Experimental techniques: Manipulating and 'destroying' film

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by kimoni, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. kimoni

    kimoni Member

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    Hey all

    I'm a designer and amateur photographer. Aside from my Nikon DSLR I also shoot with an analog FM2n using 35mm film.

    What I'm interested in is experimenting with manipulating film in order to achieve unusual results. I'm talking warping the film substrate, applying household chemicals, heating it, freezing it etc... I'm interested in 'destroying' the film; altering the chemical nature of it in order to create visually interesting results.

    I'm going to experiment with a variety of things, but I wanted to first ask around to see if there are any pointers. I realize this is quite an unusual question and I'm not sure how to phrase it in a google search, but if anyone knows what might elicit interesting results, what to shoot with the film etc... I'd love to hear!

    Thanks for reading
    K
     
  2. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    I did this sort of thing many years ago and found boiling the film produced interesting effects. Done too long and the emulsion completely comes off so you need to pay close attention.
     
  3. Vincent Brady

    Vincent Brady Subscriber

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    I remember years ago squirting lighter fluid onto slides and then setting them alight. You quickly blow out the flames and you have a distorted slides with weird colours. Kodak used to mount their slides in cardboard mounts and these worked better than plastic mounts. You could also hold the slide over a candle wich give you a little more control.
     
  4. kimoni

    kimoni Member

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    Those are some interesting ideas - would never have thought to boil the film. Lighter fluid's a good shout also
    Thanks!
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I'm surprised by the answers so far. I thought "destroying" film would be considered blasphemy here...


    Wellcome to Apug, Kimoni.
     
  6. kimoni

    kimoni Member

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    Haha, thanks AgX
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    a dart, exacto blade sand paper and emeryboards work well.
    you might also consider making a simple pinhole camera so you
    get a larger image to work with ... have fun!
    ( and welcome!)
    john
     
  8. kimoni

    kimoni Member

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    Thanks Jnanian, sandpaper's an interesting one.
    Can you explain a bit more fully about the pinhole camera, I don't quite understand what you mean. I know what a pinhole camera is but how does this manipulate the film? Is this still using 35mm film?

    Now I recall, I have one of those pinhole camera sets from a secret-santa years back, so I could use that...!
     
  9. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    Try fixing the film first. I hear it creates very interesting results!

    By pinhole, jnanian is probably talking about a 4X5 or 8X10 pinhole camera, not one that takes 35mm film. You would use either sheet film, or photographic paper (paper negatives). A larger negative will make it easier to manipulate specific areas of the negative. If you do paper negatives, you can draw/shade on the back of the paper to darken areas or even add a certain amount of detail if you wanted.

    You can get some very interesting results from a pinhole WITHOUT destroying the negative anyways. Especially if you do things like make the pinhole too small for the "focal length", make an imperfect pinhole etc.

    Good luck!
     
  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    John referred to a camera that does not use a frame (as all common 35mm cameras) to to Limit the areo being exposed.
    As furthermore with a pinhole camera the Image angle is only be limited by the light fall-off, a large area of 35mm film can be exposed,
     
  11. AgX

    AgX Member

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    John referred to a camera that does not use a frame (as do all common 35mm cameras) to limit the film area being exposed.
    As furthermore with a pinhole camera the image angle is only be limited by the light fall-off, a large area of 35mm film can be exposed.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi kimoni

    they kind of said what i was thinking of :wink:
    having fun with 35mm film is fun and it is fun to enlarge
    something small and make it big ( and the destruction big too :smile: )
    but if you make a pinhole camera out of any sort of box ..
    make it black inside and make a tiny aperture out of thin metal stock
    http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=pinhole+camera+website&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
    so the negative you start out with ( film or paper ) won't be so small you might have an easier time
    destroying / experimenting / manipulating specific areas of your negative.
    you can also manipulate it / destroy it while you are processing it
    and with the red light you can see exactly what is going on ...
    if you specifically want FILM, you can get xray film, it is slow like paper
    and each sheet cost pennies instead of dollars.

    have fun !
    john
     
  13. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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  15. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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  16. kimoni

    kimoni Member

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    Ah I see what you mean about the pinhole camera now.

    To be honest I'm nowhere near as pro as some of you are, like I said I'm just an amateur but I like to experiment. I don't develop my own film in a darkroom unfortunately I don't know how, I either have my film developed professionally or I scan my negatives in with a scanner.

