construction machinery in Berlin

I once leafed through a magazine - I do not remember what - with an article about the 1991 Gulf War in it. I have not read the article, as far as I can remember. If I read it, I forgot the contents in the meantime. What drew my attention and what I still clearly remember is the photo that was part of the text. (It could be a picture without text as well, but a picture with no description or explanation - which is not objectionable - seems unlikely to me. It would leave the reader too free in his interpretation, which in turn would lead to the reader's frustration because he would not get an answer on the question of the true purpose of the photograph. His curiosity is awakened, but remains unsatisfied. And the reader is certainly not satisfied with his own interpretation only. On the other hand, the author remains uncertain whether the reader has understood his message or not. The author’s message and the readers’ interpretation  swim into a sea of ​​information that the photo offers. The likelihood of a match between them is very low. With a few phrases about the photo, the author changes the sea into a swimming pool where his message and the readers’ interpretation meet for sure. It seems to me a big challenge to reach a 'swimming pool situation' exclusively with photos. Maybe the next project?)

 

The photo showed a kneeling soldier. He almost wore all his gear, including a gas mask. Everything was seen in detail. That interested me! Not so much the soldier, but the fact that it was clearly visible in what kind of clothing a soldier from 1991 went to war. That seemed to me a good idea for a photo project: how something looks under certain circumstances and timing. But what should this something be? Construction machinery, due to reasons unknown to me, attracts my attention and, I believe, other people's as well.

 

Perhaps it is due to the functional and specialized forms, maybe the bright colors. Or perhaps it is the relatively large dimensions and the robustness of the machines. I do not know exactly. I only knew that this 'something' had to be a construction machine. I decided that the machines should be clearly and monumentally displayed. In order to achieve the monumental effect, I have chosen a square picture format. In order to make the details clearly visible, I needed a fine-grained color film and I should work minimal with medium-format film (almost 6 cm wide). An old Rolleicord and Agfa Ultra 50 negative film offered a good solution. To achieve a good color effect, I just wanted to take pictures in the sunshine. And to make the machines in the photos brighter, I used a 'Metz 45 CT3' flash. A tripod should provide support.

 

Full of good cheer, I sat on my bike equipped with the photo gear I mentioned before and cycled through Groningen in search of construction machinery. It was not that easy. After cycling and searching for an hour I found a bulldozer that seemed suitable for the project. It will take forever, I thought. If I stay in Groningen (my former residence) it will take years for me to complete a photo series of construction machines. And when I take pictures in the rest of the country, I lose too much time and money traveling and looking for construction machinery. The question was: is there a place where many machines can be found close together? The answer: Berlin.

 

Michel Meijer, Berlin, May 2001