Cross Processed: An Artistic Experiment

Over the past weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the photo studio. Everything I’ve been learning in Photography 1 has really sparked my creativity more than ever.

Though this is my first photography class, I have shot film for years , and have ended up with quite a few rolls lying around. Film processing is getting to be rather expensive, if you can even find a photo lab that still processes it. So, I am left with quite a few rolls of film, and to get it all developed would cost more than a broke college kid like me can afford.

However, one evening I got the idea of developing color film in the chemicals for black and white developing. Would it simply develop the color image as black and white?

I consulted my photography professor about this experiment. She told me that she had never tried it herself nor had she ever heard of anyone having done it before. She also warned that it might not work and that I would risk ruining my film. I shot a roll one afternoon walking around town with a friend and brought it to the studio the next week. I knew that color film had to be processed at a higher temperature than black and white, but other than that I had no real idea how it should be processed. So, I followed the same steps for the black and white film we shoot in class.

After what seemed like an eternity of shaking a small metal tank with my film inside, I mixed in the final chemical, popped open the tank, and quickly unwound the roll. It was a success! However, I wasn’t able to produce images the traditional way, with the photo enlargers in the lab, as one layer of the film had not been removed. Luckily, the art department has a Mac lab, each computer equipped with a scanner, and the powerful light of the scanner can shine right through the extra layer, so I am able to see the images.

Following this experiment, I have spent nearly all of my free time either in the dark room or the photo lab, developing all of my extra color film that I have lying around. It’s really interesting that such cross processing (the deliberate processing of film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film) would not have been possible before the advent of the scanner. With this experiment I was able to combine both analog with digital for some really interesting, unique results!

Shadows on Market Street, January 2014: The cross-processing of color film in black and white chemicals creates some nice graininess, as seen here.

Shadows on Market Street, January 2014: The cross processing of color film in black and white chemicals creates some nice graininess, as seen here.

Market Street Scene: The cross-processing of color film in black and white chemicals also creates some washed-out, dreamlike scenes such as this.

Market Street Scene: The cross processing of color film in black and white chemicals also creates some washed-out, dreamlike scenes such as this.

Chefs through the windows of a kitchen at Reading Terminal Market, February 2014.

Chefs through the windows of a kitchen at Reading Terminal Market, February 2014.

Looking out the window on SEPTA regional rail to Glenside, February 2014.

Looking out the window on SEPTA regional rail to Glenside, February 2014.

The food court of The Gallery at Market East, February 2014.

The food court of The Gallery at Market East, February 2014.

Side entrance to Market East Station, February 2014.

Side entrance to Market East Station, February 2014.

City lights

City lights, February 2014.

Home, February 2014.

Home

Home, February 2014.

Home, February 2014.

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