I always buy strange films, but I often don’t have the time to research them. Before a trip I make quick decisions, which films get into the bag, and which aren’t. With this Kodak Vericolor Slide, I did the same, when I visited Vicuna and Katoun in Polynesia. Honestly, the box of the film was not very enlightening either, besides the fact that it was expired in the nineties. You don’t really know what this film is about. Is it slide or is it C41? How do you have to expose it, what is its light sensitivity? I knew nuffin’!
I went with it and just exposed it as a 100 iso and didn’t think too much. Then Satomi developed the film as C41 in LA and we were absolutely absorbed by the look of the negatives. They looked like nothing we had seen before, orange and violet tones which didn’t reveal what to expect when scanned. I mean by now I could tell by any negative if the contrast is strong and I would approximately know how the picture will look like. Here it was impossible.
When I scanned it, I was right away flashed by the graphic quality of the Vericolor slide. Everything was blue and you basically only saw silhouettes. But within the silhouettes, you still had grades of contrast. Actually two contradictory elements of photography, how I see it. I love that the pictures are like a graphic creation, a 2D object caught on film. Reduction to the max.
So how does it happen? The Vericolor slide is a film that was made to create slides from a color negative in a time when scanning was not a consumer affair and photoshop or digital reproduction was nonexistent. For this purpose, this emulsion was constructed. But when expired and crossed, everything goes coo-coo crazy.
My bonding with this film is really strong, because of the feeling of uniqueness and my naive story of finding it. I also hit the nail right, when I tried it first, so it feels really natural to me. I later tried it consciously at several other occasions and learned more about it. You definitely need strong contrasts within the picture. Large panels of light and dark. Or let’s say there are sky and everything before it will be dark. Otherwise, the Vericolor Slide doesn’t really pay to its full potential and this rare film-gem is lost in the shades of nothingness. But when you understand, you are an engineer of 2D graphic photography and you will be surprised to the max.