TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Posts Tagged ‘creative

A portrait of painters White Ice Cream

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artist's collective White Icecream are often using brick pattern in their work, so the element is included in the photograph.

Artist’s collective White Icecream are often using brick pattern in their work, so the element is included in the photograph.

Last week I was commissioned to do a portrait of painters duo White Ice Cream. I’ve done a fantastic portrait of them two years ago and I was reluctant to do another portrait, but a commission is a commission and they are great blocks, so I was very excited to see what we will as their portrait. We were talking and we agreed that we will repeat the brick pattern from their cloths that were an art piece. We tried to make a snowman, but in Ljubljana there was no snow anymore so we went to Krvavec mountain, but snow there was too dry, too frozen, so we made this sort of characters. My idea was that they should go full monty and with one hand cover their “pride” and in the other hand they would hold an ice cream, but they were not up for it. We had a good laugh once again 🙂

Beli sladoled by borutpeterlin.com 20110509_9098

A portrait of the collective White Ice Cream in year 2011

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Advanced far out darkroom technique in black & white photography

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Jure Henigman, an actor, portrayed by Borut Peterlin

Jure Henigman, an actor, portrayed by Borut Peterlin


From Mladina weekly magazine I was commisioned to do a portrait of an actor, Jure Henigman. I’ve already made a portrait of him in 2008 with Zvezdana Mlakar, but I was planning to do something completely different. First of all we’ve met at the parking lot in Ribnica and my first resolution was, no background, just the face and expression. I’m always impressed how an actor can make a story (photograph in my case) just with an expression. I brought my newly made headrest stand about which I was blogging already. A friend and colleague from Ribnica Luka Ileršič show up and show started. He took behind the scene images. I’ve portrayed Jure facing a church, because I liked the light coming from behind. I used ShenHao 4×5″ camera with Rodenstock 210mm lens + a yellow filter. Yellow filter is perfect for B&W portraits I love it! The secret of series Family Album is in a yellow filter!

When I got home the true adventure really started and I’ve made a video about it. I hope you’ll like my exploration of photography down the rabbit hole.
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Homage to Paul Graham

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Paul Graham at the workshop in Fabrica in year 2000

Last week I was on a vacation and I’ve read a book review of newest project by Paul Graham at Aphotoeditor by Robert Haggart. I’ve first encountered Paul Graham’s work at an exhibition at Month of Photography in Bratislava, year 1994. It was an exhibition of New British Documentary Photography. When I was in Fabrica, Benetton’s communication research centre, year 2000, he had a two days workshop there. Until then I didn’t fancy his aesthetic, but I understood his topics and I loved his early works especially Beyond Caring and Troubled Land. His work you don’t understand on a first glance, it took me a while of reading and contemplation to get familiar with the idea that war photography can be done with medium format camera from far and it’s OK, that your pictures aren’t good enough because you’re not close enough.

While we had a workshop together he asked from us to go out and make pictures, that we wouldn’t otherwise, we were asked to make mistakes, rigorous technical and compositional mistakes. We went out and each of us shot a roll of film and I took it as a joke, throwing camera in the air and taking pictures with a timer on and of course nobody took an effort to look trough a viewfinder. And accordingly that’s how our pictures look like, a one big mess! Paul came along and start shuffling pictures and out of this mess of unsharp, blurry, over&under exposed pictures made a series that actually looked really cool! Then he was talking about possible connotations that this kind of aesthetic could be applied to. I was astonished! What a good workshop!

So when I read the book review that I’ve mentioned before I clicked through the book and as always it’s not on a first ball as we say it, but as all Graham’s projects it takes some time to get familiar with his new “invention” in photography. To be honest my belief was that diptychs, triptychs and other typtichs are for photographers who can not make a good picture, then they do some distracting maneuvers with juxtaposing several images together. In 99% it’s like that, if you ask me, or even more if the theme of the series is dealing with identity of a photographer (grow up!).

But, I’m also great fan of Duane Michals and his way of transcending an image with a sequence and Graham’s diptychs are sharing a some sort of rhythm that I like. Furthermore this is actually a street photography, a contemporary modern version street photography, that I adore. Robert Haagart wrote:

“But, inch by inch, I realized that the book’s locale is strictly allegorical. It could have been London, or Barcelona, or San Francisco, or almost any city on Earth. The title of the book is not “NYC,” it’s “The Present.” Mr. Graham is asking us to take him at his word, and look beyond the obvious.”

At the moment I was reading this I was at a vacation at the sea site in Nerezine, Croatia, so I wondered if it could have been NY, London, Barcelona, why not Nerezine as well? I took my camera and the very next day I’ve made a jackpot of an image that I’m publishing bellow. I’m continuing with the mining the concept…


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Family summer time in 6×6 format

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Few days before with my family we left for summer vacation to a seaside I’ve bought a “new” camera Mamiya C330, so I was excited to try it out. I never liked the square format, as a student and as a young professional, but I guess it’s because square format was a trade mark of Hasselblad, that I couldn’t afford 🙂

I looked at my bookshelf, thinking who is a master of square format photography. My first pick was Mary Ellen Mark and her book Indian Circus, then I checked The Hasselblad Masters awards. The Hasselblad awards didn’t inspire me (I can do better), but with Mary Ellen Mark I found some good clues how to deal with the square format.

