Life Before Instagram: Cross Processed Photography

Life Before Instagram: Cross Processed Photography

Oct 20, 2011

Remember when your phone could only hold 14 photos and it produced images that looked like screen shots from Super Mario? With apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic and phones with 10 megapixels it seems just about anyone can make their weekend vacations seem like Steve McCurry came along with them. However, the charm and beauty of print (yes, print!) photography still makes for one-of-a-kind wall art and leads to memorable discussion.

To produce images like these all you have to do is dust off that analog camera of yours, buy some slide film, and actually load the camera (this may take practice).

Next, get out of the house to specifically take pictures (you only get up to 36 so choose wisely!).

Here's the fun part. Get the slides developed. No, not at Costco. Go to a real photo developer (you might have to do some research) and ask the folks to develop the slide film as if it were regular photo film (this is called cross-processing). Ask 'em to push it two stops if you really want to saturate the colors. I'll avoid the technical detail, the guy/girl at the shop will love to nerd your ear off and the wikipedia article does a pretty good job summarizing.

These high-quality prints have an almost painter like effect with nuance unachievable by your smart phone. And let's be honest, 35mm was cool WAY before Hipstamatic. Now that's hip.

Just an FYI, slide film + developing will set you back $1-$2 a print but we think the results are worth it. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

~ Timothy

Images: Timothy Ragan

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