Wading Into Film Soup

     As I promised to myself, I took my first stab at film soup last week and the results were really exciting (to me, at least).  My goal had been to cause color shifts on black and white film, seeing as I had yet to stumble across any results of such nature from others.  I rolled a dozen frames of HP5+ into a plastic bulk canister, loaded it into my Olympus XA, and burned through the roll quickly.  I knew that I needed something acidic to cut through the silver halides on the emulsion, but I wasn't sure what would make a color adhere to the film through the process of development.  

     On this first attempt, I combined pickle juice, baking soda, crushed silica gel, dish detergent, red food coloring, and water.  Bringing this aromatic concoction to a boil, I dropped the roll of film into the pot and stirred frequently for the next 5 minutes (until the plastic canister began to melt), then removed the roll and put it into a spare developing tank for the next 3 days.  I then developed and dried as usual (although I will say that the film strip was soaked and slippery when I began to process).  

     My theory was that I *might* end up with red and/or orange splotches due to the combination of red food dye and pickle juice with baking soda and silica beads.  Instead, I ended up primarily with blue smoky smudges in the scans.  See for yourself:

 I don't want to psychoanalyze myself too much, but I can't help but wonder why I only like pictures of myself in which I'm distorted, obscured, and/or damaged in some way...

I don't want to psychoanalyze myself too much, but I can't help but wonder why I only like pictures of myself in which I'm distorted, obscured, and/or damaged in some way...

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     I found it to be quite unexpected, but thrilling nonetheless.  I got a color shift on my first try, so that'll encourage me to continue experimenting.  I REALLY want to do this with C-41 film but understand that most labs won't develop a roll from film soup since it can contaminate and destroy results for other people's film (which I would feel terrible about), so I've decided to take the plunge into developing color film at home as well.  I hear it's a bit trickier and labor intensive, but I'm excited for the challenge.  I'll be leaving town for about 2 weeks soon (we'll be hitting up Pensacola, Cumberland Island, and New Orleans) and plan on devoting at least one roll to the purpose of "stewing" it when I get back home.