Archive for the ‘Art’ Category
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.
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.
With the project I’m trying to document the state of bankrupt companies with emphasis on the things that workers left behind. I’m known as a portrait photographer and although this time there are no people on my images, the human presence is very evident. I hope you will enjoy the video and hope to see you at the opening!
Dearest readers, one more thing. This is the 1000th blog post on my blog! I’ve been blogging since September 2006 and here we are at the 1000th post! A lot of things changed in this time and I’m happy I was blogging about it. I was thinking hard how to mark this anniversary. Due to the occasion, let’s call this week an artist to artist week. If you send me something that you’ve done I’ll send you back something that I’ve done. It’ll probably be a gelatin print, but who knows… If you make a good marmalade, I’ll exchange a print for a jar of marmalade. Or for whatever, just please keep in mind that the offer stands only for a week, so if you are really up for “Creation 4 Creation” deal, please send me before 7th of October 2013 on the address Cviblje 40, 8350 Dolenjske Toplice, Slovenia, EU. And don’t forget to write your address
My last post was about my commision in Switzerland. I’ve shot many plates and when I’ve came back I was sunning the bath for a day (bright sunny day), filtering, etc, but I was still not getting that super sharp shining silver on my plates. With usage of silver-nitrate bath, alcohol, ether, iodides, organic particles and other stuff they dissolve in the bath and you can not get them entirely out with barely sunning.
Common practice is that silver-bath is regularly sunned and boiled only once or twice a year. That goes for ambrotypes, that’s positives. Whereas wet plate collodion negative technique reveals all dirty secrets of silverbath (not to mention photographer’s secrets) and if you want to get a good negative frequent boiling is necessary. Major enemy of wet plate negative is excess of iodides in silverbath and the syndrome of that are white dots in negative or black dots in positive. Or to quote Mark Osterman: “free iodides” cause pinholes in collodion images.”
So what I’m trying to say is that I very often boil my silverbath for usage in wet plate negative, but I also fall in love in the quality of ambrotypes that are produced after freshly boiled and cleaned silver-bath.
How is it done? You can find this technique in The NEW Scully & Osterman Collodion Manual. I can explain you how I am doing it, but I must warn you that I’m Slavic origin and not Germanic or even Anglo-Saxon origin, so if you can use an advice about cleanness from a Slav, then you must be pretty desperate…
Add one small table spoon of baking soda in about one liter of AgNO3 solution. At this stage the pH should be about 6-7pH. I must warn you that boiling silver-nitrate with Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) will look like the end of your wetplate career, but that’s how it should look. To be clear, the silver-nitrate in the picture above looked perfectly clear before boiling, but since I’ve sensitized about 30 plates format 10×12″ (cca. 2.25 square meters) I knew it’s full of iodides, alcohol, ether and dissolved organic matter. Only when I started boiling it with soda all the feces came out…
A friend asked me the other day how to raise pH in silver-bath after you added few drops of nitric acid. This is the best way. On FB a colleague Michael Koerner wrote a comment: “Plus the sodion bicarbonate (NaHCO3) will (when acidified with nitric acid) turn to carbonic acid (H2CO3), which will over a short time turn to water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) – bubbles away.”
After boiling you need to add water, filter it, sunn it, filter it, measure gravity of AgNO3, add nitric acid so the pH is back to 4 and you’re finished! Your silver-nitrate bath is reseted. You must know that silverbath like that will be more aggressive then your usual silver-bath, so it’s good to shorten sensibilisation time. I shortened to 2:15 minutes at room temperature. Mark Osterman is highlighting that sensibilization process is judged visually and not measured by time. I think I know what he means, but I need to confirm with him that I truly understand this part of the process, next time when I will see the master. I’m planning to join his workshop of Carbon Printing in Rochester in November. So exciting!
To sum up. I love to reset my silverbath, because then I’m getting best results. Boiling does take toll. I loose about 13.722% of my silverbath solution due to filtering. After boiling I filter the solution about 4 times through double coffee filters. Personally I find it worth the effort, but in wetplate process everyone have their own way of doing things and I’m not saying this method is better than any other. It works for me and that’s the true beauty of this hand-made images. You do it your own way! Ha!
PS: I’ve changed the title of this blog. Before it was Photography Down the Rabbit Hole, but the title Topshit Photography blog is way better. Topshit happens!
PPS: TOmorrow I’m going back to Switzerland to do some more work. Obviously they think the work that I’ve done is worth the money, so more work is waiting for me. Topshit happens!
PPPS: Relevant links:
- http://collodion.org/ Scully & Osterman Studio
- http://collodion-art.blogspot.com/2011/07/silver-bath-maintenance.html (Alex Timmermans)
- My first post about boiling and sorting pH of silver-bath LINK
Last week it was a topshit week. Sasha Huber and Petri Saarikko are my dear friends from Fabrica / Benetton times. Sasha was invited to prepare an exhibition in Eisenwerk – Frauenfeld. I’ll talk more about the exhibition after the opening, but I can say that an important part of the exhibition will include also ambrotypes. Sasha commissioned me to make ambrotype portraits illustrating a certain aspect of her work. We were really working hard and I think we’ve done great work. Here are few plates that I’ve done as a test.
