Hidden in plain sight
4 x 5 Large format film photography, Alternative Processed, Size variable, 2020 ~
During film processing, I learned that black-and-white film is actually not totally black, nor totally white. The emulsion side is black and white, but the anti-halation side has colors to it. My film-developing process sometimes allows the colors on the anti-halation side of my black-and-white film to remain after processing. The colors blend in with images captured from the real world, creating confusion in the film’s identity. Is this film with a colored image still a black-and-white film?
This series of films contain two opposing concepts at the same time: existence and non-existence. The image captured through the camera on the emulsion side represents the real thing. The other side creates another reality from the colors remaining from the unwashed coating and the colors I added through my developing process in the darkroom without vision.
All the colors make it hard for people to see what image is in the film. However, even if people sometimes can see a clear image of my film, the colors still create a collision of senses to the viewer.
Sometimes the image I captured symbolizes distinct colors, such as the red of Coca-Cola and tomato ketchup. Even if the audience observes these objects as black-and-white images, they easily imagine their original color. However, my colorized black-and-white films interrupt the connection of the viewers’ stereotypes of color and object in my film. All that people can see is surreal or psychedelic colorized images.
Thus, my films have two distinct realities simultaneously. Conceptually, there is a black-and-white film and image. However, visually, there is both a color image and colorized film. Image and color are present, but at the same time, they are not. In this collision of senses and concept, the only sure thing is the shape of the sheet film and that it is all photography.