Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Posts Tagged ‘Portrait

Lesson no: 1 – Learn to enjoy your profession!

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Although I used to work for, a research communication centre of United Colors of Benetton group, fashion photography never really interested me. Fashion never interested me either. But then again fashion photography is just a photography, so if you can make landscape photography, then you can make fashion photography, right? Wrong. There are many beautiful landscape photographs, but photographers ruin the photo by forgetting to dress their models! D’oh!!!

In my case, if a stylist and make up artist take care of their part of the job I will certainly not fail in photography part of the job. I understand light and flashes very well. I can feel it on my bladder what the end effect will be if I change the set up of lights. I guess every photographer who learned photography in film era had to develop a skilful bladder to see a photograph while taking it and not only after the films were developed. I know that doesn’t make sense for the new generation of photographers and rightly so! New era, new technology, new rules, new photographers! Good, don’t listen to old cold farts! I never did, either!

These images are of Jana and Jerica, girls from my neighbourhood. They have ambition for modelling and I was asked to make few portraits of them. As it happens two students of photography were also assisting me, Sanja Gorišek and Nastja Frey Gorše, so I’ve proposed that they should start collaborating. I’ve gave them my equipment with the following instructions:

The first lesson that I will give you is the most important of all! Here you have my equipment and do some photography. Nobody is expecting anything from you, so this is the perfect time to learn how to enjoy the game of photography. If you will not learn how to enjoy your profession, you will suffer immensely and more successful you will be, the worse it will be! So the lesson number one is the most important one, that is to enjoy the profession you intend to devote your life upon!

After occurred half an hour, the four girls relaxed, started to collaborate and enjoyed the shooting. I’m publishing portraits that we’ve done together, some were done by Nastja and Sanja alone, some were done by them with my guidance and some were shot by me. If you can’t distinguish which one are done by me and which are done by Sanja Gorišek and Nastja Frey Gorše, then that’s fantastic, my job is done!

We’ve used Nikon D4, Speedlights SB910 and SB800 with transmitter, Balcar Jazz flashes, Electrona flash feeder, firefly soft box, one large soft-box and that’s about it. In fact, Slovenian national TV made a short interview with me, while we were working together. You can click on THIS LINK and go to the end of the clip, to 17:09 minutes.

Written by Borut Peterlin

20 August, 2015 at 22:31

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Collodion portrait of an actor Branko Jordan

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20140523-branko-jordan001 Anton Podbevšek Teater will have tomorrow a premier of new theater show,
AMOR OMNIA VINCIT* and I’ve made digital documentation of the show, but I couldn’t resist not to take a snapshot in collodion technique of my friend Branko Jordan, one of the most prominent actor of his generation in this corner of the world. The plate has some fog, but concerning the timing and working condition I love it. In fact the fog, stains and everything else is just ideal for my taste!

For the promotion of theater shows I also developed a form of video teaser for Internet and social networks. It’s a mixture of video and photography, accompanied by a statement of the director followed with a scene from the show, to illustrate abstract words of the concept with an example from the show. This form of a teaser I perfected over two years and now I think it’s best that I could do. It also attract a lot of attention and popularize theater among iGeneration.

Blažka Müller Pograjc: AMOR OMNIA VINCIT*
Director: Matjaž Pograjc
Actors: Katarina Stegnar, Gorka Berden, Marijana Brecelj, Branko Jordan, Pavle Ravnohrib, Vito Weis in Enya Belak, Tamara Polanc, Kristina Rozman, Veronika Valdés
Produkcija: Anton Podbevšek Teater
Photography, video and editing: Borut Peterlin

And Now For Something Completely Different – Topshit Fashion in Wet Plate Collodion

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Alenka Slavinec, portrayed by Borut Peterlin in wet plate collodion technique.

