September 2, 2014

SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE | MAKING WAVES




MAKING WAVES

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A YOUNG ARTIST CREATES RIVETING PORTRAITS BY MICROWAVING FILM 


Here's What Happens When You Put Instant Film in a Microwave. - A German photographer made a name for himself by treating his photos like last night's leftovers.    


Oliver Blohm and a friend were snapping instant photos at a Berlin beer garden when they had an idea. What if they burned the photos with lighters as they developed? Their experiment wasn’t entirely frivolous, though they had consumed a good amount of Berliner Weisse. They knew the chemistry behind photography and that applying heat would alter the development process. Sure enough, the lighters created unique textures and spots on the photos and left them curious.    


“This is how Oliver works,” says his friend from the beer garden, Michael Fischer. “First he has a spark in his mind and one or two months later he has this great idea.”  


The trick was protecting the images from getting too hot and bursting into flames, which Blohm accomplished by inserting them between thick paper and a layer of glass. The resulting prints were beautifully discolored and warped. “It’s about the destruction,” Blohm says. “I wanted to play more and more with the texture, with the burns, with the flares.”
“This is how Oliver works,” says his friend from the beer garden, Michael Fischer. “First he has a spark in his mind and one or two months later he has this great idea.”  


“There’s a history of people manipulating instant prints,” says Brenda Bernier, chief conservator at Harvard’s Weissman Preservation Center. Products like those sold by Polaroid and The Impossible Project are easy to manipulate because they contain complex layers of dyes and chemicals. “They are a technological marvel,” she says. “It’s essentially it’s own dark room.”  


The science behind Blohm’s method is simple, according to Philip Sadler, director of the Science Education Department at Harvard. “Whenever you speed things up, things become uneven,” he says. “You get different colors, you get burns, discoloration.”  


James Foley, who worked at Polaroid as a chemist during the heyday of instant film, says they designed the material inside the film to react at a certain time. “By heating this up,” he says, “you could release things before all of the photographic chemistry was done,” resulting in those artistic flaws.  


Earlier this year, Blohm went pro with his microwave photos. He hired models, who sat there as he dashed over to the microwave and worked his magic. Blohm titled the series “Hatzfrass,” his German translation for “fast food.” When The Impossible Project opened a store in Berlin, they invited him to exhibit the series. He even brought a microwave so he could nuke other people’s photos. Since then, “Hatzfrass” has gained the attention of bloggers. Some fans have even sent him their own microwaved images. Still, amateur photographers might want to play it safe. “It’s not gonna go nuclear,” says Ken Foster, a bioengineering professor at the University of Pennsylvania, “but you might need to have a fire extinguisher handy.”

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FULL ARTICLE


August 19, 2014

GALLERY INSTANTLAND | WORKSHOP WITH OLIVER BLOHM



POLAROID WORKSHOP

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GENERAL INTRODUCTION, DOUBLE EXPOSURE, MANIPULATION & EMULSION LIFT  


We are going to deal with double exposures on SX70, 600er and Image/Spectra cameras and get a bit dirty while going inside of the film.  


The recent emulsions of the Impossible films are more elastic and resistant. The generating emulsion lifts and transfers the pictures to different grounds than paper and it is still simple to manipulate the images during development.  


The workshop will take up 3-4 hours.  


When?
13/09/2014 at 1PM

Where?
Sofortbild-Shop Berlin / Gallery INSTANTLAND
Mulackstr. 22
10119 Berlin

How much?
50€ incl. cameras and materials

Registration?
10 - 15 participants

How?
Please send your participation to instantland@sofortbild-shop.de

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FB EVENT


August 14, 2014

MTV | 1993: DIE ZUKUNFT DER FOTOGRAFIE


1993: DIE ZUKUNFT DER FOTOGRAFIE

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ANFANG DER NEUNZIGER TUMMELTEN SICH STARFOTOGRAFEN IM MODEBUSINESS. HEUTE SIND NOCH IMMER VIELE VON IHNEN AKTIV, MÜSSEN SICH ABER GEGEN DEN NACHWUCHS BEHAUPTEN.. . 


Anfang der Neunziger war das Modelbusiness in fester Hand. Nadja Auermann, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford. Makellose Schönheiten, die von Topfotografen perfekt inszeniert wurden. Zumindest bis Kate Moss mit ihren 1,70 m um die Ecke kam, 1993 eine große Calvin Klein Kampagne landete und mal eben den Heroin Chic in Mode brachte. Wer jetzt aber denkt „Oh, arme Claudi“, kann sein Mitleid an anderer Stell unterbringen. Natürlich blieben die anderen Grazien dick im Geschäft, es entwickelte sich nur zusätzlich eine unkonventionellere Ästhetik. Aber unbeachtet wie unterschiedlich die Looks der Models zu dieser Zeit sein mochten, ein hatten sie gemein: Das Glück mit den wichtigsten Fotografen unserer Epoche zusammenzuarbeiten.  


