TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Photography

New plates from The Great Depression series

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Screenshot 2014-09-30 13.52.30


Last week I was again working on my project The Great Depression. This time was a bit different motivation. I wasn’t looking for new motives, but I was repeating shots I’ve done before. At the moment all my plates are exhibited in Lithuania at Kaunas Photo Festival, but two galleries asked me if I can exhibit The Great Depression plates, The Gallery of Contemporary Art in Celje and almost at the same time, Photon Gallery wants to exhibit my plates at ArtMarket Budapest.

What to do, what to do… No problem, I went again to Novoles company where I started my project almost three years ago and repeat few frames that I took in the past. Surprise, surprise my wet plate knowledge advanced and I’ve made such a beautiful plates, I can not believe it! Well, here they are, you be the judge of them.

Today when I was varnishing them, I’ve received an email from a very important museum, that I can not name just yet, that they want to buy few plates from the project for their permanent collection. YES! After all the hard work and I’m finally beyond the tipping point! Mom, I’ve made it!!!

Great Depression 1912-13 Great Depression 1912-13 Great Depression 1912-13

Simon Weber – Unger and his Nature Printing process from 1852

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This weekend I was visiting Vienna Photo Book Festival and it was really exciting place in time. So many books, so many ideas, so many people to talk to… Unfortunately I managed to make only one proper interview if I don’t count the one I’ve published on Monday. Since I’m very much interested in alternative photography processes from 19th Century I was overwhelmed with the work of Simon Weber-Unger! He has a gallery Wissenschaftliches Kabinett in Vienna and it’s specialized in 19th Century photography. Furthermore his project of reviving Nature printing process is breathtaking indeed. I’ve made this interview to share with you his work. I hope you will get a glimpse how great it is. I know it’s not photography, but it is amazingly beautiful print!

More about this topic you can find on

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!

20140410-wpc-novoles-low

Video from skylight Studio Pelikan

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Wet Plate Collodion portraiture in skylight Studio Pelikan by Borut Peterlin from culturaesmorbo on Vimeo.

Markele Zid made this video about our daily life in Studio Pelikan. It’s a job, somebody’s got to do it… :-)
We’re working on a website too. You must come to see this gem from our cultural heritage! It’s part of Museum of Recent History Celje and it’s located on Razlagova ulica 5, Celje, Slovenia, EU. The studio is open for public and I do make public portraiture sessions, but I’m not in the studio every day, so please send an email of inquiry to address tajnistvo(at)mnzc.si and then we’ll find a term.

An update on my Great Depression project

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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…

Sunday is a good and dry collodion day

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A scan of a dry collodion negative. Exposure 25 minutes at f/5.6.  (I could make it faster by 1.5 f stop)

A scan of a dry collodion negative. Exposure 25 minutes at f/5.6.
(I could make it faster by 1.5 f stop)

Today it was Sunday. It still is, but concerning the the speed of my writing it will take me two hours and it will be past midnight. Again… So where to start. Basically I’m using this free time that I have during holidays for researching processes, equipment and aesthetic. Very soon I’m planning to go to Bosnia for a test shoot on a new project I’m preparing. In 2015 there will be 20th anniversary of the end of the war in Bosnia and I want to prepare an exhibition on the topic.

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.

Charconnet Petzval:
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.

Carbon Printing
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!

Santa brought me… time for Carbon Print process!

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A carbon print from redeveloped wet plate negative.

A carbon print from redeveloped wet plate negative.

As topshit readers of my blog know, in November I was in George Eastman House, taking a course on Carbon Print process under mentorship of Mark Osterman and Nick Brandreth. Almost two months passed and I didn’t found time to do the process at home. Finally I found some time during these holidays.

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!

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