"Maiden Pouring Milk" Wet Plate Collodion Archived at The Royal Photographic Society

December 28, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

by Shane BalkowitschMaiden Pouring Milkwith Eve Lancaster

I am beyond honored to have my work "Maiden Pouring Milk" being officially selected by the archive of The Royal Photographic Society in the United Kingdom. This is the world's oldest photographic society dating back to 1853. Their collection is world renowned and includes the works of Julia Margaret Cameron. This is the 42nd archive that is protecting my original black glass plates.

My plate was inspired by the work of William Mortensen, which the Royal Photographic Society awarded the coveted Hood Medal for his 1938 work.

"Maiden Pouring Milk" with Eve Lancaster, pure silver on glass in the historic wet plate collodion process from 1851. In 1657 “The Milkmaid” was painted by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. 281 years later my favorite photographer William Mortensen photographed “Maid Servant Pouring Milk” (1938). Art repeats itself.

Carl Zeiss Tessar 300mm lens, f4.5, 8 seconds of exposure, 8x10" black glass ambrotype, natural light through Northern facing windows and skylights at Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio, Bismarck, North Dakota on 12-10-2021.

A special thanks to Laine Pope my studio's prop master for making all the key elements for this shot. I also want to thank Chad Nodland for his assistance behind the scenes and for documenting this shoot with his digital camera. The RPS will also take his digital behind the scene photographs to document and support the original plate.

Wet Plate Pictorialism In The Modern World: Maiden Pouring Milk (PETAPIXEL)

RPSThe Royal Photographic Society United KingdomThe Royal Photographic Society RPSThe Royal Photographic Society United KingdomThe Royal Photographic Society

Digital photographs by Chad NodlandMaiden Pouring Milk, Wet Plate Collodion with Eve Lancaster and Laine Pope Digital photographs by Chad NodlandMaiden Pouring Milk, Wet Plate Collodion with Eve Lancaster and Laine Pope Digital photographs by Chad NodlandMaiden Pouring Milk, Wet Plate Collodion with Eve Lancaster and Laine Pope Digital photographs by Chad NodlandMaiden Pouring Milk, Wet Plate Collodion with Eve Lancaster and Laine Pope Digital photographs by Chad NodlandMaiden Pouring Milk, Wet Plate Collodion with Eve Lancaster and Laine Pope Digital photographs by Chad NodlandMaiden Pouring Milk, Wet Plate Collodion with Eve Lancaster and Laine Pope Digital photographs by Chad NodlandMaiden Pouring Milk, Wet Plate Collodion with Eve Lancaster and Laine Pope

Wet Plate Pictorialism in the Modern World:

Shane Balkowitch’s ‘Maiden Pouring Milk’

The Accademia del Disegno (“Academy of Design”), which opened in 1563 Florence, Italy was the world’s first academy of art. Prior to that time, to succeed with a career in the arts, a would-be artist either apprenticed in a respected Master’s atelier, or was self-educated. The underlying principle of a Renaissance painter or sculptor’s education was to copy the works of his or her Master, as well as the work of historical Greek or Roman artisans. Through the replication of contemporary or classical works, the student was given the opportunity to explore established techniques and subject matter, while simultaneously developing his own vision and style. To use a current metaphor in today’s language: Amateurs borrow, Professionals steal.

One of the more famous photographic ‘steals’ was by the Pictorialist photographer William Mortensen, whose 1938 photograph ‘Servant Pouring Milk’ was created based on Jan Vermeer’s 1657 painting ‘The Milkmaid’.  Fast forward to 2021 Bismarck, North Dakota, and enter the only natural light wet plate studio built in over 120 years. Ask to see the black glass wet plate of ‘Maiden Pouring Milk’ by contemporary collodion Pictorialist Shane Balkowitsch.

Having no previous experience in photography, Shane was intrigued by a portrait he saw on an online gallery in 2012. Researching the image, he discovered it was made with wet plate collodion chemistry, an 1851 process which applied pure silver onto glass or tin. Stunned by the clarity and permanence of images developed on glass plate collodion negatives some 140 years previous, Shane was captivated by the process as well as the imagery. Over 9 years and 4,000 plates later, Shane has (with certain modesty) easily achieved the moniker of Master. On a weekly basis, he continues his seminal documentation of the Northern Plains Indians, produces elegant studio and location portraits of contemporary icons (such as Greta Thunberg), and teaches students from across the country. He continuously expands and explores his creativity through self-motivated projects.

It was his study of, and respect for, William Mortensen that lead him his most recent recreation: Maiden Pouring Milk.

