I love forests, trees, wood and what-else-is-there-not-to-like-about-these-matters. We had some trees cut up in our garden past year and we kept the lumber, for burning it later on. But these branches looked so great I took them into my studio. They’re part of a lumber-studies, not sure in what form or series these will fit but I just love them. It’s great to be shooting plates again, especially when they work out so nicely, at least to me!
The only thing I am having issues with is the varnishing. Except for a plate or two being ‘eaten’ by the varnish, I never had any problems with it. And that issue is easily fixable by adding a bit of water.
Now I had issues with the varnish not running over the plates properly, resulting in awkward nasty ridges and parts not covered in one pour. I figured it might be because of too little alcohol so added some more. Eventually it seemed to pour better but the plates dried unevenly. With that I mean streaks turned out matte and others glossy, random, not showing hints as to why. With these last plates I cut back on heating of the varnish and plate which seemed to help quite a bit so for now I’m satisfied. Though not completely as it’s still not perfect and that just puzzles me. In the process of ordering a fresh batch of alcohol and spike oil so that I can make a new batch, even tough this one is actually pretty new. TBC.
All images shown are Wet Plate Collodion Black Glass Ambrotypes, either 8×10″ or 10×10″.
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 🙂
Hi all, it’s been awhile but it’s been soooooooooooooo busy! I rode a spinning marathon the day before our Big Move, it was great! The Big Move was too 🙂 Busy at work, like insanely, plus projects with deadlines, some (minor) health issues though not very pleasant, and some more stuff going on have made these past few weeks quite something. In between the darkroom and studio are coming together nicely.
We hung the background paper yesterday, all it really needs is lights set up, the table top set up and I’m good to go there! During the day it looks like this (taken from the “office” part where I have my scanner, printer etc. set up):
This is what it looks like when looking from the doors towards the inside of the space:
And here’s with the background paper (2,75 seems so small now haha) hanging and me being happy 🙂
When you look in the back of the second photo you can see the stairs going up all the way on the left and on the right is an opening. This leads to a short kind off hallway which leads to two cellars. One is my darkroom. On the hallway is a bit more storage space for our things.
The working table has been fixed, big trays stacked underneath it as is the large container with sodium thio-sulphate and a bin. The wet table still has to be connected, waiting for a hot water boiler to arrive. When that’s done I can fill up the storage space beneath them.
Shelves have been hung (quite the challenge with these marl walls!) but it’s there! Chemistry has been unpacked, everything is a bit in place now. Darkroom safelights still have to be mounted, certain chemistry fixed etc. and I can roll again! During actual working in this space things will probably get moved around a little to improve working but it’s pretty nice already I guess 🙂 Have to find a place for my large papers but that will fit in once the time is there. Also, the big white board needs to be mounted to the wall…I hope it will hold…trick so far: no plugs, just screw directly into the wall.
Anyway, looking forward finishing this! I have a proper shoot planned at the end of this month. Need some new collodion first (which is on its way but will not arrive before March 23nd) and need to desperately fix my silver bath. Already have a large erlenmeyer and cooking plate to do that. This week it’ll have to happen as well as the first collodion test as I have been invited by Gulpener Bier brewery to photograph their brewery on collodion for their “PUUR” magazine with a (short) interview of me. Will have to be shot this Sunday / Monday but so cool I’ll have to make my stuff work before then. Only will have to shoot small plates as I’m practically out of collodion oehh…. 🙂
I almost can’t believe it but my boyfriend and I will be moving into another house in the beginning of next year. Thus so will Contrastique. Besides that we’re going to have a fabulous kitchen (we love to cook and eat), a really nice garden with actual grass haha the house also has a truly magnificent basement. I didn’t think it was possible to find a house with an even nicer basement but we sure did! As is the case now my darkroom and studio will be made there. So…right now we’re cleaning things out and packing up the entire thing. Now I really realise just how much stuff I have gathered over the last couple of years, especially since I started woking with alternative processes haha…emptying the shelves and packing is A LOT of work 🙂
The basement is actually split in two parts: one separate part which forms the original basement and is already light-tight on its own will be housing my new darkroom. The ceiling is a little lower than I have now (2 metres instead of 2.20) but plenty of space to work, keep my chemistry (fridge), DR-papers and no more risk of flooding as it’s higher than the rest! As soon as the build and decorating starts I’ll post images of its progress. I am soooo looking forward to that!
When you stand with your back towards the entrance of the darkroom you look into the studio space. This is an ancient marl basement dating from the original farmer’s house that once was there from around the 1800’s. Our new house has been build on top of it when the farm was demolished. The former owner restored that basement, made it a 50 cm’s higher and placed a large window with doors in it (daylight studio aaaaahhhh though not towards the North, but hey; I’ll happily deal with that 🙂 ). This is much higher and wider than our current basement and great for a studio. I already have the first assignment planned for 2014, a couple on collodion, so this will be fantastic! I also got asked to make images from racing/mtb bikes for a magazine à la my collodion-alternative-style, something I was already working on for my own, so this is great! I now have the space to get really creative with light and composition.
The basement also contains a toilet (very convenient), a small kitchen with a sink and a fridge so it’s more than perfect. I will also be using it as a office so I don’t have to do my administrative chores at the dining table, which was comfortable and cosy but also made it a mess with papers, cables and the like. This does mean that Contrastique will be closed for about two months before I have everything up and running again. But as my Silver Nitrate bath is shot anyway and due for extensive maintenance I can’t shoot any collodion plates now anyway.
I’m also in the process of planning a date for a dry plate collodion workshop by Jeroen de Wijs. It will be a three day course which covers all the aspects of dry plate negatives and salt printing. This is supposed to take place around March.
So….2014 is already full of beautiful, fun and exciting challenges and I am looking forward to it immensely! I wish you all the same kind of happiness and fortune for 2014!
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!
Over the years I have been working on setting up my own darkroom and studio. Currently I am very pleased with what I have. It took quite some time and effort but I have this magnificant place to work in. However, I wouldn’t be a human of this world if I wasn’t wishing for change into bigger and better 😉 But so far, I love it and best part: It’s at my house! I can work whenever I wish to do so. So photos: