Archive for the ‘Wet Plate Collodion’ Category
Few days ago I’ve made a portrait of Elvis Halilović.
In his words: “I’m a passionate lensless photographer. For the last seven years, I’ve been photographing using pinhole cameras that I’ve made myself. Through the years, I’ve constructed and used extensively about 40 of them; the largest produced images measuring up to 3 x 4 metres while the smallest could fit inside a person’s mouth. I’m also an industrial designer and a carpenter….”
He designed super slick camera obscuras and made them from wood. They look super cool. He started ONDU Pinhole Cameras project on Kickstarter, aiming for $10.000 USD of backing and three weeks before the end of kickstarter project he has already pledged for $63.000 USD. Check his project and back him. For now, that’s the only way how to get the camera, but he has many worldwide offers for his product.
I’ve done his portrait with his camera, but since I didn’t had a clue what angle of view is, I totally missed the framing. In tomorrows Mladina weekly it’ll be published his collodion portait. At European Collodion Weekend I bought one old brass Petzval lens and check the results. I suggested Elvis that with this cameras also wet plate collodion process could be done, since it uses ordinary 4×5″ film holder. He will lend me one for a ride. Can’t wait!
My dear readers,
I wasn’t blogging last month since an avalanche of obligations was collapsing on me from all sides. So chronological order:
19. April 2013, Group exhibition Materialnost in Kibla Portal, Maribor, Slovenia. I was presented there with one huge print that works really good! Exhibition is open until 15th of September 2013.
Then Mladina magazine issued a special issue and I had to make 24 portraits of renown Slovenian opinion leaders. I was tempted to do it in wet plate collodion technique or at least on film, but under the time constraints I decided to go for digital and furthermore to find a visual concept that would be feasible in any location and would produce the same kind of portraits. I wanted to make studio portraits although I knew I will not have a studio. But since I graduated at FAMU, Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts and that also means I’ve earned a PhD in improvisation, so I resorted to improvisation. I’ve made a set up that I could apply anywhere and I could transport it on a bicycle. I wanted to get uniform kind of portraits either it would be taken in offices or outdoor location. I’m attaching the most wild behind the scene location The issue looks fantastic and I received compliments by editors, because they are aware how much I needed to bend my back backwards to pull this out. Technically I was using Nikon D3, Nikkor 105mm macro lens, one Nikon Speedlight 900, a firefly softbox and two reflectors.
Chronologically looking then I had solo exhibition opening in Krka Gallery. I’ve blog about that already. LINK. By the way, today is the last day that you can see the show.
Then we went to European Collodion weekend in Eindhoven, Nederland. The event was great, organized by Alex Timmermans. The concept was that we gather and make some plates together and hang around. We were about 37 artists from countries like UK, France, Belgium, Germany. Even Gerald Figal, President of Collodion Bastard association came from USA, although if you ask him, he will claim that he arrived from Tenesse. Also East side of Iron curtain was well represented by artists from Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech, Poland and of course Slovenia. I’m sure I missed some country, but you get the idea, pretty good group of creatives.
I learned a lot of small, but super important things. Like Kal Khogali showed me how is he redeveloping wet plate collodion negative and his method is much better then mine. Furthermore he used his gold toner to tone the salt print and I loved the effect. I would never buy a toner that cost 70 EUR if I would not see the effect that it makes. I showed him my little tricks, that I’ve mentioned on my blog already. Oh, the best thing that I’ve learned from Kal is how to seal a tent Eskimo Quickfish 3 to be 100% light proof. I will make a video about that. It’s simple and super efficient!
At European Collodion Weekend I tried to organize a Harlem Shake video, but people were not up for it, so I’ve made this video
I went to Holland with Grega Cokan and we drove about 2500km (both ways). When I got home I got a commission from Mladina and had to go next day to Vienna (444km x2) and a week later I drove to Poland 980km and few days later to Novi Sad, Serbia 800km and then home 600km. I had another exhibition in Poland and another in Serbia, but more about that in the following post. Before going to Poland I had to finish photoediting for Global monthly magazine and also preparing everything for exhibitions. And in that week I got also two commercial jobs to be executed that week and since I was not only exhausted physically, but also financially, I had to do that as well. I’ve made great stuff though, I’ll publish it later.
