TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Posts Tagged ‘wet plate collodion process

Ghost Window in wet plate collodion

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Dear followers,

This vlog should be published earlier, but I am missing three of my cameras. All small ones, like analogue compact Rollei camera, GoPro 3+ and Nikon J5 cameras. I have no idea what happened to them. In 30 years I have not lost a camera. I almost did, but never really. This small cameras were in my bag and I was carry them always with me. It might be that I forgot my backpack somewhere, but is more likely that someone took it out of my car. Today’s thieves do not need to brake a window, to get in your car. When I went to Prague I was resting on a rest stop and a thief silently broke in my car, without leaving any damage or signs. He did this while I was resting in the car! But then I woke up and he fled. Without steeling anything. So it might be that it was stolen or not. I do not know. Too many things happening in my life right now and this is the price to pay. Although this event is annoying it does not put me off. In fact that is why I bought Nikon J5, because I didn’t want to use the almighty and all expensive Nikon D4! Imagine that would happen with my Nikon D4 and my expensive lenses!

Anyway… Here is my latest vlog where I continue working on my book A Father’s Tale. A photo-book is not an album of images. It is a sequence of images carefully narrated through each page. Just like when music notes are containing parts that are actually bringing the orchestra to quit down or even to a complete stop, also photo-book must have parts in the book where an eye will relax, digest, reflect.

My idea is that the photo-book of my daughters should contain images that on information level do not tell you anything about them, but the images are containing certain mood that is bringing the viewer’s attention away from the information level and building the story on emotional level.

So that is why I’ve decided to photograph this window. I could ask one of my daughters to stand there or even I could stand by the window, but I’ve decided to keep it calm and simple. It is just one image in the book, but important one.

I hope you will like the image and the video. Please subscribe and share. My plan is to build up large enough social network and sell my books directly to my audience. And/Or with the large enough social network, main stream publishers will be interested in publishing the book. So thank you for subscribing to my YouTube channel, to my blog, to FB page and to my Instagram.

LINK to eBay listing of the silver-gelatin print

LINK to eBay listing of the ambrotype

LINK to eBay listing of the albumen print.

ebay-silvr-gelatin

ebay-ambrotype

ebay-albumen

 

 

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Barbed wired final frontier of EU

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Dear readers,
I’ve started a new project. I’m foremost documentary photography and ever since I got myself devoted to wet plate collodion process, I regretted the fact that I’ve parted with the spontaneity and playfulness of 35 mm photography. I desperately wanted to smooth my workflow, so the complexity of wet plate collodion process will not stand in my vision of documentary photographer, going around, taking pictures. That’s why I’ve made this invincible wet-plate mobile! If you are wet-plate practitioner you will appreciate a lot the content of this video, because wet-plate workflow has never been easier! Of course the dark-box is the key, as I’ve described in my LAST POST.

Now, finally, I can devote myself again to documentary photography I cherish so much. My theme is The Final Frontier of EU, more precisely the EU’s Schengen border. To prevent migration of refugees from Syria and immigrants from other places, Slovenian government decided to put barbed wire on our south border!

 

71WHId5NVOL._SL1500_Imagine that!?! I do not know what think and what will they solve with what? Imagine that thousands of refugees will flood across the river Kolpa to Slovenian soil and take a stand there! What will Slovenian government do then? I mean it’s not 1939, journalists are all around and on top of everything we should pretend to be civilised, so we set barbed wired fence. To stop what and who? Deers?

Most of my readers don’t know much of history of Slovenia and there is no reason why should you know, but in this context I will say few lines. Slovenia used to be part of Yugoslavia, governed by communistic regime that resist Stalin’s politic and therefore received a lot of

zica_tine

Deer that died in huge pain. Photo: Tine Lindič

sympathy from West and East. There was a very real threat that Soviet Union will invade Yugoslavia like they did to Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and others. Churchill delivered The Iron Curtain Speech in 1946 and its south-east border was actually Slovenia (that was part of Yugoslavia at the time). So what I’m trying to say is that in the past we experienced some really difficult times and inspire of being threatened with invasion, even when the Iron Curtain was being set on our borders with Italy and Austria, even in the dark times like this, our ancestors did not think of making our country like barbed wired concentration camp!

