Posts Tagged ‘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.
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
My last post was about my commision in Switzerland. I’ve shot many plates and when I’ve came back I was sunning the bath for a day (bright sunny day), filtering, etc, but I was still not getting that super sharp shining silver on my plates. With usage of silver-nitrate bath, alcohol, ether, iodides, organic particles and other stuff they dissolve in the bath and you can not get them entirely out with barely sunning.
Common practice is that silver-bath is regularly sunned and boiled only once or twice a year. That goes for ambrotypes, that’s positives. Whereas wet plate collodion negative technique reveals all dirty secrets of silverbath (not to mention photographer’s secrets) and if you want to get a good negative frequent boiling is necessary. Major enemy of wet plate negative is excess of iodides in silverbath and the syndrome of that are white dots in negative or black dots in positive. Or to quote Mark Osterman: “free iodides” cause pinholes in collodion images.”
So what I’m trying to say is that I very often boil my silverbath for usage in wet plate negative, but I also fall in love in the quality of ambrotypes that are produced after freshly boiled and cleaned silver-bath.
How is it done? You can find this technique in The NEW Scully & Osterman Collodion Manual. I can explain you how I am doing it, but I must warn you that I’m Slavic origin and not Germanic or even Anglo-Saxon origin, so if you can use an advice about cleanness from a Slav, then you must be pretty desperate…
Add one small table spoon of baking soda in about one liter of AgNO3 solution. At this stage the pH should be about 6-7pH. I must warn you that boiling silver-nitrate with Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) will look like the end of your wetplate career, but that’s how it should look. To be clear, the silver-nitrate in the picture above looked perfectly clear before boiling, but since I’ve sensitized about 30 plates format 10×12″ (cca. 2.25 square meters) I knew it’s full of iodides, alcohol, ether and dissolved organic matter. Only when I started boiling it with soda all the feces came out…
A friend asked me the other day how to raise pH in silver-bath after you added few drops of nitric acid. This is the best way. On FB a colleague Michael Koerner wrote a comment: “Plus the sodion bicarbonate (NaHCO3) will (when acidified with nitric acid) turn to carbonic acid (H2CO3), which will over a short time turn to water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) – bubbles away.”
After boiling you need to add water, filter it, sunn it, filter it, measure gravity of AgNO3, add nitric acid so the pH is back to 4 and you’re finished! Your silver-nitrate bath is reseted. You must know that silverbath like that will be more aggressive then your usual silver-bath, so it’s good to shorten sensibilisation time. I shortened to 2:15 minutes at room temperature. Mark Osterman is highlighting that sensibilization process is judged visually and not measured by time. I think I know what he means, but I need to confirm with him that I truly understand this part of the process, next time when I will see the master. I’m planning to join his workshop of Carbon Printing in Rochester in November. So exciting!
To sum up. I love to reset my silverbath, because then I’m getting best results. Boiling does take toll. I loose about 13.722% of my silverbath solution due to filtering. After boiling I filter the solution about 4 times through double coffee filters. Personally I find it worth the effort, but in wetplate process everyone have their own way of doing things and I’m not saying this method is better than any other. It works for me and that’s the true beauty of this hand-made images. You do it your own way! Ha!
PS: I’ve changed the title of this blog. Before it was Photography Down the Rabbit Hole, but the title Topshit Photography blog is way better. Topshit happens!
PPS: TOmorrow I’m going back to Switzerland to do some more work. Obviously they think the work that I’ve done is worth the money, so more work is waiting for me. Topshit happens!
PPPS: Relevant links:
- http://collodion.org/ Scully & Osterman Studio
- http://collodion-art.blogspot.com/2011/07/silver-bath-maintenance.html (Alex Timmermans)
- My first post about boiling and sorting pH of silver-bath LINK
Last week it was a topshit week. Sasha Huber and Petri Saarikko are my dear friends from Fabrica / Benetton times. Sasha was invited to prepare an exhibition in Eisenwerk – Frauenfeld. I’ll talk more about the exhibition after the opening, but I can say that an important part of the exhibition will include also ambrotypes. Sasha commissioned me to make ambrotype portraits illustrating a certain aspect of her work. We were really working hard and I think we’ve done great work. Here are few plates that I’ve done as a test.
