TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Posts Tagged ‘artist

Unbroken Tree Spirit / Retouched Wet Plate Collodion Negative

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Dear readers of my blog, I am very late with my production of videos. I have great excuses, but you do not follow this blog because of great excuses, so I will spare you ­čÖé

I think this video is alright. It took me two days to upload it, because of technical issues, but I’m satisfied with it. Only today I’ve noticed I haven’t used any drone shots, too bad.

Screenshot 2016-07-08 22.32.30.jpgFor wet plate collodion photographers there will be interesting the following example. In the video I’ve said that at the first test the fog appeared because I waited too long before subbing the plate to silver nitrate. Actually I’ve┬árecoded the explanations, but it is too long and boring, so I’ve edit it out. I can tell you now why I knew what is the cause of fogging. Please observe corners. Only in corner number 4 there is no fog. OK, there is some fog, but that fog is made out of sharp lines, meaning the plate was not cleaned enough. Other fog is obviously different. Corner number 4 is the corner where I’ve poured off my collodion off the plate, meaning that was the most fresh collodion. On other edges and corners fog is spreading toward the edge, from centre toward the edge. That is very clear sign of drying collodion, before the plate went to silver bath. The drying of sensitised plate looks different, very different. So my advice to you is to learn with every failed plate and every successful plate. Believe me, it is very likely that I have made much more foggy plates then you, but I have learned by doing it, so now I can do it either at temperatures of┬á-9C (link) or at + 30C (link). ┬áJust do it and fail miserably, that is the only way to make it happen.

As you imagine to make this videos it takes a lot of time and because I’m a professional photographer, I need to justify the time investment, so I need to sell my photographs. I thank you for bidding, sharing my videos, commenting, subscribing and basically all the attention this social network is giving me. It’s my dream job and I have more to come! My prints became quite expensive┬á(THANK YOU), but if you still want to give me a tip and buy me a cup of tea every month, you can visit THIS SITE and┬ábecome my patreon.

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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. ┬áOf course, the theme of my book will be Ko─Źevski 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 ┼Żupnik, 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┬áis 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┬áme 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┬áhere 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┬áshot 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:┬áFabrica 10: From Chaos to Order and Back, Generation “74”┬áand numerous art catalogues and magazines like┬á┬áMuseum┬áDuolun from Shanghai, Days Japan from Tokio, Nikon magazine, ÔÇŽ

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 ┬áto-do list, no Sir, but I will make a video journal of my weekly┬ásteps 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┬áready. 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┬áto buy me one┬átea per month, please visit my patreon page. Lastly let me say┬áI can’t answer all the email questions about the process, but I do answer to all the questions asked┬áby 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

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┬áproject. 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 ┬ádisfunctionality because┬áphotography as a medium┬áis 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. ┬áThis is the aberration I’m mentioning, but I have blind faith that this will pay for my┬áretirement, 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┬ápre-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┬áboxe 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 ┬áthe 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 ┬áprints. I think┬áit’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┬áin our house. The attempt failed, since I had my German Shepherd – Mike in the house and that convinced┬áthe 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┬áso much that I will never repeat it again!

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Listed on ebay for 7 days!

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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┬áhis 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┬áminutes. 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┬ádeveloper, 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,┬áit 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┬áapproximately.

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,┬áso 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┬áAnton.

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┬áor 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┬álisting 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!!!

Funeral of Bo┼żena Pelikan

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Today is funeral of Bo┼żena Pelikan, 95 year old youngest daughter of Josip Pelikan. I was privileged to spend some time with her, listen her advices how to do negative retouching, how to do portrait photography – properly and all the stories that were embedded in the old glass skylight Pelikan Studio. I’m glad I visited her just few days before her death. She had severe dementia, but she remembered me as the one who likes dogs! On her deathbed she was telling me how photography is a noble and nice profession. It has many downsides, but on the end of the day she is happy to be a photographer! This Saturday I have a portrait sessions in this studio, next weekend I have a workshop in the Pelikan studio. Bo┼żena lives in photography on!
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Danes je pogreb Bo┼żene Pelikan, 95 letne, najmlaj┼íe h─Źere Josipa Pelikana. V ─Źast mi je bilo poslu┼íati njene nasvete kako se retu┼íira steklene negative, kako se dela portretna fotografija, ampak ta spodobna portretna fotografija, in poslu┼íati vse zgodbice prepojene s tem ─Źarobnim steklenim studijom. Vesel sem, da sem jo obiskal par dni pred njeno smrtjo in kljub napredni demenci se me je spomnila, kot tistega, ki ima rad pse. ┼áe na smrtni postelji mi je pripovedovala kako je fotografija lep poklic. Ima veliko slabih strani, a na konec koncev je sre─Źna, da je bila fotografinja! V Studiju Pelikan, to soboto, zopet portretiram in naslednji vikend imam fotografsko delavnico. V fotografiji Bo┼żena ┼żivi naprej.

 

Written by Borut Peterlin

18 February, 2016 at 13:53

Infrared film photography with a camera FUJI GSW 690

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Here is a shot that is really dear to me. I grabbed my second favourite middle format camera FUJI GSW III 690 and some infrared film and decided to have some fun time it in the forest. And oh, I had also iPad, so this film happened.

This blog and videos are crowd-funded, through Patreon platform. I’ve started only a month ago and this month I could buy 200 gr of silver nitrate with your donations. I will do my best to deliver and over deliver my promises. If you can spare a dollar, five or more per month, it would be most appreciated to make┬ámore videos with this kind of content.
(OK, less mushrooms and more bears, got it!)

