TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

borut peterlin, slovenia, ambrotype, Portrait photography, Wet Plate Collodion, Analog Film photography

Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

My portfolio published in B+W Photography magazine

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Oh, I am so proud to announce that my portfolio was published by B+W Photography magazine. It was actually in June’s issue, but it took a while that I got a hard copy in my hands. It’s awesome and a perfect piece in my portfolio box. Next Monday a photography festival in Arles is starting and I have 20 portfolio review meetings. So exciting!!!

A big thanks to the journalist Mike Crawford and the editor Elisabeth Roberts for the attention to my work.

Simon Weber – Unger and his Nature Printing process from 1852

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This weekend I was visiting Vienna Photo Book Festival and it was really exciting place in time. So many books, so many ideas, so many people to talk to… Unfortunately I managed to make only one proper interview if I don’t count the one I’ve published on Monday. Since I’m very much interested in alternative photography processes from 19th Century I was overwhelmed with the work of Simon Weber-Unger! He has a gallery Wissenschaftliches Kabinett in Vienna and it’s specialized in 19th Century photography. Furthermore his project of reviving Nature printing process is breathtaking indeed. I’ve made this interview to share with you his work. I hope you will get a glimpse how great it is. I know it’s not photography, but it is amazingly beautiful print!

More about this topic you can find on

Topshit interview with Josef Koudelka by Borut Peterlin

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This weekend I was at Vienna Photo Book Festival and it was great. So many photo-books and artists all believing the same thing as I do, that a book is an ideal medium for our photography! I’ve done topshit interview with none other than Josef Koudelka, who was the main star of the event. I hope you will like it. Big thanks to Uroš Počivalšek, the colorblind agent of mr. Koudelka, for making this interview possible!

PS: Because I’ve received few angry emails, let me explain it that all those stupid questions I’ve heard as a feedback to my work. I found it satiric when these questions are posed against one of the best photographers in the world. That said also my biography is written in satiric fictional way. I see things differently, don’t shoot me…
http://borutpeterlin.com/BIOGRAPHY/1/

Written by Borut Peterlin

16 June, 2014 at 18:07

New plates for my Great Depression project

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Great Depression 1912-13

Regular readers of my topshit blog – also known as topshit readers – are familiar with my Great Depression documentary photography project. Few days ago I was in Vegrad, another industrial giant that got bankrupt and left thousands of desperate people behind. Their greedy and corrupt CEO Hilda Tovšak is in jail at the moment, but she have much better times that all those migrant workers from Bosnia and Serbia…

I had disgusting problems with fog. I didn’t know why until I didn’t calibrate my pH checker and realized that it was showing 0.3pH less than it should, so my silverbath was actually 4.7pH so it was fogging like it’s English morning! I didn’t panic I adjusted everything that I could, but since I didn’t had nitric acid with me and I was reluctant to acidify silverbath with glacial acid, I was still having fog. But that fog was wipeable so, -No winter for Eskimos- I continued to work. In three hours that I had at disposal I’ve managed to make three plates. On the end of the day it was a jolly good day!

PS: If you want to qualify as a topshit reader of topshit blog, you might see this short video about the Great Depression project.

Workshop in Berlin by Borut Peterlin

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WHAT? Group Workshop in Wet Plate Collodion Negative, Salt Printing and Albumen Printing
WHERE? Berlin in Christian Klant‘s studio
WHEN? 16th-19th of Jully 2014
WHO? It’s intended for experienced ambrotypists and tintypists who wants to take new step into the world of negatives and prints.
LANGUAGE? English
HOW MUCH? Four days workshop costs 600 EUR and that includes all material cost and most importantly taxes. It does not include food and accommodation.
APPLICATION? The workshop is limited to five participants, so please hurry if you are interested by sending an email to borut@borutpeterlin.com

DAY ONE
- Introduction to the processes the difference between wet plate collodion positive and negative
- Reviewing examples of negatives and prints we are expected to be making during the workshop
- Preparation of chemistry and cleaning plates
- The making of the first wet plate negatives

DAY TWO
- Participants will learn how to make different densities of wet plate negatives
- How to redevelop a negative
- What light is appropriate for wet plate negative and how to work in inappropriate light
- Practicing a wet plate negative on still life
- Making a portrait with ambient light
- Making a portrait with studio flashes
- Varnishing glass negatives

DAY THREE
- Making more negatives. The goal is that each participant will make several negatives with different densities for different printing processes.
- Varnishing glass plates
- Preparing albumen for printing process
- Preparing gelatin for salt print process
- Seizing paper for salt print process
- Seizing paper for albumen print process
- Demonstration of salt and albumen printing process

DAY FOUR
- Salt printing
- Albumen printing
- Toning with goldchloride
- Waxing salt prints
- Silver Nitrate bath maintenance (boiling with baking soda, filtering, adjusting pH,…)
- Demonstration of dry collodion negative & Carbon Process

Each participant will receive few pages of notes with all receipts and most important points to remember.