The theme for this post is actually how inspired I got in those short days that we worked together and we lived art. We discussed so many projects. Petri, for instance, founded Kallio Kunsthalle, gallery of contemporary art in Helsinki. He presented me all the exhibitions he curated, concepts, views, tools, impressions, etc… We shared our views on art that we do, that others do, contemporary art that inspire us, old projects, trends, currents and our plans for the future. Oh, very sprackling conversation/s…
On Sunday we went to Fotomuseum Winterthur where we saw an exhibition by Lewis Hine. I’ve met there with a fellow wetplater Peter Michels and on Moday I drove also to Nurnberg to visit another wetplater Peter Kunz. It was really cool to see his amazing studio! And you know where’s located? In former facility of Quelle factory. I promised to come back and do some plates for my exhibition Great Depression 1912-13. Peter has really amazing studio with topshit equipment. I’m attaching some behind the scene images.
On the way back I left Switzerland at 10am came to Nurnberg at 15.00 hang around with peter for couple of hours and at 19.00 I took my drive back home (690km) and arrived at 6:30 am. Altogether there and back I drove 1950 km. I drove whole night back inspired of all the art I consumed, shared and created…
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.
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.
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.
Now, after I quit my long-term job as a photojournalist, I’m raising stakes on my art career. I have the best possible education a photographer could wish, I’ve graduated at Prague’s FAMU Academy, was working with Oliviero Toscani in Fabrica (UC of Benetton) and did my postgraduate studies at London College of Printing. On top of that I’ve took workshops with Martin Parr, Duane Michals, Steven Gill, Francesco Zizola, George Georgiou, Vanessa Winship, Joel Peter Witkin, Paul Graham, Pep Bonet, Paul Lowe, Klavdij Sluban and many others.
On top of that I was living together with nowadays stars of contemporary photography. My roommate was James Mollison at Fabrica and in my class at LCP 2002/03 was Olivia Arthur (Magnum agency) and Leonie Purchas, last but not least at Colors Magazine I was working also with Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg, to mention just a few.
After my postgraduate studies in London I got my first child and I came back home, build a house and got my second child. It was brilliant decision, to establish family while being young, but I must admit that career wise I got stuck. And when you get stuck in a stuck country like Slovenia, then you feel like an oversized solid shit that can not get through.
Nevertheless this current recession brought me to a liberating thought. All jobs are paid next thing to nothing, so why not get paid next thing to nothing, for something that I’m crazy passionate and addicted to, that’s photography! My idea of photography!
My ideal medium for photography is a book. I love making books. I handmade more then
dozen two dozens books. I decided that I’ll raise a stake on my art career and drop in the party through the back door. I will make a book on my best project Flower Power! Next week I’m getting an advice from Klavdij Sluban on that. The man won European Publishers Award for Photography in 2009, so I’ll get the best guidance I can! In August I’m making a promo video about it. Then I’ll launch it through Kickstarter and by November the book should be on your table!
For those who don’t know the Flower Power project, here’s a short sinopsis. Flower Power series is a personal rebellion against politics and news-photojournalistic-safaris dictated by well oiled public relation machine. In my images I’m instead of glorifying politicians, focusing on plants and degrading politicians on disturbing backgrounds. Here are some recent Flower Power images that I haven’t publish them yet, the best off collection you can see on my site.
May the Flower Power be with me and you!
Sorry for not blogging for a while. You must understand me, I quit my job of photojournalist where I was working for almost 8 years and was working my ass off to provide income elsewhere. And proudly I must say I managed to find a job that is much better paid, so I’m sorted for next 12 months!
Nevertheless I miss weekly portraits assignments so if somebody is interested to be portrayed by my genius in the bottle, just rub my email address.
Few days ago I was playing around with negative wet plate process and I wanted to see if my month old albumen solution got bad and how does it reflect on the plate. It’s important to recognize an error and it’s pattern. Here are two results. I love them both. Not sure if because my daughters are on the pictures or do they have some attraction to you to?
Images that follow are cleaner. I was cleaning my plates with very diluted nitric acid and I doubt that there will be any effect, but it was. I got very clean plates. I also give it a try of Miša Keskenović receipt for a quickclear collodion. Miša started to modify a receipt from Eder and adjust it for quickclear usage. It is based on three salts, NH4I, CdI2 and CdBr2. It’s rich in iodides and very sharp, very contrasty, very thick. Actually it was too thick for this weather, so I got crepe lines. I love it Obviously it’s not forgiving to work with the collodion, but it is rewarding when everything goes well. For more info read the description of an image.
