Want to take your redscale Lomographs to the next level? Expose both sides of your film and double your pleasure!
I love shooting a roll of film twice. You automatically get a whole roll of jumbled juxtapositions and wild storytelling possibilities. Plus, film ain’t cheap, and this way you get the most bang for your buck. Or Euro, or yen, or whatever. I saw some Lomographs that had both cooler, more realistic colors, and the flaming hues of redscale, and had to try it out myself. This technique is called EBS, or Exposing Both Sides, and the photos are pretty sweet!
You will need:
- Film (I used color negative, but slide film will give you some raging colors)
- Changing bag or darkroom
- Scotch tape
- Your favorite analogue camera!
Step 1: Load your film and shoot the whole role as usual. When rewinding your film, take care that you don’t rewind the film leader all the way back into the canister — you’re gonna need it!
Step 2: In a completely dark environment (either a changing bag or totally darkened room), pull all the film out of the canister, cut it with the scissors a few inches from the end that’s still attached, flip the film over, and tape the film back together. Roll the film back into the canister, but leave the film leader out!
Step 3: Before you can reload the film into your camera, you need to make a new film leader because the original leader is now probably out of reach of your camera’s take-up spool slot. If you’re shooting with a Fisheye or a Diana Mini, you can skip this step. Cut the film leader off, then cut a square (it should be half the width of your film) out of the upper corner of the film. You should have an L-shaped end on your film that will fit nicely into your take-up spool.
Step 4: Load your film and shoot the roll again! If you can adjust your camera’s ISO setting, set it to one stop below whatever it was before (i.e. if you’re using ISO 200 film, stop it down to ISO 100).
I used Kodak Gold 200 film because it was what I had on hand, and it’s pretty amenable to experimentation. Usually when you shoot doubles, you should set your camera’s ISO setting to underexpose both sets of exposures so that when taken together your film isn’t overexposed. However, with EBS, I decided not to do this. I shot the first layer of exposures at ISO 200 to make sure the normal colors were pretty strong. I shot the redscale layer of exposures at ISO 100 because redscale film is less sensitive than normal film. I’m not sure why this works, but I imagined the two sides of the film would be affected differently by light, and should be treated as if I were shooting each one alone. The film responded beautifully, and I got the wide range of colors that I was hoping for.
Be sure to tell your lab that you did some experiments with the film! When I had mine developed, the people working at the lab were very worried that something had gone wrong! I assured them that I had done it on purpose and we all breathed a sign of relief.
What would happen if you used slide film, or black and white film, or infrared film? Show me your EBS experiments, and good luck, y’all!