Polapan London is the working title of a new project I have just started and you can ‘blame’ Covid 19 lock down as after staying at home for about seven weeks and just do a bit of food shopping I had to go out and make some pictures. I suppose we all get that itch to go out one way or another….
As I have a fair amount of film stored cold for about 15 odd years already I thought ‘now or never’….. and so I dug out my 35 mm film cameras, which needed a clean first and then I grabbed some Polaroid 35 mm film (that is Polachrome for colour and Polapan for b&w) and made my way by bike to The City on Saturday morning at 7 AM and again on Sunday. Saturday morning was very quiet, Sunday a little busier but still good enough to be used by families on their bikes, perfect timing to do so. The traffic resembled that of a village.
I love film photography but I have gotten so used to digital that I was quite complacent at first from a metering and exposure p.o.v., but at least I did not end up looking at the back of the camera like I did about ten years ago when I took some film shots. Back then that made me roar out with laughter realising what I was doing. This time it was manual metering galore, something I grew up with and had discarded using it almost 20 years ago since the cameras allow you to do so. So that took about ten minutes of “oh yes…..” as slide film is on the whole pretty unforgiving. There is no clip testing, the whole roll goes into the processor and then throw a little prayer in for it to process successfully The chemicals that are inside a processing pack that comes with the film is the key to success or failure. The last year that Polapan was produced was in 2000 and its expiry date was 2002, so 18 years later the gamble is whether the chemicals are still there at all.
After I tried working with some very old Polapan about 7 years ago in a studio which did not yield the results I was after, this time I had a lot more luck.
I am working hard on a new website so first you will only get to see blog posts with archived posts and also old photographs taken during my career. Gradually the look and mechanics will improve. I have regained my mobility so will start shooting again yay!
Opener Dead Man’s Whiskey, from London, managed to charm me with their heavy rock, I wouldn’t mind seeing them again actually. For a band that has only been together two years they show a lot of promise.
Cairo Son’s music is not my cup of tea, so a after the three songs no flash, yet everyone else is snapping away with their latest handsets I call it a day watching any further to give my foot a rest at the end of the bar.
Diamond Head I had not seen since 1985, in The Hague at ParkPop Fest. Their latest album is a return to true form. And the show was nothing short of great fun. Light-wise a disaster with just some red rope lights illuminating the band. I think they work better in b&w.
If I am not mistaken this is the 2nd time that this festival is being organised in the Dru Cultuur Fabriek in Ulft in the east of the Netherlands. Almost 500 people had bothered to show up and check out a handful of tribute bands such as Unforgiven and The Art Of Pantera, but also Pro Pain, Hell and Destruction. And for these last three yours truly had flown across the pond to shoot them for Metal Forces.
We arrived late so we managed to catch about 20 odd minutes of Pro Pain who had a good sound, and I like the but not a very good light show, almost every light was positioned behind the band.
Little did I know that things got worse, much worse, from a photographic p.o.v. I and a few other shooters were on one wave length when it came to the quality of the overall imagery as a result of the way the lighting had been setup. Most disturbing part was that the ceiling in the hall was filled to the brim with cans that just hung dormant….
Hell was next, the band and I had especially travelled for. The first 5-6 songs had no meat to it at all. Vocals sounded thin and guitars on their background and only when vocalist David Bower changed from his head set to a handheld mic did things improve. But the band also used a lot of bursts of smoke, about 30 times did they use this effect during their set and this which turned the room into a scene from the film The Fog. I kid you not….. I wanted to know when they were gigging next or the new album release date and no information was available at all. But a few days after this show they posted on FB that the gigs will be for what they were and that all focus will be on the third album. Great, I cannot wait for one and look forward to its release.
Destruction I saw in 1985 last when Stefan Schipper and I visited them in 1985 when they played along with Kreator in Kaatsheuvel. We, took some funny pictures with fake noses and moustaches, when Destruction were a 4 piece.
This time Schmier and co had not lost their power, actually their sound packed a serious punch and yours truly ended up banging his head a few times, I actually had to tell myself to stay pro for a lil’ while longer.
