Books

Personal Matters 3 & Shipping Containers

It’s been over three months since I last posted here. Things have changed again quite dramatically. It’s still a bit messy and rollercoaster-like but good things are happening.

So here we are, three months down the road. I still don’t have a working space; I realised my rent for housing right now is too high to be able to rent another space for working so I’m looking for a different solution (on paper calculations always seem so pretty and viable 🙂 ).

I met someone new, also looking for a place to stay, so we might be doing that together. Fast you say? Yes. If it doesn’t work out it’s best to know sooner than later. And what certainty do you ever really have?

My personal photography I have kept to a bare minimum. The thought of not being able to work in my darkroom frustrates me in a way that I do not want to think about my work right now. I have shot a couple of rolls of film that still need development (don’t need a darkroom for that but have to pick up stuff to do it).

I did visit FoMu in Antwerp and Musée de la Photographie à Charleroi (—> wowwww) during my holidays past month. We also visited the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht which I had postponed until then. We have been on a photographic journey to Cockerill-Sambre in Belgium, Liege area, together with my dad and brother. We’ll be going back there for a more extensive visit, hopefully somewhere soon. Past weekend we visited Ghent to see the exhibition ‘Fotografie Herontdekt’ at Zebrastraat which had work of Jeroen de Wijs, Marinus Ortelee & Charlotte Edam, Roger Kockaerts and a couple of more to me unfamiliar people. Worth a visit. If you want to stay over look at this great Apartment Sleepstreet which we greatly enjoyed during our stay 🙂

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So, not doing nothing but merely focusing on different things, which is a healthy thing to be doing from time to time anyway. Trying to find back myself and my photography, but also looking at mistakes made and figuring out what’s really important and go from there. Things can only grow stronger after this. My spirits are high. I do miss you however, and my collodion chemistry so hope to get things back together soon 🙂


“Die Erotische Daguerreotypie” – Rainer Wick

Recently I acquired a book from Antiquariaat Stille which is called: Die Erotische Daguerreotypie. I’m normally not specifically interested in that sort of photography (I consider artistic nude one of the most overrated forms of photography E.V.E.R.) but that aside I thought this could be of interest seeing that it’s about genuine daguerreotypes dating from that era of photography and thus providing an interesting insight in the history of sexuality, even more so the depicting of sexuality, and ideal of beauty. An ideal that has underwent quite some changes. Raw naked beauty looked a lot more healthy those days 🙂

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If you want to see what this book is about go out and find it. It’s interesting, also the prologue. I am willing to share with you however two images (the book gets a lot more explicit than this but I don’t find this blog the proper place to share them). A couple of things that stood out to me are that the desire of more than one female is of all times, or so it seems. Masturbation is too. Of course, of course you say, but we always think that we invented the ‘cool’ stuff but people were also real people in the 1800’s and, at least for me, when looking at these old stiff portraits of people from the dawn of photography, I tend to forget that at times. Keepers of Light has a wonderful piece about the language of photography which this does remind me of. Read it, it’s a must! And to think that in the Netherlands the sexual revolution took place no earlier than the sixties…I find that striking and funny. Also, think about the technical issues when making photos like these. As for the rest; let your own imagination take you places 🙂

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P.s. I expect a lot more spam now after this post haha 🙂


In het volle zonlicht – De Daguerreotypieën van het Museum Enschedé te Haarlem

I think it was two weeks ago a client from the photo store I work for came in and told me the book store across the street had a really nice book about a collection of Daguerreotypes originating from the Netherlands. I thanked him for the heads-up and planned to look up the book as soon as I had my lunch break. He offered to check for me if the book was still in stock. Ten minutes later he returned with what looked to be a book wrapped in gift paper. It was that specific book 🙂

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It turned out to be a book on a collection of Daguerreotypes from one single family; Family Enschedé from Haarlem NL. They were able to trace 100 daguerreotypes, of which 81 are part of the collection of the Museum Enschedé in Haarlem and 19 still reside in the family’s hands, including a lot of letters going back and forth from different relatives in the family. With the help of these and additional diaries and account books they were able to trace these daguerreotypes back to this family, and even in great lines who was portrayed by which photographer. They have discovered and preserved a well-organised family archive which actually is one of the biggest photographic collections in the world of one single family.

The fascinating part here is that the preserved daguerreotypes are from the actual beginning of the invention of this process. Through their letters it becomes clear that this new miracle really is very special in the eyes of a lot of people and that certain members of the family make efforts in learning and working with this very process themselves which results in quite a bit of home-made daguerreotypes.