That said Slovenian nation, we deserve the finger up our asses, for being a faithful servants of our masters, support the imperialistic war in Iraq and dismantling Middle East, being quite at violation of human rights issues, buying particular arms and basically everything we supposed to do, to receive crumbs from the table. There is solely one good lesson to be learned from this refugee crisis. The whole Europe and the world has learned that whatever war happens wherever in the world, we will have in a month time refugees knocking at our door! USA is safe, they do not care, but people we have learned that you can not cross a border as a single person, but a flow of hundred thousands of refugees is unstoppable!

I say this in first person, because on the contrast to most of you, I do not exclude the scenario that I and my family might need to flea from a future war. I was 9 years old, I still remember very clearly, we had a lunch, I was being very picky and my grand father said, appreciate the food, because tomorrow it might be another war. I was laughing at him, thinking how silly he is, but not even ten years later we had a war!

Book dummy The Great Depression by Borut Peterlin

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Huh, I’m really happy today. I’ve shipped my book to The European Publishers Award for Photography . This is one of the most important photography awards in Europe and I’ve sent my dummy books before, but this time I’m really happy, because I know I’m sending something I truly believe in and furthermore I know I can not make it better. I, personally, did my best in making this book. I was contemplating a lot and I’ve made several versions, changing design, changing format, printing materials, rhythm of the images in the book, number of pages, select out certain images that I really love and so on. Now I feel very content with it. I can not make it better. I am not saying it can’t be done better, but I can not do it better. You may compare this version of the book with the version I’ve brought to Arles Festival and you will notice the difference.

This project The Great Depression was also shortlisted for European Month of Photography Arendt Award! It’s huge honour to be short-listed among few hundred photographers that exhibited in different capitals of Europe. The short list of only five photographers was chosen by the jury of curators and it’s not the kind of competition that you can apply to. I will be exhibiting in the exhibition space of Arendt & Medernach’s headquarters in Luxembourg from 22 April 2015 onwards.

Let me take the opportunity to announce few more news. A week ago this blog reached 500 followers on wordpress.com platform and this week is already 535 and if I count several thousands followers on Twitter and Facebook, it’s huge crowd, so I don’t want to waste your time, so I will write more information in one post.

At the end of the May I’m visiting also Photography festival in LODZ, Poland where my project The Father’s Tale is a finalist for the Grand Prix Fotofestiwal 2015 award.

If you are from USA, you can see my work on two locations.

As I was posting already, a triptych The Different Same is exhibited in the Mariani Gallery from January 20 – March 4, 2015. The address is University of Northern Colorado, Mariani Gallery, 501 20th St, Greeley CO 80639, USA

From 21st of February until 4th of April, you can see the albumen prints bellow in Los Angeles, that’s St. Tammany Art Association, Antiquarian Image Exhibition, 320 North Columbia St., Covington, LA 70433.

Great Depression – a project by Borut Peterlin from Marcos Núñez Cid on Vimeo.

Making portraits at Art Market in Ljubljana, Slovenia

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Last weekend was an Art Market in Ljubjana, Slovenia, and I’ve decided to give it a go. I set up my darkroom, lights, camera and brought few examples of my work. The Art Market was lasting four days and first two days I’ve made maybe four portraits, but then an avalanche of orders came in and I was working from 10.00 to 20.00 with a 15 min break for a snack. The plates were coming out great. Even my wife who can hardly be impressed by a collodion plate, was amazed how good it turned out.

My secret is the following. I’ve made my collodion wo days before the market, based on standard Osterman’s collodion (3gr CdBr, 4gr KI, 220 collodion, 140 alcohol, 140 ether) the only modification was that I replaced ether with the same amount of alcohol. I was working indoor so I couldn’t afford that the whole building would be smellin ether. I used 99% fine-grain alcohol. The collodion didn’t ripen yet, when I was start using it, but that’s OK if you don’t overdevelop. So my collodion was very young and super fast. I was getting great contrast, because contrast of the plate it does not relate to the age of collodion, but it relates to exposure & development time. If you overexpose and under develop you will get a soft low-contrasty image and vice versa. Because the young collodion I’ve mentioned is about 2 f/stops faster then the old one, photographers usually over-expose the collodion, cut the development, get low contrasty plates and claim that’s collodion fault. It is not. You can see the contrast I was getting with my two days old collodion.

