Plenty of scientific discoveries resulted from experiments that went wrong. Dumb luck is always playing a part in the advancement of our species.
The world of photography isn’t exempt.
From my earliest days with a camera, I have learned and grown with my share of happy accidents.
Some of the most compelling techniques in the field are refinements of mistakes.
Cross processing is one of those outcomes. It happens when color positive or slide film gets processed in chemistry designed for negatives. It can also apply to the reverse with negative film gets processed as a positive.
In short, the film colors get the visual equivalent of a dose of LSD.
The chemical process to intentionally distort was always a crapshoot because the original film couldn’t revert to “normal.” In today’s digital world, cross processing is just another filter in a drawer with no bottom.
This portrait, from a session on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, is one that crossed over.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.