TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Posts Tagged ‘Photojournalism

Feature news story from Montenegro, done by 4×5″ large format view camera

with 2 comments

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!!!

Advertisements

Written by Borut Peterlin

8 November, 2015 at 22:21

Homage to Paul Graham

with 3 comments

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…


.

.

.

.

.

A creative portrait of Matic Zorman, a photojournalist

with 3 comments

matic-zorman-foto-borutpeterlin.com

Matic Zorman is a young photojournalist whose work was noted many times. In this issue of Mladina weekly, we are publishing his profile with my portrait of him. We had a such a laugh while working on this image. It’s done in Wet Plate Collodion technique, format 4×5″. We did it during Fotopub festival and Miša Keskenović and Matej Povš were helping me a lot. THX!

After Fotopub festival

with 4 comments

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…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Wet Plate Collodion portraits

with one comment

Tilen by the pool.

This portrait I’ve done yesterday. I’m still not satisfied with the quality of ambrotypes I’m getting, but this one is quite good. Actually I cheated a little and I add some blacks and some contrast – digitally 😦 But I didn’t altered the image. It’s sort of “I smoked pot but I didn’t inhale” excuse, I know. Anyhow today I managed to gather my large format portraits and wet plate collodion portraits of my family, so if you’re interested please take a look on my site. LINK. This series A Family Album is a series about love. Towards photography and towards people. It doesn’t pretend it will change the world, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it will. Depends on a viewer. It’s exhibited in Frančiškanski samostan as a part of Fotopub festival. Fotopub starts this Monday, don’t miss lectures and exhibitions, if you’ll not participate at the workshop!


Anže Kopitar / LA Kings, back in Slovenia

with one comment

A bouquet of white roses with Anže Kopitar and fans. Ljubljana Airport, Slovenia.

To keep my promise to post pics more regulary, here is a picture that I’ve shot few hours ago. It’s taken when Anže Kopitar famous hockey player that won with LA Kings the Stanly Cup. Picture belongs to my Flower Power series, where I document flowers on news events in a way that I don’t celebrate politician or a famous person, but I focus on a flower and the famous person on the picture is degraded to a disturbing background. If you don’t see the concept in this picture, please take a look on my site where Flower power project contains flowers with Putin, Bush, DalaiLama, Mubarak, Merkel, Powel, Jnaša, Drnovšek, Turk,…

PS: Actually the picture above is straight from the camera. Here is a bit fine tuned version.

I’m back, alive and kicking

with 3 comments

Ciao tutti,
sorry for a really long pause, but as you know if I don’t blog, then I also don’t eat lunches since there was no time for anything. So what was going on? First of all I started to teach at two colleagues Visoka šola za umetnost and at Visoka šola za storitve, then I had three workshops on portrait photography and also basic course on photography. Very intense even for my standards. Beside that I was having a demonstration of Wet Plate Collodion technique at photo-fair Fotosejem. At Fotopub festival we’ll have a week long workshop of this technique and many other renown documentary photographers. Talking about Fotopub. I started a Fotopub TV domain, where I share some tips and tricks on photography. For now it’s only in Slovenian. We hope that sponsors will find interest to support our effort.