TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

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.

How to Publish a PhotoBook – Vlog E01/S01

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Dear followers,
I’ve been doing photography since I was a kid, from age 11 and when I was studying photography at FAMU Academy in Prague, we had to submit finalised project in a book form. I didn’t had the money for a book binder, so I’ve done it myself. I wasn’t a good bookbinder, but I loved the process of book making. I knew then that I want to do more books, I knew I love it, it’s perfect medium for my photography!

Fast forward 21 years later I’ve made about 30 handmade books, but I’ve published only one book, the book Tales from Gorjanci Hills and here is the link to the images. Technical note for photographers: those images are all shot on 6×7 format colour negative film! It was selectively illuminated and all done in one go. It took me 30-60 minutes for a single shot and because I wasn’t sure what has film recorded I repeated the take, so it was very slow progress.

Anyway all those years I tried to publish a book. I got great reviews and invitations for show, my work is published in many books if I mention few: Fabrica 10: From Chaos to Order and Back, Generation “74” and numerous art catalogues and magazines like  Museum Duolun from Shanghai, Days Japan from Tokio, Nikon magazine, …

But as I’ve expressed myself frustratingly, I did not managed to publish an art book of my own. Now this is going to change. Today is 14th of May 2016. In one year time I will publish an art book of my own. My cunning plan is revealed in the video. The information that I saved for my next video is that I am not intending to do a video that will be a checklist of  to-do list, no Sir, but I will make a video journal of my weekly steps in making the book published.

I was thinking which book should I publish first and on the end I’ve decided that if I want to make this vlog really interesting I have to start from scratch. I am starting a episode 01 of the series 01 without a single photograph taken. Don’t worry everything else is ready. On Monday rain will stop and then I’m off the leash!

Please do share the video, press like, subscribe and if you can afford to buy me one tea per month, please visit my patreon page. Lastly let me say I can’t answer all the email questions about the process, but I do answer to all the questions asked by my patrons, which is a great deal for 1$ a month support.

PS: To all my fellow european wet platers, I hope you will have a great time in Eindhoven at European Collodion Weekend, I am not coming because the very next weekend I’m traveling to Barcelona to Revela-T festival, where I have two workshops and a demonstration. Next year I will come to ECW with the new book, I’m sure of that!
PPS: Disclaimer voice by Fiona Campbell.

Written by Borut Peterlin

14 May, 2016 at 08:12

How to fix a starter of Land Rover Series 3

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Dear readers, I apologise for off-the-topic theme, but I assure you it’s not off the topic! It represents the phenomena of me being changed ever sinc I’ve started to do hand-made photography. You know, if you want to do wet plate collodion photography and other alternative processes, you will have a problem to buy all the tools you need. OK, there are few places that offer specialised tools, like silver-bath, camera bellows, etc. But you need awful lot of money to just buy all the stuff you need. But even if you do, sooner or later you will start making things, repairing small issues at first and the next moment you will be calculating atomic masses of molecules, while on your brand new circular saw cutting acrylic glass and fixing your car.

That’s what it happened to me. I used to do what I was told by TV, I used to be a very good consumer. But I got sick of it. I did not got any pleasures and as a photographer I’ve spent 95% behind computer. If I would love computer so much I would be hacker or even better an accountant hacking tax breakes.

After five years doing wet plate collodion photography, I’ve experienced a lot of ups and downs, but most importantly my confidence of making things grew. In this video I’m fixing starter of my old-timer from 1972, Land Rover 109. Luckily the part on the starter that make the flywheel spinning it was only stuck due to dirt and minor rust. It haven’t seen the light for 44 years!

So for now, this is it. I have a workshop coming. The big one, seven day long workshop. Participants are from Israel, Sweden and Germany and of course Slovenia. After the workshop I have some excellent news. Stay tuned.

