I love to take my camera out in the field, to make collodion images on location. I prefer that over studio images. The only issue that kept me busy of the last few years? How to transport the camera when traveling. Until now I just put the camera in the car, no protection, and dragged it everywhere I needed it to be. I had seen one photo bag that I figured could hold the camera, the TinkTank Logistics Manager, but it was so expensive I never actually tried it.
As some of you know I work in a photo store in Maastricht, Foto Rembrandt (feel free to chime in and say hello if you’re nearby ;-). and two weeks ago I went with my colleague to a special ‘dealer’ day at one of our suppliers. This specific supplier Transcontinenta has, among other brands such as Leica, Gitzo, Lastolite etc, ThinkTank bags. I decided to take my camera to them to find out if they have a bag that would actually fit my camera.
They did! I ended up with the Video Rig 24, one of their largest bags on wheels. It makes it easy to carry the camera around, fits perfectly, along with some small items such as red light, charger, waterhouse stops and of course the glass plates, camera, lens, back and dark cloth. Needless to say I am really happy! All I need is a new car now as the bag hardly fits in the back 😉
This carefully hidden project finally saw the light of day and now the light of my blog 🙂
21st of June
I received a call. I hardly ever pick up my phone so I had to return the call. Menno picked up when I did, marketing manager at the B32 group. He said he saw my website and was excited about the collodion imagery. He asked me to have a cup of coffee with him as he wanted to talk about an interesting proposal he had in mind. The 27th of that month we sat down in a bar in Maastricht and he began to tell the story of Silvercreek, a clothing brand under the flag of Open32 / Blue32, with 65 shops in the Netherlands.
They are in the process of putting Silvercreek into the market as a stand-alone brand, like Levi’s and G-Star for example, with their dedicated stores. Silvercreek used to be a small mining town in America, now used by artisans who gave it new life after the mines closed. Inspired by this, Silvercreek thought it would be a great idea bring back craftsmanship and let ‘New Artisans’ tell their story.
So the first season they approached a furniture maker with whom they worked together. The second season they worked together with Evelien van Zonneveld from Werfzeep, who they visually followed in her process of soap-making, wearing clothes by Silvercreek. They also worked together with Frank Abbenhuis from Witloft, who they also followed in his process of apron-making.
In short “New Artisans” are asked to tell their story in front of the camera while wearing Silvercreak clothing. But also to create something in collaboration with Silvercreek. Evelien designed a special soap together with Silvercreek to be sold in their stores. Frank designed a special apron for them.
Back to the coffee… “So…,Menno continued his story, this brings us to the point why I am here. Would you be interested in being our next “New Artisan” for the FallWinter collection of 2016?”
Wow… I remembered him asking if I wanted to sleep a night over it before answering. No need for that, I replied. Of course I want to do this! He had a thing for black-and-white photography and the craftsmanship involved in making the wet plate collodion imagery. The mood in the collodion images fitted their look-book perfectly so I immediately felt a click with their approach. The only thing was that they were in a bit of a hurry as the new collection would hit stores in September. If I were able to plan a date soon where he would get the entire team together to shoot the event… The rest is history 😉
14th of July
9 0’clock in the morning, the bell rang. The make-up artist, Judith Pronk, arrived. It took the rest about half an hour more to gather. The rest of the team was made up by: Renee Ferron (stylist), Gijs Spierings (photographer), Sherman Emers (videographer) and of course Menno himself. At first hair & make-up, then clothing. I will let the images speak for themselves, but it was a great day. Lots of laughing, laughing until the tears rolled down my cheeks. Let’s say Judith had some work that day 😉 We shot images while me playing around with some of my cameras, some posed, some not so much. But the most cool part was that I was going to shoot a wet plate, and that they could follow the entire process of making them.
Explaining the process from start to finish took up a lot of time, including cleaning and everything. We first decided to do a portrait of me, the camera handled by Erik (focusing and exposing), while the chemistry and handling of the plate remained with me. We then planned to do a shot of the new jeans in their collection to make the circle round but time simply went too fast. When the clock hit 8 in the evening we all said goodbye and a truly wonderful day came to an end. To be continued.
