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

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! 😉

The opening of the exhibition “Family Album” was fantastic :-)

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Yesterday I had an opening of my exhibition “Family Album” in Gallery Laterna in Črnomelj, Slovenia. It’s a small nice gallery with passionate public. The gallery was packed and at the opening not everybody could fit in. Even friends and colleagues from Novo mesto, Ljubljana and Zagreb came! On the end of the opening ceremonial I’ve made a demonstration of the Wet Plate Collodion and made a group portrait in front of the gallery. Unfortunately this was about half an hour after the opening, so not everybody are on the picture.

From the show I’m literally astonished what kind of quality does a small 9x12cm ambrotype contains! Bojan Radovič and Luminus made a print size 100x80cm and it’s perfect! I have some serious ideas with newly discovered potentials. What do I have in mind? Let me step back and describe a little the background inspiration for the show. About two years ago I saw an exhibition of Sally Mann in The Photographer’s Gallery in London. I immediately fall in love with Wet Plate Collodion process and this was also times when I had enough of my job as a photoeditor and news photography on general. I was looking for a person who would know something about it at the affordable price. Year later I’ve bought a kit from Bostick & Sullivan , but I had all the chemicals, plate and a camera, but still nobody to show me how to do it. In November 2011 I’ve finally met Miša Keskenović who taught me nearly everything that I know about this process. Since then I’m working almost every day with it and it’s Rock and Roll!

Motif-wise of course I was photographing mainly my family and finally I was indulging the need what Susan Sontag describes as a need of a parent to photograph child’s progress. The absence of photographs from your child’s childhood it gives us parents a feeling that you haven’t been a good parent. And I must admit I’ve took thousands of photographs of my children, but ony few of them are in our Family Album! Finally with Wet Plate Process I had a feeling I’m making pictures that are worth to keep for the future! With Wet Plate I was shooting also large format 4×5″ sheet film and I’ve totally fall in love with it!

When I got an invitation for the show, I was told that budget is no-budget, so if I had to finance the show from family’s budget, why not devote the exhibition to my family! This was the start, the inspiration. After working couple of months for the show, I discovered several potentials that will go beyond our family album pictures series. For instance. The photo of Lučka leaning on a tree is inspired by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson‘s (better known as Lewis Caroll) photograph of Alice Lidell (Alice in Wonderland) and when I developed the photo I said to my self this is sooo cool, I want to illustrate a whole book with this kind of images! I have many friends that are writing for children. If you have a tip for me, please contact me.

Anyhow, the exhibition will be open until 14th of June 2012, but before you visit, please call the keeper of the gallery Slavko on 040661802. He will be more then happy to open the space upon your visit.

Včeraj sem imel otvoritev razstave Družinski album v galeriji Laterna. To je majhna, čedna galerija v centru Črnomlja z zvesto, strastno publiko. Galerija je pokala po šivih in za časa otvoritvenega ceremoniala niti ni mogla sprejeti vseh obiskovalcev! Celo prijatelji in kolegi iz NM, Lj in celo iz Zagreba so prišli! Na koncu sem naredil skupinsko sliko in demonstriral tehniko mokri kolodij. Na žalost so nekateri že odšli, tako na fotki niso vsi obiskovalci, a se že tako vidi, da je bil žur!

Z razstave sem se mnogo naučil. Najbolj oprijemljivo je to, kakšno neverjetno tonaliteto, ostrino in nasploh kvaliteto vsebuje ena majhna ambrotipija velikosti 9x12cm! Bojan Radovič in Luminus je naredil inkjet povečavo velikosti 100x80cm in izgleda fenomenalno! Norišn’ca, vam prav’m!

Pa tudi sicer sem nenadejano naletel na potenciale, katere nisem vedel, da obstajajo. Naj malo pojasnim o čem govorim. Pred približno dvema letoma, sem si ogledal razstavo Sally Mann v The Photographer’s Gallery in se v trenutku zaljubil v proces mokri kolodij na steklu! Ta čas je sovpadal z mojim naraščajočim nezadovoljstvom poklica fotourednik in novičarske fotografije v obče. Iskal sem človeka, ki bi me lahko naučil o tem procesu, po sprejemljivi ceni. Leto kasneje sem kupil cel kit pri Bostick & Sullivan , a še vedno nisem vedel kako se s tem operira. Lani novembra sem spoznal Miša Keskenovića, ki me je naučil skoraj vse kar vem o mokrem kolodiju. Od takrt delam ali se učim o tem postopku vsak dan in je čisti Rock&Roll!