Light wise however it ended up looking like a CIA controlled LSD experiment, I kid you not. The chick behind the lighting desk treated the sliders on her mixing desk without any form of precision, just an utter barrage of rear positioned lighting at its fiercest setting. Simply unreal and pretty much to capture anything of quality from a photographic view.
Why the band is playing this place for the 4th (or is the 5th?) time in a row is a mystery to me. It’s nice and local for me as well, yet at the same time from a lighting p.o.v. an abomination. Having 5 LED cans set at some blueish/pinkish wash for the entire set, which are not even aimed properly at the band is anything but inspiring. As a matter of fact half a dozen candles would have had more of an atmospheric effect.
The band play pretty good, and the new songs fit in well with the old stuff. The crowd lapped it up with gusto, but sadly I had to leave early as my leg started to hurt. They will be touring Europe over the next month ending in Russia, so if they do show up in your ‘hood make sure you do not miss them. Good luck lads!
While in hospital I said to myself i am going to do something fun photography-wise, and that is shooting metal bands again. First show to shoot for Metal Forces is Metallica. Last time I shot them mid 80’s on The Puppets tour. Last seen live in 2009.
I have never shot in the o2 arena and with Metallica this doesn’t prove to be much fun, as we are about 50 meters from the stage for 3 songs, meaning shooting at 300-400 mm, like a sports photographer. No chance to smell Metallica at all…..
Metallica sound good although the first song sounds boomy, but once sorted it is all systems go. Well for three songs for me, as we are escorted out of the venue while Leper Messiah is kicking off. I had not seen the band for a while and would not have minded to see some more.
I loved the LED cubes, which could be suspended down and raised up in various formations,, for the visuals,
The light show, at times very impressive, a lot of B&W lighting, but very erratic at times which drives the camera light meter bonkers…ah well.
Then all of the sudden Lars Ulrich spots me and points to my lens from almost 50 meters away.
Tough to do this, and my first time shooting from such a distance.
Since Sept. 1st I have been released from hospital. What should have been a routine one day situation on June 8th turned into a 80 day nightmare with eleven operations (9 fully under, 2 local in case you wanted to know) as the infection inside my foot proved to be much harder to control than was originally believed. The first month I stayed at UCLH where the views aren’t bad.
Then I was sent to The Royal Free in Hampstead where things did not improve at all, in fact they deteriorated badly and only after pumping up to a pint’s worth of antibiotics intravenously of two different types in Aug. did things brighten up, be it at a slow pace. I think I am very lucky to keep quite a good part of the foot and that I eventually ought to be walking as normal again. Fingers crossed.
I take my iPhone downstairs and manage to snag a shot of one of the operating staff peeking through. Phones and cams are not allowed down there so I have to hand it back to the nurse, but the shot is in the bag.
Without feeling the need to brag I was under pretty heroic morphine dosages for the entire period as well, and this concluded with a terrible comedown, while at home, after I finished the oral course in the third week of Sept., I do not wish the terrible 50 odd hours I had, to anyone, it is utter hell. The detox from Trainspotting comes to mind if you need visual comparison….. :)
Lying on a bed for a long time gets you thinking and I am going to start shooting more. For starters some metal shows. I am going to start scanning more of my archive in for the book projects I halted for a while, and also will set up some sort of printing service as well.
I still have a few months to go and do not expect things to have settled for the best until well into the new year, but things are going good.
Quick 6 day break in Portugal, near Lisbon in Estoril and Sintra. This is just before going into hospital getting operated on my foot so was not very mobile, so to speak.
Estoril is a posh area, near Cascais which by itself is a little too touristy for my liking. Sintra I had been to in 2009 for a job and it also had become too popular for its own good, it felt swamped and we even went on a Monday to avoid the weekend crowd…..ha like that made any difference.
Nor was I feeling ‘it’ much to shoot many pix as I was under constant medication.
