TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

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

Archive for the ‘story behind theportrait’ Category

Klemen Slakonja, wet plate portait

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Portrait taken on 4x5" camera with petzval lens, exposed on wet plate collodion plate. This is retouched version, I retouched his face from the film negative I've recorded.

Portrait taken on 4×5″ camera with petzval lens, exposed on wet plate collodion plate. This is retouched version, I retouched his face from the film negative I’ve recorded.

Klemen Slakonja is an actor and rising star of TV show business in Slovenia. Few weeks ago I had to make his portrait, but it was raining. I decided to do the portrait in wet plate collodion just the same. Under rain, no sweat! OK, it was just sprinkling rain, but on the end of the shoot I was all wet. I got used to that, actually. Wet wet plate photographer, why not! I arrived half an hour before the shoot, mix the developer and prepare first plate. We exposed it, but when I wanted to develop it I knock the glass beaker off the table and it crashed in front of us.

Klemen was kind enough to wait that I’ve mixed the developer again, but I didn’t filter it, i didn’t had time for that. Plate was fogged so his face wasn’t recognizable. I’ve repeat the portrait with the same camera, Linhof lens and I was exposing normal B&W film. At home I scanned the collodion plate, scanned the film negative and photoshoped that his face was recognizable. Lucky for me, I know all sorts of photography, so if I’m forced to, I use every possible tool to deliver a good portrait to a reader of Mladina weekly magazine. After all the stress, the picture looked fantastic in the printed magazine and it’s one of my favorites.

Perhaps you might wonder why have I portray Klemen as a cowboy. Let me quote Andy Warhol: “I don’t know.”

PS: In less then two hours an auction for my salt print is finishing on ebay. LINK.

Self-portrait like a cave photographer

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borut peterlin 20130212-wpc-avtoportret

In Friday’s issue of Mladina weekly there will be an article about my portraits and I’ve made this self-portrait today with the help of my wife Alenka Peterlin. The inspiration for the portrait was a couple. First I’ve heard many times, that in wetplate technique I look like a native American, second inspiration was to include an element of exploration and third was that it should look raw.
That’s my aim in photography to explore, search and learn. I know I’m doing it in primitive, raw way, but that’s exactly me, having a hell of a good time. Photography is for me what for some people religion is. A mean to become a better man, to transcend boundaries that were set, to change the world. I hope this (blind) faith is captured in the image ;-)

Technical side: It was pretty cold, like -2C and to work at this temperature I’m using a normal developer, I’m just developing longer. Usually about 30-35seconds. I extend also sensibilisation of a plate from usual 3 minutes to 5 minutes. And that all there is. Sometimes I add two drops of nitric acid in 100ml of developer, but that’s not so important at working bellow 0C. It was a lot of light so the exposure was 3sec, f/11. This portrait was taken with Kodak Folding Brownie 3A from year about 1905.

I couldn’t have done the portrait without my lovely wife Alenka Peterlin, she is also a photographer. Thank you ;-)

You can see this and many other of my creative portraits on the exhibition in the gallery of Institut Jozef Stefan. Opening Monday 18.2.2013 at 18.00.

A portrait of painters White Ice Cream

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artist's collective White Icecream are often using brick pattern in their work, so the element is included in the photograph.

Artist’s collective White Icecream are often using brick pattern in their work, so the element is included in the photograph.

Last week I was commissioned to do a portrait of painters duo White Ice Cream. I’ve done a fantastic portrait of them two years ago and I was reluctant to do another portrait, but a commission is a commission and they are great blocks, so I was very excited to see what we will as their portrait. We were talking and we agreed that we will repeat the brick pattern from their cloths that were an art piece. We tried to make a snowman, but in Ljubljana there was no snow anymore so we went to Krvavec mountain, but snow there was too dry, too frozen, so we made this sort of characters. My idea was that they should go full monty and with one hand cover their “pride” and in the other hand they would hold an ice cream, but they were not up for it. We had a good laugh once again :-)

Beli sladoled by borutpeterlin.com 20110509_9098

A portrait of the collective White Ice Cream in year 2011

90th birthday of Božena Pelikan, the youngest daughter of famous photographer Josip Pelikan

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Today, 16th of September 2012 is the 90th birthday of Božena Pelikan, the youngest daughter of famous photographer Josip Pelikan. As a homage to famous Pelikan family and a humble gratitude to the photographical heritage of Pelikan family, I’ve made portraits of Mrs. Pelikan. I used Vageeswari 10×12″ camera with sheet film of 8×10″ and a lens Voigtlander Heliar 300mm, f/4,5. For Wet Plate Collodion portraits I used a Plaubel 5×7″ camera and I’ve made some quick takes also with Mamiya C330, format 6×6.

