Experimenting with the un-experimented

The darkroom unit ended all too quickly for me, which is why I was so delighted, when a few weeks later we were given a new unit on experimental techniques, meaning more time in the darkroom!!! We started out experimenting with liquid light, which I think is one of the most amazing inventions in photographic history! It basically allows you to print a photograph on to most surface types (wood, metal, glass, tiles, even egg shells!) using the standard darkroom procedures. It gives the photos a ‘vintage’ look, with the brush strokes often a prominent feature in the print. Here are some examples of liquid light printed onto tiles, by photographer Jill Enfield

After experimenting with liquid light in class, we were pretty much given free reign to try out any other experimental techniques we wanted to, such as cynotypes, solarisation, double exposures, cross processing, polaroid lifts/emulsions and many many more! The aim was to decide on an experimental technique to make a piece for the major project for this unit. After a few experiments, i decided that I wanted to coat unexposed polaroid films with liquid light and expose a negative onto them, making a mini series of nine photographs that at first glance are not what you would think they are! I bought two different types of polariod films: The Impossible Project and Fujifilm Instax Wide to try printing onto. I was a but unsure how well the emulsion would stick to the surface of the polaroids as it is quite a slippery surface and liquid light has been known to slip right off similar surfaces such as glass. But this was something that I really wanted to try, because I had not been able to find any information or examples of this process (though not for lack of trying). So I coated some of my Impossible Project films with liquid light and when they had tried I went into the darkroom and gave it a go. This in itself was a bit tricky as I wasn’t able to do any test strips as it’s very dangerous to cut up unexposed polaroid film due to the chemicals inside them, so I did a test strip on a bit of paper to give myself a rough idea of the exposure time and then just sent for it! This is what I ended up with:

Next I tried the Fijifilm Instax film:

I found these prints very difficult as the emulsion kept slipping off the film so I had to adjust my developing times. I did like the effect of these but it was very hit and miss, sometimes with the emulsion not being able to be saved. However, the next day the grade of liquid light that I coated my film in was different and turned out to be a lot more durable.

I managed to get nine prints for my major project, which I think look very interesting and work very well as a series.

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