Written by Borut Peterlin

23 April, 2016 at 08:06

Woodland Photography .eu

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WHAT:
Woodland Photography .eu is three day event in deep forest of Kočevski rog in Slovenia. The main theme is photography and environmentalism, so you can expect photography expeditions, talks, projections, exhibitions, challenges and even performances. And of course bonfire with acoustic music.
It will last three days, in the last weekend of July 2016 and on the last day, Sunday 31st, it will be open for public. The core group will be around 50 people, but on the last day, Sunday 31st, local community will join us so we expect more then 300 people.
The accent of this event is to experience primal environment and primal photography. And although this will not be a workshop in classical sense of the term, there will be many demonstrations of 19th Century photography processes, like wet plate collodion, dry plate collodion negative, salt printing, albumen printing, carbon printing, cyanotype, lumen prints, large format photography,film photography, etc. And of course digital photography will be very much present. We will do time-lapse photography, photo-hunting with long telephoto lenses,…
More about the program at the bottom of this post.

WHO:
For photographers and lovers of photography. The accent will be on analogue photography, like collodion and film photography, but also digital photography will be strongly represented.

WHEN:
29th, 30th and 31st of July 2016

WHERE:
In the middle of Kočevski rog – Resa, Slovenia, in one of the deepest forest of Europe.

FOOD & DRINKS:
Food & drinks will be available, but not for free. It will be possible to make your own food, meaning there will be open fire places, so you can make your own food. Indoor kitchen facility is limited. Shop is in the valley, that’s 30 minutes drive, so daily we will organise collective shopping list and somebody from organisers will go and buy groceries.

LANGUAGE: English and Slovenian

ACCOMMODATION & PARTICIPATION FEE
Evening program is open for public and free of charge. The camping, accommodation, food and drinks will be available for purchasing.

The participation fee depends on accommodation. The prices are for three nights, per person and the contribution for the program is included.
150 EUR for camping + program
200 EUR for accommodation in shared sleeping room + program
Renting a private room is possible, please send us an email.
Discounts:
Kids under age of 15 years have 50% discount (escorted by parent).
Youth under age of 25 years have 25% discount.

CONTACT:
Please email us to info@woodlandphotography.eu

PROGRAM:
FRIDAY, 29th of July 2016
08:00 – 09:00 Breakfast
09:00 – 12:00 Setting up working conditions, photo expedition
13:00 – 15:00 lunch break
15:30 – 19:00 Photo expedition
19:00 – 21:00 Dinner
21:30 – 23:00 Talk at bonfire

SATURDAY, 30th of July 2016
04:00 – 07:00 Photo-hunt (with an escort of a hunter*)
08:00 – 09:00 Breakfast
09:00 – 12:00 photo expedition to the peak of Rog
13:00 – 15:00 lunch break (at the location Žaga Rog)
15:30 – 18:00 Photo expedition to the caves of Željnske name
18:00 – 19:00 Dinner
19:00 – 21:00 Exhibition opening and talk in the caves
21:00 – 21:30 Returning to Resa
21:30 – 23:00 Talk at bonfire

SUNDAY, 31st of July 2016
04:00 – 07:00 Photo-hunt (with an escort of a hunter*)
08:00 – 09:00 Breakfast
09:00 – 13:00 Photo expedition
10:00 – 16:00 Flea market (local hand craft, second hand photo gear, photo books,…)
13:00 – 15:00 lunch break
15:00 Forum of local community
16:00 – 18:00 Photo expedition
19:00 – 21:00 Dinner
21:30 – 23:00 Talk at bonfire

* Additional charging
Hunter escort, flying with paraglider, rafting,… are arranged individually and charged additionally.

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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Woodburytype – reinvented!

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Very few of readers of my blog will still remember my post published in 2014 where I’m showing my first concrete steps in reviving woodburytype process (LINK). Two years later I can finally say I’ve cracked the process and modernise it.

Let me explain. I’ve first learn about woodburytypes in 2013, at the workshop of carbon printing in George Eastman House. You can read more about Woodburytype process at Wikipedia or even better, look at the video bellow. But let me summarise why I like so much woodburytype and why is it worth to revive the process.

The woodburytype process was invented in 1864 by Water Woodbury and it was the first mechanical printing process that could print a photograph in good quality. Actually that is the under statement. The woodburytype – mechanically printed – print is the same quality like a photograph is! Wiki:

The Woodburytype process was a unique photomechanical process as it was the only practical fully continuous-tone photomechanical process ever invented.

