TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Posts Tagged ‘alternative printing

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.

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

Wet Plate Collodion at -9C, plus carbon print process!

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So I’ve received a request if I’m selling also ambrotypes. I don’t because ambrotypes are unique, there is only one and once it’s sold I will never see it again. But I’ve replied that I do sell pre-ordered ambrotype. So when I will go outside next time, I can make an additional ambrotype for a client. If the client likes it, he or she buys it, if not, no problem at all, no questions asked. And pre-ordered ambrotype is also sold for much less I would usually charge.

So here is the result. The client asked if he can buy it in wooden box and so I’ve done some research, I’ve made a boxe from pine-wood and even blast-sanded it. It’s massive wood (not glued wood boards) and pine wood is known for it’s tensions, so it bended. For  the next box I’ve chosen cherry wood and this was much better. The final touch is the trophy plate with engraved information about the plate and my signature. How do you like it?

In this video I’m making carbon prints. I love carbon  prints. I think it’s the best that photography as a medium can offer. Of course this is a subjective opinion, but please object only if you have seen a good carbon print on glass – in person. It’s translucent silkiness of carbon prints can not be compared with any dot-on-paper principle printing process. It’s unique.

To fund my work I have to sell these babies. The carbon print on paper is listed HERE and the carbon print of glass is listed HERE.
I have a stupid anecdote to share. We had an attempt of burglary in our house. The attempt failed, since I had my German Shepherd – Mike in the house and that convinced the thief to retreat. After that I thought, shit I’m keeping all my savings in a drawer! I must hide it somewhere. And I did. And the very next day I didn’t remembered where I’ve hide it, now I’m totally without any cash whatsoever. Luckily I have some money on my paypal, so I can fill up the gap and pay the bills, but

imagine how stupid do I feel! Plus I searched the whole house again and again, but without success. Anyway I’m telling you this because I do feel stupid and I want to “enjoy” the suffering so much that I will never repeat it again!

Screenshot 2016-02-24 11.04.29

Listed on ebay for 7 days!

Screenshot 2016-02-24 11.09.24

Listed on ebay for 5 days!

 

 


ON THE WET PLATE COLLODION AT -9C
OK, I’ve done three videos on the subject how to do wet plate collodion at cold temperatures and none of them covers the all aspects. It’s impossible to cover all the aspects because everything needs to be reevaluated. Ditch the timer, you don’t need it. For instance in collodion manuals it is usually written that sensibilization time is 3 minutes for ambrotype. The truth is that the sensibilization time varies on the working conditions, the acidity of the silver bath, the strength of silver bath, the freshness of the silver bath, the level of iodine in silver bath and so on. What I learned from Mark Osterman is to evaluate the sensibilization visually. Do this tests and you will appreciate his wisdom.

Sensitizing

  1. pour the plate and dip it in silver nitrate bath as you usually do.
  2. after 40 seconds, in safelight conditions, take the silver-plate out and look at it, then immediately dip it back in siverbath.
  3. repeat after 90 seconds, 120 seconds, 180 seconds
  4. observe how the surface of the plate is changing. You will notice the following pattern. At the beginning silver will be on the plate in drops, very oily kind of pattern. Then longer it will stay in the silver-bath, collodion will accept more of the silver-nitrate, more smoother the silver will flow on the surface of the plate.
  5. when there is no more silver drops on the collodion  plate, when silver nitrate flows smoothly, the plate is ready to be taken out.
  6. In some cases, when I had 9% solution, that was freshly boiled and working in temperature of 25C and I was agitating a bit, the sensibilization times were less then a minute! In times when it’s cold, times might be 6 minutes. Of course judging visually!

