TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Archive for the ‘Large format camera’ Category

Contrast control in Wet Plate Colodion process

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Plate on the left was normaly exposed (5 seconds) and normaly developed (18 seconds), plate on the right was exyposed for 10 seconds and developed for only 8 seconds.

Plate on the left was normaly exposed (5 seconds) and normaly developed (18 seconds), plate on the right was exposed for 10 seconds and developed for only 8 seconds.

Few days ago I’ve finished a bacis collodion workshop and part of my workshop is a demonstration of contrast control in wet plate collodion process. I thought this might be intersting topic, so here’s a short post. Plate on the left is normaly developed and exposed and plate on the right is overexposed and underdeveloped. As you can see the middle tones are about the same, but the plate on the left has no details in highlights. This is usual push / pull process that is very well known in film photography and the same goes for wet plate collodion process.

Have you ever heard that a collodion mixture becomes more contrasty with aging? Well, that’s merly a false myth. Collodion becomes less sensitive and if a photographer is using the same exposure times with old colloodion, the plates are in fact undrexposed and on top of that overdeveloped, so of course the end result is much more contrasty then it was with fresh collodion, but if you want to have low contrast with old collodion, you only need to overexpose and underdevelop! So the cause of contrasty plates is not the age of collodion, but underexposure and overdevelopment.

This is what I’ve learned from Mark Osterman.

Here are two more plates that I’ve manages to make a reproduction of.

 

 

Unbroken Tree Spirit / Retouched Wet Plate Collodion Negative

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Dear readers of my blog, I am very late with my production of videos. I have great excuses, but you do not follow this blog because of great excuses, so I will spare you🙂

I think this video is alright. It took me two days to upload it, because of technical issues, but I’m satisfied with it. Only today I’ve noticed I haven’t used any drone shots, too bad.

Screenshot 2016-07-08 22.32.30.jpgFor wet plate collodion photographers there will be interesting the following example. In the video I’ve said that at the first test the fog appeared because I waited too long before subbing the plate to silver nitrate. Actually I’ve recoded the explanations, but it is too long and boring, so I’ve edit it out. I can tell you now why I knew what is the cause of fogging. Please observe corners. Only in corner number 4 there is no fog. OK, there is some fog, but that fog is made out of sharp lines, meaning the plate was not cleaned enough. Other fog is obviously different. Corner number 4 is the corner where I’ve poured off my collodion off the plate, meaning that was the most fresh collodion. On other edges and corners fog is spreading toward the edge, from centre toward the edge. That is very clear sign of drying collodion, before the plate went to silver bath. The drying of sensitised plate looks different, very different. So my advice to you is to learn with every failed plate and every successful plate. Believe me, it is very likely that I have made much more foggy plates then you, but I have learned by doing it, so now I can do it either at temperatures of -9C (link) or at + 30C (link).  Just do it and fail miserably, that is the only way to make it happen.

As you imagine to make this videos it takes a lot of time and because I’m a professional photographer, I need to justify the time investment, so I need to sell my photographs. I thank you for bidding, sharing my videos, commenting, subscribing and basically all the attention this social network is giving me. It’s my dream job and I have more to come! My prints became quite expensive (THANK YOU), but if you still want to give me a tip and buy me a cup of tea every month, you can visit THIS SITE and become my patreon.

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Transcending reality in wet plate collodion / Vlog E02, S01

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Dear followers,
as I’ve promised I’m publishing my third episode (I count also the episode zero) of my vlog while pursuing my goal to publish an artist photo-book.  Of course, the theme of my book will be Kočevski rog woodland and this time I went to one of the most beautiful places, Ponikve valley.

I was wondering how long should my vlog videos be and what should be the mix of entertainment and informative content. This is what I think it’s good. Please let me know your opinion. In each episode I will include a tip or two about the process, but the main topic will be artistic vision, composition, asking questions and the search for answers. Just don’t ask me to do camera review blogs, they are boring. Photography and cameras is like traveling and wheels. It is related, but not dependent upon. I will do a book review, here and there, but not one of those 100 famous photographers everybody know. I will rather do a review of work that nobody knows, like I’ve done from Peter Župnik, Herman Pivk and many others. Basically photographers whose quality does belong on top 100 list, but they will never be world famous photographers, because of circumstances.

I’ve described my intention in the previous blog post, but let me highlight that I haven’t realised before, but all the likes and shares are well important, since the large social network is the guarantee that my book will actually be published, so thank you in advance! So if you think this content is worthy, please press like and share it. If I’ve made your day, please you could buy me a cup of tea every month via my PATREON page and if you could afford, thank you for bidding on my Ebay auction.

The print on sale is an albumen print, toned with gold toner, from wet plate collodion negative. It’s listed on EBAY.
LINK to “THE BRANCH” Ebay listing
LINK to the “TWO TREES” Ebay listing

I thank David Cutter for the music and Fiona Cambell for the disclaimer voice.