With Museum of Recent History Celje, we’re discussing projects that we might do together and I’m all excited since potentials are enormous! The studio is without a doubt one of the best preserved luxurious glass photographic ateliers in Europe with original equipment used by the famous Slovene photographer Josip Pelikan (1885–1977). More about it on the links bellow.

Links:
Museum of Recent History Celje / Josip Pelikan Photographic Studio
Panoramic view of Josip Pelikan Photographic Studio, Slovenia Landmarks by Boštjan Burger
Josip Pelikan’s photographies in the digital archive, DLib.si – Digital Library of Slovenia

Borut Peterlin during photo-session with Mrs. Božena Pelikan. Assistent Tomaz Strmcnik. Photo Helena Vogelsang. Camera Plaubel 5×7″, Wet Plate Collodion, Flashes Balcar 1500Ws & ’50Ws.

Silence (great band) – Wet Plate Collodion portrait

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20120810 scilence band by www.borutpeterlin.com

In last issue of Mladina weekly it was published my portrait of Silence band. I had this idea for a while, but some people were not feeling comfortable with it, but on the contrary with the duo Silence we had a good laugh and the result overpassed my expectation. My collodion needed a two pops of 2250Ws to illuminate it correctly, that is why Primož on the right side is a bit blurred. Later I find out that it could be done in one pop if I would raise pH of AgNO3 from 2,2 to 4pH as I did later on and described in THIS post.

Techs: ShenHao 4×5″, lens Linhof 135mm f/3,5; Flashes of 2250Ws – two bursts, AgNO3 pH 2,2.

Behind the scene. Photo: Vanja Pirc

New level of my Wet Plate Collodion portraits

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Yesterday my family had a family lunch and a celebration of my father’s birthday, so I used this opportunity to make a new set of family portraits. Recently I reset and readjust my chemicals, so I was anxious to see how my pictures will turned out and here they are!

Technically I used Palubel 5×7″camera with Voigtlander Heliar 300mm f/4,5 lens at aperture 6,7 and illuminated by one flash burst of two flashes of joined power 2250Ws. Flashes were about 90cm away from the subject.

This plates along with others will be exhibited in Kulturni dom, Gorica in Italy. The opening will happen on 29th of September 2012. You’re invited.


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Family summer time in 6×6 format

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Few days before with my family we left for summer vacation to a seaside I’ve bought a “new” camera Mamiya C330, so I was excited to try it out. I never liked the square format, as a student and as a young professional, but I guess it’s because square format was a trade mark of Hasselblad, that I couldn’t afford :-)

I looked at my bookshelf, thinking who is a master of square format photography. My first pick was Mary Ellen Mark and her book Indian Circus, then I checked The Hasselblad Masters awards. The Hasselblad awards didn’t inspire me (I can do better), but with Mary Ellen Mark I found some good clues how to deal with the square format.

I was thinking… Square is a stable, boring format and to make the image interesting I must brake this stableness with composition. My first rule was to fill the image with the subject all the way to the borders and even across the border. That was the idea for the picture published above and on the left side. OK, I admit, I didn’t discover America, but playing with concepts and aesthetics is inevitably leading us to new “discoveries” as I call personal micro revelations :-)

Second inspiration was the book On Photography by Susan Sontag. I’ve read it twice, but that was some time ago, so why not follow the Atheism 2.0 commandment to repeat the lessons over and over again. It’s the basis of every religion so it must make sense. While reading Sontag’s words on how photography is surreal, the most appropriate medium for modernistic art, I understood everything. World make sense if viewed through a lens of a camera.

