Photos Look Magical When You Develop Them With Stuff You Shouldn't

Photography is like anything else in life; there's a right way and a wrong way to do it. It just so happens, though, that in this case the wrong way yields way more satisfying results. Michael Cetta has made striking photographs by abusing his film with everything from absinthe to turpentine. And you can't tear your eyes away.

Cetta's project began, he writes in his description of what he calls Photographic Alchemy, when he converted an old Holga toy camera to shoot 35mm film. The shooting was fine, but unfulfilling. Which is when the real fun started. Says Cetta:

It came to a point where I wanted to explore the medium of film itself. I embarked on a journey that has led me here. Where is here? Here is a place full of what ifs. What if I electrified my film and then froze it afterward? What if I introduced absinthe to the emulsion? What if I was to soak the film in Ambien before I shot it?

The answers follow. And they'll make you so glad he asked the question in the first place.





Cough Syrup


Hydrogen Peroxide and Nail Polish Remover

Olive Brine




Top image developed in colour-safe bleach. All photos appear with permission from Michael Cetta; for more of his work, head here.

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