We all kept in touch, I received all images from the shoot (wow), and Menno and I talked about the jeans some more. We both liked the idea to do an actual proper wet plate exposure of both new jeans models, copper for men, and amber for the ladies. So, it happened. On the 24th of August Menno arrived in my studio again, to shoot the jeans. Fantastic! Fabric looks so dead-gorgeous on wet plate! Everyone was happy. The images are going to be used as the campaign shots for these jeans, which is fantastic! They will be shown in a lot of places, even in bus shelters (sorry for all the exclamation marks haha)!
On top of that shoot, he had another proposal for me; As I was now the female “New Artisan” using old photographic techniques, they figured it would be awesome to put Gijs opposite of me as the male “New Artisan” using modern photographic techniques. And that it would be cool if I were to shoot Gijs for these series. WowWowWow! Never expected that to happen! So, I had to shoot a part digitally, funny as I ended up using a Canon EOS 5ds (I don’t like working with Canon AT ALL, but it was okay ;-)) But I was also asked to shoot a wet plate of Gijs, one with one of his cars, and one portrait just like mine.
Images of my shoot:
26th of August
I took of to Veghel where we planned the shoot at the “Koekbouw”, an awesome industrial spot there. The even more cool thing about this shoot was that Gijs normally photographs cars, Mercedes for example. And I just happen to love cars so it all came together! He arranged two cars for this shoot and I would follow him while photographing these. One was a Ferrari 348TS, and the other an old Mustang from 1965, both in impeccable condition. Both awesome as hell! Once again a great day! For collodion however, it was quite hard; temperature that day was 31 degrees. Still issues with my fixing bath giving spots, as became clear after the shoot; rinsing capabilities were limited and no KCN anymore for me. So, not a perfect shoot wet plate-wise but awesome nonetheless!
Apart from the story of Gijs and me, there were two more artisans asked for this edition: a couple working together as blacksmiths under the name of Atelier 79. They designed and produced a special coin for Silvercreek which will be in the pockets of the new male jeans when you buy one. This refers to the coin in mine-workers’ jeans to identify the deceased. And a cool necklace for the ladies in the shape of a paroquet, which were used in the mines to warn for gas leaks. Great people to have met and I’m looking forward seeing their atelier in person!
Images of Gijs, shot by me and edited by Gijs, the man himself
12th of September
The big national presentation of the FallWinter Collection 2016 🙂 Everyone, every employee in their stores, all who helped, all who modeled, got invited to join the presentation party which was held at the Koekbouw in Veghel. Of course we went too, and it was fantastic beyond words. Menno told me a little of what was going to happen but he kept the best part silent. We got there at around 7 in the evening. Got something to eat and drink, and watched all people walk in Silvercreek clothing, which was a pretty surreal sight on its own.
The jeans on wet plate collodion, 8×10″:
An official opening speech, live music, and a place where all new collections of all brands they represent at Open32, were shown. At a little over 10 we got to the special event that was announced earlier on that evening. It’s where they were to introduce their new jeans line in a spectacular kind of way. We were invited by Menno for a little sneak-preview before that moment. Luckily. Because what I saw when we entered that space…it was quite moving. This space is huge, about 100 metres in length, and impressive on its own. It was the same space we used for the shoot a few weeks back. To dress it up properly is quite the challenge. They succeeded. Big time. The space was entirely empty except for 4 HUGE drapes hanging from the ceiling behind each other in the middle of the space. Each drape spanned 5 by 3 metres… and contained my wet plate images! The first was the portrait of myself, the second the amber version of the jeans, the third the portrait of Gijs and the fourth the copper version of the jeans. I was stunned and overwhelmed. I never expected anything like this.
After that private sneak-preview everyone was invited into the hall, and the jeans were presented in a different coolish manner-style. Menno bought an SRV-wagon about a year ago and completely revitalised it, turning it into an actual driving Silvercreek selling point, which contained all the new jeans. Everybody received a special coin upon arriving that evening and with that coin, it became clear that it was to be used as a voucher for a free pair of new jeans for everyone! Cool huh! Everybody jumped the wagon of course 😉
The evening ended with some lovely dancing on beats and strings from the band. And with that this story also comes to an end. For now that is. This story is anything but over so….to be continued 🙂
Above images of the presentation courtesy of Erik Slangen.
