7218 in E6/Hand-processing and Spirit

From: Ken Paul Rosenthal (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Feb 19 2007 - 12:42:22 PST

>And when you say processing 7218 in E-6 renders the chemistry"unusable" for
>processing reversal stocks (say 7240, or the new Ektachrome 64), I assume
>you mean that it own't yield conventional results, but that it might create
>something interesting, right?

Surrepticious inconsistencies are all one can count on when hand-processing,
even when using chemistry that is specifically formulated for a particular
stock. If E6 chemistry is used for Ektachrome stocks such as 7240, 7280 or
the old VNF, etc, the solutions will become exhausted over time, producing
variences that, if nothing else, are predictable by virtue of their

If you place Vision stocks in E6 chemistry, the solution will become
exhausted much quicker, and most likely change the composition of the
solutions. If not for the former, certainly the latter would make processing
E6 (possibly) futile--or 'interesting', as Steve put it.

Hand processing is not a conventional process to begin with. Although the
variences can be harnessed with experience, I (try to) embrace it a method
for generating possibilities. Alas, there is a very controlling component to
my personality which is at odds with my higher shamanic nature. The region
of my brain that wants my images to manifest exactly as they appear in the
theatre of my mind is often at war with my innate ability to 'hear' trees
and other 'inanimate' objects in the natural world speak to me.

For many years, hand processing served mediated my desire to capture and
control images of the observable world. Now that I've cultivated a
sensibility of risk and chance, I am moving away from the toxicity of
chemistry, and framing the world in a way that opens up spaces for seeing
beneath the surfaces of things. I try not to dwell on measuring my success
by virtue of outside accolades such as film festival screenings, et all.

Making film is my spiritual practice. I was at a trauma workshop last night
for people who struggle with their mental health. We introduced ourselves in
terms of what we do to deal with anger/chaos in our lives, and I said going
into the woods to shoot film. Though I strive to photograph something before
me, I'm really opening a space to picture myself from a fresh perpective and
reshape my consciousness.

And like human consciousness, motion picture film--the material film and the
process of making a film--exists by virtue of it's paradox; its interplay of
light and dark, it's intermittent motion, its coalescing of the past and the
future across a cut, etc. And despite the fact that I can still see a
mainstream film like 'Little Children' twice in one week and be moved to
tears on both occasions, there is a transparency to the manufacture of such
narrativity that make me feel ill--that is, when I try to achieve it in my
own filmmaking. For me, the conventional rules of narrative filmmaking
negate the fundamental promise of film to inspire a deeper connection to the
world and by extension, my self.

My experimental film practice is evolving to be less about utilizing
alternative techniques to produce a look, and more about seeing in a manner
that re-sensitizes me to the paradoxes of existence. Hand processing helped
me see the beauty in the cracks--in both the emulsion and in my head.
Hundreds upon hundreds of hours with film chemistry has allowed me to
meditate on my brain chemistry. Or maybe I've just inhaled too much

...but as I work on my poetic documentary, 'Crooked Beauty' (which explores
positive and progressive models for living with madness) I'm learning to
embrace and celebrate being a filmmaker as something of a filter in the
flesh, made of up of factors that color my experience in and of this world.
And as much as I want to purchase a new Mac Pro Dual 2.66GHZ Xeon computer,
engaging such technology makes my soul sick.

The antidote for our increasingly virtual experience of the world?
Hand-processing. If not of one's film, then maybe of one's own self image.


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