Entries in Alumitype (7)


Self Portrait: Collodion & DNA

I have a couple of really important goals that I want to accomplish in the next few months. One of them is to make work for my project, exhibition and book.

I thought I would get creative with my time and my commitments. We are leaving Thursday for ten days and wanted to post the October Video Podcast on Chemical Pictures before we left. I also had an image in mind that I've wanted to make for a few weeks. I thought, why not make a few plates, create an image for my project and cover the podcast, too? So that's what I did today.

These image are about numbers, labeling, skulls & sockets, history, evilness, genetics and otherness. I distressed plate #3 a little bit. I varnished it shortly after making this copy and it cleaned up quite a bit - I was a little disappointed about that but I still like the image. I look so different in each image, it trips me out a wee bit.

It took four plates to get two that I really like.

"Self Portrait #3 - Jewish DNA" - 8"x10" Alumitype - Viernheim, Germany 2009 
Self Portrait #1 With Y-DNA Sequence Backwards (written by hand)


Göteborg, Sweden Wet Plate Collodion Workshop

Thanks to everyone that attended the workshop: Aron, Manuel and Sara, Bosse and Alfia, and Anna and Markus. And a big thank you to Henning (www.timeunit.se). His kind heart and wonderful space made it all happen - he organized and provided space and shared his expertise on the process with the students.

I'll post more photos and tell you a story about these images later. I'm really tired and need to rest for a couple of days!

"Nordic Man" - 8.5" x 6.5" (Whole Plate) Black Glass Ambrotype September 6, 2009 Gotheburg, Sweden 
"Roger - From the Streets of Göteborg, Sweden" 4" x 5" Alumitype September 6, 2009


Köln (Cologne), Germany Wet Plate Collodion Workshop

I spent the last couple of days teaching a workshop in Leichlingen, Germany (just outside of Köln). It was a great workshop – we had five participants: Vernon, Robert, Marcus, Artur, and Ugo. They made some wonderful images! Every student caught on fast and was up to speed making plates on their own in hours, amazing!

Vernon set up the studio space – it was very nice – ArtLight Studios. We made images with natural light and had two models to work with. I’m looking forward to seeing work from all of these guys, and Ugo, let’s talk about an exhibition in Belgrade, Serbia!


"Vernon Trent" - The first image of the workshop. This is made with window light and my Derogy lens - 12 seconds - 5"x7" Black Glass Ambrotype. 
Workshop student, Vernon Trent made this plate. A nice still life made with a Russian 5"x7" camera. This is an Alumitype. 
And another Alumitype. 
5"x7" Alumitype portrait from the workshop. 
And one more Alumitype - 5"x7"
There were about 30 plates made from the five students at the workshop.


Whole Plate Alumitype (Wet Plate Collodion)

#3 Whole Plate Alumitype (6.5"x8.5") May 9, 2009 - Viernheim, Germany 


Collodion Portraits

This is one of those posts where I should be elated, but I'm not (so much).

I prepared all week to make some images for the Getty Conservation Institute today. The Getty invited me (and others) to be part of their project called, "Preserving the Chemical Photography Era". I got the invite months ago, but between my book and DVD, workshops, Wet Plate Day, and life, I haven't had the chance to do the work. However, I almost succeeded today.

One of my many weaknesses is perfectionism. Not on everything, and certainly not in every situation. But making plates for the Getty Institute tends to bring the proclivity for "perfection" out.

The irony is, I'm working in Wet Plate Collodion photography, "perfection" doesn't exist. In fact, I've written many times about how I love the imperfection of the process - how do I reconcile that? The project isn't even about what I'm trippin' on - it's really kind of a "geek" project. A cool geek project, I might add.

They are analyzing different photographic (chemical) techniques and documenting how the image was produced. It's for future generations to identify images they have no clue about. When they discover the 5000 glass plates that I will have stored in my attic, they'll know what they are looking at and how they were made. Cool stuff.

My dilemma is a personal one; I don't feel that these images are worthy of the Getty. Primarily because I scratched the surface on #2 and it looks like shit now. I was so pissed, I almost had an anxiety attack, I'm serious. I flipped out. It was THE perfect image. I wanted to brush a mark off of the top of the glass and my finger left a huge mark on the plate, I was sick and wanted to scream. It took me two hours to get the image and it was gone in a fraction of a second. Even through I ruined #2, I think I still may put it in my book. What do you think, would you? I like #1, I distressed (forgive me) it on purpose, I really like his expression and "presence" in it. The piece of Collodion gone from the bottom right side doesn't bother me at all on that one. 

Anyway, I'm not sending them to the Getty, but wanted to share them with you. I have to say, they had the potential to be some of the best images I've ever made. Maybe next week.

#1 Whole Plate Black Glass Ambrotyoe (6.5"x8.5") May 9, 2009 - Viernheim, Germany
#2 Whole Plate Ambrotype (6.5"x8.5") May 9, 2009 - Viernheim, Germany Later broken and then purchased in Paris.