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Although I used to work for Fabrica.it, a research communication centre of United Colors of Benetton group, fashion photography never really interested me. Fashion never interested me either. But then again fashion photography is just a photography, so if you can make landscape photography, then you can make fashion photography, right? Wrong. There are many beautiful landscape photographs, but photographers ruin the photo by forgetting to dress their models! D’oh!!!
In my case, if a stylist and make up artist take care of their part of the job I will certainly not fail in photography part of the job. I understand light and flashes very well. I can feel it on my bladder what the end effect will be if I change the set up of lights. I guess every photographer who learned photography in film era had to develop a skilful bladder to see a photograph while taking it and not only after the films were developed. I know that doesn’t make sense for the new generation of photographers and rightly so! New era, new technology, new rules, new photographers! Good, don’t listen to old cold farts! I never did, either!
These images are of Jana and Jerica, girls from my neighbourhood. They have ambition for modelling and I was asked to make few portraits of them. As it happens two students of photography were also assisting me, Sanja Gorišek and Nastja Frey Gorše, so I’ve proposed that they should start collaborating. I’ve gave them my equipment with the following instructions:
The first lesson that I will give you is the most important of all! Here you have my equipment and do some photography. Nobody is expecting anything from you, so this is the perfect time to learn how to enjoy the game of photography. If you will not learn how to enjoy your profession, you will suffer immensely and more successful you will be, the worse it will be! So the lesson number one is the most important one, that is to enjoy the profession you intend to devote your life upon!
After occurred half an hour, the four girls relaxed, started to collaborate and enjoyed the shooting. I’m publishing portraits that we’ve done together, some were done by Nastja and Sanja alone, some were done by them with my guidance and some were shot by me. If you can’t distinguish which one are done by me and which are done by Sanja Gorišek and Nastja Frey Gorše, then that’s fantastic, my job is done!
We’ve used Nikon D4, Speedlights SB910 and SB800 with transmitter, Balcar Jazz flashes, Electrona flash feeder, firefly soft box, one large soft-box and that’s about it. In fact, Slovenian national TV made a short interview with me, while we were working together. You can click on THIS LINK and go to the end of the clip, to 17:09 minutes.
Sunday was a good day. 15 years ago me and my wife (girlfriend at the time) we took a course for glider plane and yesterday we celebrated our 20th anniversary at the airfield. This is my first flight after six years at very bumpy weather. Flying is like riding a bicycle, you never forget, but still an instructor is good to have.
A month ago I was in George Eastman House in Rochester on a workshop of glass negative retouching. I made a personal resolution to do a pilgrimage to GEH once a year, as it’s was very inspiring experience to learn from fantastic mentors, Mark Osterman and Nick Brandreth . Furthermore at these workshops you are invited in the GEH’s collection where examples from history of photography are presented.
Retouching basically means drawing and I do not know how to draw or better I have still much to learn about drawing. Nevertheless I’m satisfied with the results presented in the video. Of course, retouching of eyes is the most difficult thing, but my clumsy retouching is what makes the image scary. If you look at the albumen print from a retouched negative, you would never guessed that it’s retouched, if you would not see it doing and if you were not an expert in retouching. I trust my wife’s opinion, she is very cruel in her judgement toward my work and she said it’s OK. And her opinion with all due respecte overrates Mark Osterman’s opinion, which I know it’ll be critical. I totally follow his teaching, but on the aesthetic point of view we often respectfully disagree. I love his work, perfect in any view, but you see my character is different. I’m not a tidy person, I don’t find my plates messy. I could make them totally technically perfect, but I welcome some stains on corners of my plates. Like my sink, it’s not dirty! It simply isn’t! Yes it does has many silver stains and I will not clean them with aggressive chemicals, because that would just be Sisyphus’s work! So under topshit doctrine, cleaning a sink basically means irresponsible pollution of environment and consequently burning in hell! Ha!!!
Where was I?
I learned a lot at this workshop. Like I’ve down hundreds of salt prints already, but observing Mark making salt prints I’ve learned many small tricks. One of it is the following. For sensitising salt paper we usually use cotton ball and then we trow it away. What Mark does is after senzibilisation he squeezes the remaining silver nitrate into a jar and then recover this polluted silver. How brilliant is that?! Just think how much silver nitrate is thrown away with filtering, sensitising and so on? In a month time with this practice I saved almost one decilitre of silver nitrate! I can’t write all the tips & tricks I’ve learned from Mark, since that would be more suitable for a book, then a blog :-)
Let me finish this blogpost with a very comforting information that if with retouching you screw up the negative, you can undo it! For instance. If you add too much graphite on your negative, you can wipe it away with fine powder of a cuttle fish. That’s the white powder I was using in the video. With it you can remove unwanted retouching. You can also do the more drastic measure like removing whole varnish from the negative and with it the mistake you’ve made. Remember, the retouching is not happening on the collodion, but on the varnish.