Alenka Slavinec is my friend and colleague photographer, but she is also film producer. Lately she is fully engaged as an editor of Fashion Avenue Kuwait magazine. She is globe trotting all the time, but a week ago she called me and expressed that she would like to have a portrait in wet plate collodion, so she came to my house and on Sunday. All three portraits are ambrotypes format 8×10″. On the first plate I realized that although it was a bright day, green leaves were filtering all blue and UV light (that’s their job), so exposure was taking too long. Luckily in my past life I was an incarnation of a digital photographer and all expensive equipment is still in Da Houze, so I pulled out my Elektrona’s Flash Feeder and two studio flashes of joined power 2250Ws.

The second plate was perfect. Really perfect. Black dress is defined against black background and if you do ambrotype or tintype process, you know how contrasty this medium is. It has a dynamic range of a cat after a massive meal. Then we made another one and we went for a lunch at Kolesar restaurant. It was really cool Sunday.

Side note: I know how to do fashion photography, I’ve been assisting Oliviero Toscani (UC of Benetton) among other things, but the truth is I don’t have a talent for fashion – that’s fashion as how to dress and mostly (!) care how you are dressed, as is evident on behind the scene pics. Perhaps I’m making a mistake. Am I?

The Mask, global wet plate project

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Shane Balkowitsch bought dozen gas masks and shipped them to artists around the world with only one task, to make a wet plate collodion image with the mask. In a year or so the masks circled the globe and few weeks ago came knocking at my door. Yesterday I’ve made the image I wanted. It’s inspired by Röyksopp’s video spot What Else Is There. I wanted to get a haunted kind of dreamy creature. I ask my daughters to dress as princesses and consequently they used all mother’s make up. I explained them that no make up is needed because of the mask, but that didn’t stop them :-)

On the video you can see Lučka is jumping. I wanted unnatural body posture and the best way I could think of is while being suspended in the air. I thought I will see that she’s flying, just as Marianne Schröder is flying in Royksopp’s video, but now I prefer it like it is. It does look very unearthly, which is what I wanted in the first place!

The collection of wet plates of the mask is ON THIS LINK.

Sunday is a good and dry collodion day

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A scan of a dry collodion negative. Exposure 25 minutes at f/5.6.  (I could make it faster by 1.5 f stop)

A scan of a dry collodion negative. Exposure 25 minutes at f/5.6.
(I could make it faster by 1.5 f stop)

Today it was Sunday. It still is, but concerning the the speed of my writing it will take me two hours and it will be past midnight. Again… So where to start. Basically I’m using this free time that I have during holidays for researching processes, equipment and aesthetic. Very soon I’m planning to go to Bosnia for a test shoot on a new project I’m preparing. In 2015 there will be 20th anniversary of the end of the war in Bosnia and I want to prepare an exhibition on the topic.

OK, let’s start with the new member of my family. Please read captions of my images, this post will be more in telegraphic style.

Charconnet Petzval:
I bought a petzval lens! Gasc & Charconnet Paris Vintage lens is less known and less expensive than Dallmeyer or Hermagis but it’s in the same quality range. Made in years around 1860’s. So now I’m playing around, see what the baby have to offer. Please read the captions and you’ll see what images are done with the lens. Most of them.

Carbon Printing
I’m so much in love with carbon prints! it’s amazing! I love it.

Dry Preserved Collodion Negatives
As much as I love the idea of not carrying all the chemistry and a darkroom around, the dry collodion is not a shortcut. You spend ten times as much time to process one plate. Just developing of a single plate that I’ve shot today it took me literally an hour! That being said, it’s very useful tool to have in my assortiment of expression.

PS: That chopped down tree was cut by a beaver. It’s amazing, that this animals that are almost extinct are living literally in downtown of Dolenjske Toplice! Look carefully the last image, you’ll see that the beaver chewed whole trunk! So cool!

Vintage studio backgrounds of Josip Pelikan, dated about 1930’s

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Vintage background from skylight studio Josip Pelikan, MNZC museum, Celje, Slovenia.

