Last year, during the Kunsttour in Maastricht, I have been invited to join the Aachener Kunstroute which will be held this weekend (28-29 September, each day from 11 until 19 hr). My work is situated at Burg Frankenberg in Aachen. As they are currently renovating the building there’s only room for only one of my works, a nice one me thinks, and I will be present during both days so if you want to meet up..feel free to hop in!
Website Aachener Kunstroute
Maybe see you then 🙂
My schedule has the finicky habit of changing the very last minute. The plan was to write a blog post last night, go cycling today in the morning somewhere and print the image for the exhibit in Aachen during the rest of the day. Found out on Monday we had a theatre show planned for Tuesday evening…darn. I rescheduled the printing to Monday evening / night, cycling with a friend Tuesday afternoon and go the theatre (cabaret) in the evening. Hmmm what to do with the Tuesday morning…Linhof yeah! I still had everything packed from Sunday, switched a couple of things, reread the Linhof manual, the bits that mattered anyway, and went on a trip this morning.
Seeing that the time would be limited I picked the Enci as a good place to shoot. Been there before in 2011 (see this link), easy parking, easy access, not many people around, close to home and was eager to see how it looked after two years. Nature has found its way; really beautiful there. Unfortunately they made a sort of bar and introduced paid parking (blood suckers) but luckily for us this wasn’t opened and we did not see the parking meter 😉
I chose to work with the darkbox this time as it would work faster with setting up etc. The flashlight I bought to function as a darkroom light with red foil works like a charm! Plenty of light, you can switch it off to save battery life and easy to hang from its detachable hand strap: good purchase! The Jody Ake back works really nicely, the ridge the plate rests on is relatively small and will fall off during printing because of the ridge in the glass plate holder of the enlarger. I had trouble focusing; don’t have a dark cloth for 4×5″ and I really need one outside; the foldable hood from Linhof itself is not good enough, certainly not with an f/14 lens. But, the lens was properly attached this time! 🙂
A fresnel will be one of the next purchases for the Linhof to improve focusing as well. On top of that I focused for the background; the line of trees at the other side of the water but the foreground comes out sharper than the back..? Maybe there was wind on the other side of the water..(35 seconds exposure time)? And I find it hard to ‘read’ the negatives. As in if they come out a little foggy perhaps? Not sure. I still have to adjust developer for them, in the first place to build up more silver on the plate. Did it here by multiplying regular exposure by 3 times and overdeveloping a little.
A first timer this shoot was the use of glycerin to keep the plates wet until I got home to give them a final rinse. I ordered two liters of glycerin and added 2 liters of water to them in a large canister. Left it overnight to properly become one. France mentioned you were supposed to coat the plate with the substance like you do with collodion and it’s supposed to lay on top of the plate. This solution was not thick enough for that so I covered the plates in the boxes to make sure they stayed wet enough. Have to read up on that a little more but it seemed to work out just fine. In the scans I can see some strange cringes in some parts of the plate; have to look with a magnifier to determine if it’s the scan or in the negative. Will report back on this when I do.
I left the plates in there for several hours, around 5 hours even I guess, before I gave them their final rinse. I fixed on the spot after the shoot, placed them in a rinsing bath to get the fixer off and then placed them in these boxes you can see up here and covered them with glycerin. When I took the plates out at home to rinse them I poured the glycerin back into the stock bottle for re-usage.
Anyway, enough of the boring part..it’s the plates we care about! They are all 4×5″ clear glass ambrotypes shot using a Berthiot Perigraphe 90mm f/14 with an exposure time of 35 seconds.
Not perfect but fun we had and better they will get! Looking forward varnishing them and seeing how they will print. Have a good day! Already excited about my next adventure 🙂
P.s.: the cabaret turned out to be a duo singing their songs for the entire show..right. I took Bart out for Sushi, much better!
I love my racing bike. I love the way racing bikes look; their aerodynamic form and slick lines. I love collodion. I hate the flu.
