Solarization Adds Zap to Negatives


For anyone who processes and prints there own film, experimentation is a great way to produce new images. Many of you will be familiar with solarization of prints, or Sabbitier effect, but solarizing your negatives is another tool.

The first rule of thumb is that simple images tend to work best, small still lifes, flowers, nudes, etc. I generally use small 35mm film strips, cutting 5 to 10 frames out of the camera in the darkroom. Load onto a reel and process normally. Halfway into the development process, remove the film from tank and reel in the dark. I shake the strip a couple of times to remove liquid. Lay flat and expose to white light such as a 60 watt bulb for 1 to 10 seconds – you need to do some experimentation with your film and developer here. Turn out the light, return the film to the reel and the tank and complete the regular development. Stop, fix and wash normally and prepare to be amazed.

written by troch on 2010-11-13 in #gear #tipster #solarization-special-effects-darkroom #lab-rat #film-processing #home-processing-technique #black-and-white #development


  1. stouf
    stouf ·

    Hohohooo ! That's fascinating ! I had similar results with an expired reversal bath during E6 processing (…) But I didn't know you could voluntarily do that !!! Thanks for the fantastic tip @troch !!!

  2. vgzalez
    vgzalez ·

    Wow. I didn't even know that it could be done. Great!

  3. gvelasco
    gvelasco ·

    This is very cool, but it's still not true solarization. It's still pseudo-solarization or Sabattier effect whether expose the print or the negative to actinic light. You only get true solarization by drastically overexposing the negative in the camera when you take the picture.

    Exposing the film to actinic light in the middle of processing creates black Mackie lines like in the picture above. Exposing the print to actinic light in the middle of processing creates white Mackie lines. That's the more common thing think 'cause it's easier to do.

  4. floriansimon
    floriansimon ·

    It's even more awesome with color prints!
    According to LSI, my tipster about that technique gets published on April 14th, 2011, so stay tuned. ^^

  5. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    magic :)

  6. paramir
    paramir ·


  7. kylewis
    kylewis ·

    I used to love doing this with prints!

  8. weedos
    weedos ·

    Very cool. I might give it a shot.

  9. yarglags
    yarglags ·

    I wish I'd read this about an hour ago when I had a film to develop. Next time...

  10. glenn
    glenn ·


  11. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    Great tipster and very cool results.

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