I was thinking… Square is a stable, boring format and to make the image interesting I must brake this stableness with composition. My first rule was to fill the image with the subject all the way to the borders and even across the border. That was the idea for the picture published above and on the left side. OK, I admit, I didn’t discover America, but playing with concepts and aesthetics is inevitably leading us to new “discoveries” as I call personal micro revelations 🙂

Second inspiration was the book On Photography by Susan Sontag. I’ve read it twice, but that was some time ago, so why not follow the Atheism 2.0 commandment to repeat the lessons over and over again. It’s the basis of every religion so it must make sense. While reading Sontag’s words on how photography is surreal, the most appropriate medium for modernistic art, I understood everything. World make sense if viewed through a lens of a camera.

Last but not least, this adventure back to black and white analog photography is bringing good old memories from Prague’s Famu Academy where I earned my BA in photography. I know I’m repeating some lessons from history of photography, but I don’t do it because of the love towards the history, but I’m doing it for the love of photography and to the love to my family. More of my Family Album project you can see on my site www.borutpeterlin.com.This is not the end result it’s just warming up! I’m inspired as Apollo 11 rocket!

PS: Under comment leave a link to a site of a photographer who work in an inventive way with a square medium format camera. I want to grasp as much info as I can.

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After Fotopub festival

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A group picture participants and mentors of Fotopub 2012 festival. Photo: Borut Peterlin & Miša Keskenović

Last week we had the 12th edition of Fotopub festival with many exhibitions, lectures and foremost workshops. All together we had 61 participants of different workshops. Miša Keskenović and myself we were running a workshop of Wet Plate Collodion photographic technique. Everything went well and smooth and here are few pictures that we’ve made on the workshop. We had 11 participants working with five cameras, from my Kodak Folding Brownie 3A, Plaubel 13x18cm, Shen Hao 4×5″, antique wooden camera 18 x 24cm to Miša’s mammoth camera 40x40cm. We had two sets of chemicals so the work was really intense and people created many, many plates that they took home. On the last day we decided that we’ll be making more weekend workshops on alternative printing process from gum-print, cyanotype, salt print, albumen print to digital print and camera obscura. fun, fun, fun…

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New pictures for my Family Album

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I haven’t been blogging much lately, since I am in a very productive period of my life. Unfortunately I can’t afford to be focused and I work on many, many different fields, mostly for commercial clients, but in this days I can’t complain about that, right. Also this blog gained quite some attention, although you don’t comment much 😦 so I think twice what am I publishing. But this formula just doesn’t work. Now this is my only second post this month and I decided to go back to my old habit to publish what I make during the day.

My niece Enja had a birthday party so I took few photographs on collodion and on film. I used my ShenHao 4×5″ camera with a fast lens Linhof 135mm f/3,5. How do you like it? Leave a comment, rate, like and Rock&Roll!

PS: More family portraits on my site www.borutpeterlin.com.

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Portrait of Tanja Radež with Wet Plate Collodion technique

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Tanja Radez, a graphic designer

Here is yesterday’s portrait of Tanja Radež, a graphic designer. It will be published in Friday’s Mladina weekly. I portrayed her in park Tivoli in downtown of Ljubljana, Slovenia. It looks like she’s illuminated with some sort of soft lights, but she’s not. It’s just a diffuse light in a shade. I asked her to sit on the first stairs of the staircase, so there was a lot of light from the (northern) sky. I used a 4×5″ camera with a Linhof 135mm f/3,5 lens and exposure was 6 seconds. Look at the background at the top of the image. I love the bookeh of this lens. It’s just a poetry!

All my Wet Plate Collodion chemicals were in a cold box, to keep the temperature down and I add a small spoon of sugar to my developer, to prolong the developing time. Finally I’m getting good results during summer temperatures. I was photographing at -17C and it was no problem (aside that I was cold), but during summer it’s crazy to develop collodion plates. Well problem solved and my time machine will work on full power 😉

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Tukaj je včerajšnji portret Tanje Radež, oblikovalke. Objavljen bo v petkovi Mladini. Portretiral sem jo v parku Tivoli, v Ljubljani. Izgleda, kot bi bila osvetljena s kako mega mehko lučjo, a je nisem doosvetljeval. Samo prosil sem jo, da sede na prve stopnice, kjer je bila svetloba severnega neba najlepša, najbolj difuzna in dokaj močna. Uporabil sem svojo 4×5″ kamero z objekivom Linhof 135mm f/3,5 in ekspozicija je bila 6 sekund. Poglejte neostrino v zgornjem robu fotografije. Kako obožujem ta bookeh objektiva! Čista poezija.

Vse moje kemikalije so bile v hladilni torbi in v razvijalec sem dal žličico sladkorja, da bi s tem podaljšal čas razvijanja. Končno dobivam dobre rezultate v poletnem vremenu! Sem že fotografiral pri -17C in ni bilo problema, razen tega, da me je zeblo, a razvijat plošče pri poletnih temperaturah je norišnica. No, sedaj je problem rešen in moja časovna mašinca dela na polno! 😉