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By vashi

Photographing with Expired Overheated and X-rayed 35mm Film

On 30, Sep 2017 | 2 Comments | In Photography | By vashi



Nikon FE 35mm film camera and Nikon 43-86mm AIS lens

Nikon FE 35mm film camera and Nikon 43-86mm AIS lens


My mom handed me her Nikon F2 camera when I was 4-years old and I proceeded to snap some blurry photos of my foot and the wall. I was hooked. A contraption that captured the moment. 40 years later I’m still snapping blurry shots but now on purpose.


Nikon F2

Nikon F2


Recently I purchased a 5-pack of expired Fuji Velvia 100 35mm color slide film for a trip to Montana. I took a Nikon FE and FE2 film cameras with me and a battered Nikon 43-86mm f3.5 (first version) lens known for its distinct and extreme flares. I ended up shooting only Kodak Portra 400 and Tri-X up there but did go through X-ray security with my film.

On my return to Los Angeles, I shot the Velvia 100 in Culver City and the last couple shots in Palm Springs. The exposed film then sat in my car for a week as the temperature was 120 degrees in the desert. I then send the film to The Dark Room in San Clemente for developing. What I got back blew my mind. These are the untouched scans I received from the lab…


Expired Velvia 100 film

Click to enlarge


Usually I love to add the distressed, grainy and damaged looks in post to my photography as I’m trying to express a feeling and mood as opposed to worrying about sharpness or focus. This first roll of Velvia went through serious torture before it was developed. I’ve reached out to several professional photographers to ask what could be the cause of the beautiful damage. It’s been narrowed down to but not limited to: expired film, overheated exposed film, x-rays, dirty lens, mold, spores, humidity and dumb luck. Here’s a closer look at some of the shots from roll #1. These are untouched scans with no color correction:






























I don’t know for sure what caused these beautiful aberrations. I don’t know the secret sauce and how to replicate it. I have 4 more rolls of the expired Velvia 100. I will see what happens. If you have any ideas or thoughts on what could have caused this…please let me know!


Until next time…


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  1. I wonder what a long exposure shot would look like on expired film. Cool stuff

  2. if I was developing myself back with the cans and pitch black loading closets back in college, I might think i didn’t load the film in the dev can properly and it was pressed against itself as it looped around. But these are expired, so… probably the emulsion layers got funked up over the course of time. Looks drippy, almost, so a combination of 120 degree consistent heat messing with the film layers + living past its expiry, I’d wager.

    Back in college, around 2000, we used to play around with various ways to mess with our film, like solarizing it during the swishy-swishy development phase, or singing the edges of developed film with lighters, just to see what’d happen. Lot of crazy shit, that’s what! Some of it really cool, though.

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