TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

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

Archive for the ‘Wet Plate Collodion’ Category

Personal aftermath – Arles photo festival

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My toppest topshit readers, I apologize for not topshiting on my blog for a while, but I’ve been working. Plus just now I realize that my blog is really well visited. How do I know that? Not with google analytics, but when few people stop you on streets of Arles, shaking hands telling that they follow my blog, you know that’s something. Lately whenever I go, people have stop mispronouncing my name. When I was studying in London, even after a year, friends were still calling me Borat. Which I don’t mind at all. Borat (the character) is a genius! You may call me Einstein or Borat, it’s OK with me. But I know that this blog changed that. People do call me Borut, which is a name only used in Slovenia, not even in Croatia or Bosnia…

What I want to say, is thank you! I appreciate you are following my blog, but that gives me a responsibility to take care of what I publish. I’ve started this blog in 2006 and posted 1037 posts, so believe me there are some doggy topics (like that post Fight for Man’s emarzipation).

Anyway, here is my newest videolog. It’s gathering my impressions after a visit to the festival Les Recontres d’Arles Photographie. I hope you will enjoy it.

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PS: LINK to my 5am project:

FOTOPUB festival http://fotopub.com/en/

Written by Borut Peterlin

31 July, 2014 at 10:46

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.

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.

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 ;-)

Swimming in a river, breaking focusing glass, bloody elbow, photographing in underwear,… Anything for a good wet plate negative

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Last week was a beautiful weather and I’ve decided to make some landscape plates. I live surrounded by very fascinating landscape so it’s hard to decide what to photograph but this time I went down to the river. This winter was wet and we had icy rain that made huge damage on trees and infrastructure. On THIS LINK you can see images of Iztok Medja from Postojna region where every single tree was damaged! So this icy rain made that many huge oak trees felt in a river.

The tree was stable enough to hold a camera and a tripod, but as you can see it was really hard to focus and compose the frame. After I’ve made a good negative I set myself a new frame. I went in a river, carrying a tripod, but I slipped and fell in the river fully dressed. The river Krka is very cold and wet even for a wet plate photographer! My tripod sunk and I had to find it, touching muddy riverbed with my feet. It’s Manfrotto, don’t worry. I’ve climbed out of the river, undressed and solely in my underpants I went back in the river, setting the tripod on the position. When I stretched to get my camera I was hanging with one hand on a branch while with the other I pulled the camera down and the camera swung and with focusing glass crashed in my elbow. U PIČKU MATERINU!!! I didn’t care much for the focusing glass or the cut on my elbow, but how will I make a photograph without a focusing glass? I took the largest piece of focusing glass adjust it in the approximate position and focus. I close down aperture to f/32, so I knew I’ve sorted the focusing problem. I didn’t know what is in my frame, but who would want to know that!?!

The result is pretty good. I’m publishing also a carbon print that I’ve made from it on glass and on Fabriano F5 paper that I’ve seized it with hardened gelatin. The carbon print is showing the potential this negative has, but I will make it better. You will see it in European Collodion Weekend, this weekend!

Oh, the story doesn’t end there. When I finish and packed everything and was ready to drive home, I was reluctant to dress wet cloths and drive home. On the end I did dress my wet clothes back and drive home. Luckily I did so, because as it happened our street was being asphalted and it was closed for car traffic. Imagine that I would walk beside them barefooted wearing only underwear and apron? I know East Europe is much more relaxed about nudity then West Europe, but not that much :-)

PS: if you are wondering how to make a focusing glass, I’ve made a post HERE. It takes 15 minutes.

PPS: Here is another version of carbon print. It’s from the same wetplate negative that I’ve published few days ago, but now I’ve made new glop and followed all the instructions of Mark Osterman how to boost contrast to the limit. I’ve decreased amount of gelatin by 25%, increased pigment to 50ml of India Ink per one litter, cut sensibilization time by 50% and voila, the result is here! It’s even too contrasty. I’ve sensitized new tissues but with longer sensitizing time, so it’ll be more sensitive, but less contrasty. More to come, more to come…
Carbon print from a wet plate collodion negative

PPS: here is today’s version on glass!
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Documentary project Great Depression

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Two years ago, at the start of my wet plate collodion path, I set myself a project to document state of bankrupt companies. Imagine the moment when the last worker at the last shift, turned the lights out. The moment when it became dead silent.

Now when I’m looking back at my videos (LINK) even blind would see the progress I’ve made. Nevertheless I love imperfection on my plates, so my plates don’t compete with flawlessness of film. This plate that is published under is about as perfect as I want it to be.

Last Thursday I went back to photograph Novoles company and Marcos Núñez Cid was recording a video about my project. He made a true masterpiece. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

Let me highlight that this project is getting quite some attention. First I had a beautiful exhibition in Gallery Photon, Ljubljana, Slovenia, then it was published in DOC! Photomagazine, issue #21, from pages 140-169 and in May, it will be featured in one of the UK’s leading photography magazines. The project was chosen to be presented on a group touring show under organization of European Month of Photography, so if I understood it correctly it will travel across Europe. Last but not least, I also sended this images to Slovenian Photography of the Year competition and the project did not pass even the first round of selection of 30 artists! If that’s not an achievement, then I don’t know what is!

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