Redscale Photography – First Attempts

Being new to film photography, I had never heard of “redscale photography” until I spotted this on on Flickr and had to know how he had gotten this effect:


Wanting to try it out on my own, I did a bit of research and discovered that the “redscale film” being offered by some vendors is really nothing other than ordinary film, run through the camera backward – i.e. so the light goes through the film before it hits the emulsion.  So I went down to the garage (the darkest room at my house but from the film results maybe not quite dark enough) and wound a roll of 35mm film backward into a discarded roll. (Here’s how I made my own redscale film)  Then I loaded it into an old Ricoh Kr-5 and started shooting. When I got my film back, a number of the photos in the middle and beginning of the roll were ruined (overexposed), but I think that was due to errors in the process of reversing the film.

What I learned from the photos that did turn out is that a bit of underexposure (or smaller aperture) increases the redscale effect. Take these, for instance:

Katutura Yard 2 Katutura Yard

The one on the left is almost like it was taken using normal film. I think the aperture was something like f/5.6.

This is another example:

Panel Beater 2 Panel Beater 1 Panel Beater 3

In this case, you can underexpose too much, but there is something to be said for the darkest photo. Kind of like this one:

Katutura Sidewalk

Here are the rest of the “better” photos on this roll:

Raildroad Bridge

Namib Mills

Oh yeah – when you take a photo backward through the film, everything gets flipped in reverse!

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