Last month and a half was the most intense time in my career and I wasn’t sure if I will pull everything off. Actually I was just trying to keep my nose above water and not be suffocated by the avalanche of everything. To make things worse I didn’t had time for sport (running doesn’t count) because of all obligations that I had, but yesterday I’ve played in-line hockey for two hours. I’m not yet friend with hockey stick and puck doesn’t like me very much, but nevertheless I feel like million EUR! Full of oxygen. And I’ve done it! I pull everything off with a success! There is nothing better then a victory in a month long battle! More about it already tomorrow.
PS: The making of a group photo:
OK, the exhibition was a success. Many people show up, lots of media attention and feelings were great! At the opening Društvo mrtvih pesnikov were playing, which is an big honor. As I wrote in the previous post, the series is devoted to a painter Božidar Jakac. Concept is best captured with words of Tone Pavcek engraved on his grave: “You’ve remained part of the landscape, its pain and its beauties. And this concept is mirrored in the images. I wanted that in every of image there would be a presence of beauty and pain. More about the concept in the previous post (LINK). I’ve designed the exhibition to be dynamic. I’ve exhibited original tintypes, ambrotype glass plates, toned cyanotype contact copies and also some inkjets.
For the exhibition I must express my gratitude to the Gallery Krka for invitation, Miša Keskenović for teaching me this noble art and to Mark Osterman for generous support in my learning of wet plate collodion negative. Inkjet prints and framing was done by Luminus.si
I invite you to see images in better quality on my website borutpeterlin.com. Exhibition in open until 23.5.2013 in Galerija Krka, upravna stavba Krka d.d., Šmarješka cesta 6, Novo mesto, Slovenia, EU.
PS: Prints are for sale. Prices are from 50 EUR for a cyanotype print to notforsale tintype of frozen river Krka that I’ve done at temperature -17C (link on the post). My email address is borutpeterlin(a)gmail.com
On Tuesday I’m opening an exhibition that will probably be my best show until now. In November I was invited to have a show in Gallery Krka in Novo mesto and I thought I’ll have enough time to do nice wet plate collodion plates until the end of April, but winter was lasting until day before yesterday and I was forced to make wetplate images in harsh conditions. I had an extensive help from my mentor Miša Keskenović and Mark Osterman, the world authority in alternative processes. Let me quote Mark Osterman: “Remember that no photographer in their right mind would have been making images in that severe cold in the old days..so you are doing ok. “. Topshit compliment indeed!
OK, I had a date of the opening of the show. I knew I wanted to do landscape photography from the beginning, which was not the smartest decision in winter time, but I also knew I don’t want to go for usual mainstream aesthetic, let’s call it national geographic kind of aesthetic or even Ansel Adams aesthetic if you want. I mention Ansel Adams, because he’s a huge influence to me, but I live in different times, I don’t want, can not and I’m not competent enough to replicate his perfection of his art. On other hand I also didn’t want to make shitty collodion plates, that would later be scanned and digitally fixed, printed as inkjets and call it an Art, that’s for sure! I mentioned before how I got inspired to do wet plate collodion process on the exhibition by Sally Mann in London’s Photographer’s Gallery. In her images I saw a huge potential to be explored, a huge vain of gold to be dig, so I was aiming for technical brilliance, but to somehow capture enchanting beauty of Sally Mann’s work. Mission imposible, I know.
Second resolution was, that I need to dig in art history and grow roots deep down there. One of my first tintype landscapes was of frozen river Krka at -17C in year 20012. Last time that river Krka got frozen it was some 85 years ago and at the time young painter Božidar Jakac painted the scene that astonished me as a child. Jakac later became a renown painter in Yugoslavia. I want to make a hommage to his work.