You may take a magnifying glass and you will have a real problem to find a distinction of woodburytype print and carbon print photograph. But that said the process got extinct because of three reasons.
Firstly it was very slow. Printing houses could print about 100 photographs per hour.
Secondly, text could not be printed on the same page, so the woodburytype print had to be manually glued into a book or a magazine.
Thirdly Woodburytype process used huge printing presses for making mould or intaglio from which a woodburytype print was printed. For about 21x30cm photograph (A4 format) a pressure of about 400 tons was needed to make a mould thus the process was reserved only for big industrial printing houses, no amateur could have a press like that, so with the closure of the last woodburytype printing house in about 1900’s also the process died out.

A book by Woodbury with original woodbury type prints from 1875. These are woodbury type prints that are in principle the same as carbon prints, just the process is different.

A book by Woodbury with original woodbury type prints from 1875.

But ever since I’ve seen original woodburytypes I knew the process is really special and worth reviving because of two reasons. It is still the best printing process of photographs ever invented and it’s still the most archival printing process ever invented! Two reasons are enough?

n last hundred or so years there were few attempts to do woodburytype process but let me highlight only Oliver Barret who even wrote a book about the inventor. You may see him printing a woodburytype print at the link bellow. Also Paul Bloomfield published a video about his woodburytpe process. Although the results of modern woodburytypes, that I’ve managed to see on Internet are not a match to the quality of 19th Century’s woodburytypes, I was not discouraged.

Because I do not have an access to a powerful press, my starting premise was that I need to bypass the need for huge press machines. Mark Osterman told me about Stannotype and even was kind enough to send me instruction manual from 19th Century on the topic of Stannotype, but in the manuals there were only general principals how to do Stannotype. I’ve ditched all the historical manuals from 19th Century and decided it to follow the long path of trial and error. I knew what am I looking for and with many trial & error I’ve learned what works and what does not.

image3-4

Relief of pigmented gelatine from which a mould is made. For authentic woodburytype the relief was imprinted in lead plate.

I’ve started with the knowledge I got from Mark Osterman on carbon printing and then slowly changing the parameters until I’ve successfully made a huge relief of pigmented gelatine, that was also technically perfect. Not a single stone in the process was not left unturned, I finished with completely new receipts and methods. But it works! I must come up with the name of the process. How does topshitype sounds like! (joke)

I waited with announcement on my blog about my re-invention because I wanted to print this landscape carbon print motif, but the process demands preciseness and the preciseness demands time, which I didn’t had, so I’ve ruined the carbon print and the intaglio. Now it will take another two weeks to make new intaglio, but then I can print many prints in an hour.

Jane Fonda (b. 1937) three-color Carbro. Dated March 3, 1960. 526 x 432 mm. (http://www.photoconservation.com/)

Jane Fonda (b. 1937) three-color Carbro. Dated March 3, 1960. 526 x 432 mm. (http://www.photoconservation.com/)

My vision is to make a printing house that will print books in “woodburytype” process. I know that with the help of robotisation the printing house can deliver books that will be unprecedented quality. At the moment I’m making my “woodburytypes” with analogue photography, but I already have plans how to print digital files. (No, the digital negative is not the answer!) Also I have a theory how to make colour woodburytypes. If you ever seen carbro three-color photographs – IN PERSON – then you know that they are the best colour photographs your eyes has ever look upon! And on top of that it’s the most archival photographical process, it does not fade!!!

OK, Internet, I haven’t apply or receive any grants for more then a decade, but now I would need to get my back covered, because I need time to continue the research. Could you please send me a tip who would be interested in this kind of research and this vision of mine? You can leave a comment or send me an email to borutpeterlin@gmail.com

From barbed wired EU border, with love…

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Some time ago I’ve made a video about barbed wired EU border (link) and here is another episode from the project. I do not know exactly how will it developed, but I feel the need to document the time and place where I live. I enjoy these expeditions so much. Being away from everyone, from everything doing photography, but not being sure if anybody including myself needs those images. As a professional photographer I’ve developed  disfunctionality because photography as a medium is the main source of income and although this is a good thing in the manner I am entitled to devote most of my time to the medium it also creates huge aberration in the process of evaluating the work that I do.  This is the aberration I’m mentioning, but I have blind faith that this will pay for my retirement, because social security surely will not.

My next step is to make prints out of the negatives. It will be very different then those digitally converted reproductions, but about that in the next video.

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