There’s also a chapter in this book dedicated to the technical aspects of this particular process and restoration of the images. All of the 100 daguerreotypes have been displayed in the catalogue section of the book with a proper description, as complete as was possible. Interesting!

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One of the other books I came to finally finishing is “Ways of Seeing” by John Berger. Recommended to me when I was studying photography I immediately bought it but started reading it years later haha, and finished it past week. It’s an interesting book, have to read it again and try to read it all in one go (it’s not huge) but presents a different way of looking at things: art, oil paintings in relation to (modern) advertising, the presence of women (albeit nude or not) and how this differs from the presence of men and publicity. An interesting read, worthy of re-reading as I’ll probably notice more relations etc. during a second seeing.

I’ve also ordered another book, also touching the subject of ways of seeing: “Beeldspraak” from Ton Hendriks (thanks John for the heads-up!). More on that later 🙂


Werner Mantz and the MABP

Yesterday was the final day of the Maastricht Antiquarian Book and Print fair in Maastricht, MABP for short. It’s a fair where national and international antiquarians offer their books and prints for sale. It ranges from old maps to travel guides, from etchings to ancient children’s books. The location of the fair is also nothing short of gorgeous: the St. Jans Church at the Vrijthof. This was my first visit ever to this fair but next year I definitely will be going again!

Of course I’m always looking for all-things-photography and I certainly found something great: a book with photographs of Werner Mantz. Originally from Koln he came to Maastricht in 1932 with an atelier and settled for good here in 1938. I heard his name many times before, missed a big exhibition of his work in Maastricht a couple of years ago and somehow just never came around to look at his work properly. Until yesterday. At the stand of Libraire Stille I came across some books containing his work and didn’t take me long to buy one. His work is absolutely stunning, great use of available natural light, each image very carefully composed, almost as if directed.

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I feel so free to post some of his images I scanned from the book to illustrate the beauty of his work. If this is in any way a violation of the rules, let me know and I’ll remove them right away.

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There even is a blog about him (probably made by one of his children, maybe even grand children, not sure) if you’re keen on seeing more of him.

Really pleased with this book and hopefully more will follow soon!


POST EXPOSURE – Advanced Techniques for the Photographic Printer 2nd Edition

Seeing that I wanted to make an inventory of all the enlarging lenses I had I ran into this great manual online when I figured out which one to keep and which not. I switched enlargers a while back and used the lenses that came with the enlarger, pre-mounted and all. I never bothered to check the lenses I already owned which is really ignorant as I knew I had a couple of nice ones. This week I finally got around to that and to make up my mind on them this manual really came in handy so I thought I’d share.

It’s not being sold anymore as a hard copy, only distributed for free via Ctein’s website, the writer of the book. The only thing he asks is that I link to his website instead of offering the download here myself. It’s the least I can do. So, check out the link and enjoy the read!

Link to Ctein’s website

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Josef Sudek, Francesca Woodman & Paul Outerbridge: New Books

In my mission to getting inspired by things I decided it was time to buy some books again. Some I had on a wish list for quite some time, others came right out of the blue.

The first one I’m meaning to get for quite some time now is: “Francesca Woodman”. Her images are very inspiring.

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The second one I wanted to buy after having seen it at a friend is Paul Outerbridge with the book “Command Performance”. Not a book I would’ve bought without seeing but the images are really impressive and the carbro colour process used to create them is utterly fascinating to say the least. If you feel wet plate collodion is cumbersome, check out the carbro process 😉

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Another one is Josef Sudek’s “The Ancient Forest of the Beskids”. His work is absolutely stunning. Never saw that many work by him so thought it would be very interesting doing so via books. I’m very fond of forests and trees in my images, I want to create a whole lot this year on my collodion negatives, so this book seemed like a sure way to go 😉

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The fourth and last book I bought is also by Josef Sudek and this one is called: “Poet of Prague”. This contains photos of Prague, the city where he was born, and it’s a beautiful city. I’ve not seen his photos of Prague but went there in, I believe, 2008, so this is an interesting re-visit.

