Dutch Alternative Photography Meeting & Artist Talk: Jeroen de Wijs over Collodiumprocedés
Zondag 19 april 2015
13.00 tot 16.30 uur (de lezing begint rond 14 uur)
‘t Oude Pothuys
3511 PA Utrecht
030 231 8970
10 minuten loopafstand van het CS en van een gratis parkeer omgeving (Heling). Zie: http://tinyurl.com/o32qodq
‘Toeval, traagheid, ambachtelijkheid’. Jeroen de Wijs (Boerdonk, 1975) weet precies wat hem aanspreekt in collodium-procedés. Tijdens de eerste bijeenkomst van Dutch Alternative Photography zal hij enthousiast vertellen over de liefde voor zijn vak. Hij heeft genoeg te melden. Niet voor niets experimenteert hij al jaren met 19e eeuwse collodium-technieken. Toch is Jeroen geen stoffige laborant. Als kunstenaar wil hij vroege fotografische processen graag zelf in de vingers krijgen zodat hij ze kan aanwenden voor zijn eigen werk: ‘Het is niet zo dat ik het oude wil reproduceren. Ik zoek juist naar moderne beeld- en presentatievormen’.
Dutch Alternative Photography is een platform voor alternatieve fotografie technieken in Nederland en Vlaanderen geïnitieerd in 2012 door An Zuriel. Het doel van dit platform is het overdragen van alternatieve fotografie kennis aan geïnteresseerden en het voor iedereen toegankelijk maken van het fenomeen alternatieve fotografie. Naast het online platform, wil Dutch Alternative Photography een podium geven voor netwerken en uitwisseling van kennis. Aan dit initiatief werken: Indra Moonen, Jeroen de Wijs, Herman Maes en An Zuriel.
Last Sunday we had our 3-monthly gathering of Picto Benelux and this time it was time for the wet plate collodion ambrotype process. Jeroen de Wijs and I prepared for a demo and Sunday morning Jeroen arrived at my place so we could drive together to Rixensart Belgium.
We decided to take my gear with us to do the demo and Jeroen prepared his “speech”, brought some lenses and examples of old original ambrotypes and ferrotypes. Bart wanted to drive so when Jeroen arrived we started packing everything into our car. Time to leave…NOT. The car refused to start (while it did half an hour ago..). So, loaded everything out of the car in to Jeroen’s car, not enough place for Bart so we left him behind, and finally took off to what turned out to be my worst demo ever 🙂
All photos are the courtesy of Stefan de Pauw.
Once arrived I started setting up the darkroom tent with help of others, filled up the silver tank etc. etc. The theoretical part went well but took quite a bit of time since everything had to be translated to French (Belgium). Not that that was a problem but the light diminished quite rapidly and by the time we were ready for the practical part of the demo it turned out to be quite a challenge.
The darkroom tent was inside with the temperature around 24 degrees (thanks Jacques, really 😉 ). I blew the dust of the plate, poured collodion on and placed it in the silver tank. So far so good. We anticipated to making the photo outside, it was pretty decent weather so that would work great. Once outside it was pretty damn cold, around 6 degrees. Positioned the attendees and got ready for the photo….guesstimated the exposure time around 15 seconds f4.
Went inside, got into the darkroom, pulled the plate out and developed…oops, that did not look very good…developed plate showing stains but no image… Oh well, let’s put it in the fixer bath. Black…and ow..I didn’t place the plate correctly on the holder so it fell into the tank.. Luckily Kal was handy enough to get it out for me (thanks), broke the plate (thought that was supposed to bring luck but I guess I should’ve shattered it into a million pieces) and I set up for a new one.
When we got outside the light was even less (of course) so we finally decided on an exposure time of 2 minutes. Not as many people gathered for the photo this time 😉
Two minutes were pretty long in the cold so everybody was glad to be able to go inside again, looking forward to seeing the result of trembling for two whole minutes. I got back into the darkroom, developed the plate and…not much on the plate again besides some very obvious peeling. Darn…got outside, placed it in the fixer (good this time) and wow, some faces turned up from the dark. But for the most part it remained just dark.
The show must go on so I dried the plate and prepared to varnish. Heated the plate, heated the varnish, poured it on the plate and… gone it was. This only happened to me once with the plate Quinn made from me. I blamed it on the difference in alcohol being used back then but this was all my chemistry, working fine just 2 weeks ago. And now it decided to eat up my plate. Oh well, showed everyone just how cumbersome this process can be, including me 😉
So..that was the end of that. I blame the peeling on the huge difference in temperature, about 18 degrees, the low UV light outside combined with the older collodion resulting in a lower-sensitivity which does not help in this case and resulted in too dark images. As far as the varnish is concerned..not sure. Will have to check it later to make sure it works again.
