Trying something different: in October 1984, I was taking a course in photography as part of my studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. This involved an introduction to color printing. For this exercise I exposed a few rolls of 120 Kodak professional color negative film rated at 160 ISO. This material appears to have been designed for low-contrast imagery, such as portraiture, and so had a very different color palate than the 35mm Kodachrome slide film I was used to.
Using my father’s Rollei Model T, I made a series of railway images around Palmer, Massachusetts. I made prints for my class, then I filed the negatives along with my other work and promptly forgot about them. A couple of years ago, I rediscovered them while digging through the archives. Color negatives tend to be less robust than either slide film or black & white, and my negatives had suffered from a variety of light abrasions that would have made conventional printing problematic. Through the magic of digital technology, I was able to easily scan them and then touch up the scratches in Photoshop.
Among the more interesting photographs is this view of the dwarf signal at the Palmer diamond, back when Conrail’s Boston & Albany line was still equipped with directional double track and traditional multiple-tier code lines. It was a crisp clear October afternoon with a light breeze, and the trees were approaching their autumnal peak.
Broadstone Station was the Dublin terminus of Ireland’s Midland & Great Western Railway. This enigmatic railway was built west from Dublin parallel to the suffering Royal Canal, and Broadstone Station was located adjacent to the existing Royal Canal basin in the north city center. M&GWR was among lines consolidated as Great Southern Railways in 1924, a move that sealed the fate of Broadstone; it was closed as a passenger terminal in 1936 (although tracks remained for freight services into the 1970s). The buildings survive as a Dublin Bus depot (garage). The old canal basin was filled in many years ago and is now car park. The canal bridge that once spanned the road adjacent to the station is remembered in period photos on the walls of neighborhood pubs. Soon rails will return to Broadstone in the form of a LUAS light rail extension.
Broadstone Station is a vestige of Irish railways long gone. The station was executed in an Egyptian revival style and completed in 1850. I find the building fascinating, yet difficult to photograph because it is hemmed in by the five inhibitors of urban railway photography: pavement, walls, fences, wires and unkempt brush. On a weekday, cars and buses surround the old structure, which lend to ironic images of a grand decayed station encircled by transport modes that contributed to its redundancy. Making a simple image that captures the grandeur of the station isn’t easy. Here are two of my efforts: one was made with my old Rollei Model T on 120 size black & white film on January 3, 2000. I exposed the other digitally last Tuesday afternoon (February 19, 2013) using my Canon 7D and 40mm pancake lens.