Friday, May 8, 2015

Berlin 70 Years Later: Photographer Recreates Photos by Using an Exactly FED Camera and B&W Film

As the capital of Hitler's Third Reich, the Berlin of May 1945 existed only as a war zone: bombed-out streets, no gas or electricity, a daily fight for food. Everyday life had broken down. At night sirens howled to signal bomb attacks, driving citizens into shelters.

Some 70 years after the Battle for Berlin, instrumental in the end of World War II, Reuters photographer Fabrizio Bensch unearthed pictures by Red Army photographer Georgiy Samsonov that depicted his portrayal of a city laid siege. Bensch bought an exactly equivalent FED camera and chose to use black and white film to capture images of the same locations he discovered in modern-day Berlin.
“I found a picture that shows Samsonov with his FED camera, a Soviet copy of the German-made Leica II.” Bensch says. “It was usual at the time to use this with black and white film on 18 DIN/50 ASA (referring to film speed). This gave me the idea to photograph not just the same images, but to use the same technology. The old, analogue way of taking pictures, without the comforts of modern digital photography.”

Russian soldiers man a gun on August Street or Rosenthaler Street in May 1945. The same location on April 20, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

Soviet soldiers take position in front of a burning building at Frankfurter Allee in May 1945. The same location on April 19, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

Russian soldiers took aim on top of the Reichstag building in Berlin in May 1945. The same location on April 20, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

Soviet soldiers point at a sign at the entrance of the Neue Reichskanzlei, the Chancellery of Adolf Hitler at Voss Street in May 1945. A window of a kindergardten at the same location on April 20, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

A Russian army vehicle is seen next to the Neue Reichskanzlei, the Chancellery of Adolf Hitler at Voss Street in May 1945. The same location is seen on April 20, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

Russian soldiers stand guard in front of the Reichstag building in May 1945. The same location on April 20, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

Soviet soldiers walk in front of the shattered Reichstag building in May 1945. The same location on April 18, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

A Soviet army vehicle on Gruenberger Street in May 1945. The same location on April 19, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

Russian soldiers man a gun on August Street or Rosenthaler Street in May 1945. The same location on April 20, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

People walking on Borsig Street in May 1945. The same location on April 20, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

Soviet soldiers pose in front of the destroyed Reichstag building in May 1945. The same location on April 20, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

A Russian armoured vehicle is seen on Ritter Street or Alexandrinen Street in May 1945. The same location on April 21, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

Red Army tanks on Proskauer Street or Frankfurter Allee in May 1945. The same location on April 20, 2015. (MHM//Georgiy Samsonov/Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

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