Still lovely weather and food. No complaints really :)
Exactly two weeks ago I was in Porto for a weekend break with the missus. Lovely town to spend some time off in. We stayed at The Pestana, which was right at the front. And right across from the port distilleries which we visited for a taster. The bridges are very imposing with their Meccano style of assembly.
Obviously at the restaurants we ate great fish and meat and we enjoyed more port :) Great city.
A few shots from my recent break in Malta and Gozo. I took some snaps of the places we visited and also messed around with blurring. I managed to get a few shots for The Kiss as well.
I shall post one of the better ones.
These pix are taken of Valletta, Azure Window, the quant fishing town of Marsaxlokk, Birkirkara where we stayed, and Gozo of course mostly in Kercm where we saw the light festival and where hilly fields were decked out with hundreds of torches. Everyone local was having pizza and wine (at 4 euros a bottle so yeah that went down a treat :) Fantastic place to visit.
All photographs copyright Bartolomy, all rights reserved.
Furthermore I am starting to work on two new projects, one is “The Birds” and the other will be called “Oets” All to be revealed soon.
The boys are back in town, mainly to record a new album and to do a couple of warm up shows before they embark on a two week tour in China. I catch the Eurostar a few hours before they arrive in Paris and wander about the Montmartre district, an area I had not been before. It is 28 degrees not a cloud in the sky and it is blazing. I take a few shots and wander about past the many artists who have their paintings on display, some of whom are very good. Although the whole thing is rather relaxed it has plenty of markings of being a tourist trap as well (too many shops that sell the usual rubbish).
I make my way back to Gare Du Nord and see the band arrive, from there we depart to a hotel which is very close to the venue the Olympic Cafe. The band are on at 9 and there about a 100 odd bodies in the basement which resembles a sauna, just standing there makes you drip with sweat. The gig itself is ok (they have not played any shows since Jan.) but from a sound p.o.v. it is a letdown, actually the worst sounding one of all Die Die Die shows I have witnessed, but the crowd don’t care, it’s party on and everyone has a great time. Set-wise it is all well balanced, every album gets tapped into and they even play a new song as an encore.
We catch the Eurostar back around lunch time to London to go to Birthdays in Dalston. Here the band play a blinder of a set in front of again 100 odd bodies who need a few songs to get into it (a London thing….). And here the band sound on fire, A.T.T.I.T.U.D. is being played with such vigour, it is easily the best version of that song I have ever witnessed. Sadly the set is shorter than Paris due to starting late and the curfew. But in the end a fantastic show.
I show a few pix of both shows, the rest will be in the book that no one will buy. The book will be part 2 on this lot. Even though the band are to release a new album seeing them live will be less frequent due to the fact that Prain and Wilson have decided to become college nerds and later on bank tellers ;) instead.
Some pix from last weekend in East Sussex when we went to friends down in Hastings , visited Seven Sisters’ cliffs, Rye and Winchelsea. Weather forecast was supposedly dire, well it was anything but that. Windy and sunny and in the end we had a few drops, but nothing that spoiled the fun.
Love the cliffs, should do a proper shoot around the area…..
In October/November 1988. I left the military at the end of August and wanted to continue with photographic studies. I had my work published on most Heavy Metal bands from 1982 until 1987 and during my military service (1987/88) I had my camera with me at all times. After my stint in army green I sort of had grown out of shooting gigs a bit and wanted a new challenge, and above all learn more on how to become a pro.
So after enlisting at a school which meant studying from home as that was how the school functioned, I had quite a bit of spare time. I wanted to get more involved and was looking for an apprenticeship in a studio. The pace of the study was too slow for me and I wanted to learn all the tricks of the trade. I wrote to four people, one had died, one never bothered to answer and one contacted me after I had already said yes to the other guy who had gotten back to me.
