Week 9: Kodak Ektar 100 takes on graffiti & street art in Melbourne and Frankfurt!

Kodak Ektar 100 is great for landscapes and colour, so what else better to test it with than graffiti and street art? Join me for a tour of street art in Melbourne and Frankfurt...who will "win"?

As I was looking through my fridge (where all my film is stored), to plan out the next few weeks of this project, I saw a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 that I had picked up on eBay a few weeks ago. Before I get into this film, a lot of you are probably asking "why store film in the fridge, that's where the food goes!"...well read this and tell me if you're not convinced (or at least mildly amused).

So back to the film: Ektar 100 is known as a great landscape film due to how it renders colours and manages under/over exposure. But don't take my word for it, read a great and funny review here. Given it is dark and pretty miserable outside  at the moment, I was thinking of colourful (non-landscape) subjects to shoot and it dawned on me: graffiti!

Probably more accurately described as 'street art', as what I have seen in and around Frankfurt is clearly not some dude with a grudge against society or wanting to spell his nickname in big bright letters (although there is a bit of that too).

I was happy to welcome my photographer friend Chris from Melbourne to another guest post, however I had not appreciated what he meant when his response was along the lines of "em, sure, but you do realise Melbourne is world famous for its street art". That was until he sent me his shots the next day! Thankfully, I had a bit of time before the weekend's shooting to do some proper research to present back something decent that wouldn't make me, or this city, look silly.

Needless to say I am not going to get into an artistic debate about street art, but it is clear that there are two very different styles on show in Melbourne and Frankfurt.

As ever, guests first: Chris's write-up and ever so colourful shots below:

1. Chris @Melbourne

One of the things that Melbourne is famous for is its street art. It is a major tourist attraction with laneways filled with various types of art. One of the most famous lanes is Hosier Lane in the centre of the city.

Hosier Lane tends to be full of tourists and the artwork is not necessarily the best so I wandered down to AC/DC Lane (named after the Aussie rockers, it used to be called Corporation Lane).

By then it was coffee time (another thing Melbourne is famous for) so I headed to Centre Place and its cafes and found this portrait.

I then jumped on a tram and headed out to the inner suburbs. The first image of George Constanza is outside George's Cafe in Fitzroy a Seinfeld themed cafe.

Fitzroy contains some of the best street art in Melbourne.

Even the Melbourne Chess Club has had the street art treatment.

So what about the film?

I'd never used Ektar 100 before but found it to produce excellent colours with very little grain to speak of. The conditions I was shooting in were not overly bright but it handled them well.

Result: Pass!


2. Neil @ Frankfurt

So as you can see, those are some great shots! I knew I had to make an effort to get anywhere near those so after a bit of research I planned out my Saturday's photo route and dragged along another friend who is into photography under the guise of "come on, we can start at sunrise and of course it will be so much fun".

Heading towards a very large tunnel network underneath a major highway intersection (Hanauer Landstrasse), I spotted this on the side of a building

This whole area had loads of different graffiti and street photography, I thought this one had a good variation in colours

What is most impressive to me about this shot is not the graffiti, but how well this Ektar 100 film rendered the available light. It was very dark and I left my flash in the car. Really nice light balance, even my friend struggled with his high ISO digital camera (and I was shooting at the super low 100 ISO)

Very cool art weaved into the building structure

Heading back into town I came across St. Patrick himself, on the back of a pub across the road from the European Central bank. Fantastic colours, what a legend!

Creepy things are going on here...

Probably my favourite piece of all. I had to drive a bit out of the way to find this. I also found an excellent timelapse by the artist himself painting this - highly recommended here.

I had heard about a load of street art up in Bad Vilbel (c.10 min drive north of Frankfurt). There are quite a few pieces by the same artist across the town, it is very "sketchy" in nature, really quite different to the other street art I had seen. I was hoping a train would go by in the above shot, but I didn't feel like waiting for 15 minutes in minus 6c temperatures!

Not sure what this piece means, but you certainly cannot miss it when walking down the street.

Very cool way of disguising this electrical box!

Overall, I was very impressed with the Kodak Ektar 100 film. It looks like there is a reason why they have called it 'the best film ever made': fantastic colour rendition, near to no grain, and excellent exposure latitude.

However, I have noticed on both Chris's and my photographs that it washes out a white cloudy sky, so I'd like to test it on a real landscape scene with different cloud formations going on. Otherwise, a real winner!

I will most certainly pick up more of this and use it on a proper landscape outing. I would say it works very well at both sunrise and sunset too, given how well it manages under/over exposure. I have some Lomography 100 film (in the fridge!) that I am going to test it against.

Overall result: PASSED (with flying colours!) (he he he...)

Thanks again to Chris for his excellent contribution!

I will be shooting Weeks 10 & 11 over the Christmas break, so see you in 2017 for more '52 rolls of film' photographs!

Now get out there and take some photographs!

Cheers, Neil.