Gardening For Ordnance – exploring the concept with expired film

10-20-19 Hut ONeil Park EPP 1998 scan 81840011v2

My recent batches of expired 120 film that I am using for my Gardening For Ordnance project has been providing some pretty drastic visual effects. “Off-color” transparencies would be an understatement. For last week’s unaltered scanned film, here, the resulting image really did not have much yellow left in the film. The resulting visually off-kilter image is in a sense something I was hoping for by using the expired film, and now I am wondering what happens when you get what you wish for?

The photographs for this project are intended to be paired with a caption that hopefully provides an edgy dichotomy; words of the Military/City about a decommissioned WWII/Korean War bombing range that we are living on paired with banal photographs of this urban environment. My use of the expired film was a hope to provide what are metaphoric images that are another representation of passing time; memory that is flawed.

So part of my current dilemma; what happens when the resulting “flawed” images are so odd and flawed as to be potentially rejected without considering why these images are included in the body of work. (Okay, here is where my anxiety about rejection is rearing its ugly head) This would not be very much of a problem if my expired film after processing all looked “weird”, but regretfully much of this film still looks “normal”.

So if all of the images looked flawed/odd that would be consistent, but when there is the mix of normal and off-color photographs, I suspect that this may make the resulting body of work more confusing to figure out by the reader. A contemproary mash-up of normal color and black & white photographs would probably be easier to figure out, which is giving me an idea to play with; convert the normal color photographs to black & white photographs and use these black & white photographs with the flawed color photographs? hmmmmm.

Add to this; I don’t know if I am considered a “conceptual” photographer based on my earlier published work (more of where my anxiety about rejection is haunting me); thus what will be the reception of this body of work? And just maybe, that’s not something for me to worry about? Perhaps why I prefer being called an artist than a photographer lately.

For this weeks expired film, one photograph featured here, above, I used 120 Ektachrome EPP that expired in 1998, with the resulting lack of yellow of this film is not as visually drastic as the film that expired in 1988, but for those who want to see a “realistic” color image, it probably still appears a bit unsettling.

This is landscape photograph includes what the military documents call the “hut”, which is one of the original adobe structures built in this region about 1776 by the Spanish. Not much left of the original structure and what remains is housed within a protective structure. This adobe structure was also a favorite practice bombing target by the Navy and Marines preparing to engage in WWII and Korea War. Thus the military reports have noted there is an usually amount of ordnance found in a 500 meter circumference around this structure and a protective fencing was added for safety.


Featured photograph: the Hut, O’Neil Park (Gardening For Ordnance) 2019 copyright Douglas Stockdale 


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