The title of the exhibition is “You remained a part of the landscape, it’s beauties and it’s pain”, that’s a verse of Tone Pavček engraved on his grave.
I’ll make a video podcast about my show, but let me share an image from the show, illustrating what I wrote above. It’s a cyanotype print from a wet plate collodion negative format 10×12″ (25x30cm). Print was toned with tanin from green tea. I took this image like 100 meters from my house and left my dog to guard the camera Because it was a huge contrast between dark trees and white snow, I dodged the plate while exposing. The exposure was 6 minutes at aperture f/16 and 2,5 minutes I was holding a black velvet in front of the lens. Of course I was moving the velvet so it’s not visible. I used Vageeswari 10×12″ camera with a Rodenstock bistagmat lens from year about 1907 and it covers format 18×24 cm, but I wanted to have vignetting effect, so I put it on a camera format 25x30cm (10×12″).
See you on Tuesday 23.4.2013 in Gallery Krka, upravna stavba Krka d.d., Novo mesto, Slovenia, EU, at 19.00.
Month ago I’ve made this portrait, but haven’t published it on my blog. Kaja Avberšek is an illustrator, so I suggested her that I’ll make a wet plate and then she’ll draw on it. Unfortunately I was doing small 4×5″ plates, on the field, so she didn’t draw directly on the plate, but did it on her computer. This is the result. It was published in Mladina weekly and I love how it turned out. Sometimes the publication is an icing on a cake and many times it’s just the opposite, but this time it’s definitely presenting my picture in the best way. Is it a bird? Is it Superman? Or is it topshit?
OK, I’m introducing a new rubric on my blog. It’s a quizzzzzz!!! I’ll be publishing my mistakes I have done with a question what is the cause of the mistake and few days later I’ll publish the answer. Of course if you will not guess it first. Let’s start with an easy one. Here are two plates. Problematic plate has some lines in blacks and in the right bottom corner even collodion lifted off. The other plate has perfect blacks, no peeling problems. What was the cause of those lines on the crappy plate?
Here’s today’s portrait in Josip Pelikan skylight studio. The studio was built in 1898 and Josip Pelikan was working in it from 1920 to his death 1977. Now it’s a part of Museum of Recent History Celje.
On the plate I have some lines from not perfectly cleaned plate. I cleaned it several days ago and I thought it’ll be OK, but after few days, a plate in a box, needs to be cleaned again. I like it as it is but I strive to achieve Quinn’s perfection and then scratch it if I want
Those edges are from albumen coating, because I had that box prepared for wetplate negative. Nevertheless it’s kind of cool, I might use the effect in the future.
Below there is a wet plate collodion negative format 10×12″ (25x30cm), digitally inverted into positive. I wanted that everything would be sharp, so I had an exposure of 15 minutes at aperture f/32. It’s cool one, although I knew at the time that perfect exposure would be 25min, but I was afraid that the plate would get dry. It was quite warm in the studio.
The portrait was done with modified Plaubel Peco 5×7″ camera and Voigtlander Heliar 300mm f/4,5. Exposure 6 seconds, f/4.5
The studio was photographed with Vageeswari 10×12″ camera and same Voigtlander Heliar 300mm f/4,5. Exposure 15 minutes, f/32.
PS: Do you see the difference between collodion negative picture and the digital one? I didn’t notice that while I was developing the plate the keeper of the gallery changed a small detail and I don’t mean my 4×5″ camera. Leave a comment Internet!
Two days ago I saw this flooded tree and I knew immediately it will look good on picture, but there was too much water, I couldn’t come near the tree. Yesterday I saw the water level has fallen, but didn’t had time to make the picture and on other hand I knew the flood will be gone by tomorrow, so today I decided to make the picture. Only problem was that I had to work in Ljubljana, to make half a dozen on location portraits for Mladina weekly. OK, I did it with digital camera, but still a lot of work. I decided I have an hour to make the collodion image, no more. I drove to the place, set up the tent, made a test and then also the plate. All that in 42 minutes. I cleaned the set up and head to digital work.
