by Mike McNamee Published 01/04/2008
Just after I completed this issue's features on Paul McMullin selling his film gear and the rise in the production of photobooks, I decided to go and photograph the 'European Technology Centre' of Max Spielmann. This huge, defunct building sits on Bidston Moss, quite close to Editor Towers. It is a bleak place to take photographs and I walked past the building to get to the front corner. The huge metal M from MAX was creaking as the gale-torn metal rubbed on the roof, like a swinging door in the abandoned gold town of a western movie. As I moved into position to capture the 'To let' sign roped to the side elevation, it started to snow, then hail, then rain as the north easterly gale drove the clouds overhead. I ran for the car, a trip of 200 yards only, but got soaked for my troubles anyway, there was nowhere to hide. By the time I reached the car the sun was shining again. The entire incident seemed like a metaphor for what had happened but a short time ago - they too never saw the storm coming and had nowhere to shelter. Digital wiped out the postal processing trade almost overnight, one of the biggest production printing lines fell silent and now all is left is a creaking letter M that the next gale will probably bring all the way to the ground. As a sideshow, 35mm film was, last month, removed from the list of products used to calculate inflation, 74 years after Kodak introduced it.
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