Text and images by Christoph Hammann for Japan Exposures
Germany is full of Christmas fairs this time of the year. They are to be found in every larger town and even in some villages. Visually, they are an assault of colored lights, vivid vendor‘s stalls and people mingling and socializing while sipping Glühwein (mulled wine) and nibbling Lebkuchen (gingerbread).
What better to represent this mood photographically than cross-developed color slide film? So I found myself visiting the Nordhausen Christmas fair on the first Advent Sunday with my Nikon S3, Nikkor-P.C 1:2 f= 8.5 cm lens on it and Fujifilm Provia 400X in it.
Back home, I developed the film as if it were a C41 color negative film. I used the Naniwa Color Kit N with exactly the same procedure as in my previous article. Cross-development is always kind of an experiment, and you get surprising results.
As I said, Glühwein is an important part of the German Christmas fair experience, this vendor was happily counting his revenues.
These fellows seem to have consumed a fair amount of the spiced red wine.
The tonality lends a dystopic mood to the cosy scene, colors are rendered a bit off, gradation is steep and saturation is way up for some colors and rather subdued for others.
These are the results if you choose to scan the cross-developed slide film as a color negative film. It looks that way, too, minus the orange mask.
But sometimes you chance upon a „negative“ that makes sense as it is. So then you can of course scan it as the slide film that it was before you mistreated it in C41 chemistry. This is what that looks like after some levels and curves in Vuescan:
Here, of course, we‘re no longer at the Christmas fair, this is the facade of Jenoptic, one company that split off the east german branch of Zeiss.
After some straightening in Photoshop, you get the instant Warhologram that is the image at the top.
This is what this picture would have looked like had I scanned it as a negative:
I think I like both ways of treating cross-processed slide film in post-processing. Each one has it’s own creative possibilities.
So, if your lab would scoff at you for such an unreasonable demand, why not try it yourself? Dunk the wrong kind of film into the Naniwa Color Kit N and see what you get. It’s easy and fun!
Christoph Hammann is a fine art photographer from Waltershausen, Germany. He works with traditional film and silver halide papers as well as digital post-processing and alternative printing techniques. His website is “Mostly Black & White”.