Last but not least: the self-made darkroom box by Rene Smet. Really pretty although it seems a bit tight for as a working space so have to keep the plates small I suppose but pretty nonetheless!
Enjoy my post about this failed demo and see you next time 🙂
I’ve been asked by the photo club in Margraten to hold a lecture and a demo of the Wet Plate Collodion process.
- When: November 20th 2011
- Time: 14:00 hr
- Duration: 2-3 hours
- Location: Jongerencentrum Camion, Hoenderstraat 2b, Margraten
- There’s a large parking lot at the scene
Some time ago I was invited by Fred Bosschaert & Lieven Nollet to give a wet plate collodion demo at SASK St. Niklaas. Yesterday came that day. I got up at 6:30 to leave for St. Niklaas at around 07:15. Unfortunately I forgot some stuff and had to drive back home to pick them up. Add to that the construction works at the E313 leading to me arriving a bit later than I had hoped for. When I got up to the classroom where I was giving the demo I saw everyone was already seated and waiting for me to start. And as chaotic as I can be I started. Luckily Bart came along for the demo and we worked together flawlessly as he took up the preparing of everything in the darkroom while I could find my way in talking and laying everything out on the table.
It was a fantastic demo with lots of engaged listeners. It’s so fantastic seeing the surprise and wonderment on peoples faces when showing them the camera with the ground glass, explaining the age of the lenses, its apertures, black glass vs. clear glass and of course the process where especially the fixing part jumps out and makes for wild reactions. It was such a great pleasure showing them and spreading the knowledge of gone-by days. One person was so kind to send my photos of that day which I could place on my blog. So, all images (so far) are the courtesy of Corien de Witte.
Unfortunately I don’t have any images of the photos made, I did two, but hope that someone will be willing to give me those so I can put them here as well (hint hint) 😉
Edit: I received a scan from the first plate I made that day from Lieven. Thank you Fred! Bit of weird the collodion pealed off as it was a tintype = clean plate to start with. Next plate was much cleaner. Maybe I was less nervous then 😉
Edit: I also received a photo where the second plate is on also from Corien de Wiite (thank you again!)
For some reason yet unknown to me the photo decides to upload itself in magenta…I’ll have look at it later, for now I find it kind of funky (though not representing the original).
Anyway, I would love to this again as everyone seemed to have had a wonderful time, including me!
Yesterday I had someone coming over for a wet plate collodion demo and that forced me to test my two batches of Collodion, old and new, with the lighting setup from FalconEyes I bought not too long ago. With my old collodion (approx. 1 year old) I couldn’t get an image to form on the plate with 1 minute of exposure. I bought the lights to shorten my exposure time. With the new batch I had an image within 30 seconds. Still have to try it with human skin to see if it’s even shorter (I used a glass head this time) but didn’t have the time yesterday.
The girl came over and I used her for some plates which I made outside because the weather was terrific. With the new batch I had a lot of stripes and stains. When trying the old batch the stains were gone but had trouble pinpointing the exposure as it’s a lot less light sensitive than the new one. The stripes could be caused because the batch came fresh out of the fridge and hadn’t had much time to reach room temperature. I’ll have to look into that because I will need it to work soon (demo SASK St. Niklaas). You can see the stripes in the 4×10″ plate but I like it anyway. Since it’s my first 4×10″ I’m going to keep it!
I look forward to the series I’ll start making of Maastricht soon on this size. It’s a fun size to work with and to look at. These series will moreover be awesome in 10 to 20 years from now as Maastricht is changing so rapidly.
Have a great day y’all!
P.s. my “new” camera works like a charm 🙂
Yes, it has been a while but I’m back again 😉 Life has been a bit too busy, still is I guess, so it’s time for some posting again!
The Fotografica Fair in Doesburg has been quite a while back but still feel like posting the images from that day. It was much fun. The plan was to recreate a sort of Bièvres – Event but Dutch people are a lot more hesitant to pose for a photo, even though they wouldn’t have to pay if they didn’t want the photo. French people are also more willing to pay for something cool and handcrafted than the Dutch. Anyway, we did manage to make some portraits that day, had lots of fun with the interestees and talked a lot about the process. When the day came to an end we sat down in a restaurant, had some beer and had dinner. The perfect end of a wonderful day!
All in all, I hope you can see what a great day this has been! We had a chat with the caretakers and hosts of this event and they expressed their thoughts in having us set this up at the next Fotografica event in Houten. They had to arrange things with the fire brigade as we’re working with some flammable materials but they would get back to us…yet to be continued…
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!!