so worth it...

Press Release (please click image to enlarge):

Have a look please at other great photographs from organiser's gallery:

Monochrome Awards website:      
My entry:                                       
Other entries in category Architecture:
Other galleries:                               

Thank you!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

B&W Instant film on test (Impossible Project)

I have been thinking about starting to work with instant camera on some photo projects for a few months now. Yes -  instant camera :) There are many people who consider it as a nonsense when we are talking about serious work but it's the same with Holga - 'useless toy camera'. I am actually using it successfully for photographic projects and I am getting fantastic images. Why not do the same with instant camera? Exactly. 
Once you mastering specific camera it will become a perfect tool in your creative process.
Doesn't really matter what it is.
Never got a good results with Large format polaroid films but it was usually due to faulty or simply imperfect equipment (holders).  

Now, there is a chance to make it right...with something smaller.
There is a few options available these days but after all it will be a choice in between two films - Impossible Project and Fuji Instax.

Fuji - seams to work perfectly with consistent, good results and images which are not really changing in time...
Impossible Project - these films can surprise in every single shot for a change and there is no warranty that the look of the image will be the same in a few weeks...
But...there is one thing which keeps me away from Fuji at least for now - format. I don't really like Instax Wide format and Instax Mini is just to small. Impossible is way better in this field giving nice large photographs in Spectra film or slightly smaller but square (the best format ever) with its 600 Type, I-Type and SX70...
There is however another factor/category which is quite serious and makes Fuji stands out - price. Impossible is about 3EUR per image which is quite expensive considering the fact that Fuji Instax Wide for comparison cost about 1EUR per image.

Right...lots of pros and cons on each side.

A few years ago I got a great present from a good friend of mine, Bart (Light Painted) - Polaroid Spectra camera with glass coated lens. Really nice camera.
I tried it just after that with B&W film from Impossible...which came out totally sepia. That was it. No more tests, camera ended up in a drawer as there was no other option for photographic material.

I just decided to give it another chance when I started to think again about instant camera and when I realised that after all this time Impossible invented a new type of B&W film.

Film arrived just before Christmas. Great! All I wanted to know was if the B&W is B&W and if gives relatively good quality image with nice contrast and acceptable tonality (as for instant camera). Colour is beyond my interest if you are asking ;)

Film loaded. All seams to be working well. 
Time for a few snaps... and big disappointment on the first try as photograph was not coming out from camera. 
OFF and ON... Here it is. Wasted one, overexposed... probably due to the fact that it was exposed twice or even three times in order to get it out from camera. 

Problem with power? Hm, not really. It's a new film and battery in it is fresh. Camera seams to be fine as well. 
Another try... The same story...
These test brings nothing... Time to calm down, relax and find solution... 
I did a quick research online - the problem seams to be with the curtain which prevents accidental exposure (in the front of camera, over the pocket where film is ejected). It seams to be blocking for some reason film on its way out.
One quick move and curtain is removed ;)

Third try... and here it is. Photograph comes out smoothly.
Processing takes about 5 minutes as per instruction. Image is slightly overexposed and has a slight sepia tint but it is almost B&W. It's acceptable kind of B&W ;)

© Artur Sikora
(bright sun from the left side, camera set to '0', no adjustements)

Spectra has a possibility of making small aperture adjustments - brighter or darker. Next shot was with 'darker' option.
I was trying to shoot in a really bright day with nice strong sun and good contrasts to get images in the way I like... Holga with similar aperture and settings works well in it so I presume this camera should behave in a similar manner.

Have a look please..

© Artur Sikora
(bright sun from the back, camera set to darken image)

© Artur Sikora
(bright sun from the back, camera set to darken image)

© Artur Sikora
(bright sun from the back, camera set to darken image)

Almost there but not exactly. I am quite happy with contrasts. Images are Black and white and they are big :) comparing to Fuji... But the look of it is still lacking something which is hard to explain... 

Two shots left. Time for different lighting. Evening at home... As usually during tests I had to talk to Amelia (my daughter). Two shots in two slightly different lighting conditions (please see descriptions under each photograph).
One is just perfect technically the other one is better from visual point of view but not sharp enough. It was however my fault.

© Artur Sikora
(desk lamp in a front of Amelia, over the book, ceiling lights in room ON, camera set to '0', no adjustments)

© Artur Sikora
(desk lamp in a front of Amelia, over the book, ceiling lights in room OFF, camera set to '0', no adjustments)

Perfect! This is exactly what I was looking for.  Nice tonality and excellent sharpness once properly set and focused (It is of course rather camera not film itself).

Photograph on the left side was made with first version of 'B&W' Impossible Project film and it was never B&W.
Image on the right side was made with new version of the same film. Please see description under the image above.

Will have to think now about getting nice SX70 with manual focus for square images at some stage. 

Now, Fuji plan to release square format Instax in a few months will be smaller than Impossible but this will be a great option for consideration. 
Not sure if they will decide to go with Black and White as well though...

Questions, questions... and doubts ...