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Archive for the ‘personal thoughts’ Category

Sort of good bye to Jure Breceljnik

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I can’t write any blog post before I don’t say goodbye to my dear friend Jure Breceljnik who has died last week. We studied together at Famu, Prague’s Academy and he was a great influence and great support for me. Oh, I borrowed his equipment zillion times and with his gear I’ve earned money for my own equipment. He was easily the brightest kid in the class, the kind of guy that sort things out. I remember at the age of 20 or so he started a festival World Young Photography and because he really pulled huge project together, a professor gave him an excellent mark 1, although he never saw any image from Jure that semester.

I remember our countless trips driving from Ljubljana to Prague and back, flickering of street lights, endless discussions about art and the plans that will we do for the eternity. The soundtrack was Nick Cave, Do you Love Me. I remember Austrian border control and our fears that this time they will not let us pass with very old and rusty car Zastava 101. Ja, ja bisschen rustig aber sehr kunstlig… I’m sure that still doesn’t make any sense, but it got that police officer smile and let us go our way with that dubious car.

In 1994-1998 when we studied photography, there was no college for photography in Slovenia and we needed to go abroad, so few of us coming from Slovenia, we bond firmly like brothers and sisters. We were helping each outer as much as we could.

I remember one anecdote. Jure asked us to make a group photo of us, but we had to be nude and he assured us that nobody will see this photographs, except teachers at the college. I didn’t care, but others were concerned. As it happened with this series of images Jure won Emzin’s award Photographer of the Year 1998 and the photo of us full monty was in every Slovenian newspaper, on TV and on the exhibition.

I drove first time to Prague with that car together with three friends, that I’ve just met. Jure was driving, Tina was in bad mood sitting in the front and with Blaž we were sitting at the back. As it turned out Blaž committed suicide in 2001, Tina committed a suicide few years later only Jure escaped the whirl of negative energy and became again creative and super productive, when he got married and became a father of half a year old daughter, his heart left him. The cause of his death is not yet established, since he died in Belgium and the autopsy wasn’t been performed yet, but from the circumstances it sound like the most logical conclusion.

Few years ago, Jure sold me his 4×5″ camera. The camera will remain focused, my friend, rest in peace. Let me finish this post with Nan Goldin‘s qute: “I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.”


Written by Borut Peterlin

23 July, 2015 at 23:47

Posted in personal thoughts

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The spirit of pioneers can not be outsourced!

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This is dried casein protein which I’ve extracted from milk (link to the tutorial) might be a solution in my research of modernizing woodburytype process. As a digital photographer you never think that you could improve the process, you only can wait for the next new camera model from Japan, because we are foremost consumers! Whereas if you make everything by yourself, you start experimenting alternative ways to achieve better photography process! The pioneer’s spirit of photography is alive, it’s still alive and on top of everything, it can never be outsourced!!!

Written by Borut Peterlin

17 October, 2014 at 10:10

I have a new website www.borutpeterlin.com

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Screen shot 2013-09-28 at 10.42.22 PM
Ciao tutti,
I have a new website, redesigned with new logo and everything. Tomato Košir, one of the best Slovenian graphic designers designed the logo and helped me with other elements. Yesterday I’ve wrote new version of my fictional biography. I love it! Please click on the image for the link or at www.borutpeterlin.com

Written by Borut Peterlin

28 September, 2013 at 22:51

Posted in personal thoughts, Photography

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Do you know this one: Borut Peterlin & a frog?

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Do you know this one?

    When Borut Peterlin comes to a doctor and take off his T-shirt and on his back is a frog! A big frog, you know, that large ugly Bufo Bufo frog? The frog actually grown out from his back. Doctor stared speechless for a minute and then he asked, how did this happen??? Than the frog says; first there was a pimple on my stomach and look what grew out of it!

I went to a doctor when I could not ignore anymore the pimple on my back and she cut it out. Now I have a hole radius of 2.54 cm or 1″! It will become a really nice scar in my collection of scars. Tattoos are for girls, scars are for men. With this scar I could say it was a stabbing wound 🙂

PS: If you are going to tell the joke, I advise you to change character depending on your geographic location. If you are in:
Slovenia / The frog & a Roma
USA / The frog and an Afro American
UK / The frog and a Pakistani
Germany / The frog and an Englishman
Russia / The frog and a gay
Poland / The frog and a Russian
Bosnia / The frog and a Serb
Serbia / The frog and a Croatian
Croatia / The frog and a Slovenian
and so on…

Written by Borut Peterlin

15 September, 2013 at 23:42

Posted in personal thoughts

Homage to Paul Graham

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Paul Graham at the workshop in Fabrica in year 2000

Last week I was on a vacation and I’ve read a book review of newest project by Paul Graham at Aphotoeditor by Robert Haggart. I’ve first encountered Paul Graham’s work at an exhibition at Month of Photography in Bratislava, year 1994. It was an exhibition of New British Documentary Photography. When I was in Fabrica, Benetton’s communication research centre, year 2000, he had a two days workshop there. Until then I didn’t fancy his aesthetic, but I understood his topics and I loved his early works especially Beyond Caring and Troubled Land. His work you don’t understand on a first glance, it took me a while of reading and contemplation to get familiar with the idea that war photography can be done with medium format camera from far and it’s OK, that your pictures aren’t good enough because you’re not close enough.

