Distressing and Damaged Negatives (2) – deliberate alterations and creations

After the discovery of an interesting set of damaged negatives……see Previous post on damaged negatives, the next step is to start deliberately altering, damaging, distressing negatives.  The first approach was to try to damage with steam – the effective emmissions in the egger chipboard factory’s smoke stack.

Steaming a blank negative
Steaming a blank negative
negative damaging in a coffee machine
negative damaging in a coffee machine

Truthfully, this was entertaining but did not significantly cause damage or alteration.  Heat started to warp the negative but the only real traces on this blank negative were watermarks caused by the water drying. More possibilities are using the condensed steam to accept other materials – for instance dust to dry onto the negative.

Positive image scanned from standard negative altered with a small drawing with Rotring pen - smallest nib
Positive image scanned from standard negative altered with a small drawing with Rotring pen – smallest nib.

Drawing on negatives could be another approach – I tried drawing onto a standard blank (exposed) negative and then scanning so that the drawn lines become positive.  In close up the tiniest ink trails are visible and create a texture.

This alternative negative was created by gathering wood ash from the fire on sellotape and then sticking to a sheet of acetate
This alternative negative was created by gathering wood ash from the fire on sellotape and then sticking to a sheet of acetate

The next stage was to create a negative from scratch, (!) I picked up wood ash from the fireplace with sellotape and stuck to a sheet of acetate.  I cut a 35mm strip from this and scanned the sections.  Interesting results, similar to the found negatives, like a milky way but much flatter – little grey as the dust is not see through, so it makes a rather binary result.  The slightly  3d ‘negative’  was also not fully in focus, it might be better on a analogue enlarger…..

Image from Alternative negative - layered

Layering up the scans in photoshop at different contrasts and levels creates more depth and 3d.  I am not sure about the direction of travel – is this just texture? To be used as a layer in photoshop on top or below standard negatives – or used in a similar way in analogue.  Or are they potentially things in their own right?  What other materials would work well in this way?

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