PetaPixel

Toy Camera Photographs Developed with Everything From Juice to Medicine

lemonjuice

Ever wonder what resulting photos would look like if you developed film with various liquids found around the house? Photographer Matthew Cetta does too, and he’s actually spent quite some time finding out. Cetta has been doing experiments through a project called “Photogenic Alchemy,” creating toy camera photos with wild aesthetics by developing the films with all kinds of random things — everything from lemon juice to Pepto Bismol.

The series was born out of a desire to play, Cetta tells us. The School of Visual Arts BFA photo grad was originally playing around shooting lo-fi photos using an old Holga camera when he began thinking about changing the look of his images by altering the film itself.

“A photograph, in its most elemental form, is nothing more than a chemical reaction,” he tells us. Photogenic Alchemy is an attempt to “alter that chemical reaction” using his own set of catalysts as an exercise in “controlled chaos.”

Each photo in the series answers a “What if?” question. “What if I soaked my film in lemon juice? [result shown above] What if I introduced absinthe to the film’s emulsion? What if I electrified the film and then froze it afterward?”

Here are the photos that resulted from Cetta’s attempts to answer those questions and others like them (each caption contains the liquid or processed used to develop that photo):

Absinth

Absinth

Vinegar

Vinegar

Turpentine

Turpentine

Pepto Bismol

Pepto Bismol

Olive brine

Olive brine

Hydrogen peroxide and nail polish remover

Hydrogen peroxide and nail polish remover

Ginger juice

Ginger juice

Febreeze

Febreeze

Electrified and then frozen

Electrified and then frozen

Driveway degreaser

Driveway degreaser

Cough syrup

Cough syrup

Color safe bleach

Color safe bleach

Coca Cola

Coca Cola

Boiled

Boiled

Bengay

Bengay

Ammonia

Ammonia

Ambien

Ambien

As you can see, the results have a wide range of looks. Cetta tells us:

Some catalysts would loosen the emulsion – thus making the film highly prone to scratches – some would create drastic color shifts while others would just stain the film, and even, in some cases, the film itself would warp and distort. In the end, Photogenic Alchemy became a study in the science of art.

You can find the entire series of images over on Cetta’s website.


Image credits: Photographs by Matthew Cetta and used with permission


 
 
  • Mary

    He should try tequila.

  • Mary

    meaning develop the film in tequila….

  • vinterchaos

    While also drinking the tequila.

  • Bruce

    Looks like a hipster threw up on a print out of a generic instagram filter pic. Big surprise.

  • MikeAlgar42

    People are always quick to sit there and moan about things like this for being ‘hipster’. Surely it is interesting to see how the different products used have left their own ‘mark’ on each photograph.

  • Peter Acker

    Or just stick to drinking the Tequila….

  • Tim

    Nobody is complaining it is hipster

  • AluKed

    Y WOULD U WASTE TEQUILA?

  • Dave

    Analog Instagram.

  • Neva0124

    I think its neat! Yeah you could argue that it looks like another slap on filter pic, but looking at it from experience perspective….it was probably a blast experimenting and playing around with all the different liquids.

  • Lisa

    The one developed with Ambien is creepy as hell.

  • MikeAlgar42

    There were 2 comments when I commented about it being ‘hipster’ but now only Bruce’s comment alludes to it.

  • Bristol

    a.k.a real art. a.k.a. what Instagram is trying to be in the first place.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    For some reason, I was hoping that “vomit” and “coffee” would be somewhere in the list.

  • vinterchaos

    Ya, that sounds like a better plan.

  • Wodan74

    I’ve used Mr. Clean back the days to develop the photo paper I exposed in my pin hole camera shoe box… so much fun

  • Fullstop

    There was a time when I would regard this as creative and edgy. Now it just looks like another attempt to destroy good quality photographs with the intention of coming off as artistic.
    In the past people would desaturate color photos/video to make them look artsy. Now they just look dated, and one day so will these.