Photographing with Expired Overheated and X-rayed 35mm Film
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.
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…
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…