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

Posts Tagged ‘Arts and Entertainment

The Great Depression, a wet plate collodion documentary project by Borut Peterlin

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I’m inviting you to the opening of my exhibition The Great Depression. The opening will happen on 4th of October 2013 in Gallery Photon in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

With the project I’m trying to document the state of bankrupt companies with emphasis on the things that workers left behind. I’m known as a portrait photographer and although this time there are no people on my images, the human presence is very evident. I hope you will enjoy the video and hope to see you at the opening!

Dearest readers, one more thing. This is the 1000th blog post on my blog! I’ve been blogging since September 2006 and here we are at the 1000th post! A lot of things changed in this time and I’m happy I was blogging about it. I was thinking hard how to mark this anniversary. Due to the occasion, let’s call this week an artist to artist week. If you send me something that you’ve done I’ll send you back something that I’ve done. It’ll probably be a gelatin print, but who knows… If you make a good marmalade, I’ll exchange a print for a jar of marmalade. Or for whatever, just please keep in mind that the offer stands only for a week, so if you are really up for “Creation 4 Creation” deal, please send me before 7th of October 2013 on the address Cviblje 40, 8350 Dolenjske Toplice, Slovenia, EU. And don’t forget to write your address ;-)

Monetizing wet plate collodion process

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A toned salt print from a wet plate collodion negative.

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As you can imagine this wet plate process is not cheap and as a professional photographer I need and want to make a living with wet plate collodion process. I’m presenting two commercial projects in which I find great potential and as always want to share with you.

In collaboration with Gallery Fotografija from Ljubljana I was assigned to make a business gift for Riko company. I photographed Škrabčeva domačija museum in wet plate collodion glass negative and made salt print, toned with gold chloride. It is awesome and I’ve sold it to Riko. From the print we’ve made an edition of 300 inkjet prints on hahnemuele photorag paper and presented in a folder as you see it. The inkjet printing, the presentation and the folder was designed and made by Luminus company.

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Second assignment came from a known Slovenian curator. She hired me to photograph the house of her father in law. I’ve made 5×7″ wet plate collodion ambrotype. An interesting detail is that the house stands in the Puhar street in Ljubljana. Janez Puhar was an inventor who invented photography on glass in year 1843. Unfortunately nobody replicated the porcess after his death. Anyway the gift was a total success.

If you want to hire me to make on-location photograph of you or your house or do whatever in wet plate collodion process, I charge 150 EUR for the first plate and next plates are 30 EUR each. Email me for inquiry.

Twist Wet Plate Collodion process at 30 °C

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A week ago the Fotopub Festival finished. I was a founder of the festival in 2001 and was running the show for seven years and today I’m proud to say that the level is so high I gladly enrol as a participant to one of the workshops. This year I enrolled in a workshop with Diana Lui and I was photographing river beaches in wet plate collodion. Heat is a nightmare for wet plate collodion process, but I rethought the process, made few tests and here we go, I was doing wet plate collodion process at 30°C almost business as usual at 20°C.

I’ve made several changes to the process.
1) I lowered the pH of silver nitrate bath from 4pH to 2.3pH by adding few drops of nitric acid into it (about 3 drops per 500ml should be enough, but check yourself)
2) I added more alcohol in my collodion mixture. I have alcohol on the spot and if I see it’s drying too fast I add some more solvent.
3) To my usual developer I added 25% of water and added 5 drops of nitric acid per 100ml of developer. I could add also 5gr of sugar per 100ml, but I didn’t have to.
4) when sensitizing plate in silver bath I reduced the time from 3 minutes to only 2 minutes. Mark Osterman is emphasizing that the sensibilization should be done by observation and not by time, but on the field I observe only the first plate then I do it by time. You can see when a plate is ready for exposure. If you leave it too long in the heat, you will get too much silver on your plate that will become fog during development.
5) I used water as my stop bath, but I’ve added a spoon of table salt to a liter of water. Salt will react with silver and will stop the development process immediately. It’s important to stop development fast if you work without running water and in the heat.

And that’s basically it. If the plate is perfectly exposed it should be developed for 20 seconds. I’ve learned this from Mark Osterman’s manual where he explains in details what does what in the process. I rethought and made lots of tests, wrote him a lot of questions and on the end I came up with results that are satisfying. Last but not least I owe Miša Keskenović lost of gratitude for all the knowledge he shared with me.

Have you seen my video about wet plate collodion at 0°C? HERE is the link. The same logic is behind, only fashion changes. When you understand the process you adjust the process freely to the conditions. Twist and shout the process out!

PS: This will be a supplement to my exhibition on 5.9.2013 in KKC, Dolenjske Toplice, Slovenia.
PPS: All those five steps aren’t probably necessary to deal with heat. Step number 1 makes about 60% of the effect I reckon, but with it you lose at least 2 f stops of sensibility of your wet plate collodion plate.

VIDEO HOW TO: wet plate negative and salt printing

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Salt print from redeveloped wet plate collodion negative, format 40x50 cm.

Salt print from redeveloped wet plate collodion negative, format 40×50 cm.

This is a photograph made with the process invented in 1839, called salt print process. The print is made from contact copy of a wet plate collodion glass negative. Size of the print is 40x50cm or 16×20″. The size of the image is 25x30cm or 10×12″. The print was toned in gold chloride toner and has a beeswax finish. The paper used is Fabriano Satinato 210gr, 50% of cotton.

Print is a limited edition of 12 copies. The print no:1 I’ve put it on ebay (LINK) and starting a week long auction starting at 0.99 USD.

Why am I doing this? I was invited to have a talk at TEDx Ljubljana and this ebay experiment is a part of my research how to sell art. The work title of the talk is “Give Capitalism A Chance“.

PS: Print was sold for US $182.50. Thank you!

