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February 28, 2011

Experiments with houshold chemicals

Over the last year I have been messing around with different types of film to see how they react.  I've played with Redscale film, which is regular color negative film that is flipped backwards in the 35mm canister,  so that the opposite side of the film is exposed.  You can get some really striking effects if you expose it right.  I have also experimented with Cross processing, in which you take slide film that is supposed to be processed as E-6 slide, but instead you process it in C-41 chemicals.  For that you get some really neat colors that pop out at you.  You can do the reverse, but it isn't as dramatic. 


(Photo Courtesy of ffunyman on Flickr)

I started reading on some of the Flickr forums about people who are "film destroyers", in which they use household chemicals to change the film emulsions to obtain interesting effects.  Some people also use heat to expedite the film aging process.  My first attempt was to bake some expired film for about a minute in the oven.  I followed instructions I found online, but the film canister became warped and unusable.  My second attempt at this was to drop a cheap color 35mm canister into a pyrex container with boiling water for a minute.  That film snapped half way through exposing it and I ended up with a fully ruined roll.  So I devised a plan to try messing with a four pack of cheap 35mm ISO 400 film that was purchased at Rite-Aid.  

With this four pack I tried four different substances to change the emulsion characteristics.

I got some interesting results.  I'm not sure if I will do it again soon, but it is worth the effort to experiment if you like to try new things with film.  You get interesting and random distortions, rainbow effects and very confused photolab operators at the drugstore.  For the time being I think my experiments might go as far as getting some Revolog film to play with (BTW that stuff looks AWESOME), as I'll have way less time on my hands with a new baby arriving next week.

Below are a few of the most interesting ones:





Be careful when messing around with household chemicals.  Some people use various forms of Chlorine Bleach and other caustic chemicals, so be safe when you are playing mad scientist!