Odette England // Damaging A Film Negative + Bleaching Photos

Odette England is a British/Australian photographer who's work explores personal and historical memories. Her most famous work includes film photos taken of where she lived as a child which she has damaged through scratching, walking on and tearing at the film negatives. I really like the mood these photos have and from them I get the feeling of resentment in that you can't go back to your childhood and the feeling of how easily your memories can be tarnished by little things. 

Above is one of my favourite photos of England's which is entitled "Mum 9 (right foot)" as she taped this negative of what looks like a shed to her Mum's foot and let her walk around and damage it to create this torn effect. I really like this photograph as I think the way the shed has been cut out really adds this feeling of England wanting to take this memory out of this photograph and what this building means to her. I also like the general grunge aesthetic to this photograph as it reminds me of stills from old horror films, especially with the vantage point of the photograph taken looking up at this eery building. 

Inspired by Odette England's process I took a blank negative and damaged it by rubbing it against rough surfaces and tearing at it with a pin to see what effect it would create when put under an enlarger. 

Above is my test strip in which I used 3 second exposure intervals to determine the best exposure time for my film negative. 

After looking at my test strip I decided to expose the negative for 9 seconds. As you can see those areas where I have scratched at the film have come out black which creates a really interesting effect.

I decided after creating my first print of my negative to experiment further by creating a photogram with my photographic paper as well making use of the added texture from my negative. For my photogram I simply put a sweet wrapper on top of my photographic paper for the first 3 seconds of exposure and then I took it off and carried on exposing the negative for another 6 seconds. Because of this the wrapper is very faint and doesn't really add anything to this image.

For my second photogram experimentI used a some keys and a coin which I put over my paper before exposing it to any light, after exposing the negative for 6 seconds I added the sweet wrapper on top so that we'd be able to see it clearer this time. Personally I like the effect of the sweet wrapper immersed into the patterns created from my negative, however I should have done the same with my other objects as well as I would have liked to have seen the effect throughout all of the print. 

As another little experiment I cut two negatives in half and stuck them together. I did this to try creating a very abstract double exposure with my other damaged negative. Above is my test strip which I exposed on 3 second intervals.

I decided to expose the negatives for 9 seconds each which was a bad decision as everything came out too dark on the print. It has an interesting look to it being very dark and abstract but personally I don't think this experiment was successful and if given the opportunity again would take more time to work out the best exposure times to create a good final print. 

Overall I do like the effect I have created from damaging a film negative and would love to try this again and put the effect over a single image to create prints that look more like Odette England's work as I do really like her photographs.

As I have been doing a lot of work with printed photos onto paper I decided to research other ways of damaging photos like Odette England has and decided to see what effects could be created by pouring bleach onto my printed photographs. Like my work inspired by Helena Almeida I experimented with the shape of my media and how it can interact with my subject matter. 

This is my personal favourite from my experimentations as I really like how surreal the effect looks with the green glowing around the strange shape covering my subject's face. Looking at Elena Fortunati's work really made me appreciate the power of anonymity in experimental photography and I think this effect with the bleach works so well because it has this almost paranormal aesthetic to it which really transforms the original portrait photograph and gives it a completely different mood. 

I really like the surreal effect adding bleach can add to photographs, however if I did this again I would make sure to photograph my image while the bleach is still affecting my photo, as at first it gave a transparent green shape to my photographs which looked really interesting however I did these in the evening meaning I couldn't photograph the effect of the bleach as it was happening. 

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