Inspiration & manipulation photography

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I confess, I always fancied manipulation of photography. Paradoxically with introduction of Photoshop (I’ve learned PS 3.0 in year 1994) I’ve lost all the interest in this field and my work in the last 15 years is more or less documentarian nature, meaning, 99,9% of my digital images would pass world press photo standards.  I can’t explain why.

About a year ago I’ve made a video about my work and analog manipulation of photography, it’s embedded at the bottom of this post. All the work mentioned is very old, like my last project Fairy Tales was done in 2001-02 and let me state that is not photoshoped at all! That was selectively illuminated landscape scenes, taken on colour negative film, format 6×7. Yes, it was very hard to wait for developed proof prints to see what have I’ve done last week and often go back and redo them.

About a year ago I was at a workshop on collodion glass negative retouching in George Eastman House and beside the techniques I’ve learned I’ve seen also some fascinating examples of retouched photographs. I mean authentic photographs that you may see only in books. Mentor Mark Osterman have shown us an examples from a collection of George Eastman House and that was really inspiring.

Anyway the time has come to start a new project, dealing with nature and image manipulation. I’ve picked few books from authors Peter Župnik, Pavel Pecha, Herman Pivk and Regina Anzenberger. Intentionally I’ve picked authors that are based in East Europe and although the quality of their work does not fall behind known western authors, you probably never heard about them. East-European photography is so underrated! It is so underrated by their own countries to start with! I hope you will appreciate my suggestions and their work.

In this video I’m presenting a print I’ve made from a retouched collodion negative. About a year ago I’ve made a video how I’m making the wet plate collodion negative and the salt print and now I’m publishing the result upgraded by my knowledge gained at George Eastman House. I will talk about my next project in the next videos, but for now I’m sharing with you my creative process, my inspiration and the aesthetic I admire. I think that on youtube there is way too much camera-review videos and photographers on general are putting too much emphasising on gear and not enough on photography and the creative process of photography, so this one is a little different. Very different.

Screenshot 2016-03-27 22.40.20

 

I’m putting my retouched print on ebay, as an auction and by your bidding and buying my work, you support my endeavour in art. This blog is also crowd funded at Patreon.com. Thank you guys, I appreciate it!!!

PS: I’ve started to use professional video-editing software and big thanks to Vid Klančičar for the crash course how to use it.

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Barbed wired final frontier of EU

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Dear readers,
I’ve started a new project. I’m foremost documentary photography and ever since I got myself devoted to wet plate collodion process, I regretted the fact that I’ve parted with the spontaneity and playfulness of 35 mm photography. I desperately wanted to smooth my workflow, so the complexity of wet plate collodion process will not stand in my vision of documentary photographer, going around, taking pictures. That’s why I’ve made this invincible wet-plate mobile! If you are wet-plate practitioner you will appreciate a lot the content of this video, because wet-plate workflow has never been easier! Of course the dark-box is the key, as I’ve described in my LAST POST.

Now, finally, I can devote myself again to documentary photography I cherish so much. My theme is The Final Frontier of EU, more precisely the EU’s Schengen border. To prevent migration of refugees from Syria and immigrants from other places, Slovenian government decided to put barbed wire on our south border!

 

71WHId5NVOL._SL1500_Imagine that!?! I do not know what think and what will they solve with what? Imagine that thousands of refugees will flood across the river Kolpa to Slovenian soil and take a stand there! What will Slovenian government do then? I mean it’s not 1939, journalists are all around and on top of everything we should pretend to be civilised, so we set barbed wired fence. To stop what and who? Deers?

Most of my readers don’t know much of history of Slovenia and there is no reason why should you know, but in this context I will say few lines. Slovenia used to be part of Yugoslavia, governed by communistic regime that resist Stalin’s politic and therefore received a lot of

zica_tine

Deer that died in huge pain. Photo: Tine Lindič

sympathy from West and East. There was a very real threat that Soviet Union will invade Yugoslavia like they did to Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and others. Churchill delivered The Iron Curtain Speech in 1946 and its south-east border was actually Slovenia (that was part of Yugoslavia at the time). So what I’m trying to say is that in the past we experienced some really difficult times and inspire of being threatened with invasion, even when the Iron Curtain was being set on our borders with Italy and Austria, even in the dark times like this, our ancestors did not think of making our country like barbed wired concentration camp!

That said Slovenian nation, we deserve the finger up our asses, for being a faithful servants of our masters, support the imperialistic war in Iraq and dismantling Middle East, being quite at violation of human rights issues, buying particular arms and basically everything we supposed to do, to receive crumbs from the table. There is solely one good lesson to be learned from this refugee crisis. The whole Europe and the world has learned that whatever war happens wherever in the world, we will have in a month time refugees knocking at our door! USA is safe, they do not care, but people we have learned that you can not cross a border as a single person, but a flow of hundred thousands of refugees is unstoppable!

I say this in first person, because on the contrast to most of you, I do not exclude the scenario that I and my family might need to flea from a future war. I was 9 years old, I still remember very clearly, we had a lunch, I was being very picky and my grand father said, appreciate the food, because tomorrow it might be another war. I was laughing at him, thinking how silly he is, but not even ten years later we had a war!

