Astrid asked me if I could take a picture of fantastic vintage studio backgrounds that were using Josip Pelikan, so after I got a permission from the museum I’m publishing them on my blog. On Flickr you can download a hires file of the image, just click all sizes. Vintage backgrounds are dated about 1930′s. The skylight studio was built in 1898 and bought by Josip Pelikan in 1922. Nowadays Josip Pelikan Photographic Studio is a branch of the Celje Museum of Recent History. If you going to use the files to make your own vintage look studio background, just leave a note in the back that it was done on the basis of backgrounds from Josip Pelikan Studio, Celje, Slovenia, EU. A lot of people from MNZC museum worked hard to renovate the skylight studio and we owe them at least a credit. THX.
I’ve been thinking. My friend ordered a painted movie poster from India and if you know a painter’s service like that, share the info and good luck! Perhaps we can make a group order and get a discount. Just a thought…
Yesterday I was portraying in the studio and I’ve made this plate. Also a colleague photojournalist Andraž Purg came by and made a portrait of me.
The book I’m presenting is a fruit of collaboration at the workshop. I’ve learned hugely by just watching Klavdij going through images, picking one, the other, changing the order, putting it back on the pile and so on. We called it Sluban’s magic, because although sometimes images that were on the table were not impressive at all, but his selection of just say 8 images and juxtapositioning them in certain order, did made a huge difference. You can not understand if you don’t witness it. I’ve been at workshops with many many famous photographers, from Martin Parr, Duane Michals, Joel Peter Witkin and many others, but I haven’t seen anything like it. I knew from our first meeting that all I need to learn at the workshop is to tap on his frequency of thinking and the result is evident here in this book. Mark Osterman gave me a great comment. He loved that I used different camera formats (6×6, 4×5″, 8×10″) and also different processes (b&w film, wet plate collodion – ambrotype and wet plate negative) and I blended them all together in a book almost seamlessly. That’s Sluban’s magic, I tell you!
Dear topshit readers,
I’m awfully proud on the following book I’ve made. I’ve joined an excellent workshop with Klavdij Sluban. Klavdij Sluban is an extraordinary photographer and won so many prestigious photography awards. One of the most important award was certainly European Publishers Award 2009 and this year he was one of the juror for Leica Award 2013. It’s fortunate for us that his parents were Slovenians and although he was born in Paris, he spend his childhood in Slovenia, so he speaks fluently Slovenian (among other half a dozen languages). He made a generous offer to make a whole year lasting workshop and we would meet six weekends across the whole year. His only condition was not to advertise the workshop internationally, but invite only Slovenian photographers. Last week we had an opening of exhibition as the final stage of our workshop.
As I’m describing in the video I was aware that the story about the most beautiful children in the world is not enough. I shaped my concept around my fears and delights of being a parent. When I was a child, ten years old, I burned myself with a gasoline and almost died. When I became a parent I experienced fears for my children and one day I was strucked by a thought, what my parents had to go through at the time of my accident!
The book is on ebay (LINK) if you want a copy. If you want a print as well, I’ve just put two prints on ebay and link is listed below.
A link to the gallery of images on my website.
A failed attempt of demonstration how to do wet plate collodion below freezing temperature, at -2C. I did a more successful video on the topic in February and it’s on THIS link. I’m working at these temperatures without heating, because heating is gay as we say here, behind the Iron Curtain. Just to clarify, gay jokes are legal in East Europe (#freeEurope)! And if I mentioned that, I must add also that I support gay rights and their right for marriage, adopting children and so on… But that does not mean I will not make jokes on them. Ciao sailor
Dear topshit readers,
Half a year ago I’ve done an experiment, I’ve sold a print on ebay, as an auction starting from $0.99 USD and after 5 days it was sold for $111 USD (LINK). Few weeks later an auction for the second print won $182 USD (LINK). These two sales were just a test to see how ebay works and what could be done and at what prices a print could be sold. I was very happy to see that it does work. Many people congratulated me for the courage to expose my work full monty to ebay auction, but I was also a target of a critic that the price my prints won, were ridiculous.