The theme for this post is actually how inspired I got in those short days that we worked together and we lived art. We discussed so many projects. Petri, for instance, founded Kallio Kunsthalle, gallery of contemporary art in Helsinki. He presented me all the exhibitions he curated, concepts, views, tools, impressions, etc… We shared our views on art that we do, that others do, contemporary art that inspire us, old projects, trends, currents and our plans for the future. Oh, very sprackling conversation/s…
On Sunday we went to Fotomuseum Winterthur where we saw an exhibition by Lewis Hine. I’ve met there with a fellow wetplater Peter Michels and on Moday I drove also to Nurnberg to visit another wetplater Peter Kunz. It was really cool to see his amazing studio! And you know where’s located? In former facility of Quelle factory. I promised to come back and do some plates for my exhibition Great Depression 1912-13. Peter has really amazing studio with topshit equipment. I’m attaching some behind the scene images.
On the way back I left Switzerland at 10am came to Nurnberg at 15.00 hang around with peter for couple of hours and at 19.00 I took my drive back home (690km) and arrived at 6:30 am. Altogether there and back I drove 1950 km. I drove whole night back inspired of all the art I consumed, shared and created…
As you can imagine this wet plate process is not cheap and as a professional photographer I need and want to make a living with wet plate collodion process. I’m presenting two commercial projects in which I find great potential and as always want to share with you.
In collaboration with Gallery Fotografija from Ljubljana I was assigned to make a business gift for Riko company. I photographed Škrabčeva domačija museum in wet plate collodion glass negative and made salt print, toned with gold chloride. It is awesome and I’ve sold it to Riko. From the print we’ve made an edition of 300 inkjet prints on hahnemuele photorag paper and presented in a folder as you see it. The inkjet printing, the presentation and the folder was designed and made by Luminus company.
Second assignment came from a known Slovenian curator. She hired me to photograph the house of her father in law. I’ve made 5×7″ wet plate collodion ambrotype. An interesting detail is that the house stands in the Puhar street in Ljubljana. Janez Puhar was an inventor who invented photography on glass in year 1843. Unfortunately nobody replicated the porcess after his death. Anyway the gift was a total success.
If you want to hire me to make on-location photograph of you or your house or do whatever in wet plate collodion process, I charge 150 EUR for the first plate and next plates are 30 EUR each. Email me for inquiry.
Now, after I quit my long-term job as a photojournalist, I’m raising stakes on my art career. I have the best possible education a photographer could wish, I’ve graduated at Prague’s FAMU Academy, was working with Oliviero Toscani in Fabrica (UC of Benetton) and did my postgraduate studies at London College of Printing. On top of that I’ve took workshops with Martin Parr, Duane Michals, Steven Gill, Francesco Zizola, George Georgiou, Vanessa Winship, Joel Peter Witkin, Paul Graham, Pep Bonet, Paul Lowe, Klavdij Sluban and many others.
On top of that I was living together with nowadays stars of contemporary photography. My roommate was James Mollison at Fabrica and in my class at LCP 2002/03 was Olivia Arthur (Magnum agency) and Leonie Purchas, last but not least at Colors Magazine I was working also with Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg, to mention just a few.
After my postgraduate studies in London I got my first child and I came back home, build a house and got my second child. It was brilliant decision, to establish family while being young, but I must admit that career wise I got stuck. And when you get stuck in a stuck country like Slovenia, then you feel like an oversized solid shit that can not get through.
Nevertheless this current recession brought me to a liberating thought. All jobs are paid next thing to nothing, so why not get paid next thing to nothing, for something that I’m crazy passionate and addicted to, that’s photography! My idea of photography!
My ideal medium for photography is a book. I love making books. I handmade more then
dozen two dozens books. I decided that I’ll raise a stake on my art career and drop in the party through the back door. I will make a book on my best project Flower Power! Next week I’m getting an advice from Klavdij Sluban on that. The man won European Publishers Award for Photography in 2009, so I’ll get the best guidance I can! In August I’m making a promo video about it. Then I’ll launch it through Kickstarter and by November the book should be on your table!
For those who don’t know the Flower Power project, here’s a short sinopsis. Flower Power series is a personal rebellion against politics and news-photojournalistic-safaris dictated by well oiled public relation machine. In my images I’m instead of glorifying politicians, focusing on plants and degrading politicians on disturbing backgrounds. Here are some recent Flower Power images that I haven’t publish them yet, the best off collection you can see on my site.
May the Flower Power be with me and you!
Sorry for not blogging for a while. You must understand me, I quit my job of photojournalist where I was working for almost 8 years and was working my ass off to provide income elsewhere. And proudly I must say I managed to find a job that is much better paid, so I’m sorted for next 12 months!
Nevertheless I miss weekly portraits assignments so if somebody is interested to be portrayed by my genius in the bottle, just rub my email address.
Few days ago I was playing around with negative wet plate process and I wanted to see if my month old albumen solution got bad and how does it reflect on the plate. It’s important to recognize an error and it’s pattern. Here are two results. I love them both. Not sure if because my daughters are on the pictures or do they have some attraction to you to?
Images that follow are cleaner. I was cleaning my plates with very diluted nitric acid and I doubt that there will be any effect, but it was. I got very clean plates. I also give it a try of Miša Keskenović receipt for a quickclear collodion. Miša started to modify a receipt from Eder and adjust it for quickclear usage. It is based on three salts, NH4I, CdI2 and CdBr2. It’s rich in iodides and very sharp, very contrasty, very thick. Actually it was too thick for this weather, so I got crepe lines. I love it Obviously it’s not forgiving to work with the collodion, but it is rewarding when everything goes well. For more info read the description of an image.