Last week consisted mostly of sleeping on the couch and or watching ‘American Horror Story’ on Netflix as I came down with the flu. Rather bad timing as I had to print work for a client which I luckily found myself able to postpone and had to prep a collodion demo for this past Sunday. All in all I got around to that last Friday. Seeing the upper sentence I thought it would be great to combine these loves, not merely for test-sake but to make a short series out of it so this will be continued somewhere later on this year when the weather bounds me to the studio.
All of the images are 4×5″ Clear Glass Ambrotypes and had an exposure time of 90 seconds @ f/5.6 with my lovely Steinheil 230mm lens. The plates are scanned using an Epson V700, nothing special done to them. In the future they will be printed, by hand of course, digital processing is for woosies 😉
Hopefully I’ll get back to riding my bike soon instead of merely looking at it through a ground glass but it is as close as it gets for now 😉 I managed to screw up the last plate (which I actually shot first) with my nail while taking it out of the washing tray (ahhhhh)! Perhaps learning how to retouch glass negatives is next…however, just cutting my nails probably is easier haha!
Haha so…Tuesday night I though it would be cool to ask the day off on Wednesday. Of course a bit late for such a decision but I luckily I was able to get the afternoon off. At first the intention was to make some lith prints trying out the new Slavich Unibrom paper I ordered a while back as the first prints of David Kirby posted on the lith group on Facebook looked really funky. I then saw the weather and thought it would be more awesome to try my new Linhof! I learned many things 😉
Again, I had only a limited amount of time. During work I managed to get out and find a new LED light (I used up the battery of the one I used Sunday and because this all happened so unprepared forgot to charge it). I got home at around 1:30 PM, ate something (no, I don’t live off ether vapours), fixed my new darkroom light, packed everything and finally was able to leave at around something like 2:30. I planned to photograph the bridge in Kanne, Belgium. I drove there and it looked pretty boring. I drove back to another bridge, the one I had planned to visit in the first place and a little closer to home, also in Belgium. I didn’t find a parking spot immediately so I drove on until I found one and ended up photographing a beautiful lane towards the bridge (though the latter remaining invisible) and another nice land road.
I set up camp using a my wooden darkbox again instead of the tent. It’s been a while since last time I used that. The LED torch, my new form of DR light which works really nicely as you can turn it off and on, saving heaps on power, hung from a nail hammered into the dark box and worked really nicely. I covered the torch with red foil which seems to do its thing. I started using my new silver box for the silver nitrate, the smaller box for max 5×7″ plates. Really nice this small!
I used my Linhof for the first time and thus also the new In Camera Industries back. In handling this works really well. Easy to open and close etc. Because it’s so small easy to get the plate in and out. The only thing I might not like but not yet sure is that the plate does not rest on silver wires in the corners but all round the plate on a ridge. This means you will have a border on every image. Now, I plan to make negatives and print them using an enlarger. The holder of that will crop the borders of the image so probably not much will show up on the final result but have to discover that later on. On top of that, such a ridge is supposed to be more prone to contamination opposed to resting the plate on silver wires (not metal, not copper, but silver wires). We’ll see..
One thing I lacked before using this camera is looking how this thing actually works. I could be blond (I used to be when I was really little, still noticeable in my habits) but I couldn’t find the focusing knob. I mean, I know how to focus it when I place the lens bit on the retractable area but the extension was already too long for making landscapes. I just couldn’t find it. Never worked with such a model, quite obviously.
The other thing SERIOUSLY lacking was the fixture of the lens to the lens board. As we did not have any fitting screws for the time being we decided ducktape would hold the lens to the lens board. Yeah right! When removing the lens cap, and especially putting it back on I kind of pushed the lens into the camera haha! It kept stucking to the board but with lots of movement possible. Kind of a sucky Lensbaby version thing going on 😉
The dark box as you can see on the image stands on the table I normally use in my tent. Only for this it’s just too low to work in a nice manner. I really really have to fix that. The box had light leaks, badly. I really have to fix those too. I accidentally knocked the silver bath a couple of times while the plate was in there, not too good either I guess. I had to really find my workflow with all the new stuff and being clumsy and all it just didn’t really seem to work this time. But I had fun, and my brother had too who came along to join me on my wonderful though swift day out in the field again.
