I thought I knew pretty well every technique there is in photography ... bleach bypass, solarization, lomography, cross processing, HDR ...

I was wrong.

I've just stumbled across 'redscale' photography (also known as 'redbird', apparently).

This is a technique used in film cameras, where the film is exposed the wrong way around. In other words, it is used inside out.

For those of my readers who are unfamiliar with it, photographic film consists of a light-sensitive emulsion bonded to an acetate base. Normally the film is wound through the camera with the emulsion on the side of the film facing the lens, so that the light falls directly on to it.

In redscale photography the film is reversed - a bit of a complicated procedure - so that the emulsion is on the side away from the lens and the light only reaches it after passing through the acetate base.

Because of the way in which the different colour-sensitive layers of the emulsion are arranged, this causes a very strong red-shift.

The result is ...

Why on earth would anyone want to do this?

It's all part of the lo-fi photography movement, which is a reaction to the apparent ease of taking technically perfect images nowadays. With modern cameras you can get an exact representation of a scene - pin-sharp, colour perfect, undistorted - with the push of a button.

Reversing the film, using old Russian cameras such as the LOMO (a camera that smelt strongly of machine oil), altering or omitting steps in the film processing, or replacing your expensive lens with a piece of pierced cooking foil, all give unexpected, unusual and sometimes highly graphic results.

It's one of the reasons why I dabble in pinhole photography.

Of course, you could do all this stuff digitally if you wanted.

But that's not really the point, is it?

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