Few days ago I’ve made a portrait of Elvis Halilović.
In his words: “I’m a passionate lensless photographer. For the last seven years, I’ve been photographing using pinhole cameras that I’ve made myself. Through the years, I’ve constructed and used extensively about 40 of them; the largest produced images measuring up to 3 x 4 metres while the smallest could fit inside a person’s mouth. I’m also an industrial designer and a carpenter….”
He designed super slick camera obscuras and made them from wood. They look super cool. He started ONDU Pinhole Cameras project on Kickstarter, aiming for $10.000 USD of backing and three weeks before the end of kickstarter project he has already pledged for $63.000 USD. Check his project and back him. For now, that’s the only way how to get the camera, but he has many worldwide offers for his product.
I’ve done his portrait with his camera, but since I didn’t had a clue what angle of view is, I totally missed the framing. In tomorrows Mladina weekly it’ll be published his collodion portait. At European Collodion Weekend I bought one old brass Petzval lens and check the results. I suggested Elvis that with this cameras also wet plate collodion process could be done, since it uses ordinary 4×5″ film holder. He will lend me one for a ride. Can’t wait!
On Tuesday I’m opening an exhibition that will probably be my best show until now. In November I was invited to have a show in Gallery Krka in Novo mesto and I thought I’ll have enough time to do nice wet plate collodion plates until the end of April, but winter was lasting until day before yesterday and I was forced to make wetplate images in harsh conditions. I had an extensive help from my mentor Miša Keskenović and Mark Osterman, the world authority in alternative processes. Let me quote Mark Osterman: “Remember that no photographer in their right mind would have been making images in that severe cold in the old days..so you are doing ok. :-)”. Topshit compliment indeed!
OK, I had a date of the opening of the show. I knew I wanted to do landscape photography from the beginning, which was not the smartest decision in winter time, but I also knew I don’t want to go for usual mainstream aesthetic, let’s call it national geographic kind of aesthetic or even Ansel Adams aesthetic if you want. I mention Ansel Adams, because he’s a huge influence to me, but I live in different times, I don’t want, can not and I’m not competent enough to replicate his perfection of his art. On other hand I also didn’t want to make shitty collodion plates, that would later be scanned and digitally fixed, printed as inkjets and call it an Art, that’s for sure! I mentioned before how I got inspired to do wet plate collodion process on the exhibition by Sally Mann in London’s Photographer’s Gallery. In her images I saw a huge potential to be explored, a huge vain of gold to be dig, so I was aiming for technical brilliance, but to somehow capture enchanting beauty of Sally Mann’s work. Mission imposible, I know.
Second resolution was, that I need to dig in art history and grow roots deep down there. One of my first tintype landscapes was of frozen river Krka at -17C in year 20012. Last time that river Krka got frozen it was some 85 years ago and at the time young painter Božidar Jakac painted the scene that astonished me as a child. Jakac later became a renown painter in Yugoslavia. I want to make a hommage to his work.
The title of the exhibition is “You remained a part of the landscape, it’s beauties and it’s pain”, that’s a verse of Tone Pavček engraved on his grave.
I’ll make a video podcast about my show, but let me share an image from the show, illustrating what I wrote above. It’s a cyanotype print from a wet plate collodion negative format 10×12″ (25x30cm). Print was toned with tanin from green tea. I took this image like 100 meters from my house and left my dog to guard the camera Because it was a huge contrast between dark trees and white snow, I dodged the plate while exposing. The exposure was 6 minutes at aperture f/16 and 2,5 minutes I was holding a black velvet in front of the lens. Of course I was moving the velvet so it’s not visible. I used Vageeswari 10×12″ camera with a Rodenstock bistagmat lens from year about 1907 and it covers format 18×24 cm, but I wanted to have vignetting effect, so I put it on a camera format 25x30cm (10×12″).
See you on Tuesday 23.4.2013 in Gallery Krka, upravna stavba Krka d.d., Novo mesto, Slovenia, EU, at 19.00.