Do you remember my project Great Depression? I’ve start working on it in December 2012 (LINK) and I had exhibition in October 2013 (link) Yesterday I continued to work on the project. I was in meat factory MIP D.D. (in bankruptcy process). I really wanted to document this factory, because it’ll bring a new dimension to my picture series. Images are showing a disassembly line of a living beings and it the context of my Great Depression photography project, it could be interpreted as a disassembly line not for cattle and pigs, but for humans. Say no more. Images are images and every possible interpretation is a valid one.
I think I’ll go one more time to the slaughterhouse and make few more images…
OK, let’s start with the new member of my family. Please read captions of my images, this post will be more in telegraphic style.
I bought a petzval lens! Gasc & Charconnet Paris Vintage lens is less known and less expensive than Dallmeyer or Hermagis but it’s in the same quality range. Made in years around 1860′s. So now I’m playing around, see what the baby have to offer. Please read the captions and you’ll see what images are done with the lens. Most of them.
I’m so much in love with carbon prints! it’s amazing! I love it.
Dry Preserved Collodion Negatives
As much as I love the idea of not carrying all the chemistry and a darkroom around, the dry collodion is not a shortcut. You spend ten times as much time to process one plate. Just developing of a single plate that I’ve shot today it took me literally an hour! That being said, it’s very useful tool to have in my assortiment of expression.
PS: That chopped down tree was cut by a beaver. It’s amazing, that this animals that are almost extinct are living literally in downtown of Dolenjske Toplice! Look carefully the last image, you’ll see that the beaver chewed whole trunk! So cool!
Carbon print process is considered as the king of all printing processes ever invented. It has the highest tonality dynamic range and on top of that it’s permanent. It does not require developing or fixing. Just washing away unhardened gelatin. I will not go into details, WIKI is much more reliable source than me. What I will tell you is that at GEH museum I was inspecting carbon from year 1870 and they were still spectacular. Paper yellowed, but the print itself was in perfect condition (link). What I will tell you that most people practice carbon print from a film negative or from a digital negative, but the best medium is a collodion negative. It’s a perfect match.The best way of recording light (tonality and resolution wise) with the best way to print a negative.
As I’ve said only yesterday I’ve started preparing my tissue (a temporary support sheet coated with a layer of gelatin mixed with a pigment) and you must know one thing. Materials vary a lot. Like I couldn’t get sumi ink, so I bought black ink. It says Indian ink in English and under is a german translation: Chinesische Tusche. Chinese or Indian, who knows. The density of pigment in the tissue is very important. As we were warned on the workshop that the quantities written in a manual are just starting point. You have to make tests to see how materials are working in the constellation that happens to be in a darkroom.
So that explained I didn’t had high hopes that I’ll make something good. But in fact I’ve made my best print I ever printed! I’ve done tests and made a print that was not as contrasty as I’ve judged it could be. I had only one more sensitized tissue left, so I’ve looked first negative that was needed 3 minutes of exposure, checked the second redeveloped super contrasty negative and decided that I’ll try it out with 9 minutes. The exposure and the density of the negative were perfect for the tissue I’ve prepared, so here is the result. I’m super proud on it.
Now I have a treasure of knowledge in my hands. Thanks to Miša Keskenović I’ve learn wet plate collodion positive, thanks to Mark Osterman I’ve learned also wet plate collodion negative, salt, albumen and carbon printing and Jeroen de Wijs taught me how to do dry collodion negative. So now I feel like my hands are golden. With the knowledge I can and will move mountains! Ha! Topshit does happen, I tell you!
Astrid asked me if I could take a picture of fantastic vintage studio backgrounds that were using Josip Pelikan, so after I got a permission from the museum I’m publishing them on my blog. On Flickr you can download a hires file of the image, just click all sizes. Vintage backgrounds are dated about 1930′s. The skylight studio was built in 1898 and bought by Josip Pelikan in 1922. Nowadays Josip Pelikan Photographic Studio is a branch of the Celje Museum of Recent History. If you going to use the files to make your own vintage look studio background, just leave a note in the back that it was done on the basis of backgrounds from Josip Pelikan Studio, Celje, Slovenia, EU. A lot of people from MNZC museum worked hard to renovate the skylight studio and we owe them at least a credit. THX.
I’ve been thinking. My friend ordered a painted movie poster from India and if you know a painter’s service like that, share the info and good luck! Perhaps we can make a group order and get a discount. Just a thought…
Yesterday I was portraying in the studio and I’ve made this plate. Also a colleague photojournalist Andraž Purg came by and made a portrait of me.
The book I’m presenting is a fruit of collaboration at the workshop. I’ve learned hugely by just watching Klavdij going through images, picking one, the other, changing the order, putting it back on the pile and so on. We called it Sluban’s magic, because although sometimes images that were on the table were not impressive at all, but his selection of just say 8 images and juxtapositioning them in certain order, did made a huge difference. You can not understand if you don’t witness it. I’ve been at workshops with many many famous photographers, from Martin Parr, Duane Michals, Joel Peter Witkin and many others, but I haven’t seen anything like it. I knew from our first meeting that all I need to learn at the workshop is to tap on his frequency of thinking and the result is evident here in this book. Mark Osterman gave me a great comment. He loved that I used different camera formats (6×6, 4×5″, 8×10″) and also different processes (b&w film, wet plate collodion – ambrotype and wet plate negative) and I blended them all together in a book almost seamlessly. That’s Sluban’s magic, I tell you!
Dear topshit readers,
I’m awfully proud on the following book I’ve made. I’ve joined an excellent workshop with Klavdij Sluban. Klavdij Sluban is an extraordinary photographer and won so many prestigious photography awards. One of the most important award was certainly European Publishers Award 2009 and this year he was one of the juror for Leica Award 2013. It’s fortunate for us that his parents were Slovenians and although he was born in Paris, he spend his childhood in Slovenia, so he speaks fluently Slovenian (among other half a dozen languages). He made a generous offer to make a whole year lasting workshop and we would meet six weekends across the whole year. His only condition was not to advertise the workshop internationally, but invite only Slovenian photographers. Last week we had an opening of exhibition as the final stage of our workshop.
As I’m describing in the video I was aware that the story about the most beautiful children in the world is not enough. I shaped my concept around my fears and delights of being a parent. When I was a child, ten years old, I burned myself with a gasoline and almost died. When I became a parent I experienced fears for my children and one day I was strucked by a thought, what my parents had to go through at the time of my accident!
The book is on ebay (LINK) if you want a copy. If you want a print as well, I’ve just put two prints on ebay and link is listed below.
A link to the gallery of images on my website.
A failed attempt of demonstration how to do wet plate collodion below freezing temperature, at -2C. I did a more successful video on the topic in February and it’s on THIS link. I’m working at these temperatures without heating, because heating is gay as we say here, behind the Iron Curtain. Just to clarify, gay jokes are legal in East Europe (#freeEurope)! And if I mentioned that, I must add also that I support gay rights and their right for marriage, adopting children and so on… But that does not mean I will not make jokes on them. Ciao sailor
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.