Re: Fogged film from airport Xray

From: ben russell (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Feb 06 2007 - 21:45:43 PST


i've been trying my hand at the airport film trick for a while now
and am happy to say that things have gotten much better in the states -
it seems that the tsa has standardized gate checks nationally
and in the last few years
the baggage screeners everywhere from vegas to chicago to miami to nyc
have paid attention to the sign outside their scanners declaring
that passengers can request a hand-check of all film
(even if "film is safe to 800asa") -
it takes a bit of insistence and polite refusal to have your film
and all is usually well

the same applied for me in vietnam, suriname, iceland, chile, and
where polite insistence was usually met with uncertainty, then
stalling, then free passage

the news for the european continent is a bit less rosy -
i've had film scanned in marseille after much arguing
(color reversal, cross-processed later - it become a pretty red)
my last trip through amsterdam also proposed that film would not be
through their "low radiation scanners"
without a casual x-ray...
and even though i checked with the security manager on my way through
london gatwick
on the way back i was told by a bearded baggage checker with a lovely
accent that
"if you think your film is worth the lives of 180 people, i feel very
sorry for you indeed"

a good point, perhaps, but misguided

while the suggestion to send film via dhl is one that i followed in
london to good results
i've not been able to get any sort of assurance on the part of dhl
(either in london, iceland, or suriname)
that dhl packages will not be x-rayed
even with a "DO NOT SCAN" sticker boldly affixed to the front

all of which is to say
that it seems to be a bit of a crap-shoot -
i used to carry a changing bag with me
until the refuse-niks insisted on "visual checks"
and now i just try to calmly move my way through security
strapped with my camera and an empty film can/ daylight spool/ etc
to help explain what it is i'm carrying...

i'm curious to hear the results of the xray safe bag
but would reiterate to all present-and-future travellers (especially
in western europe)
that your film is processed on-continent if at all possible


For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.