Jasno pri učenju postopka mokri kolodij, sem fotografiral predvsem svojo družino in končno sem potešil vzgib, ki ga Susan Sontag opisuje, kot potrebo starša, da dokumentira odraščanje svojega otroka. Pač v sodobni družbi se starša, ki ne fotografira svojega otroka smatra za malomarnega starša. Seveda to ne pomeni dejansko to, a v principu tako se počutimo starši. Sam sem posnel tisoče fotografij svojih otrok a le nekaj jih je dejansko v obliki fizične fotografij in v družinskem albumu.Končno s postopkom mokri kolodij delam fotografije imam občutek, da delam fotografije, ki so vredne hranjenja za prihodnost. Medtem, ko sem snemal na kolodijske plošče, sem tudi začel fotografirati na 4×5″ velikoformatni plan film in se čist zacopal v mehovke in fotografiranju na stojalu.

Ko sem dobil povabilo za razstavo mi je bilo povedano, da ni sredstev za produkcijo razstave, tako sem pomisli, če že moram razstavo financirati iz družinskega proračuna, zakaj jo ne bi posvetil svoji družini! To je bil prvi vzgib, inspiracija. Potem ko sem delal za to razstavo par mesecev, pa sem odkril kar nekaj potencialov, ki bodo daljnosežni! Na primer fotografija Lučke, ki se naslanja na drevo je bila inspirana s fotografijo Alice Lidell (Alica v čudežni deželi) fotografa Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, bolj znanega pod psevdonimom Lewis Caroll. Ko sem razvil to fotko sem bil tako navdušen, da sem takoj pomislil, da ilustriram kako knjigo za otroke po tem postopku. Poznam veliko pisateljic, ki pišejo za otroke, tako se bo že kaj našlo. Če imate nasvet me prosim kontaktirajte

Razstava bo odprta do 14.6.2012 in če boste šli pogledat, prosim pokličite prej skrbnika galerije slikarja Slavka na 040661802. Z veseljem vam odpre galerijo tudi zunaj urnika galerije.

Photo: Damir R.

Invitation to the exhibition of my Wet Plate Collodion photographs

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Dear reader, I invite you to the opening of my exhibition Family Album that will be in Galerija Laterna in Črnomelj, Slovenia on Friday 25.5.2012, at 19:00. I’ll exhibit a series of portraits of my family that I’ve made in last half a year. Some of it are made in Wet Plate Collodion technique, others are taken of sheet film format 4×5″. Large format rules! I’ll also make a live demonstration of Wet Plate Collodion portraiture. Fun it will be! Here are some previews from the show.
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Dragi bralec, predraga bralka, vabim te na otvoritev razstave Družinski album, ki bo ta petek, ob 19. uri v Galeriji Laterna, v Črnomlju. Razstavil bom portrete svoje družine, ki sem jih naredil v zadnjem obdobju, v tehniki mokri kolodij na steklu in na velikoformatnem plan filmu. Na otvoritvi bom izvedel tudi demonstracijo tehnike mokri kolodij. Bo zabavno! Tu je nekaj predogledov z razstave.

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Workshop of Wet Plate Collodion process in Trieste

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Bottomline, a music group from Novo mesto, Slovenia. Photo: Borut Peterlin


Today I’ve done portraits of a music band Bottomline from Novo mesto, Slovenia. It was a first time after I don’t know how many years  that I went to take pictures without taking a digital camera with me. I took my 13x18cm Plaubel camera for Wet Plate Collodion and a 4×5″ camera on normal B/W film. If I’m honest I forgot a digital camera at home. Is this normal? Anyhow, here are results. Dušan Smodej was helping me a lot and he’s soon abandoning his digital camera and his Leica M3 and start real photography 🙂

I’m excited to announce that together with my mentor for Wet Plate Collodion photograhy, Miša Keskenović we have a workshop in Trieste. It’s starting this Sunday, 6.5.2012 at 9:30 and it’s going on whole day. We’ll go through all aspects of Wet plate Collodion process, from mixing chemicals, cleaning plates, exposing, developing and varnishing a plate. All the secrets revealed for only Price 150,00€ and that includes also working material. More info with Dr. Photo or at email info@doctorphoto.net . Workshop is limited to 12 people and it’s almost full, so hurry!

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