Tuesday, 17 February 2015


Last year when browsing for inspiration I learnt of film soup, a groovy way of adjusting your film photographs using household chemicals or appliances. After you've shot your roll of film and it's safely back in it's cassette, you can dunk it in a 'soup' adding anything from your cupboards for all kinds of effects, or you can even put it for a spin through your dishwasher or washing machine! If you Google 'film soup' you can see all kinds of effects people have created on their film photographs.

I was eager to give it a try. I'd previously taken some photographs of Skegness beach using my 1962 Yashica, and was looking forward to the effect my old camera would apply to this seaside resort that hasn't changed much over the last 50 years. I imagined they might look like photographs from decades past, trapped in time. As I don't live very far away from Skegness I wasn't worried about loosing these photos as I can retake them at any time, so they felt perfect to experiment with!

I boiled a saucepan full of water, adding fresh lemon juice and about 1 tablespoon of washing 'Oxy' detergent powder and dropped in my film, leaving it for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, I rinsed it in cold water and then put it in a bag of rice for about 6 months because I forgot about it! It should only need a few days in the rice to dry out.

It's a good job I didn't care about the photographs, as I ended up totally 'ruining' them! Only one came out with any hint of the original exposure, I'm not sure what I did to overdo it so much but I actually really like the effect!* It looks very psychedelic, they make me think of space and the surfaces of the planets, I can imagine them being projected over Pink Floyd in their early performances. I'm going to use some of them incorporated into my artwork and scrapbooking, and even pin some to the wall for a groovy display. I love looking at all of the different colours and textures created.

* Edited to add: I remembered I actually dropped my camera after taking the first photograph, so it's possible I broke it and that's partially responsible for these images! Oops! Don't try that bit!


  1. I actually really love them all even if they wasn't intentional that they got obscured! A very cool idea which I may well try soon, I have so many disposables dotted around! X

  2. ooh, these are so cool! i love how all of them turned out, but the first one is my favourite! i really want to start actually using my film cameras and learn how to develop my film so that i can experiment like this as well:-) also, hope the drop didn't permanently damage your camera! xx

  3. Wow! I hadn't heard of this before, and I am itching to try it out! I think they all turned out really neat, even if you can't see the original photo anymore.

  4. Jon loves developing films and creating wonderful things from his photos. Yours are fabulous, I can imagine those psychedelic images would make for a wonderful screen printed fabric! x

  5. I'm really loving these! Very psychedelic indeed and they too remind me of the surfaces of planets. For some reason they bring to mind the Pink Floyd song, "See Saw" for me. Leaving them in a bag of rice for six months is exactly something I would do (can you imagine what my pile of letters from the post box is like ha!) I would love to be able to try something like this. One day when the boy and I have a bulk load of savings we are hoping to create his own dark room so lots of fun photography experimenting can take place - I'm totally digging the concept of a film soup!

  6. oh my heavens this is amazing. i had no idea about the 'film soup' thing and now i would love love love to try this. even though the exposures may not have turned out perfectly, you certainly saved them and chose the right film roll to do this on. amazing! when i saw the little snippet of this on instagram i was intrigued and now i'm so glad you shared.
    so groovy.

  7. Wow, i had no idea you could do such things as "film soup" the result is so pretty !

    xx, Charlie.

  8. wow!!! they look like the oil slicks that they used to have over projectors at Pink Floyd concerts! I'm sure thats not the technical term but I hope you know what I'm talking about. I have a Lomo Holga that I used to play around with and intentionally put light leaks and double exposures on. it worked out really well but the camera only took 120 film which is expensive to process and buy. I converted it to 35mm with a bit of cardboard on the back and it did some cool exposure things over the little holes in the film. I do love playing with photography like that. you have no idea or control over how it will look and its entirely up to you how you hack your camera or film. and sometimes your come back with pearler's like these! I don't care how many iPhone apps they come up with. nothing will ever be as random and fun as playing with actual film yourself.


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