As mentioned above this is a remake of the version before. I have deleted that one as I choose what you get to see and I have decided it to be my final on this matter only. The reasoning behind the edit is that I found the former ones (“Ruin” & “Birth”) too unsharp and the model in “Ruin” was not centered enough. Still isn’t perfectly in the middle; that photo didn’t seem to like that and lived its own life for a bit which really suited the thoughts behind it (yes, I can do the blabla-bullshit too). 🙂
When I was in high school we visited the “Haags GemeenteMuseum” where a lot of Piet Mondriaan’s (1872-1944) work is on display. One that particularly attracted me was his painting “Evolution” made in 1911. The painting contains a lot of theosophical influences and symbolism, the latter always fascinated me in art. With this painting Mondriaan hoped that people looking at it would convert to being more spiritual and less influenced by material and earthly ways.
“A cosmic, mystical evolution progressing from matter through soul to spirit, influenced by Rudolf Steiner’s Theosophy, a combination of mysticism and new science. Three nude female figures, or perhaps one figure seen from three different points of evolution: the terrestrial or earthly body on the left with the red shapes behind her(red signifying earthly passion) and the triangles indicating nipples and navel pointing downward to earth; the soul at center with the white light behind her and her eyes wide open (Steiner felt young girls (hence the why I used a male) had extra visionary powers due to their supreme feelings of devotion and he thought full enlightenment only came with eyes open) with her nipples and navel triangles pointing upwards to a higher plane; and finally the Divine Spirit on the right with yellow stars behind her whose nipples and navel triangles point both up and down in a perfect harmony of the spheres through a dynamic balancing of opposing forces. The spiritual and physical in unison.” (Source: CSULB)
Of course, as one can tell from my former posts, I don’t believe in human kind being able to act as a spiritual society as a whole. We become too polluted by money and power. It is my belief that one day this will cause the ruin of mankind as we know it. So, when Carlo (my former teacher at SASK) came by to ask me if I wanted to work on the theme “Seven Deadly Sins” I was more than compelled to do so. Only to make 7 photos, each of them depicting one of the sins, seemed quite boring and rather cliche to me. Also, the Catholic Church came up with these categories as those are the sins all bad human behavior can be narrowed down to. But Man made these, not God. I wish to convict mankind in its entirety for they created everything and thus should be held responsible. The painting of Mondriaan hopped back into my thoughts one day and I decided to remake them, my way. “Devolution” as I see no hope for humankind because they are so susceptible to these so called “Seven Sins”.
All images are 18x24cm black glass ambrotypes. Exposure time: about 20 seconds. Fixer: Sodium Thiosulphate 30%
I’ve gotten around the way I would like to present them. They will be printed on 70 x 100 cm (inkjet, I don’t want the print itself add anything to the photo besides making it bigger) with a white border from around 10 cm’s on each side. The prints will be mounted on foam board to keep them from fluctuating in the frame and then framed in black aluminum frames without glass.
The order of the images has also changed. First I wanted to present them in the same manner Mondriaan did, the final image, the result by that I mean, in the middle. But “Narcist” fits better in the middle, not just qua meaning and thoughts behind it, but also qua look of the image. It just fits better there hence the choice.
Anyway, I am looking forward to some more reactions on this work! Have a great evening!
Today I found the time to do some testing. My “fresh” batch of collodion causes stripes on the plates, not all of them all as “bad” as the other, that’s what made it a bit awkward. But time to figure out what was causing it. At first I though it was the non- room temperature (I used collodion straight from the fridge, then I thought adding a little alcohol would do the trick and it did help in the beginning but the stripes returned again. Yesterday I added some ether / alcohol mix I still had in my fridge to my pouring batch and kept it at room temperature so today I would have the good stuff to work with.
Another thing I noticed from the last shoot was that I poured 7 plates from my pouring bottle and it was empty. Wayyyy too fast, indicating the collodion was too thick, suggesting too little ether / alcohol. The batch poured / flowed much better today and the stripes were, except from a few minor ones, gone! I even tried a negative 8×10″ of clear glass I cut recently. The latter also being very interesting to show at the workshop and demos I am about to give.
Mixed some fresh fixer and continued with the filtering of the varnish, that last bit taking up quite a bit of time; goes very slowly. Once done I’ll have some great stuff to be working with though, particularly smelling very nice!
Have a good day!!
Last Sunday at the Kunsttour Jeroen joined the party as you could read before. He also brought a lens which he had for sale and I was interested in. You can read that before too; I just wanted to show it off one more time with some prettier photos as it deserves it 😉
It’s a Darlot Petzval No. 28,249. Specs: 370mm f5.
I still have to try it but Bart already made a lens board for him so when the weather and our days off make a match it’ll be the first I do! So, hang in there for some swirly impressions soon…
Edit: Here’s a table with sizes and focal lengths of different Darlot lenses. The funny bit is that the diameter of my Darlot is 3″ (7,5 cm) but its focal length is the one with the diameter of 4″ (10 cm). Anyway, here it is:
Ohh, how excited I was! At 10 in the morning a large breakfast started at the Timmerfabriek where a lot of the participants gathered. The food and beverages were provided by De Auw Stoof which resulted in yummy sandwiches and all and nice people. What a great start, the weather was wonderful, blue sky and all, lovely food, nice people and just a good day 😉 This is the day Bart found the time to make some photos, the rest of the days this was somewhat impossible. We’ll show some of the art that we thought to be interesting, funny or otherwise and some more.
