Monday, 11 May 2015

Modernism in Berlin - prologue

It is almost two weeks since I am back from my long planned short trip to Berlin. Very spacial place for everyone who loves architecture and its history. Place where you can admire creations of all masters …Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Gropius, Niemeyer, Aalto and many others.
Being in Berlin a few times before I always wanted to visit this great city with proper cameras and focus only on architecture which I love. 
It was truly amazing and very emotional few days. Only me, my cameras and modernist treasures. 
I had actually only two full days for photography. Not too much which makes me traveling from place to place for over 12h a day with about 20kg of equipment  on my back. An hour after hour my bag and tripod was heavier and heavier. Possibility of fulfilling the plan however was so exciting that I realised how challenging it was only after coming back home, to Dublin. 

Here is the list of buildings/places I photographed:

  • The Internationales Congress Centrum Berlin by Ralf Schüler, Ursulina Schüler-Witte /1979/
  • Campus Benjamin Franklin /1959-69/
  • Unité d'Habitation of Berlin by Le Corbusier /1957/
  • Hansaviertel /1957-61/
  • The Neue Nationalgalerie by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe /1968/
  • Bauhaus Archive Museum by Alex Cvijanovic and Hans Bandel /1979/
  • Alexander Platz
  • Pallaseum by Jürgen Sawade /1977/

All these places, the fact that I photographed them for the first time using my specific film cameras and the way I wanted to do it teaches me a lot. Never ending learning curve... 
Apparently this is a big difference photographing modernist architecture (and architecture at all) in Dublin and in Berlin. The first and the most important thing is the hight of the buildings. Most of these in Germany are very tall and located in high density urban areas with heavy traffic around.
I used two cameras - MPP mk VI 4x5 technical camera and Hasselblad 500cm. For obvious reason I wanted to make most of images with large format camera. Here rising of the front element almost to its limits, shifts and sometimes swings and also perspective correction using rear element movements was a must. All of it due to mentioned limited space around objects. Unfortunately I couldn't use wide angle lens which seriously caused lots of problems. It was impossible to focus with 90mm lens and use all necessary movements. I was forced to use standard 150mm lens.
In such situation Hasselblad was also completely useless. This camera however with its wide and super sharp 50mm lens found its own place within the trip of course. Especially when building was relatively small. 
Any other limitations? Well, some ridiculous... like helicopter landing and going off just beside my back ;) or when I needed literally 50cm space behind me and I couldn't step back as there was a construction site fence or lots of beautiful trees around buildings which was truly amazing but completely ruined photographical aspect of the buildings ;) and so on and so on…

When I came back I had to work on a few jobs related to my Darkroom Service but luckily managed to process all negatives from the trip so I will start to present all listed above buildings soon on this blog. 
I am very happy I managed to visit so many places (only fraction of what is really there). It would be amazing to have more time to explore all these objects in details but we can’t have everything. Can we? ;)

Please watch this space and also or maybe first of all my FB website for updates. I am starting scanning very soon. Thanks!

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