Collodion portrait of an actor Branko Jordan

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20140523-branko-jordan001 Anton Podbevšek Teater will have tomorrow a premier of new theater show,
AMOR OMNIA VINCIT* and I’ve made digital documentation of the show, but I couldn’t resist not to take a snapshot in collodion technique of my friend Branko Jordan, one of the most prominent actor of his generation in this corner of the world. The plate has some fog, but concerning the timing and working condition I love it. In fact the fog, stains and everything else is just ideal for my taste!

For the promotion of theater shows I also developed a form of video teaser for Internet and social networks. It’s a mixture of video and photography, accompanied by a statement of the director followed with a scene from the show, to illustrate abstract words of the concept with an example from the show. This form of a teaser I perfected over two years and now I think it’s best that I could do. It also attract a lot of attention and popularize theater among iGeneration.

Blažka Müller Pograjc: AMOR OMNIA VINCIT*
Director: Matjaž Pograjc
Actors: Katarina Stegnar, Gorka Berden, Marijana Brecelj, Branko Jordan, Pavle Ravnohrib, Vito Weis in Enya Belak, Tamara Polanc, Kristina Rozman, Veronika Valdés
Produkcija: Anton Podbevšek Teater
Photography, video and editing: Borut Peterlin

And Now For Something Completely Different – Topshit Fashion in Wet Plate Collodion

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Alenka Slavinec, portrayed by Borut Peterlin in wet plate collodion technique.

Alenka Slavinec is my friend and colleague photographer, but she is also film producer. Lately she is fully engaged as an editor of Fashion Avenue Kuwait magazine. She is globe trotting all the time, but a week ago she called me and expressed that she would like to have a portrait in wet plate collodion, so she came to my house and on Sunday. All three portraits are ambrotypes format 8×10″. On the first plate I realized that although it was a bright day, green leaves were filtering all blue and UV light (that’s their job), so exposure was taking too long. Luckily in my past life I was an incarnation of a digital photographer and all expensive equipment is still in Da Houze, so I pulled out my Elektrona’s Flash Feeder and two studio flashes of joined power 2250Ws.

The second plate was perfect. Really perfect. Black dress is defined against black background and if you do ambrotype or tintype process, you know how contrasty this medium is. It has a dynamic range of a cat after a massive meal. Then we made another one and we went for a lunch at Kolesar restaurant. It was really cool Sunday.

Side note: I know how to do fashion photography, I’ve been assisting Oliviero Toscani (UC of Benetton) among other things, but the truth is I don’t have a talent for fashion – that’s fashion as how to dress and mostly (!) care how you are dressed, as is evident on behind the scene pics. Perhaps I’m making a mistake. Am I?

The Mask, global wet plate project

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Shane Balkowitsch bought dozen gas masks and shipped them to artists around the world with only one task, to make a wet plate collodion image with the mask. In a year or so the masks circled the globe and few weeks ago came knocking at my door. Yesterday I’ve made the image I wanted. It’s inspired by Röyksopp’s video spot What Else Is There. I wanted to get a haunted kind of dreamy creature. I ask my daughters to dress as princesses and consequently they used all mother’s make up. I explained them that no make up is needed because of the mask, but that didn’t stop them :-)

On the video you can see Lučka is jumping. I wanted unnatural body posture and the best way I could think of is while being suspended in the air. I thought I will see that she’s flying, just as Marianne Schröder is flying in Royksopp’s video, but now I prefer it like it is. It does look very unearthly, which is what I wanted in the first place!

The collection of wet plates of the mask is ON THIS LINK.

Hey World,… I don’t suck!

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BW MAG

Tonight I wasn’t sleeping very calmly. Yesterday I started to plan my trip to Rochester for a workshop of dry gelatin plates, but I realized that a plane ticket in August is about 50% more expensive than in November and that whole expenses would be about US $3000. If I would get a loan and sacrifice family holidays (I am ashamed to admit, but it’s true I was thinking that) I could take the workshop. Then I saw on my bookshelf a book Tell the World You Don’t Suck by Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua. The frustration of canceling plans steared in a new direction.

