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happy accidents.

16 Nov 2010

I’ve been so focused on figuring out the workings of the borrowed Leica that I nearly forgot about what photography can sometimes be, if you just let the fates intervene.  The photos here were taken originally by my friend Daniel, with slide film on my Holga 135.  The Holga’s got a wonky rewind mechanism, so in the process of trying to get the finished roll out of the camera, I (in)advertently cracked the camera open, and thereby caused the ridiculous light leaks.  Then we took the film to Walgreens, where the automatic photo machine misread the breaks between the negatives and created the diptychs you see here.  And voila!  — an entirely different beast than we could’ve ever imagined.

The film was cross-processed; this is a technique whereby you develop slide film in regular color negative chemicals.  (Slide film normally has to be developed in E-6 process chemicals, while regular color film uses C-41 chemicals.)  What results is often an insane color shift, from neutral tones to sometimes wild neon blue and green tones, or depending on the slide film, sometimes bright violet highlights.   The slide film we used, Agfa Precisa 100, tends to end up on the bright blue side of things for outdoor shots, and dark neon green indoors when cross-processed, but I think with all of the shenanigans that occurred with this roll, just about all of our normal expectations went out the window.  Which is all to say: sometimes the best photographs aren’t the ones you thought you were taking.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel permalink
    17 Nov 2010 7:25 pm

    Love it. God I wish I could take more (any?) credit for those photos. Wouldn’t they look great blown up wall-sized? But as Lefty Gomez said, I’d rather be lucky than good. Thanks for posting ’em!

  2. 17 Nov 2010 7:47 pm

    yeah, i’m still amazed at how these turned out. and i guess it raises the question of what constitutes a photograph: what’s on the negative itself vs what you thought you were capturing vs what the Walgreens machine spits out. i suppose it’s a strange combination of all three (minus, usually, the Walgreens component).

  3. 18 Nov 2010 2:46 am

    Reminds me of Elizabeth Hand’s book, Generation Loss, about stretching photography into new forms.

  4. 20 Nov 2010 9:32 pm

    @Ann — I hadn’t heard of Hand’s book before; I just did some Googling, and it sounds absolutely fascinating. Will look for it the next time I hit a bookstore.

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