Wen’t exploring downtown with a couple friends and shot some Portra

Shot using my Mamiya RZ67 on Kodak Portra 400 using a Mamiya-Sekor 50mm f/4 ULD lens.  Developed using Unicolor chemistry and scanned using my Epson V500 scanner.

It’s a little past 3am right now and I figured I would write up this post before calling it a night since I won’t  have time to update it tomorrow.  I know the wide angle perspective distortion is pretty bad on these but hey it’s a ~23mm equivalent lens I’m using.    

Let me start by saying the whole exploring abandoned buildings thing is something that I’m not really huge on anymore.  When I first got into photography it’s all I wanted to shoot and anything other than “urban exploring” photos were cheesy and lame as hell.

Well over the years that obviously changed and through growing as a photographer, I was able to expand my horizons and get into shooting lots of different things.  Thankfully I think this growth was in the right direction because I’m at the point where I will photograph pretty much anything.

Earlier this week a group of my friends and I made a plan to go shoot some abandoned buildings in downtown Detroit.  At first I was a little hesitant because I honestly think the whole “Detroit Decay” thing has been done to death but any excuse to go shooting is a good excuse so I couldn’t say no.

We wound up driving down to Fisher Body 21 just outside Detroit (I think it’s just outside the city limit, not 100% sure though).  Somewhat unrelated, I had to take a massive piss by the time we got there.  

Getting into these buildings is usually a cakewalk since so many people have gone inside these places to shoot pictures, do graffiti, break shit, dispose of bodies, that type of thing.  Fortunately there was a hole in the side of the building ironically big enough to drive a car through.

This wasn’t my first time inside this building so I knew the floors were mostly the same aesthetically.  Just lots of columns and big, empty space.  Thankfully some of the floors had some really cool lighting so that made for some interesting photos.  Lately I find myself shooting more for light than for subjects.

A little history (here’s the Wiki)on the building, for those who do not know, this building was where GM built car bodies for decades.  It opened in 1919 and was abandoned sometime in the early 90’s.  I remember my dad’s GMs back in the day having a little logo on the door sil saying “body by Fisher” which makes me wonder if any of those cars’ bodies were built here.

Anyways, like lots of things in Detroit, the factory closed and is obviously in a state of disrepair.  It isn’t exactly dirty on the inside but you can tell it’s been sitting around for a long time.  Walking up the stairs was pretty sketchy because of all the debris and lack of railings.  My guess is scrappers took the metal railings so now when you walk down the stairs, you can see all the way down in the middle which is kind of freaky.  Not to mention a lot of the stair wells are pitch black.

After making our way to the top floor, we finished up shooting and made our way home.  I spent today developing the Portra I shot there and I am very happy with how it came out.  The film was developed in my Unicolor chemistry with an extra 10 seconds of development because I forgot to correct for reciprocity while shooting.

I really like subdued colors and that’s exactly what the Portra did.  It’s usually used for skin tones because it renders them nice and neutral but since I was itching to use it, I figured I would use it here.  My developing results were a little inconsistent and I ripped one negative taking the film off the reel but other than those two setbacks, I am pretty happy with how these look. 


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  1. d-ipper reblogged this from ssbhamra and added:
    These are fantastic.
  2. ssbhamra posted this