Film soups are always a great way to bring something magical to your film photos. We've had many lomographers talk about their unique recipes for film soups and today we're talking to @JUANMARINOARG about how he's able to add bits of nature to bring out more color to his photography.
Juan grew up in Neuquén, Argentina where he was exposed to the world of analogue photography at a young age due to his dad. Moving to Buenos Aires for university, he started taking photos as a hobby, especially during his travels such as to Patagonia.
The thing is, I realize that I would never become good if I took pictures only when I travel. So I started taking portraits every time I could, but having a full-time job didn’t allow me to shoot a lot so I started taking photos at night. It became really dangerous, so I swapped to analogue to carry less expensive equipment, but I fell in love with the texture, the process. This was three years ago.
I don't have a go-to setup. For me, all projects need a different camera. Every lens, every camera, and every roll has different results. I am aware that tools can condition the result and every search in your style requires a different tool.
Currently, his camera rotation includes a Mamiya RB67 with the 127 mm lens which he uses for portraits and other projects where he takes landscapes, A Nikon F100, and FM2, A Canon Sureshot A1, Reto3D, and a Lomography Sprocket Rocket for panoramic shots on his travels.
Fly Agaric Mushroom
Juan's series Force of Nature shows nature as the subject in two ways. First as the focus of his series through photography and second as a key ingredient to his film soup. Juan says that, "the concept is straightforward but I want it to be framed like a project because that gives me the opportunity to be more serious about it and think about it more, not just only mix things."
The first film roll I shot was mixed with a “fly agaric” mushroom. It is funny because I was collecting the mushroom and telling people about it and one of the members of the lab that developed my rolls sent me an Instagram message, “Don't eat them they are very dangerous!” So thanks to the @tokyophotolab for saving my life and developing these rolls."
The fly agaric mushroom looks like Toad from the Super Mario series with its top covered in red and white. Known to be dangerous and a hallucinogen, adding this to the film soup gave the photos a psychedelic nature. The effect made the colors more muted as well as added texture to give the photo more detail.
Another ingredient he used for a film soup was white fungi. Similar to the last one the new element to the soup brings out hallucinogenic and colorful characteristics to the photos. The photos in this album get more psychedelic, especially with the tears and streaks of light that add more character to the photos.
With the white fungus I was really surprised because I didn't think it would affect too much, but it really affected the film roll more than I imagined. That's why I always encourage people to experiment. You never know what the result will be with film soup.
For his next two ingredients, Juan decided to use fruits as his main ingredient. He first used red fruits which at first glance gave almost all photos in this album with a muted reddish purple filter.
In the case of the red fruits from a Sorbus tree, I found that I really loved the closeup shots. This roll has a very nostalgic vibe, especially with the color, the texture, and the depth of field. In my work, I aim to get this nostalgic element incorporate in my other works so I will try this combination again.
The final album in his series used raspberries as the main ingredient. For Juan, this was his favorite among all four because of how strong the pictures came out.
I want pictures and projects to talk about themselves. I want to see my photography as a journey, not as a result. I work on a lot of projects at a time, you could think is really chaotic process, but I find it more interesting and joyful this way. Try to give the projects the time they need. My method is to experiment and conceptualize. I want to make something, so I do it, and then I think about what I have done. If I think about it too much, I get too critical and the creativity goes away. I believe like an artist there are times to play and times to take things seriously. So first I play, and then I cure my work.
In conclusion, in the first test the photos came out really good but I need to work more on it because I want more effect in the film soup. Now that I know what works for me, I'll be able to know what to use to get specific results. An example would be if I wanted to make some moody dark shoots I will choose raspberries maybe with Kodak Vision expired. However, if I want some nostalgia in my photos then I'll use the Sorbus tree fruits with Fujicolor 200. Of course, I will continue experimenting with other ingredients.