On Cross Processing, and other play time

In September 2010, I bought an iPhone 4. I discovered the camera (and Hipstamatic) within days and was soon shooting away like crazy. It’s now mid-November 2016 and I’ve moved into film photography with gusto. All this time, I’ve seen it as play, as learning, as testing out, and it’s been loads of fun, but I’m wanting something more.

A month or so ago, I picked one of the FPP’s Lo-Fi / Hi-Drag film packs—four randomly-selected rolls of expired color film stocks, stored under who knows what circumstances—all spur of the moment like. I almost immediately regretted it: I have some (nebulous, unfocused) goals, and while I like the playing and experimenting, and plan to continue some of that, I want to devote more of my shooting and writing time to these goals.

Anyway, in the repurposed Porta 400 box, I found 1 roll each of Kodak Gold 100, Fuji Superia Xtra 400, RiteAid 400 (Fuji 400N), and Fuji Super HG 1600. (As of this last weekend, only the 1600 remains.) The roll of Rite Aid went first. I exposed at 250 and planned to cross process it in E6 chemicals, along with the roll of FPP RetroChrome 320 I finished just to see what would happen. I cross processed some slide film in C41 chemicals last year, with interesting results (see below), but only recently started with E6 at home.

If you’re curious, but don’t want to read on, here’s the gist: while I might buy another Lo-Fi / Hi-Drag box, I won’t be XPro-ing anything again. It’s just too much of a pain to process and the results are too uneven.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s some beauty to be had from Cross Processing, but without some vision, an idea, a plan, it’s just not something I’m really interested in right now.

I would’ve been happier, I think, with normal C41 on all of these, just like I (probably) would’ve been happier with the roll of Agfa Precisa CT I shot on the Chicago trip back in 2015.

Just to prove my point, if only to me, here are some shots from Xpro’d Agfa Precisa.

It works ok for some things, sure, but others? Eh. Not so much.

And here’s one lone shot from a recent neighborhood walk, processed correctly.

SubhanAllah. Why cross-process when you can get results like that with the usual process? If I knew what I was going to get, and if fit in with my concept for the picture or the project, then sure, but even for everyday, willy-nilly shooting (for which I should really go back to Hipstamatic, or make better use of the magnificent little X70 that doesn’t get near enough use), cross process should be avoided, imo.

Play is right and good, but I want to get a bit more serious… The time is now. I don’t know how or where or what or who, but I must get started anyway. Expect some changes to the posting schedule and blog in the new year.

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