TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘fashion

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?

YES! New creative wetplate portrait of Peter Movrin, a fashion designer

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peter movrin portrayed by Borut Peterlin

Peter Movrin is one of the most prosperous and highly rewarded young fashion designer. On HIS SITE it states: “Peter Movrin creates dark knight inspired menswear – long laser cut leather coats, paired with silk underskirts, grey tone raw leather pieces and accessorised with knitted head pieces and balaclavas in a modern attack on medieval attire.”

Mladina weekly assigned me to make his portrait and when I saw his site and video attached bellow, I knew wet plate collodion technique is destined for his portrait. We made the portrait is his shop in downtown of Ljubljana. I’ve illuminated him with Balcar Source 6400 studio flashes, which can be used as a synonym of light burst (6400Ws) that can compare with a nuclear explosion. I’ve scan the plate, then I scratched it with a brush paper and hold it above a flame, so the glass plate broke. Then I scanned it again and in Lightroom I added an effect of vigneting and the result is here! I hope you like it. Gregor Cokan was assisting me.

When I made this portrait I thought this is it! I will use Wet Plate technique and combine it with every tool there is either that’s analog or digital. Wet Plate photographers are often limiting them selves only to the tools that were available in 19th Century even to that extent that they don’t want to scan a plate because they scrutiny it or something like. I disagree. I consider 19th Century photographers a wizards of their own time. They were building their own equipment, mixing their own chemicals and mastering aesthetics of new media. I consider them as intellectuals that were open to wide range of knowledge and were not limiting them selves and this paradigm I like. I thought I figure all out for my next creative portraits! The conceptual and aesthetic approach, chemical part of this technology, illumination and so on.

BUT! (there is a but in every decision isn’t). But yesterday I was trying to make another portrait for next issue of Mladina, but it didn’t work. I mean I’ve made tests and everything was fine, but then people were late and there was no ambient light anymore. I had to make a set up with flashes and I tried to do their portrait without a tests, but in a rush, wet-plate does not work. After one hour I admitted my defeat and was forced to make a digital portrait.

I came to another personal resolution. I will use this technique only if I will have a clear concept and not trying to use it for every portrait in Mladina weekly magazine. It’s just to stressful, not to mention that I need an hour of pre-preparation before the shoot and even then it’s not certain that it’ll work. I mean I have a strong portfolio with my digital portraits, so no worries about the quality.

Peter Movrin’s fashion:

Fashion designers, creatively portrayed

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fashion students 20110523_1045

Last week I’ve made a group portrait of students of fashion design in Ljubljana at Katedra za oblikovanje tekstilij in oblačil. In my series of creative portraits for Mladina weekly I usually make a portrait of a person, not very often a group portrait, but this portrait was about students that will have a great fashion show on 2nd of June 2011 at Kino Šiška.

It’s so hard to make an interesting group portrait. When I stepped in the room, I noticed many, many of those dolls and I knew I need them for the picture. In the middle of the room were tables. I knew I can’t build a compact composition if I will have a huge rectangular in the middle of the room, so I decided to move tables a side. You can see there are many many tables and I wasn’t sure if the room will look better with tables at the side, but I was sure it doesn’t work with tables in the middle so I got people engaged with moving tables to the side. That was the most tense moment for me. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but I needed to give an impression I know exactly what I’m doing, so people would trust me. Did I say I’m awfully good at that? Anyhow, when I got a huge hole in the middle of the room, I asked people to bring drawing chairs from other room and align them strictly.

My concept was, OK, if I can not highlight a single person, I will depersonalize the portrait using patterns and perspective. I explained to students that I want to picture them as a platoon of Chinese sewers. Few of them found it funny, but few of them got really upset. Anyhow I asked them to trust me and on the end we all loved the image.

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