Jun 9, 2010

Central Tejo, Lisbon, July 1996.


I have yet to meet a photographer who, in a way or another, doesn't feel fascinated by old and abandoned industrial sites.

Doubtless, there seems to be a certain kind of magic inherent to such locations, rendering very inspiring and photogenic material for many creative minds.

In small, medium or large format, analogic or digital, you will be rewarded with some appealing images if you enter such an environment with open eyes and a curious mind.

Some others prefer to simply use it as a backdrop for their creativity: fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh has produced some memorable shots in those places where the machines have long stood still.

I had just switched my main 35mm SLR equipment from Nikon to Canon when I made these shots, way back in 1996. I had decided to "modernize" and go auto-focus, with the help of some exposure automation, for my "bread and butter photography".
In those times I was exceptionally busy, so I thought that it was maybe clever to simplify my life a little and leave some heavier equipment in the studio: for many assignments (when transparency size was not of primordial importance) I started leaving the Hasselblad and brought the Canon stuff along. So I also could save on film expenses and rescue us from too many E-6 developments, which we used to do by ourselves.
I had already enough jobs to do in 9x12/4x5", my back was needing to take a break!

All shots with Canon EOS-1n + EF 70-200mm f2.8 L in Ektachrome film.
(older version, without Image Stabilization)
Close-focus capability with extension tube EF-12.

It was not an option then, but I never missed Image Stabilization, as you can find in the newer model (the photographs above were shot with the camera on a solid tripod, making IS unnecessary).
In any case, there is still a strong argument in favor of the newer lens: it is weather-sealed!
You could find very wet conditions where I used to live before I have moved to Montemor-o-Novo, so my lens got some nice fungus inside, after I had it at home for some monthes...
I suspect that weather seal could have avoided it.
In any case, stupid me! I should have known better...

Jun 7, 2010

The Minolta Years - Linha do Corgo, North Portugal, 1978


I was fortunate enough to go through some old folders and find these old images of Linha do Corgo, between Peso da Régua (by the Douro River, in the heart of the region that produces the wellknown Port Wine) and the beautiful town of Chaves.

I really was afraid that they had got lost...

So, running the risk of excessively bothering you with old trains and old lives, I decided to share them just for the fun of it, just to get myself amazed how old I am becoming, and how wonderful this country used to be.

Please, ponder that these photographs have very little resemblance with the ones that I have posted before about Nene Valley Railway, in the United Kingdom. The difference, evidently, consists not only in the use of Ektachrome film for sure...

In this case you are not looking at an open air museum run by some aficionados: instead, these images let you take a look at the Real Thing! Here you can take a glimpse at everyday life in the region some 32 years ago!

All photographs made with Minolta cameras and Kodak Ektachrome film.

How should my beard not grow snowy white, when I see so much great things being mercilessly and forever destroyed, when I watch our too well paid public administrators happily and carelessly contributing for the loss of such património cultural in the name of a very questionable progress?
Don't understand me wrong, I also can see that time doesn't stand still, and that the population needs comfort and modern facilities. I only can't accept that such a potencially rich region sees itself rid of such a heritage: the wonderful stations and trains are just foolishly destroyed or simply disappeared. Even the rails are gone and the bridge is impassable!
Why don't THEY (the people that sit at the top and that should look after us and the nation. It's for that that they get paid...) learn the lessons by people like the ones who run places like Nene Valley Railway?
I have no doubt that many train lovers and tourists in general would come for a ride and would gladly take the chance of visiting the region, learn it's tasteful food and wine, gaze at it's beauties. How can we be so stupid and despise that?

How can we allow that everything goes kaputt?

(Oh yes, I guess that we get what we deserve. We are the ones who waste our votes...)