Posts tagged “the mask series

The Mask Series – My Submission

Some time ago I mentioned I joined the project called the Mask Series where wet plate collodion photographers from all over the world were invited to join. About a month ago I received my mask and yesterday, finally, was able to work with it.

I had two things in mind to try. The first one didn’t work out, the second one surely did. As a background I used the Lastolite Urban Collapsible which worked really well with collodion. I will be using that more in the future (heck, it’s the reason I bought it ;-)).

Le Rȇve Noir

“Make no mistake
You shan’t escape
Tethered and tied
There’s nowhere to hide”
Portishead – All Mine


I will use this image for my Le Rȇve Noir series, as you could probably tell from the title. The setup was really simple but it worked:


Data on the image:
8×10″ Black Glass Ambrotype
Exposure time: 4 seconds f/4,5

The plate has a bit more detail in the blacks from the drape, hard to convey with a scan while keeping the same mood.

Anyway, really happy to have been making plates again, that really was a long time ago. Hopefully be making some more again today!

Lastolite Urban Collapsible

I recently received the mask for the mask series and am now working on the concept for this series of images. I have something in mind and today at work I ran into the perfect addition for the photo: the Lastolite Urban Collapsible. I was already thinking of doing something with different backdrops, maybe even paint one myself, but this looked like a great way to start. It’s collapsible so portable, easy to store, easy to get out etc. These backdrops come in 4 different combinations, each one has two different sides to them. I chose the “Rusty Metal” and “Plaster Wall” version which, I think, will work very well with Collodion.



The size of the backdrop is 150 x 210 cm which is pretty large. Big enough to fill up the wall of my studio intended for this anyway. Looking forward to using them. I hope to be shooting some plates around Easter (days off at work!).

“The Mask Series” – Wet Plate Collodion International Collaboration


At the end of 2012 I joined the project “The Mask Series”, an initiative started by Shane Balkowitsch, which is an international collaboration of artists working with the wet plate collodion process photographing the same object, in this case, a Czech M10 gas mask (see image above).

The Goal:
The goal for this series is to raise awareness of the historic wet plate technique as an art form.  This will allow artists that normally do not have a chance to share their work to participate in a collaborated effort with other artists from around the world.  The ultimate goal is to have the collection shown in a gallery as a complete body of work or have it published in a book.

The Prop:
The prop that must be used in each image is a vintage Czech M10 gas mask.  This ambiguous prop from decades ago is perfect for this series.  It levels the playing field for each artist.  It also highlights and allows the perspective, composition and personal taste of the artist to be the focus.  Some artists may find it an inspiration, while others may view it to be a crutch or hindrance.  The end result will be the unique vision of each individual artist.
Gas masks have historically been used to protect people and citizens usually in times of war.  In other situations a mask can be used to hide the identity of its wearer.  The gas mask is also very symbolic to the wet plate process since many hazardous and caustic chemicals are used during the development of the images and most wet plate studios use gas masks on a daily basis.  This type of vintage gas mask also has a presence and cannot be easily ignored.  If the prop used for this process was a shirt or hat for instance, someone may not draw a line from one artist image to another’s.  With the gas mask, the viewer will quickly realize the common thread amongst the pieces of work, and can then identify and understand the purpose of the collection.

If you have any questions, comments or want to participate as an artist, please contact:
Shane Balkowitsch
Nostalgic Glass
4419 Centurion Dr.
Bismarck, ND 58504 USA
Phone: (701)223-9936

Or check his website about the project.