His name: Harry van der Brugghen. He rang on a Thursday asking me if I wanted to come in on Monday which I did. I was dressed fairly smart and when I arrived I was offered coffee promptly (as my mom predicted) and was told I would join him on a job he was commissioned for that very same afternoon. The job was for ad agency AGH in Den-Bosch and consisted of shooting a X-Mas card for Audi and was meant to have a snow covered back window of an Audi car with the year 1989 cut out. We went to a field between Vught and Den-Bosch where we tried to shoot the vehicle, but that did not work at all. Actually it went a lot worse after that, the shoot was a complete disaster. It took 4 long days and loads of travelling, hiring of gear, get bigger studio etc. And the snow would just not stick to the window……… In the end he had to give the job back. A first for Harry. This was all pre-photoshop days, nowadays a job like this would be a piece of cake.
That was my introduction to professional photography with Harry.
Harry had passed his exams at the photography academy “Gotze Institute” in Haarlem with honours and had been in business for roughly 4 years when I walked in. What I remember from that period is that the first six months, all I did was photography. I ate, drank, slept you name it only photography. The darkroom was my second home and all I did was process and develop. I even pulled the mattress, which was used as a prop, of the balcony and slept on the studio floor. He gave me directions and I just followed them up and I got stuck too cosily in that method. Then one day he bollocked me for not paying attention and then I did and not much later I started to become a proper assistant and sometimes give him my advise on how to light when it came to shoots and made prints for his clients. His folio he printed himself, something he excelled at.
After a year Harry had another apprentice join, her name was Petra, and with Petra I ended up shooting untold packaging shots while Harry went out showing his folio to clients and getting more work in. It drove us mad shooting everything on a white back ground, job after job. A great learning school though, as every object placed on a white formica sheet would sometimes have a few challenges in store.
His studio was in the Taal straat in Vught, just underneath Den-Bosch. It was good for fashion and table top photography, but trying to get a car in proved to be a serious mission (we used a jack to reduce its turning circle and swing the car around).
It had a dressing/make-up/editing area. With a darkroom behind that and an office at the front. In that darkroom I spent many hours printing and developing b&w film (Ilford FP4 and HP5) of my own and also for the jobs we did. He taught me how to print badly, as prints for newspaper ads needed to be a lot softer in contrast than one would normally deliver to the client. And I would observe him in that darkroom as he had some great printing techniques.
One day while making some prints, he came in all rushed and said ”Come on”. We got into his car and drove to Den-Bosch and outside a huge building was a skip and it was loaded with really old cast iron radiators. Harry had managed to borrow a small trailer and we lifted 6 of them into the trailer. They weighed a ton as we could barely lift them ourselves. Harry was a hoarder, anything that could be possibly used as a prop for a shoot in the future was stored.
With Harry I also learned how to explore various techniques available within the trade. Every job had to be lit or processed differently, a fabulous way to learn.
We shot a penguin in Artis Zoo in Amsterdam on a roll of white paper. Out of about 1200 this one was supposedly the calmest one. Well the penguin was not having any of it and bit the care taker’s hand 2 or 3 times and wanted to wander off and not cooperate at all.
We took pictures for an insurance company where we had to re-create the scenes of traffic accidents and we did all this in Vught without asking for a permit or any permission. Harry had even the balls to knock on the door of a random house and asked to tap of some electricity to be able to use the crane vehicle since the campaign was to be shot from right above. These days a drone would capture the whole thing in 4K, no problemo.
Harry had asthma and during the time I was there he was admitted twice to the hospital and was in there for almost a week, I held the fort then and did whatever was needed on the photographic front.
The second Harry came out he wanted to do something for fun in his studio. We ended up doing two shoots that lasted each about 4 days. The first one involved a glass and a bottle underwater in a massive aquarium. The idea was to pour air bubbles from the bottle into the water and going into the glass, so the opposite of pouring water into a glass. This involved a lot of manoeuvring all items about and get the right amount of air to go through. Then we had mirrors upside down resembling spillage like on a table. It was incredible to do,and Harry combined his photographic skills with his love for engineering, amazing really. And so was the next one where we wanted to create a setting of a fisherman standing at the edge of the water on pebbles with a bottle of Glenfiddich lying at his feet, in this case a pair of wellies. The most challenging thing was the splash of water hitting the label, to control this splash and capture it took two days. Tough analogue world :)
I ended up doing all the motorway driving. I was to drive his Saab 900 ‘on the side as a learning experience’ without a license nor insurance. I drove a few thousand of miles across The Netherlands while Harry was having a kip on our way to a client.
