Pushing Tri-X at the DDP.

You what?

Pushing – where you let too little light onto a film then develop it for extra time to drag it back to something properly exposed. Creates grain and contrast, allows higher shutter speeds and extra grit.

Kodak Tri-X – the black and white film which press photographers often used back in the day.

Colour is Kodak Portra, both 35mm and medium format.

DDP – Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde. A UCI 2.HC stage race which falls between Gent and Flanders, in this case from 28 to 30 March 2017.

Where?

The Three Days of De Panne-Koksijde actually lasts for three days (unlike the Four Days of Dunkirk, which is about a week long) and starts and/or finishes in De Panne (or Koksijde) every day. It makes sense when you put it like that.

It also goes over the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Kemmelberg in its first two days, so shoehorns some of the best bits of Flanders into its short lifespan.

Don’t try getting a coffee in Oostduinkerke (a town which is built on coffee shops, quite literally in the case of my apartment) at 10am on a Tuesday in March, though, it’ll be closed.

Why?

To quote Billie Piper, “because we want to”. No brief, no shot requirements, just shoot things and/or stuff.

Here:

Koksijde, Stage One minus one.

Plopsaland, a waterpark. Completely normal: Miss Belgium had just done an awkward interview on stage and Phil Collins was playing on the PA system.

This could only have been more Belgian if it had happened on the following Sunday (which it also did, to which a smarter man than me tweeted, “I love contract year Gilbert”).

Kemmelberg, stage two. Background and social context: Terry May had just triggered Article 50.

Voyeurism of soigneurism.

Shall we trailer the donkey up to the race after lunch?

Stage 3a. Der koers ist van ons.

Massive Het Nieusblad inflatable.

Ice cream day on the De Panne seafront. Helicopter for excitement. The different things in the shot slightly overlap, which is a bit annoying, but homeboy with the child kept moving about.

Street lighting and paving bricks.

Ice cream day on the seafront. Ice cream for scale.

Shoot film, people. As I always say, it’s an elegant weapon for a more civilised age.

Andy