Posts Tagged ‘Slovenia’
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.
Month ago I’ve made this portrait, but haven’t published it on my blog. Kaja Avberšek is an illustrator, so I suggested her that I’ll make a wet plate and then she’ll draw on it. Unfortunately I was doing small 4×5″ plates, on the field, so she didn’t draw directly on the plate, but did it on her computer. This is the result. It was published in Mladina weekly and I love how it turned out. Sometimes the publication is an icing on a cake and many times it’s just the opposite, but this time it’s definitely presenting my picture in the best way. Is it a bird? Is it Superman? Or is it topshit?
OK, I’m introducing a new rubric on my blog. It’s a quizzzzzz!!! I’ll be publishing my mistakes I have done with a question what is the cause of the mistake and few days later I’ll publish the answer. Of course if you will not guess it first. Let’s start with an easy one. Here are two plates. Problematic plate has some lines in blacks and in the right bottom corner even collodion lifted off. The other plate has perfect blacks, no peeling problems. What was the cause of those lines on the crappy plate?
Today I was driving from work through a forrest with beautiful light! True fairy tale scene. I got home, pick up my wetplate stuff that was still packed from yesterday and I head back. I’ve done two ambrotypes (or winter ambroice) plates in 35 minutes and the time start counting from stepping out of a car, setting everything up until sitting back and driving away with two plates. I’m experimenting how fast can I work, how much time and preparations do I need. I love it. Very relaxing, very spontaneous!
Today I’ve made two plates while it was snowing. We have 84cm of snow and it was still snowing. I put chains on wheels of my car and off I went! It was a good day! Oh I forgot to mention in the video that second plate had better contrast not so muvh because of developing time, but I was sensitizing it for 6min while the first one was sensitized for 5 min.
Yesterday I had an exhibition opening of my creative portraits in Inštitut Jožef Stefan. With curator Tatjana Pregl Kobe, we decided to exhibit my portraits from 2006/07 on ground floor and on first floor my portraits from 2012/13. For Mladina weekly I’m making every week at least one creative portrait of a creative person and although I love making this work, it’s no easy walk, I tell you! I remember that many times I woke up in the middle of the night, because I didn’t have the concept how to do a portrait later the day. Or I was dreaming about it. Nevertheless it’s such a nice feeling to view back on your work and you know it was worth the pain, sweat and stress. And most importantly it’s still worth to continue. Last year I switched my style of portrait photography from vibrant color playful portraits (LINK) to collodion portraits (LINK). I had a feeling that I had to move on. The fact that everybody liked my wicked humor and saturated colors, was just another reason to reinvent my style before going stale. And the change was not easy or comfortable whereas discrete! From digital camera with studio lights (link to the making of video) to old view camera on a tripod and with darkroom. Also the layout of the rubric changed completely. In year 2006 the portrait was published on about 1/3 of a page and now the rubric is published as a spread with a serious text about the person being portrayed. HERE is the link from national TV.
What am I trying to say. Two things. I’m proud on this body of work. And I feel an urge that I want some more of photography. I’m really obsessed! I feel very clearly that I’m on tipping point of my career. I crossed the point of no return.
What has changed? I will not describe my feelings, just actions and then you’ll get the picture.
1) Last week I quit my job as a photojournalist. I will still do gladly portraits for my Mladina weekly magazine, but I can not afford to waste my life on news photographs that have expiry date faster then diaria! I really lost all my interest in politics. Totally. Gone…
2) Revival of skylight Studio Pelikan is one the things I feel so connected with. I feel that although we’re running on no-budget and making small tiny steps, the direction is correct and we just need to continue
3) I’m receiving a huge support in my quest in Alternative photography from all sides. From different continents even!
4) I’m taking part of the workshop of Klavdij Sluban and although I participates at workshops of really famous photographers like Saudek, Oliviero Toscani, Ralph Gibson, Martin Parr, Stephen Gill, Paul Graham, Joel Peter Witkin, Duane Michals, and who knows who have I forgot, Klavdij Sluban is the best mentor. Perhaps I’m taking part in his workshop in a particular moment of my life, but he opened many windows to me and my photography! He does magic. I sensed how he is doing it. I can’t do it yet on his level, but I understood the principle, I mapped the path I need to take. Don’t believe me? You will see the results in few months.
5) Invitation for exhibitions are raining! First one opened yesterday. Next one is in my town of Novo mesto in April. In May I have an exhibition in Krakow / Poland and then in Novi Sad / Serbia. In November I’m having a solo show in the best photography gallery in Ljubljana / Slovenia and also our workshop group under Klavdij Sluban will exhibit in Novo mesto / Slovenia.
6) I’m selling prints. I know, I know, I’m selling it in very unorthodox way, for a small price, but I don’t care. I’m worker, an artist, but I’m definitely not a salles man. I prefer to get 50 EUR now, then 5000EUR when I’ll be a retired old fart!