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I hope I will get them soon! Have a great weekend 🙂


Basic Collodion Technique: Ambrotype & Tintype

A while back I bought the manual Basic Collodion Technique: Ambrotype & Tintype written by Mark Osterman and his wife France Scully Osterman. It was not until the past few days I came around to reading it. What a comprehensive manual! Sure, it says basic in the title but it’s even a very decent and (to me) very clarifying guide for people working with the process for a couple of years now. I am really glad I’ve bought it and am very much looking forward to the Complete Collodion Guide they have been working on for the past few years. I hope it won’t be too long before it will be finished (hint hint 🙂 )

If you’re also interested in ordering this shoot France an email:
sculloster [at] gmail [dot] com

56 pages where the process gets explained, the chemistry necessary, formulas to work with but most importantly what exactly these ingredients do, how they relate to each other and how to adjust them accordingly when deemed necessary. That part makes this an extremely valuable manual; to really understand what the compounds of let’s say the developer do. That, and proper exposure, determine the outcome in a far greater way than what sort of collodion you’ll be using. Have fun!


Omgaan met Foto’s; de Gevoelige Plaat (dutch only)

A friend of mine, Angelina Valleau, presented me with this article she found in the magazine “Tijdschrift van de Rijskdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed 3 2012”. It’s about the preservation and cleansing of different photographic materials. The writers are Bill Wei (senior investigator inheritance at the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed) and Clara von Waldthausen (photo restaurator and founder of the Fotorestauratie Atelier in Amsterdam).

The article remains pretty shallow and, according to what I’ve read about the past of photography, it even contains some errors. For instance, they mention that Daguerreotypes were the first type of affordable photography to become available to the middle class. As to my knowledge this is not the case. Daguerreotypes were very expensive to make, considering it was very time consuming let alone the silver that was needed to make the plates. Plus no form of reproduction was possible.

They mention that the upcoming of photos on paper were the foremost cause of death of daguerreotypes. In my opinion this was due to wet plate collodion photography that followed in the footsteps of the daguerreotypes, being cheaper to make and reproducible (clear glass = negatives). This is when photography became available to the larger audience.

On top of that they mention that glass negatives have been made between 1870 and 1930. Again not the case in my opinion. They were able to make glass negatives starting from 1851 when the wet plate collodion process was introduced. That was also the time where “carte de visite” became popular (were invented even of course) because of those glass negatives. Maybe they’re referring to dry gelatin plates which were invented around 1871 but it would be nice to see that more accurately stated. If you want the article to come across as one with a scientific approach as that’s what restoration I thought is about I’m a little disappointed, but maybe someone feels it differently?

P.s. Sorry the article is in Dutch only 😉

Have a nice read anyway!


Alternative Photography Literature

A while back I ordered some books from Amazon, along with a copy of “Keepers of Light” which I mentioned some time ago. I’d like to share the other two as well as they are really great books. The first one is “Coming Into Focus” by John Barnier and the second one is “Historic Photographic Processes” by Richard Farber.

I often referred to The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes by Christopher James, but really, I like these a whole lot better. The information is set up in a more clarifying way and more properly described.

 

Have a good read!


Some more Books

As Dutch people know de Slegte, a nationally spread book store, is merging with Selexyz. Across from where I work there lies a Slegte but not for long. The upside is that they have their books on sale which made me walk in there today (otherwise I would not have simply because I don’t like this particular store on the being- friendly-level). Luckily I did because I found some nice ones!

Normally I hardly ever check out their ‘new’ department, mostly because it contains lots of books about nudity and other, to me, irrelevant subject matters. Since it was laying opposite of the second hand section I thought looking both sides wasn’t that much of a pain. You never know…and what did I find…?

Yes, that’s right. “America and the Tintype” by Steven Kasher. As I’m pretty much only familiar with the static portraits which we all know from the ‘ancient’ days this book surprised me with quite the opposite in images. It has photos of post-mortem children, I mean who doesn’t like those, but also of “man making funny face” or “man with feet on table” or “ice skater with bandaged head and knee and bottle of liquor” or “two unidentified men playing with their cigars” or “decapitated man with head on a platter”. A real quirky book in other words!

I also bought “Case Histories | The Presentation of the Victorian Photographic Portrait 1840-1875”. This I bought out of mere interest. The casings on old photographs are pretty fascinating and it’s interesting reading a bit about their background, even though it’s limited to British manufacturers only.

Last but not least, “Eugène Atget’s Paris” by Taschen. I’ve always admired his work and still beat myself up, verbally that is of course, for having missed his exhibition in Rotterdam last year. I’ll have to do with books for now 😉

Anyways, that was it for today. Getting ready for the Big Collodion test tomorrow!