Yes, it looks rather idiotic, I know…
All in all, a lot of things to improve on this new working style but it was a fun experience and sniffing ether out in the field is always fun, good plates or not! I think the plates that you’re about to see are officially my must sucky plates, in a long time. I will varnish them though, for laughs-sake 😉
They are both 4×5″ Clear Glass Ambrotypes
Needless to say I’m looking forward to the next journey with the Linhof, only with A LOT of things adjusted! I hope you enjoyed this post about my clumsiness and failure. It’s all about the journey they say anyway, right 😉
A while back I had a chat with friends and they thought it would be cool if I were to make collodion plates during the build of the new A2 tunnel in Maastricht. I thought it to be a great idea and I knew someone who’s working on this massive project, named Bjorn Vink. So, one day I pulled his jacket (sweater whatever or I just said hi) and I asked him if that would be at all possible. His answer was quite positive 😉
It took a bit to plan everything, need good weather, needs to be approved on time etc. This weekend’s Saturday there was an Open Day for the public to come and see the tunnel, how the build came along etc. On Sunday employees could bring their families and that’s when we were able to come in! We first enjoyed a guided tour by Bjorn which started at 10 AM with lots of interesting background information on the build and we decided on a final standing place. We set everything up at around 11:30. I had until around 2:15 PM to make images. Needless to say time flew by like mad and we had a GREAT time!
This specific tunnel being built is a 2-way tunnel, separated lanes, double-decked, so four lanes in total. The build has started in, I believe, 2008 and will take until 2016 to be finished completely, and even then more work needs to be finished such as the greenery and the real estate parts.
It is a massive undertaking, taking place right at the heart of the city, but I think it will all be worth it. It was extremely fascinating to be allowed to walk the premises and see with my own eyes just how massive this project really is, and even then you still get to see (and understand) a mere glimpse of it.
Bjorn is also a photographer besides being the Senior Adviser geo-technique / geo-fysiology / geo-hydrology at the A2 tunnel project. He loves to make time-lapses and made one of us with an abused Nikon D700 setting up the darkroom tent and everything and making the first images, really cool!
On to the collodion part. I worked on black glass solely this time, partially because there was an interest from a potential buyer in the glass plates. So, not yet the inauguration of my Linhof. I chose for 8×10″ plates and 10×10″. The latter I partially regret now because I took pre-used plates that I cleaned thoroughly yet not good enough apparently. I used these cardboard sheets to place in between plates to keep them from scratching but they leave this nasty pattern on my plates which you can’t see only after exposing the plates aka when it’s too late. Never too old to learn I guess 😉 Below a panoramic impression (made with an iPhone) of the site where the darkroom and camera were setup.
Locate the camera and darkroom tent if you can 😉 The first image I took is situated in the middle of this panoramic image.
The second image is where the camera is standing in the panoramic image. The first 10×10″ was unusable because of the patterns I mentioned earlier and the collodion layer even cracked at that spot when heating the plate for varnishing. A perfect trashcan image..
The structures, all that rhythm with the lines is so cool! I wish I could have made more images, it’s so fantastic and they look so good on collodion.
The last image that worked out okay is the next one. It was shot looking outwards from the tunnel.
I made another image after this one looking into the tunnel where it was quite dark. I found it hard to guesstimate exposure time and actually overexposed it a bit. The biggest mistake however I made with that plate was when rinsing it at home, the collodion came off the plate, another one for the trash can 😦 And that was the last image I could make. Bjorn had another meeting and, of course, we were not allowed there without the proper guidance. We packed everything swiftly, lugged the stuff back to the car (thanks for helping Bart, Bjorn and dad ;-)) and found our way back home, where we unloaded the car and crashed. It had been quite the day.
If you care to find out more about this wonderful tunnel project check their website for more information.
Oh, and a final Thank You goes out to the weather gods 😉 I don’t know what dance I did but the weather was really on our side which was not something we expected during the coarse of the week.
Oh, and another thing I need to change in my work thingy, I have to ditch that LED light with battery. It works fantastic for the first 2 plates but after that the intensity of the light greatly diminishes making it really hard to see where to put the plate in the back and, even worse, where to pour the developer. It worked pretty alright but it’s a needless pain.
