Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Archive for the ‘Photojournalism’ Category

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

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…






A creative portrait of Matic Zorman, a photojournalist

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Matic Zorman is a young photojournalist whose work was noted many times. In this issue of Mladina weekly, we are publishing his profile with my portrait of him. We had a such a laugh while working on this image. It’s done in Wet Plate Collodion technique, format 4×5″. We did it during Fotopub festival and Miša Keskenović and Matej Povš were helping me a lot. THX!

Govor veleposlanika ZDA Joseph Mussomeli, Križanke, Ljubljana, 3.7.2012,

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Joseph A. Mussomeli, US Ambassador to Slovenia.

Few hours ago I was photographing a news event, U.S. Independence Day Celebration in Ljubljana, where U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia Joseph Mussomeli gave a speech that should echo widely. Slovenia is ruled by politicians that are obsessed with ideological differences. They are very successful in their intention to divide Slovenian nation on those who are “with us” and those who are “against us”. That is why this speech of ambassador Mussomeli touched me deeply as a voice of reason, so I’m passing it on.

HERE is a link to the scan of the speech, so you can read it.


Pred nekaj urami sem fotografiral dogodek praznovanja obletnice ameriške neodvisnosti, kjer je imel veleposlanik ZDA, Joseph Mussomeli, govor, ki mora odmevati. V teh časih, ko Sloveniji vladajo politične elite, ki so obsedene z ideološkim pravdanjem in so zelo uspešne v razdvajanju ljudi na ta bele in ta rdeče, je prav, da si lahko v miru preberemo to sporočilo in se zamislimo. Ta govor sem dojel kot glas razuma, ki se me je dotaknil, tako ga posredujem naprej.

TUKAJ je povezava na slovenski prevod govora.


Written by Borut Peterlin

3 July, 2012 at 23:12

Anže Kopitar / LA Kings, back in Slovenia

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A bouquet of white roses with Anže Kopitar and fans. Ljubljana Airport, Slovenia.

To keep my promise to post pics more regulary, here is a picture that I’ve shot few hours ago. It’s taken when Anže Kopitar famous hockey player that won with LA Kings the Stanly Cup. Picture belongs to my Flower Power series, where I document flowers on news events in a way that I don’t celebrate politician or a famous person, but I focus on a flower and the famous person on the picture is degraded to a disturbing background. If you don’t see the concept in this picture, please take a look on my site where Flower power project contains flowers with Putin, Bush, DalaiLama, Mubarak, Merkel, Powel, Jnaša, Drnovšek, Turk,…

PS: Actually the picture above is straight from the camera. Here is a bit fine tuned version.

My finest interview portrait – Jože Mencinger

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I’m commissioned by Mladina weekly to do many portraits and that’s either creative far out portraits of artists or portraits that illustrate interviews. This Monday I’ve made a portrait of Jože Mencinger, a former Slovenian minister of economic development and acknowledged economist. I’ve made few portraits with digital camera and then one more with Linhof Technika, a large format camera. I asked him to make a portrait outside although it was rainy, in fact since it was discussion about recession I wanted to make a portrait of him with umbrella. It turned out to be one of my best interview portraits. Usually Mladina’s magazine layout demands a square format of a portraits for interviews, but in this case creative director Robert Botteri made a custom design so the image was not cropped and it shines in full specter. THX!!!

On Wednesday I’ve returned the Linhof camera to the owner and it felt like breaking with a girlfriend so now I’m compulsively buying another Linhof Master Tehnika. I’ve published my intention on FB and Twitter and two friends offered me their camera to buy / borrow, so on Monday I’m back on saddle again.


Za Mladino običajno delam portete bodisi umetnikov na kreativen način ali pa portrete, ki ilustrirajo intervjuje. Minuli ponedeljek sem portretiral Jožeta Mencingerja, znanega ekonomista in bivšega ministra za gospodarstvo. Sprva sem naredil par običajnih digitalnih portretov, potem pa sem ga prosil, da narediva portret še z analogno kamero Linhof Master Tehnika, formata 9x12cm. Prosil sem, da narediva portret zunaj, na dežju z dežnikom. Pač v intervjuju je govor o recesiji in vladnih ukrepih, tako je bilo kislo vreme kar ustrezna kulisa. Portret je izjemno dobro izpadel, še posebej, ker se je še posebej potrudil kreativni urednik Botteri in prikrojil grafični design fotografiji. Namreč običajno se od nas zahteva portret kvadratnega formata, a tako postavljena, neizrezana fotografija zares zasije v vsem svojem sijaju. THX!

V sredo sem moral vrniti Linhofco lastniku in počutil sem se kot srednješolec, ki ga je zapustilo dekle, zato trenutno kompulzivno kupujem drugo Linhofco. Objavil sem zapis na FB in Twitterju in dva prijatelja sta se ponudila, da mi posodita / prodata svojo, tako sem v ponedeljek spet v sedlu!

Concert of Siddharta in Anton Podbevšek Teater

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Anton Podbevšek Teater is one of my favorite clients and photographing theater performances is a real challenge. Last Friday in the theater there was a rock concert with one of best Slovenian rock bands Siddharta. Concert lasted for more then 2,5 hours without stopping. Really cool! Concert photography is not my main kind of photography, but if I’m taking pictures, then I want to do them really good. I’m really pleased with this set of images that I’ve done. Few of them are shot by my wife Alenka Peterlin. I’ll teach about postprocess in Lightroom on my workshop in Ribnica organized by Foto Inkubator on 17.3.2012.

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