    Saying that, there's a photographic studio down the road who run courses in developing film so maybe I'll give that a go. I really like the idea of the pinhole camera so I will look into that further. Where's best to find film for this (larger than 35mm??)

    Thanks for all your helpful replies
     
  17. AgX

    AgX Member

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    It's so easy, give it a try.



    A basic instruction from the industry can be found here:
    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/applications/download.asp?n=386

    An introduction by an Apugger:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum221/50712-beginners-guide-b-w-processing.html


    Furthermore you can get second hand textbooks on analog photography and darkroom work for next to nothing.
    Yes, there is life beyond the net...
     
  18. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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  19. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Weegee would deform a piece of plastic in hot water and hold it in front of the camera lens. The results were something like the mirrors in the fun house. The most famous is a series on Marilyn Monroe.
     
  20. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    This is way up my "how I'm thinking these days" alley...

    I'd try chemical destruction for the basic image... underexpose and overdevelop like crazy. Try really warm developer. (Shoot a little flat though). Grainy film pushed in warm rodinal.

    Yep, learn to develop - you can do it cheap without a darkroom. Changing bag, tank and reel. (get a plastic reel and you can process a few frames at a time to dial in chemical processes).

    Generational image destruction: Shoot (maybe as above); contact print the neg onto film to make a positive. Contact that again to make a negative.

    Double expose subjects followed by textures like rough walls, etc. Make a black mask so the texture is stronger at the image edges.

    Physical destruction: spray developed film with upside-down canned air (liquid-nitrogen-style frozen gas comes out). Wear gloves, use tongs or hemostats. Manipulate the frozen film or drop into hot or boiling water. (I have no idea what this will do, but the sudden and extreme temp change could cause cracks or crazing that's very organic).

    Try burying film for a week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks after processing. Try to get mold attacking the emulsion. Could give you some crazy organic stuff. Water the "grave" with beer (many molds like it). Again, could give you some very organic effects.
     
  21. fstop

    fstop Member

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    Scan it into photoshop and then go crazy
     
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trk...13.TR0.TRC0&_nkw=xray+film&_sacat=0&_from=R40
    just search on eboink using "xray film" as your search string ...

    as long as you have a dim-lit room ( sort of dark ) and you can stick a red light bulb in it ( safe light )
    and can get 3 ( or 2 ) tupperware trays .. you can easily develop xray film, its easy and you can process it in 2 chemicals
    caffenol ( washing soda and instant coffee ) and old fashioned hypo / fixer adorama &c sometimes run HUGE specials on plain old sodium thiosulfate ..
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/61254-sodium-thiosulfate-fixer-2.html should help you with a hypo recipe with a teaspoon

    get a cheapo- medium format / roll film box camera or folder from goodwill and put xray film in it and shoot BIG negatives that you cut down ..
    after you develop the image on the xray film ... ( even spool and roll your own film spools .. i do it with photo paper in a post card camera .. its easy and fun +
    with xray film, both sides are light sensitive ! :smile: )
    then you can dip the film in knox gelatin, or "flexible" collodion bought from a pharmacy or "water glass" they dip eggs in or ?
    and make a layer of something extra on the film that you can then add things to ... ink, paint &c and scratches or whatever ..
    its just easier to see what you are doing when the negative is a little bigger :smile:

    have fun!
    john
     
  23. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    PAGAN!
     
  24. I.G.I.

    I.G.I. Guest

    Dig out in Surrealism and the techniques employed by the surrealists - heating of unfixed film was developed as an artistic practice in the 1930s; so were the random multiple exposures; and so much more...
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    i've been a fan of cut-ups ... like bourroughs did (with writing) but with film,
    taking a roll of film and shredding it / cutting it up, then a putting it in a RANDOM pile ( flat or no so flat )
    and making contact prints / photograms from that /// water damage always does great stuff ... just leaving film in a puddle of water or
    having drips of water on it to eat away at the emulsion ... or print through the film with something on it
    unfortunately rubber cement, acetone, varnishes/urethanes, paints, waxes, collodion and similar slurries are flammable
    so if you go this route, you have to work fast before you have something like a movie-house fire in your darkroom
     
  26. kimoni

    kimoni Member

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    The burying film and watering with beer to cultivate mould is a genius idea. I also like the heating/freezing method to get cracks.

    Just googled Joel Peter Witkin... wow that's some macabre stuff. Dark.

    I'm going to have to try developing something in my bedroom too, it doesn't sound too complicated

    I wasn't expecting half the number of useful replies here, thanks everyone!