Last but not least, this adventure back to black and white analog photography is bringing good old memories from Prague’s Famu Academy where I earned my BA in photography. I know I’m repeating some lessons from history of photography, but I don’t do it because of the love towards the history, but I’m doing it for the love of photography and to the love to my family. More of my Family Album project you can see on my site www.borutpeterlin.com.This is not the end result it’s just warming up! I’m inspired as Apollo 11 rocket!

PS: Under comment leave a link to a site of a photographer who work in an inventive way with a square medium format camera. I want to grasp as much info as I can.

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Portrait of Tanja Radež with Wet Plate Collodion technique

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Tanja Radez, a graphic designer

Here is yesterday’s portrait of Tanja Radež, a graphic designer. It will be published in Friday’s Mladina weekly. I portrayed her in park Tivoli in downtown of Ljubljana, Slovenia. It looks like she’s illuminated with some sort of soft lights, but she’s not. It’s just a diffuse light in a shade. I asked her to sit on the first stairs of the staircase, so there was a lot of light from the (northern) sky. I used a 4×5″ camera with a Linhof 135mm f/3,5 lens and exposure was 6 seconds. Look at the background at the top of the image. I love the bookeh of this lens. It’s just a poetry!

All my Wet Plate Collodion chemicals were in a cold box, to keep the temperature down and I add a small spoon of sugar to my developer, to prolong the developing time. Finally I’m getting good results during summer temperatures. I was photographing at -17C and it was no problem (aside that I was cold), but during summer it’s crazy to develop collodion plates. Well problem solved and my time machine will work on full power ;-)

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Tukaj je včerajšnji portret Tanje Radež, oblikovalke. Objavljen bo v petkovi Mladini. Portretiral sem jo v parku Tivoli, v Ljubljani. Izgleda, kot bi bila osvetljena s kako mega mehko lučjo, a je nisem doosvetljeval. Samo prosil sem jo, da sede na prve stopnice, kjer je bila svetloba severnega neba najlepša, najbolj difuzna in dokaj močna. Uporabil sem svojo 4×5″ kamero z objekivom Linhof 135mm f/3,5 in ekspozicija je bila 6 sekund. Poglejte neostrino v zgornjem robu fotografije. Kako obožujem ta bookeh objektiva! Čista poezija.

Vse moje kemikalije so bile v hladilni torbi in v razvijalec sem dal žličico sladkorja, da bi s tem podaljšal čas razvijanja. Končno dobivam dobre rezultate v poletnem vremenu! Sem že fotografiral pri -17C in ni bilo problema, razen tega, da me je zeblo, a razvijat plošče pri poletnih temperaturah je norišnica. No, sedaj je problem rešen in moja časovna mašinca dela na polno! ;-)

New camera, new view, new work #largeformatphotography

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Linhof Kardan Color camera and ShenHao camera


So, this is a follow up post from my latest post, when I had to return borrowed Linhof Master Technika, but now I’ve bought two 4×5″ cameras. Jure Breceljnik, my friend and classmate from FAMU Academy sold me Linhof Kardan Color camera and her little sister ShenHao camera. Jure bought Linhof camera from our classmate Ivana Tomanović (ex. Brezovac), so the camera remains in FAMU class 1998. But the best part are lenses! First league all of them! Carl Zeiss Jena 90mm f/4,5, Schneider 135mm f/3,5 and Rodenstock 210mm f/5,6. In a huge case I got also trillion of accessories for those ladies. I’m so happy this digital revolution is raging (Digital Hysteria?), so I can run my own analog counter-revolution in photography.

I’m not sure if you know this term counter-revolutionary, but in former Yugoslavia under communism it was the nastiest allegation ever! A remark that you were a capitalist pig was a compliment comparing to a contra-revolutionist remark. Anyhow now we’re upgraded from revolutionaries to consumers and we all live under one bright capitalist sky and there is no such thing as revolution nor contra-revolution and a remark capitalist pig sounds more as an expression of envy then an insult word.