In his words:

“I have always been a fan of William Mortensen.  I have most of his books and have read all I can about his work and his contributions to Modern Pictorialism.  Ansel Adams called him the “Anti-Christ” because of their philosophical, let alone technical differences. Despite the fact that I can appreciate a great landscape, that comment has never sat well with me.  I have been aware of Mortensen’s work “The Milkmaid” for some time now. It has always drawn me in.  After doing further research into his 1938 photograph I realized that I had seen this image before and figured out that a very similar scene was painted by Jan Vermeer.  Further research proved that Mortensen indeed credit Vermeer as being an inspiration for him, hence my inspiration from Mortensen. 

 I immediately contacted my prop master Laine Pope and sent her over images from both Vermeer and Mortensen.  I explained to her that we are not going to duplicate either image exactly but make one of our own.  Laine got to work on making the round pitcher by hand and then the milk from clay layered with varnish. The added challenge of getting the appearance of a liquid pouring from the decanter in a 10 second exposure was a challenge that I wanted to address. 

 I thought the butchered chicken was a must for this shoot.  In the Mortensen there appears to be some sort of carcass or game bird on the table. We decided we would go with a chicken.  Laine knew a local farmer and acquired the bird. Leaving the feet on was rather important to create a timeless atmosphere within the photograph. Draping the legs over the edge of the table became an important element of the composition as well.  

I needed to find our maiden.  Eve Lancaster has been to my studio on half a dozen occasions creating work with me.  At this point her ability to hold still under difficult 10 second exposures have become legendary.  The main issue was to get the milk to appear as if it is pouring out of the pitcher. We wanted the image to be moodier and darker, so getting the exposure of her face was important as well as the shadows and mood of the rest of the scene.  We spent about 3 hours in the studio accomplishing the three 10 second exposures.  The 3rd plate was the one I felt was the best for what we were trying to achieve.  Digital photographer, Chad Nodland, captured behind the scene images that detail the creation of the work.

 It is always so rewarding to make a scene in my studio that is believable in some sense of being from somewhere else. For me, my wet plate is successful if you find yourself looking at Eve and for a brief moment believing that maybe she is in the 16th century.  Upon closer inspection, however, Eve is wearing ear gauges, a tell-tale sign that this is a modern image. I like leaving little clues in the shots that give away the image’s era. “

The highest compliment an artist can receive is that of his peer’s respect and recognition. Forty-two museums worldwide have accessioned Shane’s black glass plates. And like all seminal art, the ‘Maiden Pouring Milk’ has taken on a life of its own. Established in 1853, England’s Royal Photographic Society is the world’s greatest repository of classic and contemporary photography. The best of the three original plates was recently acquired by the prestigious RPS who, coincidentally, had given William Mortensen its coveted Hood Medal in 1949. 

Shane’s work is in very good company.

https://www.instagram.com/balkowitsch/

https://www.facebook.com/balkowitsch

http://sharoncol.balkowitsch.com/wetplate.htm

Article by Herbert Ascherman, November 12th, 2022

A fourth Generation Clevelander, Herbert Ascherman, Jr. has been a professional photographer for 45 years. Herb has written numerous articles for books, journals and photographic publications worldwide.

https://ascherman.net

 

 


"A Novel's Nefarious Ending" Wet Plate Collodion Diptych by Shane Balkowitsch

August 16, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

A Novel's Nefarious EndingA Wet Plate Collodion Diptych A Novel's Nefarious EndingA Wet Plate Collodion Diptych

"A Novel's Nefarious Ending", a diptych, with Shelbe Ann Neubauer and Ethan Michael, captured in the historic wet plate collodion process of pure silver on glass. The book tells the tail of an unexpected visitor later that afternoon.

Carl Zeiss Tessar 300mm lens, 9 seconds and 3 seconds of exposure, 8x10" black glass ambrotypes, natural light at Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio, Bismarck, North Dakota.

Styling and prop assistance of Laine Pope (propmaster of the studio) and behind the scene assistance of Chad Nodland (digital photographer of the studio).