While we had a workshop together he asked from us to go out and make pictures, that we wouldn’t otherwise, we were asked to make mistakes, rigorous technical and compositional mistakes. We went out and each of us shot a roll of film and I took it as a joke, throwing camera in the air and taking pictures with a timer on and of course nobody took an effort to look trough a viewfinder. And accordingly that’s how our pictures look like, a one big mess! Paul came along and start shuffling pictures and out of this mess of unsharp, blurry, over&under exposed pictures made a series that actually looked really cool! Then he was talking about possible connotations that this kind of aesthetic could be applied to. I was astonished! What a good workshop!

So when I read the book review that I’ve mentioned before I clicked through the book and as always it’s not on a first ball as we say it, but as all Graham’s projects it takes some time to get familiar with his new “invention” in photography. To be honest my belief was that diptychs, triptychs and other typtichs are for photographers who can not make a good picture, then they do some distracting maneuvers with juxtaposing several images together. In 99% it’s like that, if you ask me, or even more if the theme of the series is dealing with identity of a photographer (grow up!).

But, I’m also great fan of Duane Michals and his way of transcending an image with a sequence and Graham’s diptychs are sharing a some sort of rhythm that I like. Furthermore this is actually a street photography, a contemporary modern version street photography, that I adore. Robert Haagart wrote:

“But, inch by inch, I realized that the book’s locale is strictly allegorical. It could have been London, or Barcelona, or San Francisco, or almost any city on Earth. The title of the book is not “NYC,” it’s “The Present.” Mr. Graham is asking us to take him at his word, and look beyond the obvious.”

At the moment I was reading this I was at a vacation at the sea site in Nerezine, Croatia, so I wondered if it could have been NY, London, Barcelona, why not Nerezine as well? I took my camera and the very next day I’ve made a jackpot of an image that I’m publishing bellow. I’m continuing with the mining the concept…


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Family summer time in 6×6 format

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Few days before with my family we left for summer vacation to a seaside I’ve bought a “new” camera Mamiya C330, so I was excited to try it out. I never liked the square format, as a student and as a young professional, but I guess it’s because square format was a trade mark of Hasselblad, that I couldn’t afford 🙂

I looked at my bookshelf, thinking who is a master of square format photography. My first pick was Mary Ellen Mark and her book Indian Circus, then I checked The Hasselblad Masters awards. The Hasselblad awards didn’t inspire me (I can do better), but with Mary Ellen Mark I found some good clues how to deal with the square format.

I was thinking… Square is a stable, boring format and to make the image interesting I must brake this stableness with composition. My first rule was to fill the image with the subject all the way to the borders and even across the border. That was the idea for the picture published above and on the left side. OK, I admit, I didn’t discover America, but playing with concepts and aesthetics is inevitably leading us to new “discoveries” as I call personal micro revelations 🙂

Second inspiration was the book On Photography by Susan Sontag. I’ve read it twice, but that was some time ago, so why not follow the Atheism 2.0 commandment to repeat the lessons over and over again. It’s the basis of every religion so it must make sense. While reading Sontag’s words on how photography is surreal, the most appropriate medium for modernistic art, I understood everything. World make sense if viewed through a lens of a camera.

Last but not least, this adventure back to black and white analog photography is bringing good old memories from Prague’s Famu Academy where I earned my BA in photography. I know I’m repeating some lessons from history of photography, but I don’t do it because of the love towards the history, but I’m doing it for the love of photography and to the love to my family. More of my Family Album project you can see on my site www.borutpeterlin.com.This is not the end result it’s just warming up! I’m inspired as Apollo 11 rocket!

PS: Under comment leave a link to a site of a photographer who work in an inventive way with a square medium format camera. I want to grasp as much info as I can.

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My love affair with middle format cameras (Mamiya, Bronica, Yashica, Fuji,…)

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As followers of my blog might know, I got into large format photography. First only with Wet Plate Collodion technique, but then when I run out of chemicals, I started to shoot also film. I got into it right away! I mean I’ve shoot 26 film folders with about 100 films in each before I started digital, so it’s not like I discovered America, but I must admit, that in this digital revolution I left out many things, that I didn’t know I’m missing them. Like the smell of fixir on your fingertips 🙂

But seriously in this digital revolution suddenly all images are the same. The same optics, the same flashes, printers, the same images… And when I started to rediscover the analog cameras again, I felt a child-like joy and things started happening. Like the other day I was walking through storage room of a friend and noticed Zenza Bronica ETRS, format 6×4,5 and I borrowed the camera that nobody was using for a very long time. Then another friend borrowed me a Mamiya C220, a twin-lens camera format 6×6 and I loved it. I was publishing pics by this camera and a Facebook friend offered me a Mamiya C330 camera for 200 EUR. That offer you can not refuse so I’ve bought it. It’s in mint condition! The seller told me a lot about the former owner of this camera and I’m feeling kind of guilty that I’m dragging this camera constantly with me, whereas the former owner was taking it out only on special occasions.

On the end of the day I’m suspecting it’s middle age crisis kicking in. When I was studying photography in 90’s this cameras were really expensive. Like a camera like that was half the price of a car and now, thanks to digital revolution, nobody wants them anymore! Thank you, very much!

Here are few recent pictures. Square ones are with Mamiya C220, lens 80mm, f/2,8 and rectangular ones are with Zenza Bronica ETRS, lens 150mm, f/3,5.

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The last image: Daughters are delighted by father’s new camera!

Written by Borut Peterlin

18 August, 2012 at 16:08