TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Posts Tagged ‘analog photography

Ghost Window in wet plate collodion

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Dear followers,

This vlog should be published earlier, but I am missing three of my cameras. All small ones, like analogue compact Rollei camera, GoPro 3+ and Nikon J5 cameras. I have no idea what happened to them. In 30 years I have not lost a camera. I almost did, but never really. This small cameras were in my bag and I was carry them always with me. It might be that I forgot my backpack somewhere, but is more likely that someone took it out of my car. Today’s thieves do not need to brake a window, to get in your car. When I went to Prague I was resting on a rest stop and a thief silently broke in my car, without leaving any damage or signs. He did this while I was resting in the car! But then I woke up and he fled. Without steeling anything. So it might be that it was stolen or not. I do not know. Too many things happening in my life right now and this is the price to pay. Although this event is annoying it does not put me off. In fact that is why I bought Nikon J5, because I didn’t want to use the almighty and all expensive Nikon D4! Imagine that would happen with my Nikon D4 and my expensive lenses!

Anyway… Here is my latest vlog where I continue working on my book A Father’s Tale. A photo-book is not an album of images. It is a sequence of images carefully narrated through each page. Just like when music notes are containing parts that are actually bringing the orchestra to quit down or even to a complete stop, also photo-book must have parts in the book where an eye will relax, digest, reflect.

My idea is that the photo-book of my daughters should contain images that on information level do not tell you anything about them, but the images are containing certain mood that is bringing the viewer’s attention away from the information level and building the story on emotional level.

So that is why I’ve decided to photograph this window. I could ask one of my daughters to stand there or even I could stand by the window, but I’ve decided to keep it calm and simple. It is just one image in the book, but important one.

I hope you will like the image and the video. Please subscribe and share. My plan is to build up large enough social network and sell my books directly to my audience. And/Or with the large enough social network, main stream publishers will be interested in publishing the book. So thank you for subscribing to my YouTube channel, to my blog, to FB page and to my Instagram.

LINK to eBay listing of the silver-gelatin print

LINK to eBay listing of the ambrotype

LINK to eBay listing of the albumen print.

ebay-silvr-gelatin

ebay-ambrotype

ebay-albumen

 

 

Being Cold / Topshit Photography Vlog, E 014

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Dearest followers,
here is my newest vlog. In December I’ve been travelling from Slovenia to Tuscany and then to Berlin and Hamburg. Proper south – north EU tour. I drove like 4000 km or so. Finally I’ve made the vlog from north part of the trip, but southern part is being edited. It takes whole lot of time, these videos.

This video  is kind of personal, not much photography tips&tricks involved. Is that OK? I’m thinking to do separate my personal vlogs and tutorial videos. Vlogs will be shorter and more funny, whereas tutorial videos will be longer and more detailed.

In this video I’m talking about the cold, that consist of two components. One is low temperature and the second is interpretation of the low temperature. It is talking about the reality and interpretation of the reality. Cold is perfect example how we love drama and how that drama is making us just more dependent on the comfort thqat seize to be comfort, but it becomes necessity and comfort becomes something else, like a super-car or something that is beyond our reach. Perfect formula for personal drama! But the bottom line is that what I’ve wrote about the cold goes for everything in the world. You may ask yourself which part of the circumstances are real concern and which part is a drama that I am addicted to. I am not pretending to be beyond it, on the contrary, these insights are very personal and very real life situations. Cold is just the easiest to be identified with so I leave you to ponder that for a moment and I’m challenging you to copy/paste the insight on whatever life situation you are in at this particular moment, at this particular drama.

OK, I’ve printed an edition of 50 prints and 14 are still on sale, that is from edition of 32/50 to 48/50, with exception of 36 and 42. Those copies I’m keeping them. The price is 50 EUR per print, it is signed, numbered, unmated, in a sleeve, with a sheet of data in the back.

HERE is the link to the listing. It is limited edition and only 13 are available. A big thanks to my patreons, who are gfenerlously supporting me every month. Perhaps you might join them and you will receive a print in the mail later this year! WWW.PATREON.COM/BORUTPETERLIN

Exhibition in Bratislava during Month of Photography

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During Month of Photography in Bratislava I was invited by Gallery Photon, to exhibit in the gallery of Embassy of Republic Slovenia. I decided to try something different, to present my work in old windows. I’m presenting a very intimate story of fears and delights being a parent and the window frames are emphasising hand made craft of my photographs and the effect of looking through window inside. I was very satisfied with the effect although needless to say I was full of doubts if this will actually work or make sense. I hope you agree, it does work.

I really wanted to exhibit this project, because as a teenager I saw the exhibition of Sally Mann and her project Immediate Family and this was for me very important personal motivation. Not only her work inspired me to photograph my family, but also it was in Sally Mann’s work I first time saw a 19th Century hand made photography used in contemporary art. On top of that, I am in the middle of divorce and setting up this work was so painful. I was totally ambushed by emotions from the past, while working on the exhibition. You don’t see that in the video, of course, but photographs are full of it.

Thank you to Gallery Photon, Dejan Sluga, Miha Colner, Embassy of R. Slovenia in Bratislava, Month of Photography in Bratislava and of course my family, Lučka, Brina and Alenka Peterlin.

On THIS link you can see the gallery of the images.

Here is a video few years old, where I’m talking about A Father’s Tale project, early version of the project.

From Revela-T, the festival of analogue photography

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Last week I was in Barcelona and in Vilassar de Dalt, in Catalonia, Spain. There was the festival of analogue photography, called Revela-T. I had two workshops and a demonstration, so some days I didn’t even had time to properly eat, whereas to do videos and photographs of the event, thus a short, but cute video. I hope you will like it. I recommend to visit it next year. I know I will! Next workshop is in Berlin. All my workshops are sold out, I will make a schedule for the autumn and winter, hopefully before the New Year’s Eve! (#joking)

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.

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!!!

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