Monday, February 15, 2010

pass the salt, please

Just a few days ago a friend pointed me in the direction of this flickr stream. Perhaps because her redscaled images were the first images I saw, it made me want to try my hand at redscaling again. (see previous post.) But what I was really drawn to was her set of salt-soaked images, particularly so, some the black and white ones.

As luck would have it, I had on hand some junk negatives--strips containing images that I'd likely never use or look at again, strips that I'd throw out if that didn't make me feel so guilty or wasteful. So I had the negatives, problem was, I never, ever have salt on hand and insofar as the blizzard of '10 has made getting out challenging, I had to wait a day or two before I could try this myself. I'm still not sure how I feel about these first results. The image above offers a side-by-side comparison (with and without salt). On the one hand, I love anything that adds texture to images. On the other hand, well, I'm left feeling (as ever) that I didn't follow directions closely enough. To be fair, the negatives I had to work with weren't terrifically interesting or sharp ones--and this is one of the reasons I'd have been willing to junk them. A lot of the directions I found for doing salt (or bleach) soaks aren't terrifically precise (then again, this is experimentation, right?) and as a strict direction follower and one who is always asking, "am i doing this right?", I found this mildly distressing. Also, as someone who learns best by watching others do things, I was hoping to find a visual/video guide to doing this. Normally, I don't mind practicing a new technique till I get something that I'm happy with and/or that is in keeping with what I was going for (i.e., the image/s that motivated me to try the technique in the first place), but in this case, knowing that I'm essentially trashing the negative, well, it makes continued practice/experimentation a rather daunting prospect. On the one hand, if the negative is a good one--containing images I'd likely want to use again, say for window-scanning, I hate to ruin it. If the negative is one that I'd just as soon trash, well, what are the odds I will ever like the salted version? That said, I salt-soaked another batch of images this morning. This time around, I used a shallower container for the soaking, used a bit less salt and I think the water was a bit hotter. In this case, I've soaked redscaled images as well as a few more black and white. Featured above are 35mm images taken with the banner (diana clone) camera and below is a color image I took with my zero image 4x5 pinhole camera.

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