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Shooting Shadows

Overpass, Kat Ward. © Kat Ward 2015

One of my passions within the creative field will always surround photography. Since the first time I began studying it, I loved it. Not only to capture incredible moments permanently, but to experiment. I love working with film cameras, with the outcome of your work being unknown until you develop it. One of my favourite series of photographs I produced were inspired by Kat Ward, and English experimental photographer who specialises in lomography and film work. In a project looking at representing the past and creating aged photographs, I took inspiration from Ward’s photo destruction methods. These methods involved shooting a full roll of film, developing them, and then ruining the processed film using various methods. To view the outcomes I then had to reprocess and develop photographs.

I firstly tried to use the same method as Ward does by using a weak bleach solution (showed below in her image titled Overpass), but this epically failed and after just five minutes I had completely dissolved any hints of a photograph to result in a purely see-through strip of film.

The second method I tried was soaking the developed film in tea solution for about 24 hours. After re-processing this ruined film, the results for this experiment were subtle yet beautiful. The tea emphasised an aged effect within the photographs, highlighting the warm hues and exaggerating the grain. I especially love the photograph with the white blossom as the depth of field (how the focus in limited to the foreground to all you non-photographers out there) in this photograph emphasises the grain.

The next method that I tried was to soak the developed film in a strong salt and vinegar solution overnight (12 hours) and below were the outcomes! The salt added a strange texture to the photographs, adding crystal effects where the salt particles settled. I love the effect that this “damaging” method created, and feel it truly emphasises the crisp natural feel.

My final and favourite method that I experimented with was with blue food dye. I soaked the film overnight (approx. 12 hours) and after reprocessing, my photographs were left with this amazing effect. Due to colours being inverted in the developing process, the blue dye switched to be red. This creates a fire-like effect on these photographs. I absolutely love this effect, and must be one of my favourites from my film “destruction”.

So the question really is that should I have classed this project as the “destruction” of film? Aside from my fail using bleach, the results from the experiments have proved to be far more beautiful than destroyed. They don’t destruct from nature’s beauty, I believe they add to it. And on that note, I shall leave you with a quote…

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