Check this link over here —> sc-fw-2016-magazine-3108_lres_spreads for the original pdf of the new Silvercreek Magazine and knock yourself out!
Credits: All images where I am on, unless stated otherwise, copyright by Gijs Spierings Photography.
Seeing that I have quite a load of digital images, merely residing on my hard drives, I thought it would be good to give them back some meaning. Meaning and perhaps a new way to pay for my real love: analogue photography 🙂
In the future I might extend this beyond prints from digital files but for now this is it..
It took awhile, but finally a bit of rest caught up along with more will to start rebuilding the darkroom and studio. The thought of having to break it off again when Ad Hoc tells us to leave kind of put me off rebuilding. But in the end it keeps me from being able to work so rebuilding really is the only option. And.. it is fun! Rethinking everything all over is always a challenge and an exciting thing to do. The only major thing left to finish is hooking up the wet table to water and a drain. Got all the stuff, just needs to be done.
Today we finished making the space light tight with some great fabric, donated by Erik which he bought quite a few years back for a whole different purpose. My first plan was to use something like black rubble sacks, double-layered, and tape it to the windows (which were quite a few!). But this is much much better as only one layer is sufficient to get the job done and it’s white so reflects all red light inside and reflects light, thus heat, outside. Anyway, enough with the blabla…onto some images, from start to where it’s at now 🙂
So…that is as it stands now..Hopefully soon things will be fully up and running. About the cloth, it’s a three-layer synthetic fabric, two outer whites and one inner black. Don’t know the price, don’t know the name, only that it works REALLY well, it’s light, thin and easy to handle / cut etc. If I find more info on it in the future I’ll add this.
Have a great evening and I’ll be off for some dark dreams tonight 🙂
Again, it’s been a while since I last posted here. Again, lots have changed. Again, it was pretty chaotic. The ecstatic feeling since the last post has made place for quite a few ups and downs, of which the latter seems to have prevailed a bit. 9 years of relationship doesn’t “wear off easily” (for lack of better words) and leaves you with a hole which you only come to realise over time. Now I finally feel like I’m slowly getting my wits about me again and am looking forward to find out what this new year has in its pockets.
In short (oh well…) I have moved once again, this time hopefully for a longer while to come but the odds seem on the up and up. It’s an anti-squat building (legal squatting to prevent abuse of an empty building) which means it’s a whole lot cheaper than anything you compare it with and it’s BIG. It used to be a monastery, but also a school and a facility to house heavy autistic people. It has been thoroughly renovated 10 years ago so it’s in excellent condition with double windows, a large kitchen, a bathroom with a bath and separate shower and a separate toilet. And 6 rooms to do whatever we like with (storage mostly haha). And a HUGE garden which covers about 30 by 30 meters.
The image above you see a part of the building being paralel to the road; that’s our part, and a part perpendicular; that will be the studio part. Yes, good news! Today that part of the building became available, or at least for checking out, and we will be building our working spaces there, starting like next week or so! Finally I will be able to set up my darkroom again and studio. There’s even a doorway from our living room to that part of the building. So…that was excellent news today, can’t wait to get going 🙂
The rooms are approx. 7 by 8 meters and about 4 meters high. Should be big enough 🙂 Of course, the development will be posted here…
Anyway, in short, that’s how it stands. I’ve shot some more film but still haven’t gotten around to developing them. I have also shot some more Impossible, as you can see below, can’t find the others. The view from this place is really lovely as the first image shows. Hope to be able to post something more interesting soonishly. Until then and after that: all the best for 2015 for all of you!
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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 🙂
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 🙂
I didn’t think there was a need for part two after the previous one but I guess there is now. Again, this blog is not meant to be about personal issues but these events will certainly have its impact on me, and evidently, on my work to come.
