Collin J Örthner – Photographer

June 10, 2012

April 9th, 1917

Filed under: Abstract, Documentary, E-M5, Hand of Man, m4/3 — collin j örthner @ 4:33 am

April 9th, 1917 was a big day! It’s the day my grandfather Jakob Orthner, and my grandmother Elisabeth Hubich were married in Serath, Saskatchewan. As part of the celebration my great uncle Karl Orthner presented the couple with a German Martin Luther Bible. I now have this Bible and decided to make a small project of documenting this Bible, although the technique I decided to use is somewhat unconventional. These are not meant to be a literal documentation of the Bible, but instead more a “feeling” for the book.

I rigged up my camera with a reversed wide-angle lens attached to an extension ring. This set-up enabled me to photograph at a reproduction ratio of about 3:1. 1:1 is life size, which means that the object I am photographing is the same size as my sensor. My 3:1 set-up therefore is allowing me to make images which are 3 times larger than in reality on my sensor. It is extremely tricky to get the focus and depth of field just where I wanted it and I found it necessary to use a radio remote to trigger the camera in order to avoid bumping the camera during the exposures, which ranged up to 8 seconds. Obviously, I was using a tripod 🙂

The first image is from the front leather cover with gilted printing “Die Bibel”:


Second image is from a frontispiece with the inscription to my grandparents Jakob and Elisabeth from my great uncle:


As you slowly page through the Bible It is quite obviously old and falling apart with some of the bindings coming loose and pages which are torn.



Further in the pages are in amazingly good shape with beautiful clear printing.


Upon closing the Bible and turning it in your hands you would notice that the pages used to have a gold gilted edge which has mostly worn off to reveal only the red edges.


A fun project and one which I may continue to explore, possibly even to other books as a way of retaining a “feeling” for them and a way of displaying the book on a wall via prints in some way. Anyone have a book that means something to them that wants a momento, let me know and we could work out a plan to “document feelings” about it. I think it will be fun to do more of this kind of work!


[Olympus E-M5, Nikon 28mm f/3.5, Nikon PN-11, Nikon BR2, Nikon BR3]






  1. What a fabulous idea and your images are beginning to give the feel of the bible and I am looking at them on an iphone! I wd love to have a go at this, seriously .

    Comment by Lesley — June 10, 2012 @ 8:47 am

    • Hi Lesley, thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoy the images. Do definitely give this idea a go!!

      Comment by collin orthner — June 11, 2012 @ 2:31 am

  2. Truly how deep that ink goes.

    Comment by Douglas Williamson — June 11, 2012 @ 5:15 am

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