Wellington Railway Station is one of the most impressive buildings in New Zealand’s harbour capital. Built in the 1930s on land raised from the sea during a massive earthquake in the 1800s, it’s an imposing, Gerorgian-style edifice.

Before I moved to London in the mid-90s, the station was familiar territory; a vast (it seemed then) station concourse, the gateway to the suburbs that stretched away on the other side of Wellington’s vast harbour. I passed through it hundreds of times.

I was back in New Zealand over the Christmas period, and once again found myself commuting into the station – this time, always with a camera to hand. This is the best of the images I took there.

I’d taken with me enough camera and film to last my five-week stay (as featured on the excellent Japan Camera Hunter recently) and one of those was a Zenit TTL I’d recently bought off eBay.

The TTL is a souped-up version of the ubiquitous Zenit E, a Soviet SLR built in the many, many millions since the late 1960s. the TTL ditches the uncoupled selenium meter on the front in favour of a battery-driven meter which gives a needle readout in the viewfinder. Aside from that, it’s pretty much the same camera; no-frills is a fair description.

NZ in the summer means lots of hard sun and saturated colours, so on this day I’d loaded the Zenit with Kodak E100VS slide film, which I usually cross process. This film creates really strong, punchy images when cross-processed, with plenty of grain and dramatic contrast – it’s almost as good as the original Agfa Precisa.

I wandered out of the heat of the platform til I was in the middle of the station concourse, stretched out in front was the lobby, and beyond that brilliant sunshine. A few people were walking into the station, and I waited until I could Isolate one and frame them between the doors, rendering them an anonymous silhouette in front of blinding, surreal colour.

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Stephen Dowling
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5 years ago

I like the very warm colour you are getting there. If you don’t mind my asking, what cross-processing did you use here? I’m thinking of dabbling with some slide film once summer reaches London…