Under this post there are many photographs of many cottages, some of them in perfect, mint condition and some are in ruins. In this area there was a strong community of Germans that conquered this wilderness 600 years ago. Even hundred years ago here was a large community of foresters, but after second world war, these people were chased away from their homes, so there are many many villages that are in total ruins.
At the moment I’m looking for a partner that would rent me a cottage where I would have a workshop for about 10 people. I think I found several potential places where we would sleep, eat and live photography. The last week of July 2016 I’m planning to have a real festival and why does it need to be in downtown city centre? Why not have it in deep forest far, far from civilisation.
To be honest I fall in love in the place of Kočevski rog, the peacefulness, the tranquilness I feel there. This is even beyond the reach of GSM signal, so you do not need to worry for your boss or wife to call you. I admit on the end I was daydreaming to buy an abandoned cottage and restore it, so some images bellow are of cottages in very bad state, but in a year everything could change. Most of this objects are closed or even abandoned so they would need to be cleaned, add new furniture and do lots of maintenance work. But hey, who is afraid of some hard work?
For historical photography processes of 19th Century you need only chemistry, water and sun, so I’ve also checked for possible sources of water. On the photographs you can see some water springs and of course that water is perfect for drinking.
I feel very good about the idea to have a photo festival in deep forest of Kočevski rog and the idea received very warm welcome by municipality, owners and local community on general. Fingers crossed!
I bet majority of my readers has never heard about Janez Puhar and his invention of photography on glass. He lived in first half of 19th Century in Austria-Hungary empire, in the region that is now known as Slovenia. He was fellow Slovenian. He was a priest by his profession and obviously a genius.
Apparently he spoke dozen languages and his letters in six different languages are preserved. He received an acknowledgement for his excellent knowledge of Hebrew. Obviously he spoke also French since it’s written that in 1840 he already made his first daguerreotype. Because he could not afford materials for daguerreotype, he soon started to innovate his own photography process. First records are that in 1841 he already had some successful experiments of photography on glass.
His story is very well presented at the dedicated site http://puhar.si/. Just let me highlight three facts about his career. His problem was that he was not a scientist and his job a priest made him move several times. His invention was introduced to the world too late. In 1851, about ten years after he invented the photography on glass the The Academy of Sciences in Vienna publishes his report on the invention and in the same year his photographs on glass were exhibited at the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in London. He was presented as “Pucher Johann, Veldes, Upper Carniola, Inventor”. It was accompanied by an explanation that he was displaying photography on glass created with a new method. He was awarded the bronze medal. Year later in 1852 he received an invitation to send his photographs for World’s Fair in New York in 1853. he send several. In year 1852 Puhar received the title of honorary member, and a diploma from the French “Académie nationale agricole, manufacturiere et commerciale”, recognising him, although somewhat late, as the “Inventeur de la photographie sur verre” (the inventor of photography on glass).
So the world heard about Puhar at the time when Fredrick Scott Archer already invented wet plate collodion process that was widely accepted by photographers throughout the world, because of that nobody repeated the process aside Puhar and the invention was forgotten.
Bellow are some images from the exhibition about Puhar with exhibited originals. Few weeks ago there was a symposium about the work of Puhar. I was there with my collodion gear and I made few portraits on glass.
I think Janez Puhar would like them.
On Saturday a group of Land Rover enthusiast were planning a trip near where i live, so I’ve joined them. I was suspicious if my old-timer will keep up the pace with the younger big brothers that had tires 255 85 R16 and engines with three time as many horsepower. By my complete surprise they were not waiting for me, my Land Rover Series 3 did climbed all the roads there. I didn’t go into the deepest mud, since that wouldn’t be right, but I did climbed all those roads. One was particularly scary. In the video you can see a road that has literally trenches diged by rain. You can’t hear me swearing when driving on the edge of that road and furthermore when my car stalled. It shouldn’t, but I’ve made a mistake. I knew I had to drive back, but before driving backwards down that hill I tried to get my car going again and by my complete surprise it was very easy! What a car!!! The only problem we had was the mud that got on an air filter of a Defender. We washed the filter with water and then dry it on an exhaust pipe. How cool is that! He, he, he…
The commentary is from Camel Trophy Mundo Maya 1995 and I’ve picked it because we all drive Land Rovers because of those adventures and it’s an excellent editing twist. You understand this is no convoy of 20 vehicles and this is not South America, but the commentary does fit perfectly at certain parts, so it’s confusing. ha, ha…
The result of this trip is that I’ve find out what my car is capable of. I wouldn’t dare to take those roads alone, but in a group of five Land Rover and they all have winches, I’ve give it a go and successfully finished the tour. Here are some pics with captions. Also the route that we took, so it’s evident that this was not off roading, all these roads are public roads, but after rain they aren’t for every vehicle.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
Today was a great day. Months of preparations, planning and hard work calumniated in the introduction of the house of Sitarjeva hiša in a new role. We’ve installed a darkroom, daylight working room, chilling room, a gallery and a dance room!
The house was made in 1887, but it was for last seventeen years abandoned. It does not have running water, electricity or heating. But We will change that. We are changing that! With the generous help of Anže Grabeljšek, Nastja Frey Gorše, Sanja Gorišek and municipality of Dolenjske Toplice, we are reviving the house in the centre of Dolenjske Toplice.
Everything is ready for the beginning of the topshit photography workshop in the centre of the topshit world! Expect more news from the workshop, expect traveling, adventure, weird creatures in castles, driving off road, swimming, rafting, camping, visiting museum collections and foremost making wet plate collodion negatives, salt prints and albumen prints.
Oh… Today we had a visit already! On Sunday I was portraying on the streets of Ljubljana and by pure coincidence I’ve met a journalist from USA, who is researching exactly what I do, traveling, workshops, creativity and adventure. Today she came for a visit and made an interview. I am not kidding you, it’s true! Hey, I’m preaching this all the times, so let me repeat again:
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.”