A Year of Wetplates

A year ago I ventured into the world of wetplate photography as prepared as I possibly could be – I had read several books, countless articles, watched I-don’t-know-how-many videos on YouTube and attended a workshop before I went it alone. Still, I had a lot to learn… Still, I have a lot to learn, but I’m starting to get the hang of it.

I’ve made 225 plates during my freshman year as a wetplate photographer and learned just as many lessons (or so it feels like). I’ve set plates on fire and made images disappear. I’ve scratched plates and dropped them, spilled chemicals all over my darkroom and on myself, and don’t even get me started on the varieties of working too slow/too fast that’s gotten me in trouble, not to mention the plethora of quirks the chemicals can induce. But among all the fails, I’ve also had quite a few wins. In short, being able to tell what’s wrong when something is “off” and know how to fix it is the biggest win. It took a year to get there, but I’m confident when I say “I know what I’m doing,” now… or, y’know, most of the time.

The collage features one image from each month of my first year as a wetplate photographer, starting with October last year in the upper left hand corner and finishing with September this year in the lower right hand corner. Models are: Ingvild Eiring, Janne Ebbesdatter Lavogez and yours truly.

If you’d like to see more of my wetplates, head on over to julieloen.com or follow my adventures in wetplate photography on Instagram.

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I Do Wetplates Now

From my first wetplate shoot with model Ingvild Eiring.

I’ve been dreaming about this for years! So, I finally decided to do something about it – I bought a large format camera, chemicals and equipment, and a month ago I attended a wetplate workshop hosted by Sarah Lycksten in Sweden, and have been busy shooting plates since.

I’ll make a dedicated gallery for my wetplate work over at julieloen.com as soon as I have enough decent plates to show off. In the meantime, you can follow my progress and fails on Instagram – I’ve set up an account dedicated exclusively to my wetplate work called Aether & Instant.

Zerelda Exhibition

Yeee-haw! The exhibition of images from the photo book I made in collaboration with Ingvild Eiring kicks off at Cyan Salong in Oslo next Friday. Prints, originals and, of course, the book itself will be for sale.

Here’s what y’all need to know:

Launch party: Friday, September the 16th from 18.00.

Talk, yup… that’s right, Ingvild and I will be rambling on about the project on Thursday the 22nd from 19.00.

The exhibition will be up and running for two weeks, with regular hours from Saturday the 17th to Friday the 30th of September. Open Tuesday – Sunday from 12-15.00. Closed on Mondays.

Ingvild and I will be present at the launch party and the talk, and I will be present at the gallery on the weekends (Friday – Sunday). Stop by and and say howdy! 🙂

We Are Raven

I did a shoot recently, with model Ingvild Eiring, that was inspired by Siri Pettersen’s wonderful fantasy series The Raven Rings. To my great delight Siri loved the pictures and posted a whole album with images from the shoot on Facebook. To see more of the images head on over to my photo website julieloen.com

We did the shoot in the woods behind my house. I’ve done many shoots there before and never felt creeped out, but this day was different. Before we got started we came across a dead hare on the trail, and when we were ready to shoot a tree fell over close by us – the sound it made was… Well, it sounded like a troll was smashing through the forest. The rest of the day we didn’t hear a single bird, they were all inexplicably gone. But the forest wasn’t quiet, dead trees swayed in the wind, their shrivelled bodies creaking and screaming like something out of a horror movie.

Zerelda Rides Again

Y’all! I’ve got great news! Zerelda will get a proper exhibition in September at Cyan Studio in Oslo. All the original polaroids featured in the book will be on display (and for sale) along with a selection of bigger prints (also for sale). I’ll get back to y’all with the details in due time before the event.

AND! All the Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton is now available at my favourite bookstore in Oslo: Tronsmo AND at Oslo’s darkest and finest fashion haunt: Hevn. Both stores are well worth a visit.

Tintype

I did my very first tintype shoot last week. Ingvild Eiring modeled, and styled the clothes. As always, we had a blast! And the tintypes turned out beautifully, if I may say so myself. See more of my tintypes over at julieloen.com or even more at Flickr.

I used the Rockland Colloid Tintype Parlor Kit from Freestyle Photographic and borrowed my boyfriend’s Holga. The kit includes 8 4×5” black aluminum plates. I cut the plates into 16 smaller plates to fit the medium format camera, this also left me with 16 extra mini plates I used to test the exposure with. The kit also contains emulsion, developer, fixer and easy instructions – everything you need, except trays and safelight. I used cheap food container boxes from IKEA as trays, when I was done for the day I just put the lid on the chemicals.

The few glitches I encountered were all about the emulsion: getting the damn thing onto the plates evenly (I had to reheat it for about every 4th plate), and leaving the plates long enough in the developer – the three minutes the instruction suggested were far from enough, but then again, it might have been a bit colder than the preferred 20°C. When the plate isn’t properly developed the image will turn out blue, typically in the corners and around the edges. The blue is impossible to see under red safelight in the darkroom, so buckle up for surprises!

Zerelda in Floz Visions

I know. I know… Everything is about Zerelda these days. Hope y’all ain’t tired of her yet. If you want to know the connection between a Barbie doll in a fighter pilot outfit and the gunslinging babe in the shape of Ingvild Eiring, head on over to Floz Visions, where Zerelda’s been featured along with a bunch of pictures you probably haven’t seen before.

Zerelda’s Big Weekend

Ingvild Eiring and yours truly at the release party for All The Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton. Much love and squishes to everyone who showed up! We had a great time!!!

TheShop

Here’s our little dry goods store at the release party we held on Friday. If you couldn’t come, but would like to buy a signed copy of All The Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton, Embers at Dawn, An Obelus Wheeze or maybe a pack of Zerelda postcards or the Professor Lafayette’s Bison Horn Potion bottle, head on over to my Tictail store.

A selection of images from All The Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton were exhibited at Fotografiets Dag at Preus Museum in Horten yesterday. As you can see, there’s no name under the pictures. Some time between 12.30 and 15.30 someone removed my name tag and stole my box of business cards, efficiently sabotaging my exhibition. A bunch of pictures without a name is worth exactly nothing. When granted an exhibition spot at Fotografiets Dag you basically get 5 hours of attention from a crowd who’s there to look at photographs. Up to three of those hours have been stolen from me. Ingvild and I have worked on this project for two years. Getting noticed is hard work. To be exhibited at an event such as Fotografiets Dag is a golden opportunity to promote what we’ve been working so hard on. I paid for the prints myself. Hell, I pay for everything myself… I’m a self-publisher. Nothing is cheap. Nothing is easy. But bullshit like this takes the fun right out of it.

Zerelda Gets Exhibited

I am very proud to announce that six of the photographs from All the Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton will be exhibited during Fotografiets Dag (The Photography’s Day) at Preus Museum in Horten on Sunday, August 23rd. I will be there from 12:00-17:00.

The museum is always a treat to visit and there will be lots of photographs to look at. Hope to see you there!