Last but not least, let me tell you an anecdote. I felt like this before. It was after I’ve done all the exams at London College of Printing and I was chatting with my mentor. I’ve told him how I feel so strongly that my life will change dramatically. I’ve described his how I have all this knowledge that I’ve gained and now it’s the moment when I will confront it with real life, hitting it hard, like a tsunami. Literally few hours later my girlfriend called me and told me she is pregnant
Dear_readers_I’m_so_honored to announce that in collaboration with Museum of Recent History Celje we will revive portraiture sessions in one of the best preserved skylight studios in Europe. The glass studio was build in 1898 and from 1920 Josip Pelikan was working there. After his death in 1977 his youngest daughter Božena Pelikan took over the family busnis and when she retired in 90′s, the studio was donated to the museum that renovated it with great care for details.
In the following month of February we are planing to revive public portrait sessions in the studio in a noble manner of portrait photography of 19th and 20th Century. Well not every day, but on certain days. I was working really hard to achieve sufficient technical and aesthetic level. First step is to revive the studio, so people could enjoy the nobility that once portrait photography had.
Next is to have workshops on photography techniques of 19th Century and finally my greatest goal is to have a festival of Alternative Photography. I imagine that exhibitions and lectures on the topic would resonate perfectly in this space. I already founded Fotopub festival of documentary photography and I was the Art director of Fotopub during first seven years and the festival continues to thrive, so I’m confident that if I could do it at age 26, I could do it even better 12 years later! Especially because I have huge support in my mentor Miša Keskenović and wonderful people of Museum of Recent History Celje.
But step by step. And first step, first foundation stone is of course photography. Do you like it? Would you like to have a portrait of you in this manner? This is not my whole portfolio, this is just the beginning. Beside ambrotypes the studio will offer also wet plate collodion negative, printed on either salt print, albumen print, cyanotype, gelatin silver-bromide print and so on. But more about that in the following post. Josip Pelikan Studio is located in Celje, Slovenia, EU.
Finally I have a good and solid headrest for my wetplate portraits. I was looking for a headrest and in USA they costs about 600 USD + shipping + customs. I tried to use a microphone stand and that’s useless since it’s not solid enough. Some time ago I was doing a portrait of a traditional blacksmith Miha Krištof from Maribor, Slovenia and I knew he was able to make a good headrest. It’s really good, solid and it looks slick! I payed 300 EUR, which is not cheap, but when I saw the result I was very happy. It’s an excellent investment! I’ve made this videolog to show it to you. If you want to order it as well, I can give you a contact, his wife speaks perfectly German and his apprentice speaks English as well. On the click HERE you can download patents for Head Rest from 19th Century that were gathered by Miša Keskenović. With this plans and pictures of my head rest you can find a local craftsman and order it locally.
The strangest thing happened with my wet plate collodion chemicals. On Wednesday I’ve made the portrait of Nana Milčinski without a problem and the very next day I couldn’t make a decent picture. It took me more then a week to figure out what went wrong and I’ve burned lots of nerves. I’m not going to go into chemical details, but I’m happy I’ve solved the problem. Luckily if a wet plate gets all dirty and full of stains, you can call it an art and you get away with it. You can see the stains and fog that is appearing on some pictures. I’m happy that I’ve resolved the problem/s and on the end of the day I’ve learned a lot. Really a lot. I’m finally at the stage that when a problem occurs I can systematically find it and resolve it.
The worst thing was that this problems were occurring when I had to do a demonstration of a wet plate collodion technique on two photo-fairs in Maribor and in Zagreb. Very stressful! Oh… I’ve bought a tent Eskimo QuickFish 3 and now I have a mobile darkroom. It’s very good, although joints are not strong enough so I’ve asked my friend to reinforce them. BUt it’s a joy to work in it. I set it up in 40 seconds!
Photo: Goran Katić
In few days, that’s 29. October 2012 there will be an opening of a group exhibition in Kulturni dom in Gorizia in Italy. I’ll exhibit my Wet Plate Collodion portraits and some large format portraits. This weekend, that passed, before the opening in Gorizia, I’ve exhibited some of the pictures on a folk celebration that happened in a village where I grew up, in Straža pri Novem mestu. Every year villagers gather to revive a folk tradition of pealing corn and so we made the exhibition for the night. A jolly evening indeed. HERE is a report from a local TV, Vaš kanal.
Today, 16th of September 2012 is the 90th birthday of Božena Pelikan, the youngest daughter of famous photographer Josip Pelikan. As a homage to famous Pelikan family and a humble gratitude to the photographical heritage of Pelikan family, I’ve made portraits of Mrs. Pelikan. I used Vageeswari 10×12″ camera with sheet film of 8×10″ and a lens Voigtlander Heliar 300mm, f/4,5. For Wet Plate Collodion portraits I used a Plaubel 5×7″ camera and I’ve made some quick takes also with Mamiya C330, format 6×6.
With Museum of Recent History Celje, we’re discussing projects that we might do together and I’m all excited since potentials are enormous! The studio is without a doubt one of the best preserved luxurious glass photographic ateliers in Europe with original equipment used by the famous Slovene photographer Josip Pelikan (1885–1977). More about it on the links bellow.
Museum of Recent History Celje / Josip Pelikan Photographic Studio
Panoramic view of Josip Pelikan Photographic Studio, Slovenia Landmarks by Boštjan Burger
Josip Pelikan’s photographies in the digital archive, DLib.si – Digital Library of Slovenia