East and West Legacy

It’s a win-win situation! Once there was a guy called Manfred, a photographer, who has filmed half of his life with 16 mm and super 8 and then stopped it. Put his stuff away in the attic … and yeeeears later discovered me on the internet. He wanted to get rid of his stuff and he gave it all to me, knowing that it would be received with open arms 😉 – one good NIZO camera and a lot of Kodachrome 40 film cassettes (Kodak stopped processing this type of film last year. It’s impossible to self-process it. There’s only one lab in the world as far as I know that offers processing for a good price, it’s Dwayne’s in Kansas, USA!).
I’m very thankful, it’s a precious gift.

It reminds me of another legacy story: As everybody knows the GDR was over in ’89. ORWO was the Eastern photo and Super 8 brand. I always loved it. Before the wall came down I sometimes went over the border (how easy for me as a Westerner!) and bought ORWO photographic paper and super 8 films. Smuggled it over. No real danger actually, it was not really legal to export it, but some films in the bag if they checked you … was ok, no bad experiences.

There was one lab in (East) Berlin-Adlershof that, after the GDR merged silently into Westgermany, still continued to develop ORWO films for 2 more years. Until 1992. I remember, I often went there with the S-Bahn (interurban train) and brought them my films and got them back some days later. I went there during the closing period and when I went there for the last time they were all packing, throwing old folders on trash heaps, emptying their offices. All in silence, it was so calm and sad, I felt the winds of history, honestly!! I went into a room, sneaking around, met a man in a white working coat who looked really sorrowfull and we had some conversation and in the end he gave me an ORWO book of chemical recipes! I told him that I’m a self-processor and that I’m in love with film making and especially with the ORWO grainy warm-colored quality and I felt he was a tiny little happy when he gave me the book, knowing that it would fall in loving arms 😉

Thanks guys!