Im Jahr 1993 waren Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh und Richard Avedon bereits seit Jahrzehnten im Geschäft, Steven Meisel fotografierte seit fünf Jahren jedes Cover der italienischen Vogue, Bruce Weber machte seine Schwarz-Weiß-Fotografien zu seinem Aushängeschild. Nick Knight trieb auch ohne showstudio.com sein Unwesen, Ellen von Unwerth wurde schon mit dem ersten Preis der International Festival of Fashion Photography ausgezeichnet. Das ehemalige Model Corinne Day verhalf Kate Moss zum Durchbruch, David Sims arbeitete für i-D und The Face. Diese Künstler prägten das Bild der Zeit, entwickelten die Darstellung von Mode weiter. Sie waren die Kuratoren der Popkultur und zeigten, wie wichtig ihr Beruf dafür ist.  


Viele von ihnen sind auch heute noch aktiv. Prägen noch immer das Bild unserer Welt. Und Tage für Tag kommen neue Talente auf den Markt, die ihre eigene Wahrnehmung der Umgebung in Fotografien festhalten. Jeder auf eine andere Weise.  


Der deutsche Oliver Blohm macht Kunstwerke aus analogen Fotos. Seine Werke sind hochästhetisch und vor allem sehr experimentell. Oder habt ihr schon von einem anderen Fotografen gehört, der seine Polaroids in die Mikrowelle steckt, um so spezielle Effekte zu erzeugen?

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FULL ARTICLE


August 12, 2014

ARTISTAS SEAN UNIDOS | OLIVER BLOHM! MICROONDAS & FOTOGRAFIAS POLAROID!


OLIVER BLOHM!

MICROONDAS & FOTOGRAFIAS POLAROID!

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Do you participate in the “Impossible Project“? How this has affected your work?

I‘m not directly participating wth the “Impossible Project“. Sometimes I work in the Impossible Partner Store, the „Sofortbildshop Berlin“ and its gallery. When the shop moved to a bigger location in the end of last year, we had the possibility to create a small gallery for instant photography. By starting the „Instantland Gallery“ I got somehow the partner of the shop owner Jörn Freitag and together we‘re curating the gallery. But of course there is somehow an influence, especially by curating the gallery I get to know many artists and instant film lovers and it‘s always interesting to see their different works, ideas and opinions, as well as get to know them. 


Do you use new technologies like photo edition and digital cameras, or do you stick to the „old school“ style and why?

Of course I work with new technologies as well, we‘re living in 2014 and just to scan the picture, calibrate the monitor and regulate the colors in photoshop is an important digital workflow! I also use digital cameras, but normaly for commercial needs. It depends on the project and everything has its advantages and disadvan But my heart is analog. Nearly all of my pictures on my portfolio are emerged with analog techniques. I love to smell the chemie, to play with it and have a real photo to my hand, not some digital and artificial files. And sometimes I have the feeling that there is a special connection between analog material and the photographer, but it‘s hard to describe. Maybe it‘s just the fact, that it feels more like craftsmanship. And everybody should do something to feel comfortable with, because if you have prejudices against something, it will be hard to handle it. 


Which artists influence your work and what is that you love most about them?

I love the mystic of Sarah Moon, the light painting of Paolo Roversi, the straightness of Richard Avedon, the morbid worlds of Joel Peter Witkin and the strong woman of Helmut Newton. But influnces and inspirations are everywhere, you just try to let your eyes open enough.

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FULL ARTICLE


August 3, 2014

NATURPIXEL | EL MICROONDAS COMO REVELADOR FOTGRÁFICO


EL MICROONDAS COMO REVELADOR FOTGRÁFICO

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El fotógrafo Oliver Blohm decidió un día experimentar con las Polaroids y un microondas. A pesar de que The Impossible Project ha hecho un buen trabajo manteniendo este formato analógico, hay una ligera diferencia con el original, y es que tarda unos 30-40 minutos en revelarse la imagen, en comparación con los 2 minutos que se tomaba Polaroid . 


Por eso, Blohm intentó acelerar este proceso de alguna manera. Al final utilizó un microondas y una especie de escudo hecho de cartón y cristal, con ello consiguió revelar en dos minutos aproximadamente, pero con lo que no contaba es con que hubiera efectos secundarios. . 