And oh, don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube channel. Only lately I have learned┬áthat it’s jolly┬ágood to have a subrscriber or two on your youtube channel, but I guess you know better then myself, because I equally shocked I’ve learned that I have already 1673 subscribers.┬áLook mom, I’ve made it!

And if you are on it, I also started a FB page, Topshit Photography, don’t forget to tap my ego there too. LINK.

PS:┬áOK, I wanted to list the print on ebay as an auction, but I was reluctant to, but I received a request to do so, so I’ve done it! Here it is. I do follow a spiritual motto:
Everything is on sale except my kidneys! (officially)

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Topshit photography journal 16th of June 2015

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Tomorrow is a big day. I’m almost finished with my preparations for Vienna Photo Book Festival . I’ve cashed in all my chips and now it’s time to go. I’m going to Vienna with a Land Rover, my old-timer. Today I’ve bought Hi-Lift Jack and I’ve sorted the bed in my Land Rover. As a huge fan of Top Gear, I’m planning to do Topshit Gear Special and I’m planning to record my trip as I do, with emphasis on photography and art. The book Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is my inspiration.

I’m not doing this just for the fun of it, but I’m celebrating a new milestone in my photography path. I finally reached the destination after four years of intensive work. Six years or so I’ve seen an exhibition of Sally Mann in London Photographer’s Gallery and I’ve decided there on the spot I want to learn this witchcraft of collodion. It took me more then a year to find Mi┼ía Keskenovi─ç, who introduced me into the craft and another year to have met Mark Osterman in person. At George Eastman House I’ve seen original albumen prints of Eadweard Muybridge, France Scully Osterman, Mark Osterman and many others. I knew that I want to make a project with it. Albumen print process is in principle very simple process, but if you want to have rich tonality with clear white highlights and deep blacks, it’s very difficult. On top of everything I see my future artwork only in wet plate negative, that is much more difficult to do, then ambrotypes or tintypes.

Practitioners of wet plate collodion process know that the most difficult thing of all is the workflow. It’s one thing to make a good plate (either positive or negative) and it’s completely another thing to be able to do it in whatever situation it is. I bought the Land Rover so I could perfect my workflow and master the process so well that it becomes intuitive and I can focus on the photography itself not thinking on the process.

In the road I’m taking I’m celebrating that. I’m celebrating the past four years of learning and tackling the process and now I feel the process is very natural to me, I’m relaxed and I have plenty of energy to focus on the aesthetic and art. In this road I’m celebrating the fact that I’m making prints that are the best prints I’ve done. I love them so much, I can’t stop looking at them. I know I’ve reached the milestone of learning the craft. Now I can fully focus on my art, on the concepts, on ideas I want to share through the medium of photography.

Here are some random images I’ve done lately. Captioned.

Exhibition of Wet Plate collodion landscapes

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In September 2014 I had an exhibition in Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana. I’ve enjoyed that period of life a lot, taking wet plate negatives, photographing river, defeating summer heat by a swim in a river together with my kids. What a privilege to be alive! I’ve recorded a lot a videos to pass on the knowledge I’ve generously received from Mark Osterman and the Collodion community. I’ve enjoyed the work so much I never found time to edit the video material and unfortunately the material just piled up. In the last few months I haven’t record any videos, because I knew I must edit the old material first and yesterday I’ve started at 9pm, finished at 3am and 12 hours later it’s live on youtube. I hope you will find some useful information and some inspiration in it.

The exhibition represents a path that I walked through in the last two years, while learning the process. But the exhibition started with the tintype of frozen river Krka, that I’ve made two months after I’ve started to do wet plate collodion at the temperature of -17C. HERE is the post from February 2012.

The exhibition is devoted to a painter Bo┼żidar Jakac and the concept is inspired by words of a poet Tone Pav─Źek, engraved in his gravestone:

YouÔÇÖve remained part of the landscape, its pain and its beauties.

And this concept is mirrored in the images, I wanted that in every of image there would be a presence of beauty and pain. IÔÇÖve designed the exhibition to be dynamic. IÔÇÖve exhibited original tintypes, ambrotype glass plates, toned albumen prints, salt prints, carbon prints, toned cyanotypes and also some toned silver-gelatine enlargements and ink-jets from wet plate collodion negatives.

The most important result from the two years walk, it can not be shown directly, but it’s the most important result. I’ve learned the process, I have no open questions and I can make a good image in (almost) any conditions. I’ve learned many different processes and those tools will play a crucial role in my future art career.

Last but not least, if you want to learn some of that hands-on photography processes, I warmly recommend workshops in George Eastman House with Mark Osterman. It’s one thing to learn the process, but it’s something different to get an access to one of the most interesting and rich collection of photography and feel that you are a part of it.

I can not offer that, but I do offer individual workshops, so if you’re interested in buying a print from me or a workshop, please send me an email to borutpeterlin@gmail.com

A presentation of an ambrotype for an art fair

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An ambrotype packed in a box for Art Photo Budapest. The plates is from my project The Great Depression. The plates will be represented by Photon Gallery. Hopefully they will be sold.

An ambrotype packed in a box for Art Photo Budapest. The plates is from my project The Great Depression. The plates will be represented by Photon Gallery. Hopefully they will be sold.

Next week there will be an art fair in Budapest and my work will be presented by Gallery Photon. I was thinking how should I present my ambrotypes in a way that could be purchased. So here it is. The box is from Hahnemuhle acid free material. On 11th of October 2014 I will be a guest of a discussion panel how to survive as an artist. Guess what will I talk about? YOU! My topshit followers that is bidding on my ebay auctions. See you in Budapest on Saturday at 3pm!