So a couple of weeks ago, I was able to pick up several rolls of Lomography’s Tungsten 64 slide film at the Lomography store in Seoul. While I’d shot slide before, this would be my first time to shoot using film that wasn’t daylight balanced. As the name suggests, Tungsten 64 is film with chemistry that compensates for the yellowish cast of tungsten light. If you’ve played around with a digital camera’s white balance settings, you probably know what this means.
I didn’t really have specific test shots in mind to showcase the quirks of the film under daylight of fluorescent light. I was on vacation, after all, so I just took my normal holiday shots, using a Fujifilm Silvi f/2.8 point-and-shoot.
Flash forward a week. I was back in Manila, waiting for my roll to come back from the lab. The technician hands me the envelope. I open it excitedly and see that the negatives have a green hue to them. Cool. Then I look at the index print: it’s all green, too! I’m thinking, there must be something wrong (but wonderfully wrong) because I expected the shots to come out with a pink hue. Turns out this was the first time the lab had ever come across tungsten film (in a few years at least), and the technicians didn’t know what to make of it. They scanned the negatives as a positive, giving the shots that cool radioactive green glow.
It wasn’t a problem at all. A simple color invert using Photoshop and I’d have the shots as they should have come out, all pinky and rose. That green glow kept nagging my senses, though, and I couldn’t let it go. I just had to use those original scans.
The solution was, to create diptychs that displayed both negative and positive, side by side, to show contrast and to make some clever statements. I know this might be anathema to many film buffs who disdain Photoshop, but I’ve always been a Machiavellian the-end-justifies-the-means kinda guy. If you can do all sorts of old school tricks in a traditional wet darkroom, then you should also be allowed some manipulation using a digital workspace. Just don’t go crazy HDR overboard, ya know what I’m saying?
So, here are the results. Let me know what you think.