Archive for the ‘Alternative photography process’ Category
Last week I’ve bought a “new” car, Land Rover 109, Station Wagon, model year 1972. It used to be imported in Yugoslavia (RIP) in 1982, serving as a firefighter’s car and in 1999 was a gift for a fiftieth birthday of a car mechanic which restored it entirely but never registrate it, so it was standing in a garage for last fifteen years. Last week I’ve bought it. In two weeks I’m turning forty and this is a gift and a tool I bought myself. Otherwise I hate cars. If I could I would rather spend hours on bicycle or running to do my travelings, but I can’t. If I need a car, I wanted to buy a car that is not boring and let’s face it, cars are boring as hell! They all look the same and the mantra of consumerism is “comfort über alles”. Guess what? COMFORT IS OVERRATED! And on top of that comfort is booooooooring to death!!!!!!
A collector asked me if I’m selling ambrotypes, I don’t, because they are unique and I want to leave behind me a work that will tell a story. If I sell an ambrotype, that image will be on somebody’s wall and I and anybody else will never see it again. That is one of the reason I’ve chosen wet plate negative in my artistic career. But on the end of the day, I am a professional artist, I do this for a living, it’s not my weekend hobby, so I need to sell my artwork too. So I’ve been thinking and I came to this business model.
When I’m making my collodion landscape plates, I make two or three plates of the same motif and so if a person want’s to buy an ambrotype from me, he or she have two options:
Either pick it up from a gallery (that I’ve haven’t set up yet) and pay for the full price of an ambrotype 10×12″ that will be US $999.
Or the second option is that she or he can pre order a plate from me, so when I go next time out to do my art, I make another plate for the buyer. In this case the buyer can not choose a plate of his choice, it can only take the one I’ve made that day or decline it, no questions asked. The price in that case is less than half of it, US $399.
Sounds like a good and fair game right? Yes, I know, I would rather not be in a position that I need to sell my ambrotypes, but if you develop two habits like myself, you need to find a way to feed them!
PS: In my life I had several cars. They were all boring to death, except my very first car, Renault 4.
About a year ago I went to George Eastman House for a workshop of Carbon print process. To be honest before my arrival to Rochester, USA, I didn’t know what carbon print process is but if it was described as the king of all printing processes ever invented and I thought I might try it out. My main goal was to do the pilgrimage to George Eastman House and take a workshop under tutorship of Mark Osterman.
As I’ve expected the visit to GEH did blown my mind, I’ve seen original authentic prints of Julia Margaret Cameron, Eadweard Muybridge and many others. Mark Osterman shown us many gems of technical and aesthetic heritage from the history of photography. One of the things that stuck with me for the whole year was woodburytype process. Please take a look of the video at the bottom of this post, I’ve seen it so many times, I could repeat the words by heart!
Anyhow, down to the point, for the whole year I was thinking how to revive the woodburytype process. I have this vision to make my book in woodburytype process. The question why (almost) nobody (?) have done it in the last 120 years is obvious, it’s the most complicated process ever! For an 8×10″ print (20x25cm) you would need a press that would produce a pressure of about 500 tons per 8×10″ format! In 19th Century there were only two woodburytype presses in the world that were capable of making woodburytype prints size 8×10″. I will not go into technical details, it’s beautifully explained in the video below.
When I told to Mark Osterman what is my vision, he advise me to stay away from authentic woodburytype process, but rather go for Stanotype process. What is Stanotype process I wondered? It’s another invention by Walter Bentley Woodbury (British, 1834–1885) with the same result, just it does not require those huge press to make a mold, that I’ve mentioned before. I’ve read everything I could about it, even Mark Osterman and Nick Brandreth were so kind to send me a digital copy of Stanotype manual written by Woodbury himself!
Last half a year I was working a lot. I knew that authentic Stanotype is not the answer, I knew I could modernize the process. And I did! On the images above are four (modernized) woodburytype prints and a carbon print on glass. The carbon print on glass has very little pigment and it’s made in a way to maximize the relief from which I’ve made a mold and from that mold I’ve made those prints.
Before you will make a judgement about my prints, let me explain that you need a press to achieve a good print from a woodburytype mold. The press that Mark Osterman is using in the video below. I don’t have one. At the moment I was just testing different materials and different processes. I’ve made one mold and today I was playing around with it. I didn’t had the press, so I’ve used these clamps, what’stheycalled. As you can tell I was speculating, changing parameters and the forth print is perfect! Well, it’s perfect, much better than I could ever thought in given circumstances! Because I was not using a press, but clamps, the pressure was not even, so the resulting print has patches of highlights and patches of black. But that doesn’t matter! What it matters is that I’ve made a modern woodburytype print from scratch and the result has blacks, it has highlights, it has contrast and it does have sharpness!!! I’ve learned all the crucial steps how to manipulate the process and created a modern woodburytype print!