That’s the main difference between dry silver-gelatine negatives and collodion negatives. Silver-gelatine negative can be scratched into emulsion whereas collodion has very very thin layer of silver (that’s what it makes it the sharpest photography medium ever) and if you would try to scratch silver from collodion negative, you would scratch it right trough.
So, Mark gave me also information on collodion-chloride paper and when I was at home, I try it, but I haven’t dry the paper sufficiently and the collodion-chloride paper got stuck on the collodion negative. I basically ruin it, the negative can not be used anymore. Then I took alcohol, diluted it to 85% and start washing the negative in the alcohol. The varnish dissolved and with it also collodion-chloride emulsion. This is not the work for light hearted one, because you can easily ruin the negative, especially if the collodion used for the negative was old. Old collodion is fragile and lost it’s flexibility and therefor it’s very fragile. There was a small chance that Mark was using very old collodion, so I washed the varnish away and revarnished the plate again. Now I can retouch it again.
The two photographs that I’ve made are available for purchase on Ebay. I added also the third one, but this one is from unretouched negative. I made it later then the video, my wife says that it’s my best photograph and so it is. You don’t want to argue with my wife, OK? Trust me on this one!!!
Please follow the link bellow. I’m blogging for already nine years, I’ve wrote more then 1000 blog posts and I’m receiving emails to publish more, make more videos. I would love to, that would be my dream job, but as a professional photographer, I need to make a living and support my family first. That said, if you would consider to give me a tip for the videos I make and the information I share, it would be most appreciated. You can tip me via Paypal and my paypal account is firstname.lastname@example.org
I feel privileged to be a photographer of Anton Podbevšek Teater, an avant-garde theatre. Past week there was a theatre performance dealing with a topic of a human to resist to cause a resistance. This is a teaser and photographs I’ve made. It’s great to spend time with such a talented artists and being a witness of a production of a theatre performance. Photographs and this short video teaser was done by me.
Concept: Beton Ltd.
Concept and creation of short films: Rok Biček,
Klemen Dvornik, Žiga Virc
Music: Dead Tongues (Janez Weiss, Jure Vlahovič)
39. premiere of Anton Podbevšek Teater
In Friday’s issue of Mladina weekly there will be an article about my portraits and I’ve made this self-portrait today with the help of my wife Alenka Peterlin. The inspiration for the portrait was a couple. First I’ve heard many times, that in wetplate technique I look like a native American, second inspiration was to include an element of exploration and third was that it should look raw.
That’s my aim in photography to explore, search and learn. I know I’m doing it in primitive, raw way, but that’s exactly me, having a hell of a good time. Photography is for me what for some people religion is. A mean to become a better man, to transcend boundaries that were set, to change the world. I hope this (blind) faith is captured in the image ;-)
Technical side: It was pretty cold, like -2C and to work at this temperature I’m using a normal developer, I’m just developing longer. Usually about 30-35seconds. I extend also sensibilisation of a plate from usual 3 minutes to 5 minutes. And that all there is. Sometimes I add two drops of nitric acid in 100ml of developer, but that’s not so important at working bellow 0C. It was a lot of light so the exposure was 3sec, f/11. This portrait was taken with Kodak Folding Brownie 3A from year about 1905.
I couldn’t have done the portrait without my lovely wife Alenka Peterlin, she is also a photographer. Thank you ;-)
You can see this and many other of my creative portraits on the exhibition in the gallery of Institut Jozef Stefan. Opening Monday 18.2.2013 at 18.00.
Uf, this day are fleeing as crazy. I’ll try to make short posts with lots of images. With Miša Keskenović we had a workshop of Wet Plate Collodion in Trieste and few days later I had a demonstration of Wet Plate Collodion photography in Maribor. Last but not least I’m running a class on collodion photography on VIST college. What I am trying to say is that my life is evolving around Wet Plate Collodion photography and I must say I’m enjoying immensely. It just takes so much time… Today I started to work on a real proper photographic personal project and in four hours I’ve shot like four perfect photographs. It takes a lot of time and patience to make it perfect, but that’s as I call it zen thing. With Miša we have next workshop on Fotopub festival in Novo mesto, Slovenia between 25 till 28 of July 2012. It’s going to be for four days and we accept only 10, maximum 12 people, no more! The fee is 250EUR and that includes material costs. Hurry, I know this will be sold out before the deadline.
PS: Pictures from the workshops are taken by Branimir Ritonja (MB) and Dr. Photo (TR)