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Today, we’re featuring a stunning series from film photographer Cami Turpin. Cami used the EBS (exposing both sides) film technique and other experimental techniques to create a gorgeous series exploding with color. Scroll down to view the images and read a photo essay from Cami about experimenting with film.
One of the things I love most about film is the uncertainty–that little bit of unknown that goes into every image. Using experimental techniques like blind double exposures, light leaks, and film soup just amplifies that opportunity for serendipity in my images that I often find to be symbolic and beautiful beyond anything I could have planned.
Just to further immerse myself in the unknown, I used equipment I don’t often grab and didn’t plan anything about what I’d use for subject matter. I put my hefty 85mm 1.4 lens on my Canon 1V, grabbed a 35mm for good measure, and started shooting.
I shot through the roll first in the space of one day, using anything from the chair in my husband’s office to my girls playing in the last light of the setting sun in the neighborhood park.
The next morning before sunrise, I swallowed my hesitation about using the dark bag I had purchased and never used, followed the tutorial, loaded my film backwards into an empty canister, and then back into my 1V, not expecting or even wanting frames to line up.
I got in my car and drove to familiar places I don’t usually use for photos, set my camera to overexpose two stops, and just let the light and my mood lead the way until the roll was complete once again in about one hour.
The next step in my journey into new territory was developing my own film. I’m not a person to let fear get in the way of creativity, or life in general, but I’m not made of stone! I had high hopes for this roll, and it felt dangerous and risky to use it as my first foray into developing at home.
But again, this project was all about diving headfirst into things I’m NOT used to doing, so I got going, and I’m happy to say that with a few hiccups at the beginning, the process went smoothly.
Scanning myself was also an integral part of the process, as the redscale image from the backside of the film mixed with the color of the emulsion side of the Kodak ColorPlus 200 was wide open to interpretation.
I further enjoyed the process of choosing crops in the mixed frames, allowing one shot to flow into another, using pieces in multiple images, finding different light and color as a jumping off point as the Epson V600 changed its interpretation with each new crop.
Beyond the intuitive and creative process of selecting images from the strips of color and texture, I also received images with those unexplainable juxtapositions, the serendipity of the blind double exposure.
In this roll were sunrises and sunsets on overlapping frames, the same mountain range perfectly lining up when shot from different locations and perspectives, my daughter dipping her toe into a neighboring frame full of golden light, a perfectly centered subject inside a sideways landscape reflection. And all with the otherworldly light and color of the redscale grounded by the reality of clean film color.
I would have been happy with one interesting image, but my blind faith and little bit of courage was rewarded with a whole roll of beauty, confusion, collision, and harmony.
Each frame feels like a story written just for me. Exposing both sides of the film is something I’ll come back to each time I need a little extra risk in my work, and I expect I will always be equally pleasantly surprised by the unexpected.
Thank you so much, Cami! You can find more of Cami’s work on her website and Instagram.