Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

For a wetplate workshop dial B5!

with 7 comments

An ambrotype by Benjamin Lind

An ambrotype by Benjamin Lind

Last few months people from all over Europe are coming to the small town of Slovenia, to my home, to learn alternative photography techniques. Pardon my French, but I’m really proud on that!

Like in October Benjamin Lind from Switzerland was here for a weekend basic wetplate workshop. Last weekend Davide Nesti and Giuseppe Toffoli from Italy were here. They are experienced wetplaters and they were interested in wet plate collodion NEGATIVE, salt print, albumen print and silver gelatin printing from a wet plate collodion negative. Really too much program for two days and we did struggle with some troubleshooting, but on the end we achieved goals. I also learn one thing from the workshop. Davide had one nice camera, but the plate holder was fogging like english morning. I really didn’t believe that the plate holder can be used for wet plate photography, but then Giuseppe took my clear acrylic varnish and sprayed all parts that were in touch with a wet plate and the next day fog was totally gone. I couldn’t believe my eyes! One day fog on fog, the next – clear plates…

Robert Gojević, editor in chief of Blur magazine hired me to do a private workshop in Zagreb in his flat. We started perfectly following the Collodion manual of Mark Osterman that is included in the price of my workshop, but then when finally a time came for a plate, I got just fog. Robert was looking at me suspiciously, but I said, no worries, in wet plate process I follow one rule. If the first plate succeed, that’s luck, if the second plate does not succeed, that’s bad luck, only the third plate is bound to succeed if there is bad luck or good luck! And that’s what it happened. After troubleshooting I’ve recalibrated developer for hot and dry environment (his flat) and the third plate was (almost) perfect.

This week also Markele Zid, a photography student from Spain came to Dolenjske Toplice to become my assistant for three months. He hired a flat and we are working every day. He witnessed the weekend workshop and yesterday’s workshop with Robert and today I said, just give it a try in wetplate process by yourself. I didn’t even put my gloves on, he was doing everything by himself, I just inspect it over his shoulder. His first plate was so perfect I couldn’t believe! He must have some German genes in his blood, that’s the only explanation! The first plate had a yellow “coffee & cream” color cast but because, if I use words of Mark Osterman, in Europe we prefer more silverish, neutral gray kind of look, I tweaked the developer with KNa and nitric acid for more neutral silver tone and his second plate was as you can see. More about Markele, the spanish president, later, we’re planning to make many topshit videos.

I’m publishing pics from the workshop with captions and you be the judge if the workshops were successful. If you are interested in individual workshop on alternative techniques, please send me an email. It’s all inclusive workshop with sleeping, food and material, since we work from 9am to midnight! We even eat standing! Lunch time is when gloves tear and then you need new pair, this is the moment when lunch is served because that’s the only good and proper time to eat with new pair of gloves!

Last but not least in a month time I have an exhibition in Helsinki and also there I’ll be giving a private crash course on wetplate collodion negative and salt printing. I have a feeling that at this year’s European Collodion Weekend, NEGATIVE wet plate collodion and the salt print process with be the hip thing 🙂


7 Responses

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  1. I prefer the more silvery tones also, though my plates are becoming more silvery over the past weeks and I don’t know why! The only difference is the developer I use is very old now and quite dark brown. I’d like to produce consistently silver plates so perhaps nitric acid is the solution….

    The Silver Sunbeam

    25 January, 2014 at 11:37

  2. Silvery look is effected by three things. I put 1gr of KNa per 100ml of developer, nitric acid makes great change in color cast and last but not least, the time of developing. If you overexpose and underdevelop, you will have yellowish plate and if you develop for longer time you have more silverish look. Nitric acid in developer will prevent fog and slow down developing, so you can push your developing and get extra neutral gray color cast. Everything written above is written in mark osterman’s manual in much clearer way, so even I understood! Ha!

    Borut Peterlin

    25 January, 2014 at 18:15

  3. Seems like a lot of fun, and the most beautiful results too!


    25 January, 2014 at 23:43

  4. What dates will you be in Helsinki Borut? And where is the exhibition?


    26 January, 2014 at 00:04

  5. One must appreciate one like you 🙂

    John Fink Jr.

    26 January, 2014 at 01:28

  6. Thank you friends for all the comments! I’ll have an opening in Kallio Kunsthalle in Helsinki on 20th of February 2014.

    Borut Peterlin

    26 January, 2014 at 02:58

  7. Small country….. small town…..great artists and great work! 😉
    “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
    ― Albert Einstein


    27 January, 2014 at 10:31

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