Anyway, I pray this adventure gets a second chance because I LOVE it and would like to get more out of it than I did so far!
It has come to pass, Kunsttour 2013. It has been a fun three days. Also the opening was a lot of fun! As always a short compilation of the place where I exhibited, this year Avenue Céramique 191, one of the main buildings of the Kunsttour. I met a lot of nice people, new ones, and those that already follow my work for quite some time now. They made for interesting stories and inspiration to keep doing what I love most; photography. Thank you!
Some crazy bunnies and a Mickey Mouse / Dart Vader from Johan Bruninx (he belongs to a group called Vonk VZW and exhibited as part of this group).
Veronique Alberghs had some nice paintings on the wall. I liked them. Also part of the group Vonk VZW.
Also part of the Vonk group was Jan de Lauré with a nice drawing (and painting?).
MAAK had a lovely table and lamp to show. Too bad they weren’t around during those three days (as weren’t most of the Vonk group though).
Imke van den Berg stood next to me with different techniques among which were collography and etching. Interesting work, one I liked very much!
On the opposite side of me hung the work of Lily Scheffer, a combination of photography and manipulation afterwards, which resulted in some colourful new worlds.
Next to Lily were a couple of works by Alexandra Knie who works with a combination of painting, graphics and textile.
On the other side of the space were large paintings by Marcel Willems. That work is what I like!
John Bijnens, also part of Vonk, presented his work (one piece?) at the other side of Alexandra Knie. I liked this piece although I would have liked it better in another presentation style.
In the middle of the room there were a couple of blocks laying flat on the ground, providing space to Wilma Schipholt and Herma van den Heuvel.
Wilma makes small statues of ceramique, really funny and imaginative. Herma makes lovely pieces of glass.
Niels Savelkouls was there again with his sort of maquette with all sorts of stuff going on.
And of course, I was there too 😉 I exhibited my “Devolution” series based on Mondrian’s “Evolution” as that was chosen by the Kunsttour Committee. Received some good comments on this work which hasn’t gotten out much before, just once. Not a humorous piece but nonetheless 😉 Two days before the opening I received an email if I had some more work to put on the other side as one person cancelled. No problemo! I was quite happy to be able to show more work, some genuine plates.
The three days flew by like mad. It went really fast. Had some good conversations at the table where we could sit during the day and drank some nice wine. Nothing bad there 😉 Didn’t sell any work unfortunately but I did get invited to join the art route Roerdalen organised by Kunststroom next year (2014) so that’s awesome! They house their exhibitions in monumental buildings so that makes for a great setting to present ones work. Looking forward!
Hopefully see you next year (sooner would be nice too)!
I only have gotten around downloading this updated guide today and thought I’d share it here. Well share it, you can subscribe to the newsletter of Tim Rudman here and download your copy of the updated guide for free. It’s worth it! Explanation of new printing material, what has changed etc. His newsletters are always very informative so if you wish to stay updated about the latest on lith printing I encourage you to subscribe to them. Have fun!
P.s. the Facebook group on Lith Printing has grown to a staggering 359 members and is also a very good source of information and inspiration!
A couple of months ago Marieke contacted me regarding something collodion. She was one of the attendees on a collodion workshop I gave at the IKA in Mechelen (BE). She is working on her graduation project and wanted to make some plates for this. So she asked me if she could join me on one of my field trips. For me this meant an opportunity to actually plan a field trip (today I realised it was actually 2 YEARS ago!). We agreed on a price, time and place and yesterday came the day we went to visit a small village called Doel in Belgium.
Doel is near Antwerp, a small village near its harbour. In the sixties the Big Harbour of Antwerp wanted to expand and found Doel to be what it wanted. The people were bought out in order for them to leave but not all of them did. The population dropped from a 1300 inhabitants to 188 in 2010 and around 10 nowadays (not sure about that last number but someone told me yesterday that there where only 3 houses left that had people living in them). From what I’ve heard Antwerp has dropped the plan (for now) as it’s too expensive to continue. Yeah…
So, now we have a village that is pretty much abandoned. But not for real! I was surprised of its vividness! There are two cafes, one in an old windmill which is nothing but dead. Whole families come there on their day off to enjoy the weather, the view (on the nuclear power plant ;-)) and of course lots of photographers. We had an awesome day!