I am in the process of moving again. This time on my own. My boyfriend and I split up several weeks ago. I won’t go into depth here because firstly it’s really none of your business, and secondly, one post can’t quite cover it in full. I have found a new apartment where I’ll probably settle next week or so. Still working on finding a decent working space for not too much money. Problem is I need quite the bit of space after having accumulated all this stuff over the years. Anyway, I am sure it will all pan out and you will be the first to know, I promise 🙂
I plan on building furniture myself, mostly for kicks, but also to save money and refrain from buying new items. I have never bought a bed, a table, a cupboard etc. I have none of that so that will be fun. I just have lots of photography thingies but you can’t sleep or eat on those.. Lots of practise to be had in order to refine my building skills 😉
Recently we received some new Impossible film at work; SX70 with coloured borders. The film is supposed to be improved over the old version, which I think really sucked, so after having given up on it decided to give it one last go….I like it 🙂 I exclusively shoot black-and-white images so this colourful experimental maybe-not-even-funny-but-it-is film made me like it. In between this oh so personal post I will post some first Impossible Abstractism results.
As for the rest, well, I guess I’ll keep you updated. Hope to be back in full production order again..luckily I don’t necessarily need a darkroom to make images 🙂
I know this is a blog about photography, mostly alternative things, but behind all that is a person, me obviously, and as a person the things you experience will have their effect on the body of work. In that light I feel compelled to share with you the things I have experienced since the beginning of this year, health wise.
In the Netherlands it is a costum to get your cervix checked for cancer or indications that there might be something wrong from the age of 30. I hit the big 30 last year so I received a wonderful invitation for my first check up. It’s not really pleasant but nothing horrid either until I got back the results.
Pap 3b was the verdict and I was shocked immensely. I do sports, quit smoking almost 6 years ago, eat healthy (or at least I’d like to think that I do :-)) so you don’t expect your body to be anything else but healthy. I’ve read and heard horror stories where you would get sedated locally with syringes (aarrrggghhhh) and where they would take a biopt to see how bad the cells were affected and if it needed further treatment. Unfortunately this was exactly the case 😦
The 10th of February I had an appointment at the hospital where they would have a closer look with a microscope. They decided that the field with these troubled cells was too big so I got the local sedation part (absolute horror to me; syringes do not belong there!) and they took three biopts to see where the cells would be most worrysome. Two weeks later the results came in and I was invited back for further treatment as there was too much affected tissue to leave it.
Past April 28th was the big day. Scared because of the last visit which really didn’t feel all too cool with a couple of clumsy students (long live academical hospitals) starting that session I wasn’t happy going back for a more extended version of it. Fortunately these two women where a lot nicer and more gentle and I survived the colorations, local anaesthetics and removal of tissue again.
Today I got back the results and it came out as CIN 2, which is good. Just ‘nervous’ cells, no cancer and no indication of formation into that. I get to go back in half a year from now for a new test to see how the remaining cells are behaving but hopefully that will be the last of it.
I have had my doubts whether I should tell this story or not. I did do it because it had a much bigger impact on me than I would have ever imagined possible. And I got the soft-pretty-much-okay version of it. I think everybody knows someone, including me, who had a worse version to go through. It makes you feel vulnerable and the god-like feeling of ‘this will never happen to me’ slipped away for a bit. Live your life like it is your last is good advice but at the same time hardly realistic. I’d be frikkin’ tired everyday and possible would have accidentally killed myself along the way haha 😉 But maybe it makes you a little less dramatic about everyday-so-tiny-matters which become meaningless when you’re not healthy, albeit it being so horribly cliche.
I feel for the people who are forced to visit hospitals on a regular base and who have to undergo nasty examinations. Nothing compared to what happened to me but I was thoroughly impressed nonethess. It’s all relative of course. So, now I feel like I can pick up where I left off, for example the making of the Disposable Crisis book and my dry plate photography.
Anyway, love to you all! And one last thing I wish to close this story with is a Haiku (originally in Dutch but I did my best to translate) someone sent me the other day, out of the blue, because we met on a strange occasion. Thank you, Jo Merckelbagh, for your wonderful words in a time where they have more meaning than any other given time.
The empty room
motionless breathes the silence
outside falling leaf
De lege kamer
ademt roerloos de stilte
buiten vallend blad