This simple image of flowers on my kitchen window sill was captured on Fujifilm 4x5 Provia reversal film (a large sheet of slide film). At the time I made the image, quite a few years ago, I worked part-time in a pro photo lab in Miami Beach.
I ran the C-41 dip-and-dunk colour negative machine and could, within reason, process my personal work without a charge. I also used to get a whole lot of slide film from photoshoots I assisted on – typically a few rolls or sheets the photographer didn’t want to hold over for their next shoot, as they needed to use film stock from the same batch for colour consistency.
I ended up in a situation where I had a lot of slide film and the facility to process a lot of film. This was good and frustrating in equal measure.
The inevitable outcome saw me cross-processing most of my colour work, which is basically running slide film through colour negative chemicals. This unpredictable process tended to increase contrast, and saturate and skew colours. It was a fashionable, albeit gimmicky, technique for a while. For me, well, needs must, and sometimes it worked out well.
The other point to highlight about this image is that it was taken without a lens! I used a simple birchwood box with a pinhole, just a few centimetres from the bottle. Using a pinhole negates the need to focus; everything was tack-sharp from front to back.
Composing with a pinhole camera can be a bit hit and miss, as there’s no viewfinder to help frame up with, but I rather like the unconventional placing of the mass of colour in the top right. Overall the pinhole perspective and the cross-processed colours have created an ethereal image that I feel has stood the test of time. I am still pleased to look at it, (many) years later. BB
• Other articles in the Art of Seeing series