I was using two flash lights, Balcar Source 6400Ws, but I’was using only one flash, that’s 3200Ws and my aperture was 6,7. Pretty cool numbers, right?

Last but not least, a big thanks to Grega Cokan and Anže Grabeljšek for their generous support!

The portrait session was exceptionally good accepted and I’m intending to repeat it on the last Saturday of the January, at the studio in downtown of Ljubljana, beside Ljubljanica river. More about that later. This experience gives me an idea. In August 2015 I’m invited for artist’s residency in Norway, Sunnhorland Museum, and I will travel by car to the north stopping on the way, giving workshops, demonstration and portrait sessions. Travelin photographer as they’ve done it 150 years ago!

PS: Here is a quick video from a couple of years ago, just you can see how I was working then.

Contemporary art project in wet plate collodion negative and carbon print

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Ciao ragazzi, I’ve listed a new print on EBAY, starting as an auction of US $0.99.

The story about this print is:

Beside 19th century photography processes I love contemporary art just as well. By Wikipedia the definition of contemporary art begins with a sentence: Contemporary art is art produced at the present period in time.

I am not an art historian, but I think that’s nonsense! If I create the same kind of images that were made 100 years ago, how can that be a contemporary art work? By my definition contemporary art has nothing to do with the current time that was created but with the attitude to create something that wasn’t done before. Contemporary art (by my personal understanding) is taking reference from art history but involving in the concept contemporary issues and by doing that the artist get across a certain personal view, a certain personal message. Because contemporary art is always a sort of an experiment, that is why contemporary art is so experimental, so unique and without one leading concept or aesthetic.

And this is my artistic credo in creating this photograph. Most of the story is told in the movie. In the movie I’m making a reference to the book Looking at Photographs by Szarkowski. I want to add that in 1995 I’ve seen an exhibition of Andreas Gursky in Georges Pompidou Center, Paris and one of the most impressive images was a huge picture of running shoes. I can’t find the image on Internet, but let me describe that visually the Gursky’s image was looking like a perfect product shot printed as a C-Type print size about 2×3 meters. I didn’t like the image at the time and to be honest I’m not fan of his work even now, but that does not mean I can’t learn something from his work.

The point of Gursky’s running shoes is basically the same as mine. I know, you’re seeing that kind of shoes every day, but look again! In the contrast to Gursky, my running shoes are really mine and I did run many hundred of kilometers with them and wore them out totally. My feet are imprinted in the shoes and so are thoughts… The first lesson I draw from Gursky’s work is that the trivial object can look extraordinary if presented in such a way.

The second visual reference is the book One Third by Klaus Pichler. I bought it at Anzenberger Gallery bookshop. The book is fantastisch! The little visual element that I needed for my image was the elevated object on black canvas.

The carbon print is made from wet plate collodion negative and it’s a part of a limited edition of 12 prints. I’ll donate one to George Eastman House, where I’ve learned this beautiful technique and I’ll donate one print with the running shoes to the SONS Museum for the collection of shoes by artists. But the copy number one goes to ebay as an auction starting from US 0.99$.

With the work I’m making an artistic statement about our consumer society, about how public relation image is cherished more then the real thing or a real person itself.

Because readers of my blog share with me a passion toward technical solutions of these antiquarian techniques I feel obligated to write about that as well. I was using Vageeswari 10×12″ camera with Voigtlander Heliar 300mm lens, closed down to f/32. I’ve illuminated the shoes with four flash heads of joined power 7000Ws and to achieve good density I had to flash 54 times. Wet plate collodion negative loves flash light, but as a lazy medium needs a lot of light! I was developing the negative for 3 minutes.
For carbon print I was using Indian Ink as a pigment and for temporary support of carbon tissue I was using the back side of cibachrome paper. You can see brown emulsion of the paper in the video. For final support I’ve used fixed out gelatin paper.