Salt print from 8×10″ wet plate collodion negative, toned with gold chloride

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Salt print from a 8x10" wet plate collodion negative, toned with gold chloride.

Salt print from a 8×10″ wet plate collodion negative, toned with gold chloride.

First of all I apologize for absence from my blog. SO many things is going on, I always want to write what happened in Poland and Serbia first. I decided to write as it happens. Today is a milestone in my career. I know, another one you might say, but hey, they are for free, why not! Seriously, I’ve made a giant leap in salt printing. Yesterday I’ve made a great wet plate collodion negative, 8×10″ format in very difficult circumstances. First test was foggy, my tent was leaking too much light. I solved that and my first negative was underexposed, second one was correctly exposed, but wind shook my camera during exposure. Then rain started and I start to pack in my tent. After 15 minutes it stopped and also wind stopped blowing, so I unpacked my things and made the third plate. It was close to perfect with few annoying developing marks.

For the forth plate sun started to shine and I’ve made an estimation how much should I cut the exposure. The fourth plate was p.e.r.f.e.c.t. Well, when I was developing the negative, I was disappointed, because whites exploded in 10s. My first reflexion was to cut the developing time, but then I remembered what Mark Osterman is saying, to focus on blacks, to keep void in the negative and observe appearance of fog in dark areas. I was developing for 90 seconds although I could go on for another minute, but I didn’t want to risk of getting fog. I had all the information on the negative and I was intending to redevelop it anyhow. Redevelopment is a process of building the density of a negative after it is fixed. Yes, it’s true sorcery, but it works. Salt print is very low contrasty medium so you need to build up super contrasty and dense negative to make a good salt print.

Few days ago I’ve received a shipment from ArtCraft, I’ve bought 1gr of gold chloride so I’ve made gold toner. And long and behold, here is the result. I’m amazed with dynamic range of the salt print. Take a look, there are details in the brightest and in the darkest part of the print. Tomorrow I’ll make more prints and wax them. I’m so excited, with this technique so many opportunities are opening!

Flooded tree in wet plate collodion negative

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A flooded tree by river Krka. This is a digital scan from Wet Plate Collodion negative, format 5x7". Photograph taken with (modified) Plaubel Peco camera and Voigtlander Heliar 300mm, f4.5, lens. Exposure 10 seconds at f/16.

A flooded tree by river Krka. This is a digital scan from Wet Plate Collodion negative, format 5×7″. Photograph taken with (modified) Plaubel Peco camera and Voigtlander Heliar 300mm, f4.5, lens. Exposure 10 seconds at f/16.

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.

Work set up. //// Delovno okolje

Work set up. //// Delovno okolje

Wet Plate Collodion negative snaps after work

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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.

Anyhow, that’s me always thinking few steps ahead and now I’m thinking that I need to go to bed. I hope you like the images and good night Internet where ever you are.
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A short clip from yesterday’s Photo-fair in Šempeter pri Gorici, Slovenia, EU

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Boris Primožič, a photographer, portrayed in wet plate collodion technique by Borut Peterlin

Boris Primožič, a photographer, portrayed in wet plate collodion technique by Borut Peterlin

Gregor Cokan, a photographer, portrayed in Wet plate collodion technique

Gregor Cokan, a photographer, portrayed in Wet plate collodion technique

On Saturday there was a photo-fair in Šempeter pri Gorici, Slovenia, EU and I presented my work and promote the revival of Studio Pelikan. It was fun, I’ve sold two cyanotypes and wet wetplate portraits, but more then that I’ve met many colleagues and friends. Here are two portraits that I’ve done on the location and on the bottom there is a short 46 seconds video how I was sharing my love.

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A giant leap in my Wet Plate Collodion process / negative and ambrotype

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I’m still working hard on Wet Plate Collodion process, but negative on glass, not positive – an ambrotype. Two days ago I gave myself a challenging task. To do a nice wetplate negative in challenging conditions. I set up my darkroom tent in a park near my house, choose one motif, two view cameras and devote eight hours to make a good ambrotype and a good negative. It’s still winter in this corner of the world (Slovenia,EU), so I mixed my chemicals for -1⁰C temperature, but in my tent there was + 5C, so developing was quite demanding. Nevertheless it was a good day. Very good!

Print for sale. Size 30x40cm, FomaBrom baryt paper, toned with sodium sulfide and sellenium toners. Bidding auction on ebay. [/caption] Today I’ve printed the wet plate negative, format 5×7″, on a classic gelatine photographic paper. I was doing tests what combination of paper, exposure and toning works best. I decided to go for split toning with sodium sulfide for highlights and selenium toner for shadows. The toning increases stability of silver, so it will remain like this for at least a century. This print was done on FomaBrom fiber based paper, size 30x40cm (12×16″). All process were done by museum archival standards. I’m selling this print on ebay – LINK. Still learning how this ebay works, so I’m opening a bidding auction. This goes for the first print in edition of 12. Rock and Roll!

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A portrait of a writer Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting)

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Two weeks ago I was commissioned by Mladina weekly to do the portrait of a writer Irvine Welsh, a Scottish novelist, playwright and short story writer. He is recognised for his novel Trainspotting. For the whole interview a termin of 30 minutes was reserved, which with other words mean, not time for photographer. I’ve stole 30 seconds for the portrait in the chair, before the interview and the rest was shot during interview. I used medium twin-lens camera Mamiya C330 and EFKE 100 film (I should use ISO 400, I know…). I’ve done also portraits on digital camera, just as a back-up, but those portraits were so boring, I’ll not waste Internet’s space with them. The concept of those portraits was the following. I took a straight normal portrait, I took all classic portraits that are usually done during interviews, then I said OK, let’s make few portraits that will smell like Trainspotting. What do you think?

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