We had one darkroom and one camera so the working speed was pretty low. Marieke shot positives on black glass, I was looking to shoot some clear glass. The tricky part for her was to find her way back to working with collodion after having done only one workshop more than a year ago. I wasn’t able to go with her in the darkroom tent to guide her there so it was rather tough to create proper images seeing the conditions we worked in. We had a lot of fun though! I managed to make three clear glass ambrotypes but hope to get back there soon to try some more and better myself. It’s a wonderful location, heck, even the ride through the harbour fields is extremely fascinating, at times it looks like a moon scenery (not that I’ve ever been there ;-))!
The sweet darkroom setup in an even sweeter surrounding. Luckily I was able to park the car real close after we chose our location. Note to self: buy something on wheels to lug your stuff around! We first walked the perimeters to see where we would set up everything and I made some photos with the M6 and a couple impressions with the iPhone which you can see here (the only colour photos in this post).
The photo below is the courtesy of Marieke Bakkes and is of me focusing the camera for my shot down the streets of Doel.
The light was really FULL of UV so my exposure times were around 3 seconds on f/16, including the triple time overexposure for my clear glass images. There is still some work for me to be looking at because the images are far from perfect. I see stripes / striations; could be a pouring issue, or too little rocking of the plate, or too little alcohol in the collodion to make it flow properly over the plate due to the hot temperature. I have small black dots on the plate, not sure what that is? Dust contamination but from what? I have to practice on the pouring (4×5″ while holding the plate in the corner is really finicky) so I’m looking to use a suction cup next time. I hope to get back there soon, on my own though, to be able to work on my skills and plates more.
This image is of my mum and dog watching over my camera standing on the dike while we are pouring the last plate you’ll be seeing in a bit.
4×5″ Clear Glass Ambrotypes
Exposure +- 3 to 4 seconds f/16
Scanned using the Epson V700, not yet printed.
I hope to print them soon in lith to see how far I can stretch these images. But I’m not 100% satisfied with these so hope to get back there soon, hopefully with my Linhof so I can save on lugging heaviness around.
From what I’ve just read in a piece from the Volkskrant (Dutch newspaper, thanks Mr. Neighbour) the Belgian government agreed past Tuesday with the harbour expanding and Doel being torn down. This means I will have to go back at least this very season. There are worst things in life, me thinks 😉
I guess that was it for now…thank you Marieke, I hope you had a great day, I sure did, and thank you mom, dad and brothels for helping me looking after my stuff -x-
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine, Jean-Pierre Pijls, asked me if I could photograph his kids, Rafke and Thieu, on wet plate. Knowing that we followed the same photography classes and his children being around the age of 17 I felt it like a cool challenge, seeing that I normally do not make portraits on commission. I ‘shot’ them on 18×24 cm black glass. Now they have been varnished and scanned I can share them with you.
I’ve used a new light to make these portraits: a Kaiser 2000 watt video light which I aimed at an umbrella. I was able to bring the exposure time back to 20 seconds instead of 30 with the 2 Falcon Eyes lights. I’m pretty happy! I used a small reflector to lit up the face on the other side. The Lastolite Urban Collapsible as a background works really well again! I’m very happy with this one! Enough of the blabla…on to the images…Jean-Pierre shot some images during the shoot which I will use as an introduction to the real plates.
And last but not least, Brother & Sister on Black Glass
Not the best plate I’ve made but I like my brother on his guitar.
A couple of things went wrong; poured the developer poorly; received a call right before I wanted to expose the plate which I had to take, not a very well cleaned plate and so on.
10×10″ Black Glass Ambrotype
I also made a 4×5″ clear glass ambrotype which I hope to be able to print soon, most likely the lith way. Not sure when, my cold has finally caught up with me and have lots of projects/things that require my attention. I will first have to varnish it anyway 😉