Vintage background from skylight studio Josip Pelikan, MNZC museum, Celje, Slovenia.

Vintage background from skylight studio Josip Pelikan, MNZC museum, Celje, Slovenia.

Vintage background from skylight studio Josip Pelikan, MNZC museum, Celje, Slovenia.

Astrid asked me if I could take a picture of fantastic vintage studio backgrounds that were using Josip Pelikan, so after I got a permission from the museum I’m publishing them on my blog. On Flickr you can download a hires file of the image, just click all sizes. Vintage backgrounds are dated about 1930’s. The skylight studio was built in 1898 and bought by Josip Pelikan in 1922. Nowadays Josip Pelikan Photographic Studio is a branch of the Celje Museum of Recent History. If you going to use the files to make your own vintage look studio background, just leave a note in the back that it was done on the basis of backgrounds from Josip Pelikan Studio, Celje, Slovenia, EU. A lot of people from MNZC museum worked hard to renovate the skylight studio and we owe them at least a credit. THX.

I’ve been thinking. My friend ordered a painted movie poster from India and if you know a painter’s service like that, share the info and good luck! Perhaps we can make a group order and get a discount. Just a thought…

Yesterday I was portraying in the studio and I’ve made this plate. Also a colleague photojournalist Andraž Purg came by and made a portrait of me.

Portrait by Borut Peterlin in wet plate collodion technique in skylight Studio Pelikan, Celje, Slovenia, EU.Borut Peterlin in Josip Pelikan Studio

A photography project on fears and delights being a parent

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Dear topshit readers,
I’m awfully proud on the following book I’ve made. I’ve joined an excellent workshop with Klavdij Sluban. Klavdij Sluban is an extraordinary photographer and won so many prestigious photography awards. One of the most important award was certainly European Publishers Award 2009 and this year he was one of the juror for Leica Award 2013. It’s fortunate for us that his parents were Slovenians and although he was born in Paris, he spend his childhood in Slovenia, so he speaks fluently Slovenian (among other half a dozen languages). He made a generous offer to make a whole year lasting workshop and we would meet six weekends across the whole year. His only condition was not to advertise the workshop internationally, but invite only Slovenian photographers. Last week we had an opening of exhibition as the final stage of our workshop.

The presentation of my art zine and a single photograph at Gallery Simulaker, Novo mesto, Slovenia

The presentation of my art zine and a single photograph at Gallery Simulaker, Novo mesto, Slovenia

The book I’m presenting is a fruit of collaboration at the workshop. I’ve learned hugely by just watching Klavdij going through images, picking one, the other, changing the order, putting it back on the pile and so on. We called it Sluban’s magic, because although sometimes images that were on the table were not impressive at all, but his selection of just say 8 images and juxtapositioning them in certain order, did made a huge difference. You can not understand if you don’t witness it. I’ve been at workshops with many many famous photographers, from Martin Parr, Duane Michals, Joel Peter Witkin and many others, but I haven’t seen anything like it. I knew from our first meeting that all I need to learn at the workshop is to tap on his frequency of thinking and the result is evident here in this book. Mark Osterman gave me a great comment. He loved that I used different camera formats (6×6, 4×5″, 8×10″) and also different processes (b&w film, wet plate collodion – ambrotype and wet plate negative) and I blended them all together in a book almost seamlessly. That’s Sluban’s magic, I tell you!

As I’m describing in the video I was aware that the story about the most beautiful children in the world is not enough. I shaped my concept around my fears and delights of being a parent. When I was a child, ten years old, I burned myself with a gasoline and almost died. When I became a parent I experienced fears for my children and one day I was strucked by a thought, what my parents had to go through at the time of my accident!

The book is on ebay (LINK) if you want a copy. If you want a print as well, I’ve just put two prints on ebay and link is listed below.

A link to the gallery of images on my website.

The book on ebay.

The print no.1 listed on ebay.

Print no.6 listed on ebay.


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