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January 16, 2004

Crossprocessing the Blues

I've never gotten heavily into photo projects explicitly designed around a theme, though there are quite a few circulating around the Web to motivate all the photobloggers and anyone with a creative and/or playful spirit. One of the more interesting ones I randomly came across was 26 Things, a photographic scavenger hunt, run by shift.org (though I'm not sure how active they've been lately, as I can't find a link to anything scheduled for 2004). I'm sure there are many web projects like this, and someday I'll have to try it out.

As if I haven't been giving Joerg enough love lately, I was very struck by his contribution to 26 things...a highly creative spin, and definitely worth looking at in terms of how to approach these projects with flair and have fun doing it.

In the area of alternative photographic processes, cross-processing film is something that has been popular for a while, particularly taking slide film and processing it in negative chemicals to create highly saturated and odd looking colors. It's a look that's been used heavily in the fashion industry, though I'm told that these days it's considered passe to include such work in portfolios or when pitching a client. There are numerous tutorials and explanations on the web: here's one of the more popular and commonly referenced articles. Countless photographers have used crossprocessing for at least some of the images in their portfolio...here's a typical use of it for band photography.

With the growth of digital, an increasing number of digital options of creating the same look in Photoshop have come about...I haven't been impressed with many of them (digital re-creations of film-centric processes tend to look very artificial, and not in a good way)...though the methods seem to be getting better, based on some of what I've seen around the web.

Even though crossprocessing, like any alternative process that produces a very distinct look, can get old quickly, I've always found the blues created by cross-processing particular slide films quite moody and lovely. Even when people have told me they don't care for the garish color, it's a palette that's stuck with me for a variety of subjects. I've started on a "Blue Moods" album and posted a few images into it. Here's an excerpt:


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Alright, that's enough praise. People will start thinking I'm paying you to do this! ;-)

Posted by: Joerg at Jan 16, 2004 3:35:09 PM

I actually found you through Joerg's site. Wonderful place! I like all the words...

Wonderful photo (Introduction) in the 'Blues' gallery...

Posted by: John at Jan 16, 2004 6:24:54 PM

Passe? Yes, it can be, but take that as a challenge: Develop your own 'twist' to make what might be considered by some 'passe' a new and exciting look. I can think of at least 10 ways to use the cross processing technique/look in a new way, in a new direction.. I'm sure you can think of far more, probably better ways. Use it as a foundation, and moph it into something new.

By the way, I see nothing passe about your Blue Moods work -- it communicates what you want to communicate about your subject in just the right way.

Posted by: James Gavioli at Mar 15, 2004 7:43:04 PM

I must say that your work is catchy and i have gained alot of inspiration from this site.
I cant wait for you to update it again.

Good Luck

Posted by: Pamela at Apr 8, 2004 6:10:14 AM

I like the pic above. Myself I have used this method quite often and always like it. One problem that I have and somebody could give me a hint: when I scan cross-processed negatives I don't really get what I recieve when doing "normal" prints. Any ideas?

Posted by: Markus at Feb 20, 2005 3:12:56 PM