The other day, I was counting up how many times that I’ve moved house over the last five or six years, and the total amounts to a scary five. Argh. With relocating comes well blogged-about stress, and packing, and new cat beds, and occasionally gifts. I’ve garnered several bottles of champagne as housewarming presents, which is a pity because I dislike the taste of it, so at one point I had a steady row of them in the fridge. I should probably have attempted re-gifting them but instead I’ve been using them in film soups. There are endless numbers of great blog posts by people on the internet regarding good things to use to cook your films in. Personally, I like to dabble with whatever I fancy since photography is all about the fun of experimenting. I guess that I mostly favour using champagne, lemon juice and things like kitchen cleaner and bicarbonate of soda. I’ve done the infamous urine thing too. Salt is one thing that I advise being very careful with using because it will destroy your film. Once I’ve decided on my ingredients, I fill a tumbler with them and leave the rolls to soak in it overnight. You can soak them for longer or shorter but remember to give them a good rinse in clean water afterwards. Then I leave them to dry for about a month, on a shelf I have in my kitchen. I also prefer to soak mine before shooting, rather than doing it with an exposed roll – purely because I’m impatient and like to develop my films straight after they’ve been shot.

Recently, I had the great pleasure of having the gorgeous Roswell Ivory to stay whilst she was touring up North, which is why you’ll notice that I have some images of someone other than myself and Faye to share in this blog post. I found Roswell to be incredibly easy to work with; she’s great fun and she has the ability to simply be herself in front of the camera and not over-pose. For me, the most interesting and engaging subjects don’t have to do much at all, and it also helps when they have great skin and hair. I’m a shaven-headed lanky girl these days, and I love that photography has given me the opportunity to work with people who have things that I admire. Long hair being one of those things! I had no idea when I loaded my camera that the roll of film I’d chosen was one that I’d cooked many months before. For all of my stringent organisational skills, I have yet to learn to label rolls that have been cooked! So it was a lovely surprise to develop this roll and see the film soup effects. The roll in question is Kodak Portra, which is great when shooting people because of the lovely skin tones and blues it creates. If I recall correctly, this roll was soaked in some champagne for a day.

My current flat isn’t huge but I do have some space to work where the light is lovely, even at this time of the year when it seems like we’re chasing it. It was fun to photograph someone new in the environment where I’ve shot a lot of my recent self-portraits and watch them use it so easily, and differently to how I have done. I think we created some interesting candid images using the film, as well as some monochrome Polaroids. There are a lot of images from our quick shoot, so please feel free to have a proper look at them in these two galleries.

Besides working with Roswell, I had some lovely news from the other side of the pond, which would have justified opening up a bottle of bubbly for something other than film dunking. I was very pleased to be given a Patron’s Award at Click! Triangle Photography Festival in North Carolina last month –
As has been explained to me by the curator, this simply means that my work, along with a number of other talented international artists, was chosen to be exhibited via projection at the closing event. The purpose being to inspire others and showcase work that the curator himself had found helped shape him. It was a great email to receive, and I’m always really grateful to hear from people outside of the UK who have stumbled upon me and my work. I hope to have some photographs from the event to share at some point, since I couldn’t attend. Hopefully I can get over that way some time next year to say thanks in person. 🙂


About elegia

I like cats and cake and tea.

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