History revisited

History revisited

I have posted this image before, I just tumbled upon it by accident as a museum in Estonia was asking to use some of my images.

One of my favourite images of all times, shot in Rock Summer 1988 in Tallinn, Estonia. Total rookie in serious photo­jour­nalism, but due to some strange coinci­dences I ended up there, amongst dozens — if not hundreds — of thousands people in an event which was to become a prelude to the Estonian indepen­dence movement.

Kodak had just come out with their new film TMax and I was a great fan of it as the resolution and dynamics was well beyond its predecessors (TriX or FP5). Trouble was: to work properly, it required its own developer.

The standard developer (I think it was called D76) at the time let the film heavily underexposed.

I was requested to ship my film over to the local agency called Pressfoto (our AP at the time) and surely enough, they souped it in tradi­tional developer and ended up with a almost trans­parent negative.

I tried to print it tradi­tio­nally, using Ilford multi­grade with the highest contrast (remember those days?), but the results were definitely below par.

I had totally forgotten about the image, but some years ago I was asked about the images and I found them (under a layer of dust) in my storage. I scanned a lot of them for one documentary film project and found this one again. But now there were photoshop and other tools to enhance the contrast and get rid of the main scratches (caused by the developing machine) of the negative as well as the myriad of dust particles which show in high contrast image.

And I was able to print a half decent print of it on the wall at home.

And I am happy — and actually little proud — I was part of that moment there then, almost thirty years ago.

In retrospect, it is strange how you don’t know when history gets made…

And with some self-irony, I have to include one I‑love-me image of myself from the same event. Things change: No F1’s nor T90’s anymore, no film in general, no hair, don’t even drink beer anymore…

PS. I took a look into the archives, I did a flash-based (remember flash?) multi­media on this years ago… Reread the comments, God, pure gems.

3 Replies to “History revisited”

  1. Your luck ! Scanning thin negatives is the way to go now.. For Film shooters there are totally new kind of films: BERGGER PANCRO 400. that has two emulsions. one fine grain and other to bring density to the image. Film is alive and well again, It still smells funny, though..

  2. Rock Summer was one of the highlights of my teenage years. Never missed a day. And then I found myself in one of the photos of Kari’s album, dead center, in focus. Imagine the impact. I had arrived straight from the barber shop, angry because they had screwed up my haircut. Now, looking at the picture it was perfectly fine.

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