Dado que no se pueden controlar las ondas del electrodoméstico, la foto final siempre tenía texturas, formas y zonas quemadas. Sin embargo, aunque al principio tomó esto como un fallo en su experimento, finalmente lo usó como toque personal para crear una serie de imágenes únicas, que agrupó bajo la serie llamada Hatzfrass/Fast Food. . 


Con estas fotografías se ganó la atención de The Impossible Project y fue invitado para que mostrara su proceso, tanto en Viena como en Berlín, en la apertura de una tienda.

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FULL ARTICLE


July 4, 2014

ABSOLUTE PHOTO MAG | OLIVER BLOHM (APP MAGAZINE)





OLIVER BLOHM

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In 2009 I found out about Polaroid and instant film, and the following year borrowed an SX-70 from a friend to shoot with in the summer. I wanted to use the SX-70 as it’s a small-sized, large-format camera and I filled empty integral film cassettes with large-format negatives and exposed them for a portrait project. It worked and I realised my first book project, SX-70 Negative. A year later I made a spontaneous purchase on eBay – a Polaroid 600SE. I started to work with the old Polaroid material, which is now my most used and loved medium. 


My favourite camera is my Polaroid 600SE. The camera has a great lens and changeable backs. I still love to play with the Polaroid SX-70 and sometimes I use my red Polaroid 645 CL to take spontaneous pictures too. One of my favourite cameras is the Rollei 35 LED, it‘s small and takes amazing pictures. My newest toy is an unlicensed Polaroid camera which uses the same film as the SX-70, it‘s a Keystone Wizard, or as I like to call it, ‘the tank’. 


Using Polaroid cameras successfully very much depends on the rules of photography. In my point of view you just need to find your own way to handle this little disaster. I love the old Polaroid material and I‘m very sad that I’d only just got to know it when Polaroid declared bankruptcy. Working with Impossible I sometimes find very strange. The biggest difference is that I used to work with the peel-a-part film whereas Impossible only produces the integral film. The long development times are often hard to handle but they‘re improving the chemicals and want to launch a new film in late summer which should show a picture after just a few minutes without colour, but you can see what you have after three or four minutes, which is a big step forward for them. The colours will then appear in around 20 minutes. With the developing times in my mind, one day I had the idea of heating the photographs while developing them – just for fun. I realised that they developed way faster, but that the heat destroyed the pictures. I already knew from previous experiments that it’s not helpful to cook them, so I decided to misuse my flatmate’s microwave. At first the radiation started to burn the pictures because of the metallic elements in the film, but at least the Polaroids developed in just a few minutes. I just needed to find a way to save the photograph and get better control of the nuking process. In the end, I was able to reduce the development time of 40 minutes to three to five minutes. 


Nearly all my photos are made with analogue material, preferably with old Polaroid film, which has its own aura, look and feel. That includes the mistakes and failures depending on the chemicals, which is often very old and out of date. This characteristic generates unique and surreal structures as well as missing parts of the image. The material is not 100% predictable and for me, that creates room for the unexpected.

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ABSOLUTE PHOTO MAG


June 23, 2014

CULTURA COLECTIVA | EL FOTÓGRAFO OLIVER BLOHM


EL FOTÓGRAFO OLIVER BLOHM

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Polaroid se hizo internacionalmente conocida por sus instantáneas, mismas que se volvieron un recuerdo cuando en 2008 se descontinuó la cámara que las producía. Desde entonces, The Impossible Project se ha encargado de producir y comercializar instantáneas utilizando equipo idéntico al de Polaroid. Sin embargo, el material para su fabricación es diferente, y las películas producidas por The Impossible Project requieren de 30 a 40 minutos para ser completamente reveladas, en contraste con el material empleado por Polaroid, con un tiempo de revelado de dos minutos. 


Oliver Blohm es un fotógrafo quien ha experimentado con los productos de The Impossible Film; con el uso de un microondas, un pedazo de cartón húmedo y vidrio ha logrado reducir los tiempos de revelado a dos minutos; los resultados tienen un interesante efecto a partir de diferentes colores, formas y texturas. 


Blohm aprovechó su descubrimiento y desde entonces continúa experimentando con retratos procesados de esta manera en un proyecto llamado: Hatzfrass/Fast Food. El efecto es similar al de una película procesada con los químicos erróneos, combinado con el de antiguas fotografías que fueron quemadas. 


In a series he calls Hatzfrass/Fast Food, Blohm set out to reinvent Polaroid film processing using a microwave and a shield that is based on a wet carton and glass, shortening the development back to 2-3mins. One of the most unique things about Blohm’s project is that you don’t need filters, presets or actions for a cool effect, you’ll get textures, burned sections, odd shapes, and acid washed colors out of it.

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FULL ARTICLE