The queen of film soups
Film soup is not a weird type of food. It's a highly creative process that involves marinading film in a tincture (of your choice), drying the film and then shooting it. Basically you're ruining the emulsion to create something unique, special, serendipitous and -as we noticed after posting a reel on Instagram- highly controversial! Why? Because you can't simply drop this film off at the lab without telling them it's a film soup as you could ruin their chemistry and even the rollers inside the machine, especially if the soup is hardcore. BUT DON'T PANIC! We have an interview with Hanna from Hanalogital who has spent years perfecting the skill and we have a list of Labs that willingly process film soups.
You can find her films in our shop
Labs that develop film soups:
If you're a lab that develops film soups and you're not on the list drop me a line with the subject 'Film Soup Lab' and the lab URL in the email!
Inspiration time: Interview with Hanna from Hanalogital
Who are you and how long have you been into analogue photography?
I am Hanna and the founder and owner of HANALOGITAL. I was born in the late
1980s and grew up with analogue photography. Back then, I was allowed to take
photos with the analogue cameras of my parents and grandparents from time to time and was very enthusiastic about them. This whole process fascinated me and I was therefore very happy when I got my first analogue compact camera as a present at around 10. In the course of time, digital photography took over from analogue cameras and I actually photographed exclusively digitally for a few years. In 2010, however, I hit a creative slump and found digital photography boring, predictable, too perfect and had the feeling that I was stuck with my creativity. Fortunately, during this time I found my way back to analogue photography and thus back to creativity. Since then, I have remained faithful to my analogue cameras and my digital cameras have meanwhile eked out an existence in my drawers.
What is film soup and what makes it special?
A film soup is any kind of liquid in which you put a 35mm film. It can be just water or something crazier like detergent or coffee. The special thing about film soup is that it is an experimental technique that allows you to create colourful and unexpected effects on your photographs. There are endless ways to create film soups. It is probably enough to look around at home. You are sure to find enough potential ingredients for film soups and you don't have to buy utensils for this manipulation technique.
Are there bad soups and good soups?
That is probably in the eye of the beholder. Some film soups cause very extreme
effects where hardly anything of the emulsion remains on the film strip. Personally, I find this exciting and for me it's not a bad film soup. Someone else might see it quite differently. Then there are the other film soups that cause only weak and subtle effects. That can also be great. It probably depends a bit on the motifs, whether an extreme or a weak effect is better suited.
But apart from the intensity of the effects: Yes, there are film soups that I personally definitely consider rather unsuitable. These are, for example, film soups made of substances that leave sticky residues on the film strip and make it impossible to dry the film properly in the end or even to get it
out of the film canister again. In my experience, film soups mixed from juices or
sugary drinks fall into this category. It is definitely advisable to mix with water if you have chosen juices or soft drinks as ingredients for your film soup and do not want to do without them. This reduces the risk of the sticky residue becoming too extreme.
I would also be cautious with liquids that have a very strong odour of their own. I
once made a film soup from a cheap perfume. Instead of diluting the perfume with
water, I just put the film in the pure perfume. I honestly wouldn't do it again, because nothing could convince me to put such a smelly film in one of my cameras. The effects would probably have been interesting, but I just couldn't stand the smell.
Which labs process film soups?
Well, that seems to be the question of all questions. And yes, it is not easy to find a photo lab that develops film soup films. I think this is also partly due to the fact that photo labs may have had bad experiences with sticky, wet or completely destroyed film soup films. Also, most photo labs are concerned about their machines and chemicals or may not want to go to the trouble of developing such film soup films separately from all other films. I think these are all understandable reasons. However, I have made the experience that there are photo labs that are willing to develop film soup films. The prerequisite is that you contact the photo lab beforehand and ask nicely and, in the best case, explain a little about the film soups: What film soups are in the first place, maybe even what you have manipulated the films with beforehand, that you have dried the films sufficiently and that the film strip does not stick together everywhere. Some photo labs are then willing to develop such films and perhaps go the extra mile with separate development or chemicals. You really should never just hand in film soup films to your photo lab for development without warning. This will only cause trouble if you try to foist such films on the photo lab. And you certainly don't want to be responsible if other people's films are affected in colour by your own film soup films. So always ask and, with a bit of luck, you will find a photo lab that develops soaked films. And if it is indeed impossible to find a photo lab that processes film soup films, on might consider developing such films at home. Here, too, the points mentioned above should be observed: Allow the films to dry well, do not mix too much potentially sticky material into the film soup, use separate chemicals and do not develop the film soup films together with normal films.
By the way, my trusted photo lab in Germany has been developing all my film soup films for about 3 years without any problems. And I really have had many films developed there that were extremely damaged by the film soups.
Can anyone do a film soup?
Of course! It really doesn't take much: A 35mm film, an old glass jar with a lid (in case you want to shake the film in the film soup or you have used ingredients that have an inherent smell) and liquids or powders as you like. That's it. Just mix together as much of the desired substances and put the film in. Leave the film in the film soup for as long as you like and then leave it in a warm place for a sufficient time to dry. One thing to watch out for, though: When mixing the ingredients, be aware of what you are mixing together. Some things might cause adverse reactions. That has never happened to me, but you should still think about it beforehand. Things that seem rather harmless, such as cola and Mentos, also produce an impressive reaction, and you probably don't want to have something like that in your kitchen or bathroom.
What's you most fave film soup photo (taken by you) of all time?
Good and difficult question at the same time! I obviously like the film soups that I
have included in the HANALOGITAL standard range. But other than that, I loved the effects created by the SUMMER 2021 film soup! Quarterly, I make seasonal film soups from natural ingredients here in Germany. I made the SUMMER 2021 film soup from poppies, among other things. The poppies left small dots on the film that look like small dots of light in the photographs. Almost as if you had taken a double exposure with the starry sky or as if small fireflies were cavorting all over the film strip. Definitely an effect that was unique and difficult to replicate until now. Will try my luck again this summer with a film soup made from poppies!.
All the images in this post are from the SUMMER 2021 film!