June 25, 2012

Color Film in Monochrome

Lately, the trend of cross processing film in chemicals designed for a different type of film has been attracting more and more attention and enthusiastic fans. Usually, color slide film is processed in chemicals meant for color negative film, but it can also be done in the reverse. 

The following photos have been cross processed as well, but with a different twist.

The images were taken on a roll of color 120 film, using a Holga. I was curious about the images and  wanted instant results... so mailing in the film for processing in a professional lab wasn't my first choice. Instead, I developed the film using the materials I already had on hand: instant coffee, soda ash, and pure vitamin C.

Those three ingredients are mixed with distilled water to create a stain developer called caffenol (or more precisely, caffenol-c, since it's the variant with vitamin C for speedier development). Caffenol is normally used to develop black-and-white film. But why not try it with color film as well?

Reflected tree line

To my happy surprise, the film did just fine in the caffenol, and all the images turned out mostly clear... maybe with just a slight haze. I chose to scan the film in color, leaving the color cast just as the scanner read it. It varied a little from one photo to the next, some appearing brown-toned while others have a green, golden, or even eggplant tint.

Harwood Mills

Peeking into a barn


I'm sure I'll be processing color film in caffenol again soon!