Helmut Newton Retrospective and Amsterdam

We have been planning to go to Amsterdam for a while, at least for one and a half month. But every weekend, something came up and we postponed it until yesterday.

Last October or November, I discovered Foam Photography Museum in Amsterdam with the Magnum Contact Sheets exhibition. Since then I was checking their website at least monthly what is coming next. When I saw the poster of Helmut Newton Retrospective, I said I have to go and see it. But, because of errand to do and this and that, we went there at the very last week of the exhibition with Meniz.

We bought our day tickets for train and off we go on a lovely saturday morning. I picked my Leica M6 with a 35mm lens for this trip. I was planning to use zone focusing and hyperfocal focusing all day. I think in a separate post, I should explain what those terms mean. Anyways. I packed few rolls of Fomapan 400 but I got 2 rolls of Kodak Tri-X 400 film to push +2 stops to 1600 ISO just because I don’t want to bother with slow shutter speeds as we stroll. I kept my aperture at f/8.0 or f/16.0 and mostly zone focused between 1-2 meter and 1-5 meter, respectively.

Flower Market, Amsterdam, August 2016. (Leica M6 with Summarit f/2.5, Kodak TriX 400)

I love arriving in Amsterdam Centraal Station. It is a masterpiece of its kind and literally give you an impression on what to expect from this city. First half of our tour including the FOAM gallery was only an 8.5 km route. Unfortunately on the second half, my battery died and tracker stopped.

Tracked with GPX Tracker. Screenshot from GPX Viewer app.

First, we headed to Dam square following Rokin and from there we went to flower market passing through famous shopping street. I personally prefer to keep track of busy streets full of people. I like documenting people of my time. After years, when I look at the photos, I want to say I’ve been there with those people when those people doing these things.

I liked the following photo even though it is pretty poorly composed. I like the gestures in all layers. And the fact that all those layers consist of set of women showing different gestures. Hand of the lady in the front, Asian women trying to open a mug, stillness of plastic models and at the very back the photo of a model playing with her hair.

Shopping street, Amsterdam, August 2016. (Leica M6 with Summarit f/2.5, Kodak TriX 400)

It was a very sunny day with perfect temperature. It was not exhausting to walk around. Heat is my worst enemy on streets. But some other people were trying to keep themselves away from sun..

Rembrandtplein, Amsterdam, August 2016. (Leica M6 with Summarit f/2.5, Kodak TriX 400)

We had a quick lunch at Rembrandtplein and rushed to the museum. I regret a bit that I had no colorfilm with me but today’s technology is remedy to almost everything. Primary color blocking very well fit with the spirit of the exhibition and Newton’s work.

FOAM, Amsterdam, August 2016. Taken with iPhone 5s and processed with VSCO with A6 preset.

I find people very interesting when they are focused on something else. Especially in museums.

Foam, Amsterdam, August 2016. (Leica M6 with Summarit f/2.5, Kodak TriX 400)
Foam, Amsterdam, August 2016. (Leica M6 with Summarit f/2.5, Kodak TriX 400)

I am also making at least one photo of myself and/or Meniz at every roll. Documentary photography should not be all about strangers on the streets but your loved ones.

Foam, Amsterdam, August 2016. (Leica M6 with Summarit f/2.5, Kodak TriX 400)

I think for the first time I got so close to a stranger’s dog of that size (I get on well with bigger dogs but not with small ones). And Meniz got a bit bored I suppose.

Singel, Amsterdam, August 2016. (Leica M6 with Summarit f/2.5, Kodak TriX 400)

As a bonus of this great day, we stumbled upon Turkish actor Zafer Algöz and brother of famous comedian Cem Yılmaz, Can Yılmaz. Meniz and I both don’t like to bother famous people on street as others do. Why on earth I’d go and take a picture if I don’t share some time with them… This way, we also don’t bother them on their valuable vacation.

Shopping street, Amsterdam, August 2016. (Leica M6 with Summarit f/2.5, Kodak TriX 400).

I developed the negatives today in the morning (developed with D76 for 8:35 min @21℃, 2 min stop, 5 min fix, 10 min wash) and really loved the result from Kodak Tri-X when it is pushed. It is certainly more contrasty and more grainy (more pronounced in indoor shots) but I love that look. I started to learn developing my own films with Fomapan because it is cheaper. I was not getting consistent results with that and always blamed myself for doing something wrong. But these results suggest that I have to move on with Tri-X for the future.

This is the first post that I intend to use as a sketchbook/journal/tracker of photos I take. So, I would love to hear your comments and thoughts.

Until next time…

Yigit

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