Photo by Chad Nodland"A Novel's Nefarious Ending", behind the scenes by Chad Nodland Photo by Chad Nodland"A Novel's Nefarious Ending", behind the scenes by Chad Nodland Photo by Chad Nodland"A Novel's Nefarious Ending", behind the scenes by Chad Nodland Photo by Chad Nodland"A Novel's Nefarious Ending", behind the scenes by Chad Nodland Photo by Chad Nodland"A Novel's Nefarious Ending", behind the scenes by Chad Nodland Photo by Chad Nodland"A Novel's Nefarious Ending", behind the scenes by Chad Nodland Photo by Chad Nodland"A Novel's Nefarious Ending", behind the scenes by Chad Nodland Photo by Chad Nodland"A Novel's Nefarious Ending", behind the scenes by Chad Nodland


"No Vaccine For Death" Large Wet Plate Collodion Collaboration University of Mary

July 20, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Wet Plate Collodion by Shane BalkowitschNo Vaccine For Death, A Wet Plate CollaborationNo Vaccine For Death “No Vaccine For Death” a wet plate collaboration in the historic process of silver on glass. 89 collaborators gathering for no other reason than to create together. We pulled this off with 18 months of planning and zero budget.  

Carl Zeiss Tessar 300mm lens, f11, 1 second of exposure, 8x10” black glass ambrotype, at the University of Mary, by Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio.  Colored photographs by Chad Nodland the official digital photographer for my studio.  

Wet Plate Collodion CollaborationNo Vaccine For DeathBehind the Scenes by Chad Nodland Wet Plate Collodion CollaborationNo Vaccine For DeathBehind the Scenes by Chad Nodland Wet Plate Collodion CollaborationNo Vaccine For DeathBehind the Scenes by Chad Nodland Wet Plate Collodion CollaborationNo Vaccine For DeathBehind the Scenes by Chad Nodland Wet Plate Collodion CollaborationNo Vaccine For DeathBehind the Scenes by Chad Nodland Wet Plate Collodion CollaborationNo Vaccine For DeathBehind the Scenes by Chad Nodland Wet Plate Collodion CollaborationNo Vaccine For DeathBehind the Scenes by Chad Nodland Wet Plate Collodion CollaborationNo Vaccine For DeathBehind the Scenes by Chad Nodland Wet Plate Collodion CollaborationNo Vaccine For DeathBehind the Scenes by Chad Nodland Wet Plate Collodion CollaborationNo Vaccine For DeathBehind the Scenes by Chad Nodland Wet Plate Collodion CollaborationNo Vaccine For DeathBehind the Scenes by Chad Nodland

NO VACCINE FOR DEATH

A Wet Plate Collaboration

July 17th, 2021

University of Mary at The Marian Grotto

Bismarck, North Dakota

Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio, Shane Balkowitsch, Ambrotypist

 

LIST OF COLLABORATORS

Cast:                         Support Staff and Crew:

Brenda Miller (Plague Doctor) Marek Dojs, Director

Adam Steen (King)             Michele Oster Renner, Costumes

Greyson Balkowitsch (Death)   Tom Wirtz, Assistant w/ Camera

Sharon Balkowitsch (Dutchess) Ivy Brown Jacobson, Hair

Mike Swenson (Body in Coffin) Michael Stevenson, Costume Design

John LaLonde (Judas on Boat)  Jason Lueder, Master Carpenter

Kevin Tengesdal (Throat Slit) Laine Pope, Prop Master

Lance Loken                   Andrea Heidrich, Hair        

Charlene Lelm (Lady at Table) Anthony Nelson, Set Designer             

Emily Brandt (Dead Body)      Chad Nodland, Head Photographer

Bonnie Balkowitsch (Queen)    Paul Noot, Master Artist

Abby Balkowitsch (Sister)     Katherine Corbett, Photography    

Jessica Gustafson (Skeleton)  John Moore, Photography

Benjamin Helget               Kelli Jo Swenson, Set Lead

Eric Bobby (Running Naked)    Dustin White, Writer & Poet

Amber Sams                    Melanie Kuntz Malsam, Make-up

Laine Pope (Jester)           Shantel Arendes, Bones

Karel Sovak (Grim Reaper)     Chad Balkowitsch, Trailer

Peter Woodrow (Laying Hands)  Carol Carlson, Support

Tanis Lovercheck-Saunders     Nancy Willis, Support

Sami Saunders                 James Kyle, Photography

Tiana Saunders                Marcus Johnson, Photography

Alicia Leingang (Skeleton)    Travis Blankenbaker, Armorer

Carlee Gifford (Dead Lady)    W. Scott Olsen, Writer / Reporter

Alyvia Balkowitsch (Child)    Peter Johnson, Support

Mahliya Balkowitsch           Marsha Johnson, Support

Gregg Rutter (Apostle)        John Sweeney, Coffin         

Rachel Praus (Plagued Soul)   Jerry Lindblom, Support           

David Leingang (Shield)       Eileen Heidrich, Props       

Catherine A. Segura (Lute)    Harry Heidrich, Support Vehicle

Clint Saunders (Plundering)   Anne Polasky (Support)

Herbert Ascherman, Jr.        Judith Hammer (Support)