Pouring collodion
So this is the most important advice I want to give you. Of course take special attention to poured on plate, if collodion has set. Touch the pouring corner and if finger-print is overflown by collodion again, then wait few more seconds and repeat the test and when you can see that the collodion does not flow anymore, then dip it in silver nitrate. You might make a collodion that has solvents in ratio 65% of ether, 35% of alcohol. It will dry faster, but I work with my usual 50:50 ratio. During summer I do change the ratio to 30 ether : 70 alcohol. Plus more ether makes better ambrotypes, more alcohol makes better negatives. (More in the Collodion Manual)

Developing
I can not tell you the time of development, nobody can, you have to judge it visually. Of course if you’re an avid collodion photographer you do this routinely. If you are not, let me say few words. When you pour developer, observe the plate, count seconds loudly. So when the highlight will start to appear, multiply the time with three. So if the highlights are there already at 4 seconds it will be around 12 seconds. If the highlight will start to appear at 10 seconds, the developing time might be more like 30 seconds. OK, when I say highlight, it can be highlight of a face or a sky. Of course sky will appear much faster then a highlight patch on a nose, so take my advice on seconds approximately.

Developer
At freezing point I usually have 10 gr of ferrosulfate in 100 ml of developer. If it’s hot I reduce it down to 3,5 gr.

Heating plates and chemistry
I don’t recommend it. If you do not have a camper with permanent heating, then I don’t recommended. Because the heating will cool down, so you will not have a steady temperature and your results might be all over the place. My advice is that you do not heat up anything, so you will have steady temperature, which might be -5C, but at least when you will figure it out, you will have steady working conditions! The worst is that you get a good result, but then the temperature of your chemistry has dropped and you will have different results and there are so many variables, that it’s very likely you will get many problems. The only heating I recommend is long underwear and double socks.

Freezing water
In the video I forgot to put table salt in my water. One teaspoon of table salt will prevent water from freezing even at -6C. I’m adding salt even during hot temperatures, because salt will react with silver-nitrate and stop developing process immediately, thus clear blacks.

That’s about it! Enjoy making ambrotypes or better ambroice, a term coined by Scott Anton.

About this
Last but not least, I thank you for supporting my videos, blog posts and my work on general. You can do that by becoming my Patreon, bidding on my ebay auctions, buying work from me directly, taking my workshops or even sending me a tip on paypal directly. My paypal address is borutpeterlin and every cup of tea is welcome. As I confessed I developed a habit – being an artist…

Again I’m making an Ebay auction and again I’m listing prints that are by my opinion perfect! I hope you like the making-of-video and if you think it’s worthy don’t forget to subscribe, like and share.

And as always: TOPSHIT HAPPENS!!!

I’ll do my own B/W photo material

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Today I was in Samobor, Croatia in Fotokemika company where they were from year 1947 producing foto material of all sorts. Last week they stopped the production and workers are unemployed now. That makes me very sad since they were producing excellent films and photo-papers under brand EFKE, but also under brands ADOX (Belgium), Rollei and who knows what more. Few months ago I decided to learn how to make my own photographical gelatin emulsion and so I went there and bought pure photographical gelatin. I laso bought infra red film, just to try it out and roentgen ortho-cromatic film for camera obscura experiments. By pure coincidence I’ve met there a friend Damir, that also drop by to buy some rentgen film and he explained me that you can use it for normal photography with some specific difficulties. For instance, I didn’t know that roentgen films have emulsion on both sides and they are very contrasty, which is perfect for salt print contact prints!

PS: On the end of the day I must say that this stuff is not that cheap as you would expected. Like for all that I payed 280 EUR. But that is a half a year stock if I’ll be shooting a lot. On the other hand, analog medium format cameras are from 200-600 EUR and digital medium format cameras are from 3000 – 12.000 EUR. For the difference in prices you can buy quite a lot of films & scans 🙂

Stitching is a really crazy alternative printing photography process

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Company Ercigoj contacted me if I want to be involved in the new printing process, that is stitching. They developed some kind of hi-tech CNC computer guided sewing machine. I never heard about that so of course I’ve was very interested. I’ve sent them two files and after:

50 working hours,
826.920 stitches,
7.000 meters of thread,
of 21 different threads,
the picture size 116x39cm was done!

The result is amazing. I’m sorry because the scan or reproduction of the print can’t show true quality of three dimensional material that thread is. Nevertheless with zooming in details, you can imagine how does it feel like in real. I’m publishing few more pictures from their gallery. More info on the procedure you can see on their site or write them an email.

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