Bellow are few test images that I’ve shot few days ago. My wife Alenka Peterlin shot a great portrait of me! She is also a photographer and you can check her site. Currently I’m still testing the equipment doing a weekend art project. More to follow…

PS: Check a trailer of Jure Breceljnik’s movie Chalk & Chocolate!
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Torej, kje sem oni dan ostal? Potem ko sem moral vrniti kamero Linhof Master Tehnika sem kupil dve 4×5″ kameri! Jure Breceljnik, moj prijatelj in sošolec s praške FAMU, mi je prodal Linhof Kardan Color in njeno malo sestro ShenHao kamero. Jure pa je kupil kamero od najine sošolke Ivane Tomanović (ex. Brezovac), tako vse ostane v FAMU familiji :-) Ampak najjači pa so objektivi: Carl Zeiss Jena 90mm f/4,5, Schneider 135mm f/3,5 and Rodenstock 210mm f/5,6! Poleg tega sem v ogromnem kufru dobil še en milijon dodatkov, za optimalno ježo teh zveri. Kako sem vesel, da vlada digitalna revolucija, ki meji že na histerijo, tako lahko v miru zganjam svojo osebno kontra-revolucijo. Kdo bi si mislil, da bom bil kdaj kontrarevolucionar! To je bila včasih v Jugoslaviji najbolj žaljiva opazka, poleg katere je kapitalistična svija zvenela kot kompliment. A sedaj vsi povišani iz revolucionarjev v potrošnike in živimo v svetlem kapitalizmu, revolucija in kotra-revolucija več ne obstajata in opazka kapitalistična svinja zveni bolj kot izraz zavidanja kot žaljenja.

Spodaj je nekaj posnetkov, ki sem jih naredil in portret mene, ki ga je posnela moja žena Alenka Peterlin. Tudi ona je odlična fotografinja, poglejte si njeno stran. Trenutno še vedno testiram in se privajam na novo opremo, tako delam en umetniški vikend projekt.

PS: Oglejte si film in pa trailer Juretovega filma Chalk & Chocolate!

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My finest interview portrait – Jože Mencinger

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I’m commissioned by Mladina weekly to do many portraits and that’s either creative far out portraits of artists or portraits that illustrate interviews. This Monday I’ve made a portrait of Jože Mencinger, a former Slovenian minister of economic development and acknowledged economist. I’ve made few portraits with digital camera and then one more with Linhof Technika, a large format camera. I asked him to make a portrait outside although it was rainy, in fact since it was discussion about recession I wanted to make a portrait of him with umbrella. It turned out to be one of my best interview portraits. Usually Mladina’s magazine layout demands a square format of a portraits for interviews, but in this case creative director Robert Botteri made a custom design so the image was not cropped and it shines in full specter. THX!!!

On Wednesday I’ve returned the Linhof camera to the owner and it felt like breaking with a girlfriend so now I’m compulsively buying another Linhof Master Tehnika. I’ve published my intention on FB and Twitter and two friends offered me their camera to buy / borrow, so on Monday I’m back on saddle again.

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Za Mladino običajno delam portete bodisi umetnikov na kreativen način ali pa portrete, ki ilustrirajo intervjuje. Minuli ponedeljek sem portretiral Jožeta Mencingerja, znanega ekonomista in bivšega ministra za gospodarstvo. Sprva sem naredil par običajnih digitalnih portretov, potem pa sem ga prosil, da narediva portret še z analogno kamero Linhof Master Tehnika, formata 9x12cm. Prosil sem, da narediva portret zunaj, na dežju z dežnikom. Pač v intervjuju je govor o recesiji in vladnih ukrepih, tako je bilo kislo vreme kar ustrezna kulisa. Portret je izjemno dobro izpadel, še posebej, ker se je še posebej potrudil kreativni urednik Botteri in prikrojil grafični design fotografiji. Namreč običajno se od nas zahteva portret kvadratnega formata, a tako postavljena, neizrezana fotografija zares zasije v vsem svojem sijaju. THX!

V sredo sem moral vrniti Linhofco lastniku in počutil sem se kot srednješolec, ki ga je zapustilo dekle, zato trenutno kompulzivno kupujem drugo Linhofco. Objavil sem zapis na FB in Twitterju in dva prijatelja sta se ponudila, da mi posodita / prodata svojo, tako sem v ponedeljek spet v sedlu!

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