There was a time not too long ago when I slept and ate photography. That passion feels far more remote than the scan dates in my archives assert, and I have forced myself to make pictures this past year in hopes of faking it until the pilot light of my enthusiasm reignites. Last summer a little spark caught the kindling when my dear friend and fellow Viewfinder, Laura Yurs, began sharing a steady stream of new, vivid, experimental images that seemed to practically crackle and pulse with her fresh, abundant, creative energy.
Laura and I have been photo friends for years, we send each other images that strike our fancy, or that we know the other would love in a never-ending photo dialog. We’ve pulled each other into courses and projects in the past, and when Laura starting exploring souped film last spring and I expressed some curiosity . . . Well, she might not characterize it this way, but I’d say she gave me the loveliest, most sparkly, technicolor shove. She has enabled, encouraged, supported and waited for me (I’ve become such a pokey film shooter!) at every step.
As a project, we decided to each shoot two rolls, one town themed and one garden. For the town roll we planned to make images of urban or suburban topography, and steep our films in acid-colored soda; the garden rolls were to be images of flora and fauna, souped in warm water baths of petals and plant material.
We both sent our film to be developed at Film Lab 135, which specializes in experimental film. Top tip: if you’re interested in sending souped film out for development, check up front that the lab accepts it and follow their guidelines on souping, rinsing, drying and labeling your rolls.
It took me ages to shoot my my film, soup the rolls and allow the prerequisite drying time. And then, when I was finally ready to send them off, I realized I’d made a mistake in preparing one roll for development and was frustrated by another few days’ delay as I rinsed and dried again. Laura was ever-patient with me, and has held off in sharing her images for some time while mine gestated.
We’ll each be posting from these experiments in mad color, mess and chance in our next few turns here. This set are from my “Town” roll of Fuji Superia Xtra stewed in neon green Jarritos, rinsed in water and run through countless dryer cycles. They didn’t all work, of course, but in the ones that did the acid tones and speckle feel appropriately dystopian and true to our time despite and because of the way the distortions manifested on the film.
Am I shooting fast and loose? No, not yet. But my eyes and my mind are opening to new possible combos of soup, film and subject matter and that is a gift.
I’m ever grateful for your friendship, your encouragement and your sweet, candy-coated push, Laura. Can’t wait till you show us yours!
Keep your eyes wide open,
It’s so great that you did this together! Very brave, I don’t think I’m ready for film soup yet, haha. I love this set and look forward to seeing more of this magic on Laura’s roll.
I’m so in love with the woman’s face peeking through the construction “curtains”! This was so much fun to do together! Absolutely filled my heart! xx
I love everything about this; your pictures, the collaboration, the excitement I can feel from you. And somehow these images feel just so very right post-pandemic.