After finishing portraits that I had to do in Ljubljana, I’ve stopped at the spring of the river Krka. Since it’s flooding water is rushing out from the cave so I couldn’t get a decent point of view, so I started to photograph the spring of stream Poltarica. Wet Plate Collodion process is a complicated process and beside that you need to know how to do it, you need to figure out the workflow. Today I had two missions. One was to figure out why I had blisters on some plates few days ago and the second was if I can do 4×5″ negative wetplates in my small darkbox.
First mission was soon cracked. It was cold as it was the other day, it was 3 degrees Celsius and I had no blisters whatsoever. I remembered that the other day I had this problems only at the beginning of the shoot when it was raining just a little bit. I’m sure a drop of rain fell on my plate when it was already coated with collodion and when I dipped it in silvernitrate bath, rock&roll started.
Second mission was a total success as well. I’ve made four plates and I can’t wait to print them. I’ve learned many small, but important details of a workflow so now I’m thinking to do a project in Bosnia in this manner! It’ll be 20th anniversary from the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, that was established byDayton Peace Accord in 1995 and I already did a cycling tour on the ethnic border between Republic Srbska (Serbs) and Federation Republic (Muslims+Croats), photographing how landscape changed politically. The ethnic border was founded in Dayton and it’s known as Dayton border. My cycling Tour de Dayton you can see on THIS link, but this year I’ll do it again with my luxurious car and do a wetplate project and prepare an exhibition for 2015.
Today was a good day. I was preparing yesterday several hours, cleaning plates, subbing them with albumen, calibrating chemicals, mixing fresh developer, getting gear together, nevertheless I succeed to forgot my plate holder at home, but luckily I’m shooting my neighborhood so I drove back home and picked it up. It was cold again! Zero degrees Celsius! I prepared stronger developer and for wetplate negative the sensitization was 7 minutes. I wanted to be eight, but I was getting some weird pimples on my plates. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s because of albumen, low temperature, collodion drying, thin collodion film, longer sensitisation in silvernitrate and stuff, I know, but lesson learned, for the next time I’ll be subbing only edges of plates with albumen.
I’ve done several plates, but with these two wetplate negatives and I’m very happy. Working in this conditions it’s hard, especially doing a negative, but the results that wetplate negative is delivering is justifying all the pain.
As you’ve noticed, I’ve redone the image of a tree trunk in the water. The image from the earlier post was done with Kodak Folding Brownie and I wasn’t satisfied, so this time I used my Schneider Kreuznach Tele-Xenar lens 500mm f/5.5. I like it a lot!
PS: By the way, this Saturday, 6th of April, I’m working in Josip Pelikan studio and if you want, I will make you a portrait.
Weather is horrible everywhere and forecast is not promising, so when I saw that raining stopped for few hours, I packed my wetplate kit and head to the river Krka, to make new plates. In a month time I have an exhibition in Galerija Krka in Novo mesto, Slovenia, so I need to make a good use of every moment that is left. I had to work fast, so I decided to use my fuji darkbox and Kodak Folding Brownie 3A. I decided to go for wetplate negatives. It was quite cold, 4C degrees Celsius, so I was sensitizing plate for 7 minutes, but real problem was developing. The key to make a good negative is proper developing that goes from 1 to 3 minutes. I was developing in my dark-box, but while I was breathing, glass was starting to fog and after a minute I couldn’t see nothing, so I continued for a while, then I stopped. Consequentially negatives were weak. Then raining started again and I got all wet, but that’s appropriate for a wet plate photographer isn’t. At home I redeveloped the negative to build up some density. Now I’m looking the plates and I see the first one, that had a hole in the center of the image is actually more appealing then the second one that is technically better.