In Aug of 1990 I left Harry to travel to Milan and try my luck over there, a real friendship had developed during my period as an assistant and I would come back during the summers of 1991 and 1992. The weather was too hot for my liking down south and I would end up do some job or shoot some girls at his studio.
I lived for weeks rent free above his studio and helped him out while he had work. This studio was in Den-Bosch, an argument with his previous landlord (another photographer) made him move out the one in Vught. The studio at The Papier Straat was as big as an air plane hangar and was an absolute joy to work at.
In 1991 Harry and I drove to Belgium and the north of France on two occasions (Knokke and Dunkirk) to do a shoot with a model called Natasha. We made some wicked pix and when we were in Knokke and just driving away we had a dreadful accident. A young girl on her bike riding the pavement decided to cross the road a few meters in front of us. We drove about 20 miles an hour and she got lifted up by the collision with her face smashing against the window shield right in front of me, her bike went underneath the car and was catapulted 30 feet away.The speed of the car was enough to have a devastating impact. Leorna, only 8 years old, descended into a coma and died about one month later. A dreadful event that left quite a mental scar on both of us, even though we had no blame for it, it was a terrible tragedy that cost a young girl’s life.
Shortly after I made my way back to Italy and stayed there and other European cities to work and had regular contact with Harry.
In January 1993 he called me while I was in Milan, and told me that he had had a fire at his studio, in the dark room to be specific and that everything in there was just molten plastic and charred metal, the rest of the studio was covered in soot. I lost some negatives in that fire. Harry lost lots more, he was in the middle of a massive job for bathroom specialist Willux which involved shoot one bathroom set while the other is being build. This whole campaign was being in danger of being cancelled. Could I come and help him out? Of course!
When I arrived he had gone back to the Brabanthallen as the studio was of no use while the clean-up and painting started, the Brabanthallen was the same place we tried to shoot the snowed under car 4.5 years before. Should have known better, but in that area it was the only thing that was available that big and on short notice.
The job itself went ok, sure it was slowed down but we managed to get things going again and deliver the results within the deadline. But then the client messed us about and even went bankrupt and a shit storm ensued. It bankrupted Harry, it took a few years but the debt caught up with him. This all happened in the mid to late 90’s while I was living in London for a few years already and we sort of lost touch for about 4-5 years.
That was until about 14 years ago when I managed to find him on the net and found his email address. We have stayed in touch ever since. If there was anything photoshop related I needed to know I would go to him and he would talk me though it. Shortly after Harry had spread his wings and was getting good at InDesign as well and started to produce books for kitchen and furniture companies.
In 2014 Harry was diagnosed with cancer and changed his entire way of life and started to take it a lot easier when it came to work. I have visited him from time to time since his diagnosis, and this year I managed to see him quite a few times. In July I saw him twice after initially was thought that his health had rapidly declined, so much so that his wife Monique and his children. The first time in July I passed by with the missus and that very same day they had a little celebration as Dax, his youngest son, had passed his exams. It was a lovely afternoon, and cherished by me and my but I think most of all by Harry
Having taken various experiences from my time with Harry at heart and in the head, to me the most important bit was to concentrate on pre-visualising the photograph you are about to make,
His initial prognosis was Stage 4 and that he did not have that long to live. He managed to stretch that prognosis already 5 times over due to a drastic change in diet and lifestyle. But it caught up with him. His situation had worsened early July. I have seen him once or twice a year for the past 3 or 4 years, and before that as well. When I saw him last week he weighed roughly 56 kgs and looked emancipated. He himself said he looked like a WW2 concentration camp survivor and sadly I have to say that he did. Just before we left on July 20th he told me “I ga nog lange niet weg” (I am not going anywhere for quite some time).
But……Harry passed away on Monday Aug 1st 2016. He is survived by his wife Monique Veenstra and his three children Denise, Manon and Dax.