What I couldn’t explain to the critics is that it’s not so much about the money, it’s more an experiment how to sell art. I was invited to give a TEDx speech in Ljubljana where I’ll talk to 600 people live and few thousands on-line.
Not to mention the theme how to sell art is the mission impossible here in this corner of the world! I live in Slovenia, that’s the only country in EU (beside Cyprus) that still have recession, (that’s -3% recession!!!) and an art market is totally and utterly DEAD. The most prominent artists are dependent on grants, but I’ve decided to try something different.
I’ve explained everything in the video, I just want to add that the key element of the project is to give all my aces out of my sleeve. The print I’ve done and the way it’s presented is the best way I can. I am not able to do it any better. I wasn’t sparing any money. When I was cutting the glass negative my hands shook. They really did. I couldn’t believe it!
Oh, one more thing. Even though I was satisfied with my first ebay sales I pulled a handle brake and stopped selling my prints. I hit a question that I couldn’t answer. Why would someone buy a print from me for 1000 EUR, if I’m actioning my prints on ebay, starting with $0.99 USD? It took me literally two months to find an answer to that. And it goes like this. I need to make the ebay adventure as an art project by itself. I need to find an unique motif and a concept that will be solely devoted to the ebay auction experiment and by doing that I will protect my other work to be affected by the inflation of the price. I would never sold a print from lets say my best project Flower Power for less than 700 EUR. (which I did to a Dutch collector, long, long time ago…)
HERE is the LINK to the ebay listing. It will end Nov 27, 2013 11:23:04 PST.
huh, last week was busy so I need to catch up. Sunday I’ve returned from USA where at George Eastman House I took part of a workshop of Carbon Print process under mentorship of Mark Osterman and Nick Brandreth. The workshop was three days but I spend the whole week in Rochester to study their collection of prints, their collection of historical and their library. That was the most exciting week ever! Where to begin, where to begin…
Well, look at images and read the captions and hopefully some passion will get through.
Tomorrow I’m flying for Rochester, USA, where I’ll join Mark Osterman‘s workshop of Carbon Printing Transfer. It’s literally a pilgrimage for me (as an atheist), to come to George Eastman House museum and take a workshop with Mark Osterman. I never did a carbon transfer print, I am also not aware to see one although I’ve must have seen a carbon print in various museums I’ve visited, but still it’s described as the king of printing process, so it’s time to meet the king! Mark asked us to bring our own negatives and so yesterday I’ve done negatives of different densities. It’s no secret how it’s done. The same as with ordinary film. As Mark Osterman have taught me, exposure gives you information, development gives you density, so according to this commandment, I overexpose and underdevelop for low contrast and just the opposite for high contrast. (read captions for more info). The highest contrast negative is redeveloped. I’ll not go into details since this is very specific collodion technique. Before I headed for the pilgrimage I’ve done also a salt print, to remind the master Osterman that the king carbon print must make a better print. Ha! I do martial arts and the peak of the training is when you test your skills against your teacher and you get beaten as a sack of beans. No doubt this will be the case also this time. I always aim beyond my reach and then see how will I do. Ha, I so much look forward!!!
But nevertheless the salt print is gorgeous and it will present the best challenge I can make with salt print process against carbon print process. Obnoxious in that kind of creative way I was always been
PS: all reproductions have my dirty finger in the frame as a reference point that it is not digitally altered. Plus the print is dry! It’s not like super cooper wet and when you dry it all the blacks are gone…
Benjamin saw my videos on youtube and decided to learn wet plate collodion process so he drove from Switzerland for an individual workshop with me. It was great three days. We were doing basic wet plate collodion ambrotypes, wet plate collodion negatives, salt printing and then for fun we were doing also collodion transfer to paper and to his sketch book cover. Mark Osterman from George Eastman House museum explained that the name for this transfers is actually Pannotype. We were mixing and testing different collodions, silver baths with different pH, different developers, changing exposure with development times. The result of that kind of workshop torture is a surprising finding that a plate that was illuminated by 30% less could look brighter if developed with less developer in a perfect way.