We took the time to walk through the exhibitions and enjoy what other people had been doing before taking our seats at my work. The building is so remarkable with all its rooms and spaces. From factory grounds with all its damaged walls and floors you walk into this beautiful room with high ceilings, white clean walls, original ornaments and a stunning intact wooden floor. Truly amazing and if Maastricht were to ever break down this part of their city it would be such a loss of history and bizarre gorgeousness which do not show their secrets to the outside.
The next photo is from a sound and visual installation of my friend Bonne Knibbe. She’s currently studying Art Science in The Hague and has built this project where you have to sit in the middle of it. Sound is played through speakers on all four sides of the structure and by moving handles it starts to move and because the speakers “project” its sound onto plastic large boards you change the dimension of sound, so to say. I’m not sure if it makes sense but it was nice to sit there. Very relaxing actually.
He’s actually the one who bought one of my plates that day. Needless to say I was very happy! I know it has found a good home. I just wish I had the money to buy a piece of him but one day I will!
The day went until six and after that Helmut, Maurice, Bart and I went out for dinner at Cafe Sjiek to celebrate a great start of the Kunsttour 2010!
This day was the day I was a bit scared for and excited..the demo-day! We got at the site at 9:30, had some breakfast as we had too little time for it at home packing all things necessary for the demo. We started setting things up at 11:30 and then the day went on its own really. As soon as people saw the tent and the camera the questions started coming and by the time it was 1 o’clock a crowd had gathered for the demo.
I was kind of anxious for this moment as I thought I had to start telling a story to all the people but they kept firing questions and I did not have any trouble answering those. Luckily a friend, Jeroen de Wijs, also joined the party with his insanely gorgeous wet plate camera, HUGE Petzval lens and knowledge and together with Bart saved my day.
I started with a test plate of Bart to determine exposure time and soon people came to ask if I would do their portrait. And so the day rolled on. Lots of familiar people came to have a look and it was really fantastic! So many people interested and me telling them stuff about it, I really was digging that! I will definitely do this again in the future. The day before I even got a call from a photographer from Rotterdam who asked me if they had to buy tickets for the demo and if they were getting to see things as they had to drive a long while to get there. Awesome they did that! Too bad I didn’t get the time to talk some more with them as it was so busy but I hope they enjoyed it.
I realize now I don’t have a photo of the tent and all….it went too quick for me that day and did not have any time to make them. Oh well..lesson for next time. These are photos of my dad btw.
Bart spent his time varnishing the plates that were done and forcing me to shoot some new plates in between me talking to everyone. Jeroen also talked to a lot of people, answering questions and all. If I had to do all of that myself that day I would’ve been dead by the end of it…
The following are 2 short films made by Ralph on his iPhone just for kicks:
Another biggie that happened today was that Eddie Willems, a teacher at SASK my “old” school, came over and asked me to think about performing a demonstration at their school. Very cool!
Another huge biggie is that I bought a new lens!! Jeroen took over a Petzval he was selling and I gladly bought it 😉 I’m not too sure about its focal length yet or aperture, Jeroen thought around 320 and f3.5 if my memory serves me well enough but I’ll measure it outside soon to be sure. It is a Darlot No. 28,249 and Petzval which I wanted to try for quite a while now and recently gave up a bit on that search and that’s when you see it gets on your path on its own, as long as you’re not looking too hard!
I also received some critics about the presentation of my work. Too simple frames doing the images no justice. One also didn’t like the metal wire I used to attach the images and while I don’t really agree it’s something I will change next time, if only because I prefer them to be completely clean. I’ll talk about the new ideas for framing in a different post soon. Things will change, not only because of some comments I received, but also because I had some in mind already. Here’s me thinking that for once a presentation does not have to cost me a kidney 😉 It was pretty tough to hear though, the first time people have something to say about my presentation and I feel a bit bad about that; I am a perfectionist so don’t like to hear this but it’s a lesson I’d like to learn from and will work on next time. Better honest critique than people only saying they like it or saying nothing at all…all I have to do is raise some funding now… 😉
Not much happened today. We sat with my work most of the time but talked to a lot of people. One of them a guy who would give my card to Guido Paulussen, which I met later that day, to talk about a future exhibition of my work at the Gemeentehuis of Beek. Great news and funny because I already met Guido before at where I work. He has some really great photography.
I also got interviewed by Kunsttour Radio live for Maastricht.FM but it’s not online yet. When it is I’ll post it here.
A colleague from work visited and so did my parents in law with some friends. At the end my parents came to help packing. Glad we reached 6 o’clock, we were really really tired of those 3 days. After the packing and unpacking at home we refreshed and went for dinner at de Kokeers with everyone. Such a great end to such a great Kunsttour. Next year, I’ll definitely be there again!!