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Photogenic Alchemy: Matthew Cetta’s prints of controlled Chaos

Having a toy camera never gets boring. Mix in with a few other things like lemon juice, absinthe, cough syrup and the imagination to match and you’re all set.

Being spontaneous with shots is something we promote here in Lomography. It’s well included in the 10 Golden rules and for good reasons – they get you acting on the moment to capture its essence right then and there. Sometimes, they yield such great results. Most of the time, they create good memories.

This was what photographer Matthew Cetta had set out to do. He wanted to start living again after a self-confessed bout with depression. He wanted to get back on the making prints and holding the shutter button and focusing the lens once again. Then, things started to get bland.

In that turn of events, Cetta looked again for something more to the shots he took with his old Holga. With his camera converted to shoot 35mm film, he decided to experiment with the material itself. That is the when his journey to the discovery of Photogenic Alchemy began.

He experimented in using different household items from lemon juice to ambient and other ways such as freezing the film and even boiling it. It was a thing of spewed out by curiosity and getting more from the film than just pictures. He asked a lot of questions: “What if I electrified my film and then froze it afterward? What if I introduced absinthe to the emulsion?”

He explains that Photogenic Alchemy is a means to discover new things with playful intentions. The experiment yielded interesting prints, to say the least. He explains more about his series on his website. He adds that “Photogenic Alchemy is an exercise in controlled chaos and a study in the science of art.” We’re taking notes on that.

All information used in this article were sourced from Synapse Shots, PetaPixel

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written by cheeo


  1. bsdunek


    Very interesting - I like the Color Safe Bleach effect.
    I salute Matthew's taking over his depression. Photography, as well as other creative endevors can help. Congratulations, Matthew!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  2. crevans27


    Thanks for the link up to my article :)

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