Julija Svetlova a.k.a. neja is a London-based photographer who has been a big part of the Lomography community for many years now. Neja's latest film soup experiments are bursting with color and are reminiscent of the early light shows and oil projectors from the 1960s. She shared her special film soup recipe with us so you can try this technique for yourself.
Hi, my name is Julija, aka neja, I am an art historian based in London who is very passionate about film photography. I have been a member of the Lomography community since 2001, this year is my 20th Lomo anniversary.
Film Soup Ingredients And Step by Step Guide
Boil a bit of water and fill up the glass, submerge any type of film, slide or negative, in hot water for 20 minutes then add any type of liquid and leave it to soak. So far, I have experimented with souping a film first and then exposing it, as well as shooting a film and then putting it into a mixture of liquids. Don’t forget to extract the end of your film from the canister before soaking your film up; it will be nearly impossible to do so after the film gets wet. I did such a mistake once and had to break the canister under the duvet and then wrap it up in tones of paper before taking it to the lab.
I tried pretty much all the household liquids, from liquid soap and floor polish to apple cider vinegar and soya sauce. I don’t keep track of what I did to each film but so far been very pleased with the results. It’s up to decide for how long to keep your films soaked, sometimes I do 24 hours, sometimes a bit longer. Drying is a very important part of the process. I don’t have a darkroom so I have to let the films dry naturally. You can try putting them into a bowl of rice or on top of a radiator, for example. I have waited for a couple of years for my first film soup, but now I know that a few days could be enough.
I love the surprise element of it all, you never know what are you going to get. Because of the global pandemic, I wasn’t able to travel or move as freely as back in the days so many daily walks ended up being the same but with the help of the film soup, I was able to take photos of the same places that I have photographed countless times before yet to make them look very different. The film soup effects have added a touch of magic and otherworldliness to my shots, like a window into a parallel universe without Covid.
I loved my first couple of experiments so much that I self-published a FILM SOUP book, I hope you like it.