My way of teaching is to use one motif and keep on photographing it focusing on one aspect of the process. Most demanding part of the workshop was wet plate negative. I’ve mixed new negative collodion, raised pH of silverbath to 4.9pH and with this I raised sensibility of collodion process, so I could make a portrait of Benjamin in wet plate collodion negative with f/11, t=4s. I portrayed him outdoor in shadow. Then we redeveloped the negative and we’ve made a salt print from it. Fun weekend!
If you want to know more about my workshops click on the LINK to my site. Let me just add that with my workshop you get also Mark Osterman’s Collodion manual. I was thinking to write my own instructions (just like everyone else who have 5 min of free time ), but I’ve decided I’ll rather buy bunch of the best collodion manuals and include them in my workshop offer.
This weekend a colleague Jeroen de Wijs visited me. He is a collodion photographer from Holland with outstanding knowledge and experience in collodion photography. He was learning collodion photography from Mark Osterman and France Scully Osterman at group and individual workshops. We’ve visited Studio Pelikan and today he thought me how to do dry preserved collodion negative. This process is much more complicated than ambrotype and tintype so not many people knows it and even less practice it. The major advantage is that dry collodion plates can be prepared at home and they need to be exposed and processed in about month or two time. The disadvantage is that plates have very low sensibility for light. Like the plate that I’m publishing was exposed for 75 minutes at a cloudy day at aperture f/11. OK, I was using very old, four months old collodion negative, that it could be considered as a dead collodion, but if I would use young collodion, it would still take about 15 minutes. Dry plate collodion was the medium that made it possible to photograph interiors of churches and other buildings, with exposure times for a whole day. As you probably guessed the dry collodion plates process is suitable for landscape photography, not for portraits. At the end of the day I’ve made a salt print from the negative and I call it a very good day
PS: In two weeks I’m going to Rochester to George Eastman House for a carbon printing workshop. So exciting!!!
Here are two book covers I’ve done last month. OK, the philosopher Slavoj Žižek I photographed in 2008 (the blog post), but Danish publisher Samfunds Letteratur recently bought my portrait of Slavoj for the cover of Den nyttige idiot book.
Založba Goga hired me to make a cover of the newest book of rewarded writer Tadej Golob. I had completely open hands. The story is about a recreational boxer that is beaten by life, but he refuse and does not fall. It’s not a book about a champion, it’s a book about a fighter who fights in a ring called everyday life.
My concept for the cover was it has to look raw. Not brutal, but raw. Very raw. I do Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) and I have two pairs of boxing gloves, but mine are modern King boxing gloves, so it took me a while to find one that fited my idea. Of course I’ve done the cover in wet plate collodion technique with an old petzval lens on 4×5″ format to achieve the beautiful rawness.
With the same concept I’ve made the portrait of a writer Tadej Golob.
Dear topshit readers of topshit blog,
I do keep focus of this blog on wet plate collodion process, but I’m receiving many questions sort of. OK, you do this 19th Century mambo jambo photography, but what you do for a living? On these questions I politely explain that I tried my career as an artist, I tried as a bureaucrat, I did my best as a carpenter, but only until a friend of mine introduce me to the art of human trafficking (Slovenia’s border is EU’s Schengen border), I finally have enough resources, to devote my time to wet plate collodion process and other 19th Century photographic techniques.
But seriously, since I’m “fortunate” enough to live in Slovenia, that is a micro market, I’ve been forced to learn just about everything that you can do with a camera. One of my three regular clients is also Anton Podbevšek Teater for which I’m mainly doing photography, but since cameras are recording also video, I started to play with that just as well. Now I’m hired to make also video teasers that are promoting theater performances on youtube, facebook and other social networking. This is my best video teaser so far. Words are really important, but even if you don’t speak the proper language, you will get the idea from visuals and music. I devoted extra attention to artist’s statements. I’ve made like 15 minutes of interviews and then I’ve carefully chosen 3 x 30 seconds of statements that perfectly fit visuals.
So the point of this post is that if you take an extra effort, you have another product to sell and support your behaviour disorder that wet plate collodion definitely is.
But bottom line is that this theater performance can not be missed and they have a show on 11th,12th,13th of October 2013. At 20.00. In Anton Podbevšek Teater.