Change film, meet people, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the pause

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A.g.’s note: Here’s a guest post for Sven Kraeuter that was originally posted in his blog. He shares to us an encounter he had while shooting around his neighborhood with a medium format camera that lead to an interesting encounter. Text and photographs belong to Sven Kraeuter.

Sven: Resurrecting my old east German medium format camera is a great experience so far. Coming from a rangefinder where you don’t look through the lens, hence have no visible indication of the depth of field, the first astonishing difference was to see this huge 6 by 6 centimeter view through the open aperture lens. This is a problem since everything looks gorgeous with that massive three dimensional pop and you could snap pretty much everything you frame right away ;-).

After having burned twelve frames to Kodak-moment-immortality, you have to take a break and put in a new roll of film. And you really have to take a break since you can’t do this walking or standing. At least I can’t, and even if I could I’d sit down anyways, I’ll tell you why in a sec.

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I’m currently pretty fascinated by Hamburg’s famous Sternbrücke, a picturesque old school elevated railway bridge running over a crossing in my neighborhood. One of the local shop owners seemed to have gotten aware of me lingering around at this intersection of traffic, people, light and shadow. I couldn’t tell if he liked the idea of me taking pictures in front of his shop circling the crossing. I just went by and didn’t respond to his looks.

After another round around the four corners framing the crossing, I realized the dozen was completed again. I was at the before mentioned merchant’s shop again that moment so I just sat down on the front porch, removing the used roll of film and preparing a new one. The shop owner sat down next to me, asking questions about that strange camera and even stranger film I’m fiddling around with. Then we had a little photo session inside the shop. The unhandy process of changing the medium format film actually turned out to be a great conversation starter!

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As much as I enjoy taking the pictures with this sturdy camera, the little I like developing the film. I brought the first roll of Tri-X to life myself & realized that I can argument that it’s cool to get 72 frames developed in one session for small format film. But I have to confess that going through all of this for 12 frames and not having the opportunity to develop a print or scan them is too much for me. I just returned from a local photo shop, dropped of some rolls and an unexpected high amount of money in exchange for developing and scanning and can’t wait to see the results tomorrow evening.

Here is one of the photos – still emotionally connected to the moment capturing the scene I can’t tell if there are any keepers yet. Still I want to share this portrait with you so you can see one of the photographs that is a result of the pause I was forced to make by changing film.

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In Closing

A.g.: It is inevitable that we have to process many things while we are out on the streets. There are times we have to worry about the technicalities of photography, how we interact with the people around us, and the overall process of producing a good image. Sometimes, it’s good to just savor the little moments of pause we get or just enjoy the interaction we have with other people. Let’s not get lost in making a good image but rather let’s indulge ourselves in the vibrant scene and life that the street has to offer. For Sven’s case, it’s a nice encounter with a neighborhood shop owner all while reloading his film.

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