I totally understand that perhaps you do not see anything special in these experiments of mine, but I’m just as excited as I was when I was 11 years old, learning photography with my dad’s russian Kiev camera, which light-meter was showing very wrong meterings, so every photograph that I took and I could recognize a motif being photographed, I considered a triumph!!! And that’s the case here! Perhaps you just see a bad print, but I see woodbury process revived and modernized, I see a printing house that will be the best printing house in the world and the first book printed in that printing house it will be my The Great Depression project. I even see an option how to do woodburytype prints from a digital file and furthermore in color and that is why in a month or so I’m flying back to Rochester to bring my modern woodburytype molds and compare them with authentic woodburytype molds from 19th Century.
Oh, I’m so happy, my buttocks are applauding!
PS: It’s too early for explaining how I’ve made the mold. I have to nail down the process entirely and finish with testing. I have three more concepts to test how to make a mold and then pick the best one. This was my first attempt.
PPS: I’m sure there are few individuals who are still doing woodburytype nowadays, but beside Oliver Barret, whose book was a help and inspiration in my research, I haven’t found anybody who would nowadays produce woodburytype kind of quality images. If you could help me finding other contemporary woodburytypes, I would be greatful.
A monster tree with a swing! Photographed in wet plate collodion and printed in carbon print and albumen print
Here is a new video. It’s pretty long, 10 minutes, I went through few times and edited out as much as I could to make it shorter, but there is quite a lot of information included, so I hope you will find it worthy of your time. The prints I’ve made I’m not putting them on ebay auction, since last two auctions didn’t went that well, to be honest. Plus last week my work was being presented at ArtMarket Budapest, an international art fair, by Photon Gallery. I am on the right path, my work received good attention, I’ve met some very important curators and collectors and I’ve realized that all I need at this time is just a little more patience and I reckon one more year to catch up with boys & girls from the first art league. I know I will get there, but I’m not there quite yet. I will stop with Ebay auctions for now. The prints are still on sale, of course just send me an email of inquiry CLICK.
Music by Robert Jukič
This is dried casein protein which I’ve extracted from milk (link to the tutorial) might be a solution in my research of modernizing woodburytype process. As a digital photographer you never think that you could improve the process, you only can wait for the next new camera model from Japan, because we are foremost consumers! Whereas if you make everything by yourself, you start experimenting alternative ways to achieve better photography process! The pioneer’s spirit of photography is alive, it’s still alive and on top of everything, it can never be outsourced!!!
I grew up in this valley and every September I loved to photograph corn fields. It’s something elegant and tranquil in a field of corn. It was a sunny afternoon and I had three plates ready and subbed with albumen, so I give it a go. The negative was done in the first attempt and although the density was not as thick as it could be, due to loosing quite a lot of developer (containing silver), but that was easily compensated by the second development after fixing, the redevelopment. I just had to redevelop longer, increasing the layer of silver and busting the contrast.
Here are two beautiful prints, I hope you will like them and as it is a tradition on this blog, I’m putting these two prints on ebay auction, starting from 0,99 US$. The auction will end in three days, because I’ve learned that my customers are readers of this blog and it doesn’t matter if the auction is listed for a week or only for few days. As a professional artist (and a father of two daughters) I need to sell my work or get a “proper” job, so thus the aggressive promotion. Things are going good, great, much better than I’ve expected.
This week Art Photo Budapest fair is happening and this fair is the only international fair in Eastern Europe dedicated to art photography. Gallery Photon is presenting me in a very generous way. I’ve been told that this event is a milestone in my career. Tomorrow at 3pm I was invited in the panel to discuss art market in East Europe. As one of my presented cases it will be also this blog and my experience with ebay auctions.
I have this feeling that I’m on the right track and although I know I will not do these ebay auctions forever, it’s a brilliant marketing tool!
Isn’t that a brilliant advice? We artists have a very long history of being ignored and some of us even cut their ear off! Well I’m not cutting my ear or getting a “real job”. I enjoy what I do and thank you for all the attention. It truly helps to know that people have a harder and harder times to keep on ignoring me!
PS: My email box if stacked with questions about the processes I’m doing. I’ve answered some, but most of them I just can’t. SORRY! Please write the question here, as a comment and I will do much better job clarifying some details of the process. You can write a question anonymously, no problem.
Last week I was again working on my project The Great Depression. This time was a bit different motivation. I wasn’t looking for new motives, but I was repeating shots I’ve done before. At the moment all my plates are exhibited in Lithuania at Kaunas Photo Festival, but two galleries asked me if I can exhibit The Great Depression plates, The Gallery of Contemporary Art in Celje and almost at the same time, Photon Gallery wants to exhibit my plates at ArtMarket Budapest.
What to do, what to do… No problem, I went again to Novoles company where I started my project almost three years ago and repeat few frames that I took in the past. Surprise, surprise my wet plate knowledge advanced and I’ve made such a beautiful plates, I can not believe it! Well, here they are, you be the judge of them.
Today when I was varnishing them, I’ve received an email from a very important museum, that I can not name just yet, that they want to buy few plates from the project for their permanent collection. YES! After all the hard work and I’m finally beyond the tipping point! Mom, I’ve made it!!!