I opened my calendar with dates of festivals around the world and I’ve checked if I missed portfolio review in Arles, arguably the most important Fine Art Photography festival in the world. I did miss the first wave of registration, but still there are many, many great reviewers. I will book maximum, 20 sessions and that will cost me 540 EUR. Too much I know, but I never ever left empty handed from portfolio reviews like these. And beside that it’s a perfect opportunity to meet with my friends and colleagues from all over the world. I decided that even if we will miss family holidays I will go to Arles. Luckily my wife never reads my blog, so I can write whatever I want, if you will keep quiet, she will never know!

And later the day I’ve received an email from Mike Crawford with this reproduction of a print Black & White Photography! So super proud, I can not describe. You know the feeling when door get’s shut in front of you and you look around and you see many many doors you can take. You know the feeling that life is good that is OK even if it doesn’t flow like you’ve imagined?

PS: Here is a link of my blog post from Arles Photo Folio 2009.
HERE is a link from Vienna’s Portfolio Review 2010.
HERE is a link from Arles and Perpignan festivals 2011.

Written by Borut Peterlin

17 May, 2014 at 17:33

Albumen print from European Collodion Weekend

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An albumen print toned with gold from a 10x12" wet plate collodion negative of a group of collodion artists at European Collodion Weekend in Eindhoven, NL.

An albumen print toned with gold from a 10×12″ wet plate collodion negative of a group of collodion artists at European Collodion Weekend in Eindhoven, NL.

HERE is a link to the highres of the reproduction of the albumen print.

The first week of May I’ve joined European Collodion Weekend in Eindhoven, NL. It’s an opportunity to meet collodion photographers from all over the world. Tarmo Virves drove all the way from Estonia. That’s 2100 km drive in one way! In comparison to him, I was lucky, I had only 1250 km of road to drive one way. Still it was super exhausting, but it was worth all the trouble. It’s a perfect opportunity to at least once a year meet many of my wet plate collodion colleagues and do together what we love to do, wet plate collodion photography. Thank you Alex Timmermans for organizing and I look forward of seeing you again next year! And thank you for fascinating »Howgh, ich habe gesprochen« portrait of me! Next year I will make one of you ;-)

Melanie Fraser made this video of me taking a portrait of Sherpa. It’s published only on Facebook so I hope you have access to it. HERE is an album from Henk Peters. And HERE is a link to an album done by Ferry “The President! van der Vliet.

Also this year there were with us models Sabrina, Wilma, Sherpa and Ruth. I took their portraits and enjoyed every second of working with those guys. I was shooting only negatives, although the first test plate was so underexposed it turned out as a decent ambrotype. I’m publishing three out of five photographs I’ve made. I’m doing albumen prints and this process takes time.

On Sunday we did a group portrait and with a generous help of Christian Klant I’ve managed to prepare one plate and took a group portrait. I was lucky to guessed the perfect exposure time and when I was developing I haven’t lost ten drops of developer, thus keeping maximum silver on the plate and resulting topshit density of the negative. This weekend I’ve made three albumen prints. The HIRES of the albumen print is available on THIS LINK. You can download it and print it for your own collection. It’s free to use it for non-commercial use. There are no model-release form signed, so it’s intended for only personal archive.

If you want to buy an original albumen print I can print it for you. The size of the contact print is 10×12″, that’s 25x30cm. To achieve archival quality of the print it’s toned with gold-chloride and washed with Ilford Washaid (among other steps of the process). I’m selling it for 70 EUR + 10 EUR shipping. If you are interested, mail me on borut@borutpeterlin.com.

At the event I was selling my prints and I’ve sold four! I actually covered all my expenses of the trip. Further more, when I was driving south I stopped in Nürnberg at Peter Kunz and give him a crash course on dry collodion. Although we had only few hours and deliberately we’ve chosen impossible motive to photograph, we’ve made a good dry collodion negative! It’s a step test, on the left it’s underexposed on right it’s overexposed, but the dynamic range of collodion negatives is V.A.S.T. so you have Spotmeter was showing on the darkest part of the black shoe 8.5EV and on the metal part of the camera was 15.0 EV, sky was 15.5EV. Everything was there. Considering that we had few hours to do it from scratch, I call that a success. Peter Kunz is infected with collodion negative fever ;-)

I’m planning five days workshop on wet plate collodion negative, dry plate collodion negative, albumen and salt printing in Berlin. More details will follow, but you are the first to know ;-)

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