On the end let me thank Marcos Núñez Cid, my assistant from Spain for making this wonderful video.

PS: By the way, that’s already second print from the project. You can see the post about the first salt print that was sold to China for something more than US $300 (with shipping).

For a wetplate workshop dial B5!

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An ambrotype by Benjamin Lind

An ambrotype by Benjamin Lind

Last few months people from all over Europe are coming to the small town of Slovenia, to my home, to learn alternative photography techniques. Pardon my French, but I’m really proud on that!

Like in October Benjamin Lind from Switzerland was here for a weekend basic wetplate workshop. Last weekend Davide Nesti and Giuseppe Toffoli from Italy were here. They are experienced wetplaters and they were interested in wet plate collodion NEGATIVE, salt print, albumen print and silver gelatin printing from a wet plate collodion negative. Really too much program for two days and we did struggle with some troubleshooting, but on the end we achieved goals. I also learn one thing from the workshop. Davide had one nice camera, but the plate holder was fogging like english morning. I really didn’t believe that the plate holder can be used for wet plate photography, but then Giuseppe took my clear acrylic varnish and sprayed all parts that were in touch with a wet plate and the next day fog was totally gone. I couldn’t believe my eyes! One day fog on fog, the next – clear plates…

Robert Gojević, editor in chief of Blur magazine hired me to do a private workshop in Zagreb in his flat. We started perfectly following the Collodion manual of Mark Osterman that is included in the price of my workshop, but then when finally a time came for a plate, I got just fog. Robert was looking at me suspiciously, but I said, no worries, in wet plate process I follow one rule. If the first plate succeed, that’s luck, if the second plate does not succeed, that’s bad luck, only the third plate is bound to succeed if there is bad luck or good luck! And that’s what it happened. After troubleshooting I’ve recalibrated developer for hot and dry environment (his flat) and the third plate was (almost) perfect.

This week also Markele Zid, a photography student from Spain came to Dolenjske Toplice to become my assistant for three months. He hired a flat and we are working every day. He witnessed the weekend workshop and yesterday’s workshop with Robert and today I said, just give it a try in wetplate process by yourself. I didn’t even put my gloves on, he was doing everything by himself, I just inspect it over his shoulder. His first plate was so perfect I couldn’t believe! He must have some German genes in his blood, that’s the only explanation! The first plate had a yellow “coffee & cream” color cast but because, if I use words of Mark Osterman, in Europe we prefer more silverish, neutral gray kind of look, I tweaked the developer with KNa and nitric acid for more neutral silver tone and his second plate was as you can see. More about Markele, the spanish president, later, we’re planning to make many topshit videos.

I’m publishing pics from the workshop with captions and you be the judge if the workshops were successful. If you are interested in individual workshop on alternative techniques, please send me an email. It’s all inclusive workshop with sleeping, food and material, since we work from 9am to midnight! We even eat standing! Lunch time is when gloves tear and then you need new pair, this is the moment when lunch is served because that’s the only good and proper time to eat with new pair of gloves!

Last but not least in a month time I have an exhibition in Helsinki and also there I’ll be giving a private crash course on wetplate collodion negative and salt printing. I have a feeling that at this year’s European Collodion Weekend, NEGATIVE wet plate collodion and the salt print process with be the hip thing 🙂

An update on my Great Depression project

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Do you remember my project Great Depression? I’ve start working on it in December 2012 (LINK) and I had exhibition in October 2013 (link) Yesterday I continued to work on the project. I was in meat factory MIP D.D. (in bankruptcy process). I really wanted to document this factory, because it’ll bring a new dimension to my picture series. Images are showing a disassembly line of a living beings and it the context of my Great Depression photography project, it could be interpreted as a disassembly line not for cattle and pigs, but for humans. Say no more. Images are images and every possible interpretation is a valid one.

I think I’ll go one more time to the slaughterhouse and make few more images…