Asher Nodland

Adam Hasbargen (Skeleton)

Monte Faul (Breaking Wheel)

Maja Dojs

Katja Dojs

Winona Kozak (Skeleton)

Derek Lowstuter (Skeleton)

Justin Boone

Molly Clark

John Brule

Gabby Nistler

Ahlauna King

Kailyn Allen

Danielle Monzelowsky (Lady)

Eric Monzelowsky (Lord)

Bobbi Holzworth (Skeleton)

Doug Wurtz (Skeleton)

Rissa Williams (Skeleton)

                            

SUPPORTERS:

University of Mary, Monsignor James P. Shea

University of Mary, Dr. Karel Sovak (Dean)

Bismarck Historical Society, Mike LaLonde

State Historical Society of ND, Bill Peterson, Emily Ergen, Lindsay Schott and Joy Pitts

Bismarck Downtown Artist Cooperative (BDAC), Paul Noot

Image Printing, Inc., Todd Clausnitzer

The Princess Hotel (Mural Installation), Rolf Eggers

 

“NO VACCINE FOR DEATH”

Death, the great equalizer

Creating an equality among all

Showing mercy for none

 

No needle to stop it

No booster to slow

Ever marching on

Giving life a constant

 

Inspiring hope in some

Driving them to greatness

Knowing our time is short

Making the most of what is left

 

By Dustin White, July 7th, 2021

 


 


"Fading Away, Again" Wet Plate Collodion Inspired by Henry Peach Robinson

June 09, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Fading Away - Henry Peach Robinson“Fading Away, Again”, with Eden Jackson, Kathryn Jardee and Myself Inspired by Henry Peach RobinsonFading Away, Again Wet Plate Collodion

“Fading Away, Again”, with Eden Jackson, Kathryn Jardee and myself, captured in the historic wet plate collodion process of pure silver on glass. The scene centers on a bedridden young woman dying of tuberculosis, a disease that has been held at bay with modern day vaccinations.

In 1858 Henry Peach Robinson (1830-1901) exhibited “Fading Away” (1858), a picture skillfully printed from five different negatives. This work depicted the peaceful death of a young girl surrounded by her grieving family. Although the photograph was the product of Robinson’s imagination, many viewers felt that such a scene was too painful to be tastefully rendered by such a literal medium as photography. The controversy, however, made him the most famous photographer in England and the leader of the Pictorialist movement, which advocated achieving painterly effects in photography. George Eastman House is the curator of the original works.

Carl Zeiss Tessar 300mm lens, f4.5, 9 seconds of exposure, 8x10" black glass ambrotype, natural light through Northern facing windows and skylights bolstered by one continuous fixture, Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio, Bismarck, North Dakota. Lens cap removal and set assistance by Tom Wirtz.


Fading AwayFading Away by Henry Peach RobinsonFading Away Fading AwayFading Away by Henry Peach RobinsonFading Away Fading AwayFading Away by Henry Peach RobinsonFading Away


Apple Creek Gallery - University Of Mary Dedicated to Northern Plains Native Americans

March 10, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

The Apple Creek Gallery at the University of Mary, dedicated to my series "Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspective", Thank you Monsignor Shea and Austin for bringing this permanent art installation to life. The gallery can be found in the new Lumen Vitae Center at the University here in Bismarck.  What an honor to have my work here just a mile up the hill from my original makeshift studio. Thank you Monsignor Shea for thinking my work warrants this attention. 

Video of Shane Seeing Gallery for First Time on 3-4-2021: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKu68-9VtuI

KX News story of Apple Gallery: https://www.kxnet.com/news/top-stories/university-of-mary-displays-room-with-local-photographers-pieces/

 

Apple Creek Gallery at the University of Mary Featuring Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspectiveby Shane Balkowitsch of Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio Apple Creek Gallery at the University of Mary Featuring Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspectiveby Shane Balkowitsch of Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio Apple Creek Gallery at the University of Mary Featuring Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspectiveby Shane Balkowitsch of Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio Apple Creek Gallery at the University of Mary Featuring Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspectiveby Shane Balkowitsch of Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio Apple Creek Gallery at the University of Mary Featuring Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspectiveby Shane Balkowitsch of Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio Apple Creek Gallery at the University of Mary Featuring Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspectiveby Shane Balkowitsch of Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio Apple Creek Gallery at the University of Mary Featuring Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspectiveby Shane Balkowitsch of Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio

Dedication at the Apple Creek GalleryThe Apple Creek Battle

 

Digital photos by Chad Nodland the Official Digital Photographer of Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio

 

Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio was founded on October 4th, 2012 by Shane Balkowitsch. 

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