Expired Film & Serendipity

10-14-19 RSM EPR-64 expired date unknown 761501

Pease be advised: Do not try to adjust your monitor! The colors you are looking at are indeed “unique”.

One of the interesting aspects of using expired 120 film is not knowing what might come back from the processing laboratory. Sometimes, as with the Pampas Grass photograph that I had discussed earlier this week, most would not know that I had photographed my subject with some mildly expired 120 film. The local succulent that I photographed with expired film has some visual artifacts that really indicate that something is not just right. For the succulent image it appears that the film was flashed by an accidental light leak rather than perhaps directly related to the film being “aged”.

The expired 120 film that came back from the lab today exhibits all of the characteristics of going off the rails in regard to being expired. Yellow is the first color to go and it appears that very little yellow remains in any of the film. The film colors appears to look like a poster that was left out and exposed to the summer sun for a season or two. Note, the film that came back was also a bit lower in contrast so this was the one tonal adjustment I did make.

One problem is that I don’t know exactly how expired the film was or how it was stored. This roll of 120 Ektachrome (EPR) 64 had a paper overwrap that is a solid indication that it had expired over 25 years ago. Of course these visual results are exactly why I am using expired film for this project; the serendipity of what the results might look like as another metaphor for memory, which in this case may appear more like a bad memory.

Similar to a memory, what I recall does not always directly equate to what actually occurred. The colors of this image are not even close to what I remember, while the rest of the composition does correlate accurately to what I was looking at the moment I pressed the shutter release. So like a memory, some parts are exact, while other aspects are more distorted. Thus this photograph creates some visual tension as it does not compute with past experience as to what is “real”.

Determining how to incorporate this photograph into my Gardening For Ordnance project should be challenging as well as fun. Although I pretty sure which caption I am going to use with it.


Update: I found the Kodak outer carton for this film and it had expired November 1988, thus this film had expired 30+ years ago.

Featured photograph, above; Untitled (Gardening For Ordnance), copyright 2019 Douglas Stockdale

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