TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Portrait

Collodion portrait of an actor Branko Jordan

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20140523-branko-jordan001 Anton Podbevšek Teater will have tomorrow a premier of new theater show,
AMOR OMNIA VINCIT* and I’ve made digital documentation of the show, but I couldn’t resist not to take a snapshot in collodion technique of my friend Branko Jordan, one of the most prominent actor of his generation in this corner of the world. The plate has some fog, but concerning the timing and working condition I love it. In fact the fog, stains and everything else is just ideal for my taste!

For the promotion of theater shows I also developed a form of video teaser for Internet and social networks. It’s a mixture of video and photography, accompanied by a statement of the director followed with a scene from the show, to illustrate abstract words of the concept with an example from the show. This form of a teaser I perfected over two years and now I think it’s best that I could do. It also attract a lot of attention and popularize theater among iGeneration.

Blažka Müller Pograjc: AMOR OMNIA VINCIT*
Director: Matjaž Pograjc
Actors: Katarina Stegnar, Gorka Berden, Marijana Brecelj, Branko Jordan, Pavle Ravnohrib, Vito Weis in Enya Belak, Tamara Polanc, Kristina Rozman, Veronika Valdés
Produkcija: Anton Podbevšek Teater
Photography, video and editing: Borut Peterlin

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?

The Mask, global wet plate project

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Shane Balkowitsch bought dozen gas masks and shipped them to artists around the world with only one task, to make a wet plate collodion image with the mask. In a year or so the masks circled the globe and few weeks ago came knocking at my door. Yesterday I’ve made the image I wanted. It’s inspired by Röyksopp’s video spot What Else Is There. I wanted to get a haunted kind of dreamy creature. I ask my daughters to dress as princesses and consequently they used all mother’s make up. I explained them that no make up is needed because of the mask, but that didn’t stop them :-)

On the video you can see Lučka is jumping. I wanted unnatural body posture and the best way I could think of is while being suspended in the air. I thought I will see that she’s flying, just as Marianne Schröder is flying in Royksopp’s video, but now I prefer it like it is. It does look very unearthly, which is what I wanted in the first place!

The collection of wet plates of the mask is ON THIS LINK.

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!

Vintage studio backgrounds of Josip Pelikan, dated about 1930’s

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Vintage background from skylight studio Josip Pelikan, MNZC museum, Celje, Slovenia.

Vintage background from skylight studio Josip Pelikan, MNZC museum, Celje, Slovenia.

Vintage background from skylight studio Josip Pelikan, MNZC museum, Celje, Slovenia.

Vintage background from skylight studio Josip Pelikan, MNZC museum, Celje, Slovenia.

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.

Portrait by Borut Peterlin in wet plate collodion technique in skylight Studio Pelikan, Celje, Slovenia, EU.Borut Peterlin in Josip Pelikan Studio

A photography project on fears and delights being a parent

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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.

The presentation of my art zine and a single photograph at Gallery Simulaker, Novo mesto, Slovenia

The presentation of my art zine and a single photograph at Gallery Simulaker, Novo mesto, Slovenia

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!

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.

The book on ebay.

The print no.1 listed on ebay.

Print no.6 listed on ebay.

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.

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