Feature news story from Montenegro, done by 4×5″ large format view camera

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Two weeks ago I had a solo exhibition opening in very beautiful gallery Atelje Dado in Cetinje, Montenegro. It was a long trip of about 1500km there and back, but I enjoyed it a lot. The exhibition place was great, I enjoyed staying in Montenegro, we used to be in the same country and since I speak fluent Serbian, I felt like visiting a relative far away, not a tourist or a stranger at all. I’ve done also a talk and demonstration of wet plate collodion process and it was good, very good, people liked it and results were good too.

12190071_10153036221765216_7764312863671303157_n-2Before I left on the road I heard there were violent protest happening in the capital of Montenegro, so I’ve decided that I will make a reportage about that. The question was how will I do it? I can not compete with local photojournalists and I wasn’t interested in news photography, I’ve done that a lot, I wanted to do it differently. I had to think what kind of reportage will I make, how will I approach the subject, what will be the subject at all? Many important questions to be answered before picking up a camera.

Talking about the camera, I was reluctant to take my super digital camera Nikon D4 with me, it’s too heavy and too expensive and I wasn’t into news kind photojournalism anyway, so I decided to do the feature reportage with my 4×5″ camera. I’ve decided that I will not wait for the violent protest, those images will be in the news anyhow, I wanted to make a different kind of story, so I’ve made the following approach.

I’ve focused on an ordinary resident of Montenegro, made a short interview and a portrait of them. The portrait was done in the manner of August Sander. Straight, portrait, with environment, so you get a sense who are these people, what is their job, what’s their status and so on. Since I was using an old bellow camera, I got a permission to do the portrait from all of them, I couldn’t steal a portrait with this kind of camera anyhow, but still I’m experienced photojournalist in the business for about 15 years and I know that the attractive camera did brake the ice for me.

When I came home there was the hardest task, to write a story, to write a text! For all of my years as a photojournalist I always was working in a team with a journalist, but now I had to do all by myself. I was kind of confident, because I knew how am I going to do this story before I picked up a camera or ask a question, so I sit down to write the story at 8am and finished it at 4pm. The experience working with excellent journalists for magazines like The Observer, Colors Magazine, Corriere della Sera, Mladina and others, was very good foundation. Even the editor in chief of Mladina weekly, said I wrote a good text. I was really satisfied with the feature reportage that was published in Mladina weekly. You can read the full article from THIS link, but it’s in the proper language, so I apologise to English speakers.

Last but not least, I’ve showed the feature story to my friend at UK’s picture agency Panos Pictures and he found it excellent and published it on their blog as an example of a good feature story. HA!!!

Long forgotten love for photojournalism revived in me. I don’t want to do daily news, but I am interested in daily life, small stories, that are affected by the stories from the news. Plus I realised I can do a reportage with a slow view camera, better then with my ultrafast digital camera! And imagine that, I can also write!!!

Written by Borut Peterlin

8 November, 2015 at 22:21

Topshit Photo Safari was a success!

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Dear readers of my blog, I’m back! Not that I’ve left anywhere, but I was working really hard to make my workshop happen. I organised a five days workshop, two days working outdoor and three days working indoor. We covered wet plate collodion negatives, albumen printing, salt printing and collodion chloride printing. After that I had another two days of individual workshop on carbon printing. Very intense indeed!

I’ve decided to set up our headquarters in Sitarjeva hiša, a house from 1886 and was abandoned for last 17 years. It did not had a running water or electricity, but with the generous help of Anže Grabeljšek, Sanja Gorišek, Nastja Frey Gorše and municipality of Dolenjske Toplice, we sorted things out! I had many concerns and I had two back up options, but the house with it’s charisma is destined to host more art events! In fact I’m exhibiting new work there, so let me invite you to the exhibition of my panoramas on 27th of August at 7pm.

Expect more topshit events like this! For now I’m going to organise a workshop with a theme: Tribute to Ansel Adams. I’m planning a workshop on analog photography, with medium and large format cameras, for about 8 people. We will do rafting, camping, off roading and developing contact prints. We will explain the zone system, have a talk in the middle of forrest about Adams’s work and legacy… It will be 4th and 5th of September. The price for it is 250 EUR and includes cameras, films, paper, chemistry and food while camping. (Če razumeš slovensko, si avtomatsko zaslužiš konkreten popust) I know it’s short notice, but I have friends who already booked, so only few spaces are available, so we will not wait for you, but don’t worry, I will have more workshops. More topshit workshops is what we need! I will make an official notice in the following days. My email is borutpeterlin@gmail.com

I’m talking also with Nikon, we might make a photo-safari trip on digital photography during wine picking season. And I’m thinking to organise a collodion new year celebration in some cottage deep in the forrest of Slovenia (or is it properly written Slovakia?!?) What do you think, is it topshit enough idea?

Anyway, please check the images bellow and read captions and remember…
Topshit does happens!

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