I have lost a dear friend, colleague and above all mentor who to me was irreplaceable and I miss the fucker already…..love you loads m8!
I have no idea what her name is, I did not write it down, which in most cases I do. I do know that Philippe and Cynthia Balligan did the hair and make-up. Shot in Finsbury Park, scanned in and post prod. by me. Just playin’
In November it will have been ten years ago that I took these. I was there with Capricorns, as they opened and Made Out Of Babies, who are Neurosis’ label mates and performed in between them.
Great show, the lighting made it near impossible to shoot images that were not blurred, then again that added to the drama as well. I remember we had the full set at our disposal, as long no one used flash and I think I shot almost for the entire duration.
Near the end of the show some of the band Made Out Of Babies came on stage and dove into the crowd. This upset Scott Kelley to such an extend that he headbutted the microphone 2x so that he had a huge red mark on his forehead. He also smashed a mirror on his way to the dressing room.
Little did I know that when I went to the dressing room of Capricorns that Scott Kelley was standing in the door frame of the Made Out Of Babies dressing room next door and it was total friendly banter between them, this is only just after the show. Scott Kelley was leaning in their dressing room and his right bloody arm was holding him up against the hallway wall. I did not take the shot, whereas I should have……………
I have just read that Jimmy Bain has passed away, I interviewed Jimmy when he was in Dio in 1983 when they played in Utrecht (a video of that show is on youtube) and also at the Pinkpop festival the year after. Really nice and above all down to earth bloke. Had then already plenty of history with Rainbow, Wild Horses and then with Dio.
First Lemmy now Jimmy, two fab bass players in their own right are gone, and the world has become more boring. I read that Last In Line’s debut with Bain is about to be released, so that’ll be on my wishlist then.
As soon as I have my scanner back in operation again I shall post some of Lemmy’s and Jimmy’s images.
25 years ago while living in Milano I tested a lot of girls (ok some boys too….), and East West Models (an agency now only in Frankfurt, Germany) was one of the agencies I worked with besides Beatrice, Fashion, Ricardo Guy, WhyNot and Marcella Studio. Milano was a place to go and get a book together, that and Paris were the cities to do this in Europe. I reckon it has changed all a tad and spread out more.
Anyway I came across this contact sheet and for the life of me I cannot remember her name nor can I find the negs. So that makes it twice as hard while looking at this contact sheet. Hopefully I find the negatives and be able to draw some scans of them.
Shot these in October 1990, I was staying at a small pensione south of Cordusio with my pals and the street behind was a quiet place to shoot at.
I remember a week before that I did a shoot and one of the main streets, after I had finished a roll I looked back and saw 500 people standing behind me :)
Both my desktop and laptop went belly up inside one week, it is not that the hardware fails which just happens, it’s the files; the recovery and above all the mess that comes with it.
Lord Wilson has been in touch, an ep is in the works and then he is about to go run a marathon, boy oh boy how things change, I hated him when he was a degenerate drunk and drugged up fuck but now him being a health Hitler is totally another. I bet the ep cover art is all flowers and Labrador puppies………
Come back Lord Wilson, and all will be forgiven!
Meanwhile here is Sarah Giles, in 1998 with Models One. The gun I nabbed from a mental pirate party, complete with a pirate ship built inside a marquee in Battersea Park. This is cross processed as well btw. No retouching either.
Almost taken a month ago, completely forgot about these.
I wasn’t going to shoot Die Die Die at all but thought what the heck, and I am glad I did as the b&w lighting (merely due to absence of a lighting guy for the first 20 odd mins) worked in my favor. The LED lighting is a pet hate of mine, I am too bloody old fashioned with a preference for a more pointed light than just a wash.
Sarah, also from Eye for I model agency in Milano, from the States. Great model, classical face with great facial expressions, one of my life’s regrets will be not shooting her more in the Autumn of 1991.
These were taken on the same day as I shot Jane B. in Piazza Sempione in Milano.
35 Mm HP5 scanned in with my Coolscan LS 9000. love it!