TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Posts Tagged ‘Arts

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🙂

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 recoded 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 -9C (link) or at + 30C (link).  Just 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 (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 become my patreon.

Screenshot 2016-07-08 23.49.39

Screenshot 2016-07-09 00.52.48

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)

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

At 5am in Venice

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Few weeks ago I had a job in Venice and I couldn’t resist not to do some 5am photography. 5am is one of my favourite projects. The basic concept is to be a part of the day when night had finish already and the day haven’t started yet.

Sometime around 5am there exists a subtle moment when day chases its tail. Laborers are off to work; party-goers are finding their way home.

In the wee hours, ambiguity rages between night and day, light and dark, predator and prey, mind and instinct, life and death. This surreal relationship between contrasts seems to linger in what is just the blink of an eye.

In one sentence, it’s a love affair with light. I love it, being awake before everybody and having an eternity just for myself. I walk and observe without any rush, without any obligations and without any expectations whatsoever. It’s my walking meditation channeled trough photography.

As I’ve mentioned in the video I’ve started the project in Fabrica in year 2000, because after Oliviero Toscani left, I could not get a permission to go out and do photography. My kind of photography! You know, the kind of photography that does not sound sane in an application form and on top of that it does not have a deadline or a goal to achieve? I remember very clearly when a senior staff was explaining me that I should sketch how will my photographs look like, before I take a camera in my hands. I explaining him that if I would do so, I would make an image that is made with my mind and my mind is just recycling concepts and in this way I can not come up with nothing original. You can imagine the face of the temporary head of the department…

Anyhow, in the video above is presented a book dummy that I’ve created in 2008. After that I was doing my 5am routine wherever I traveled and bellow there are few recent images from Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, USA, Czech Republic and of course Venice, Italy.

The project will be finished in a book, I’m quite certain about it. You might remember that in my post from Les Recontres Arles festival I’ve mentioned that Dewi Lewis remembered me for some crazy project of mine? In one sentence I’ve met Mr. Lewis more then ten years ago at Frankfurt Book Fair and after all those years he still remembered me and one of my crazy projects. He remembered my 5am project! How amazing is that?!?

To repeat fast, Dewi Lewis is one of the most important photography book publishers in the world and he was a publisher of Martin Parr (before Faidon), William Klein, Erwin Olaf, to name just few and he remembered my 5am project ten years later when we’ve met in Arles. Of course I will make new 5am book dummy and send it to him.

If you will be in Vienna Photo Book Festival I will be there also with my photo books. That said, the book isn’t published yet, so I can’t sell you one, but someday I will.

Bellow are images that I’ve made in Venice. This is my selection from couple of mornings and only few images will actually end in a book. At the bottom there is a slideshow I’ve made years ago with music of Daniel Wehr. Daniel was a fellow student in Fabrica.it in year 2000 and he made this music for my 5am project. He even walked with me one 5am morning, recording sound, but he didn’t like the sound of camera shutter, so next day I got up even sooner at 4am🙂

Written by Borut Peterlin

6 April, 2015 at 11:58

Analog manipulation of photography by Borut Peterlin

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Excellent news, I’m going to Rochester, USA, again, to make a pilgrimage to George Eastman House and have a workshop with none other then Mark Osterman! This time I will learn from the master how to retouch glass negatives. Concerning expenses, the time in not right, but I just have to go to this workshop, because I was always interested in alternating a photograph by hand. Ironically I’ve completely stopped with my photomontages when I did digital photography, although I master Photoshop just as well. Photoshop, Instagram, Photomatix and other digital effects are so generic I don’t like it at all. I can’t explain why I love analog manipulation so much. I really can’t, I know it’s basically the same as digital manipulation, but my feelings are very different.

I’ve looked back 23 years and made a collection of my analog manipulated images. I’ve forgot to mention in the video the project The Tales of Gorjanci Hills, published by Založba Goga ten years ago.

Ebay auction of my print starting from 0.99$

Ebay auction of my print starting from 0.99$

So you understand, I have to go to Rochester for this workshop, I have no choice. The only problem is money, of course. As a professional artist, living in Slovenia, the country where art market does not exist, I’m forced for guerrilla sale tactics. I know nobody is selling their art prints on ebay as an auction from 0,99$, but I’ve had some great success, so I decided to resort myself again to this tactic.

Hey, if I started with 23 year old photographs, let me tell you about the dream I had in my teenage years! All I wanted is to make a living out of photography and the only people I knew at the time that were making a living out of photography were people who had a printing lab and making portraits for ID cards. And believe it or not, that was my dream at the time, to work in a printing lab and do ID portraits! And look at me now, I have no fear of putting a print of mine on ebay as an auction from 0,99$ and with it (partly) finance the trip to the workshop at Rochester!

The auction will be for just three days and then perhaps I will put a new print on auction.

Was ist Kunst? (inspired by Robert M. Pirsig)

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Was ist Kunst?* or What is art is the question that was not invented together with with the art itself but it was invented in Ancient Greece and in this blog post I’m settling the score once it for all and give answer what art is. I warn you though, you might not like it🙂

As followers of my blog know, for my 40th birthday I’ve bought a Land Rover 109 old-timer car that is even older then me, it’s 43 years and for last fifteen years it was standing in a garage. You can imagine that once I’ve started driving it, an avalanche of malfunctions blasted on my shoulders. It’s almost two months since it’s standing on my courtyard and I can’t move it to a mechanic and since it’s freezing winter a mechanic don’t want to come and take a look. It got a nickname The Real Estate! The good thing is that I’ve spent last three years learning collodion photography from scratch, so I have a stamina an patience to sort things out, so I used the expression from Jeremy Clarkson: How hard can it be? and decided to fix the car on my own.

For inspiration I’ve read for the third time the book Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig and I confess, only this time I can say I’ve understood the message of the book. No wonder this book is in Guinness book of world records as the bestseller that was rejected by 121 publishers before 122nd actually published it and soon became a bestseller, with over five million copies sold.

OK, you may ask what does that has to do with the bombastic introduction in my post? Everything. This book made me realise what art is and changed my life profoundly. The line of thoughts that will follow is very influenced by the book and before you will condemn me, I publicly admit that I will misquote and misinterpret the book, so I strongly recommend that you read it by your own pace. (It’s even in Slovenian for my Slovenian following presidents!)

So, what Art is???

On the Internet there are many articles on what art is, but let me highlight a very simplistic, populistic easy reading article 27 Responses to the Question “What is Art?”.

But that very simplistic article will give you just as much valid answer as any art historian would. Let me say it more correctly. Any art historian will give you just as false answer as any article. (yes, including this one)🙂

The original sin of an attempt to define what art is, is that people are aiming in the wrong direction! We are looking at things in gallery and question if this should be there, if this is art. We expect that an object would have some sort of ingredient that would define it as art, some sort of objectiveness. In ancient times that ingredient was gold, whatever object contained gold and other expensive materials, it was glorified as art. Then it was the craft! Obviously some painters can draw with breathtaking accuracy and expressing themselves with huge skill. Then came avant-garde and scandalous Duchamp’s signed urinal entitled Fountain is still a case of questioning if that is art. And so on, and so on…

Any attempt to define what art is, is like standing in a river, facing downstream, observing what river flow is bringing and evaluating. You could devote your life doing that, but you could not foretell the future. Every mathematical equation works both way. 1+1=2 and so it is 2=1+1. Art is not mathematic and there isn’t a person in the world who could not tell you what you need to do to create art.

To be honest there are few super-stars curators that do speculate and take a role of weather forecasters and decide what contemporary art is. But those people are not to be mistaken for art-historians, although they might have an education in art-history, they are creators, they curate exhibitions, they decide who will win what award, they are more contemporary artists then art historians. But even so they can not come up with an answer what art is.

In today’s times we divide between art and craft, but that wasn’t so in the ancient times. Aristotle’s cosmological work On The Heavens is the most influential treatise of its kind in the history of humanity and as I’ve learned he started the concept of subjective and objective, the foundation of western civilisation.

In the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Pirsig talks about Quality, Ancient Greeks named that principle Arete and I’ve recognised the roots of the Art. Arete = Art

Wikipedia:
Arete (/ˈærətiː/; Greek: ἀρετή), in its basic sense, means “excellence of any kind”.[1] The term may also mean “moral virtue”.[1] In its earliest appearance in Greek, this notion of excellence was ultimately bound up with the notion of the fulfillment of purpose or function: the act of living up to one’s full potential.

I think ancient Greeks got it right, we missed it completely. Art is a process of creation and although it does leave traces behind, those traces aren’t ART itself, they are footprints left behind by artists. Those foot prints can be objective as a painting in a gallery or subjective as a dance in a theatre. Those foot prints are worthless if they aren’t made by art in action, if they aren’t done as Arete! And if we see the footsteps, we might imagine the line of thought the line of creation the line of craft that the artist was taking while creating the art piece. Our creativity fuels with inspiration.

Let me be more precise, the Art is not the Mona Lisa in Louvre, or Duchamp’s Fountain or a leap of dance of a dancer. The Art is an event that happened and after the event a trace is left behind. Let me say it with other words. Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo Da Vinci is just as much art as are the ruins of Pompeii the city of Pompeii! The road sign Rome is not the city of Rome, nor is a souvenir or any building or a person living in the city!

That revelation opened my eyes and from now on I see the world differently. Last two days I was fixing my Land Rover. I approached the work with the arete attitude as I’m making the most important exhibition in my life. I suspected that the cause of my problems is the fuel pump. Two weeks ago I didn’t know what a mechanical a fuel pump is, but I’ve focused on the problem, dismantled it, changed all the valves, diaphragm, seals and put it back. Now works perfectly and it will continue so for the next ten years. Unfortunately, I realised that the cause of my car’s malfunction is not the fuel pump, but it’s distributor. I ordered new parts. Nevertheless the fuel pump, poor girl, needed the restoration.

Let me finish with paraphrasing Pirsig with the case of my Land Rover.
Objects are just atoms and molecules. They do not have a moral or a feeling for what is right and what is wrong. They are what they are because somebody rearrange materials in the way they are. The malfunction does not exist in a car, it exist solely in the viewer’s mind. The car is a direct reflection of it’s viewer’s interpretation.

The car that is standing still for two months in my courtyard represent disharmony in me and I’ve decided to regain the peace by fixing the car. I am using wrenches, bolts, spanners but my most important tool is ARETE, the will to do whatever is needed to do, so the car will fit my interpretation of how it should be. I use arete to regain the internal peace and that will happen only when my concept of a car will be aligned with my senses.

This process is the feeling that every artist know. It’s a feeling when you are alive, when your hands are golden, hands are moving and miracle is emerging right in front of your eyes! An artist is not separated from the the object until the object is aligned with artist’s interpretation how it should be and it brings peace to the artist. When the artist finishes working on it, from this moment on, art (arete) seize to be and the artist and the art object become two separate entities.

Do you see, people are looking at an object and questioning if this is art, but they are aiming it at the wrong direction. Art is an event, not an object!!!

Written by Borut Peterlin

18 February, 2015 at 13:35