Tuesday, March 27, 2018

URSP Student Valerie McKenna Researches How Using Acidic Substances Alters Photographic Film During the Development Process

For my Spring 2018 proposal, I am testing how low pH liquids affect photographic film when used instead of water when processing. When photographic film is being processed, the film must soak in chemistry to produce the image and make the film light safe. These soaks are made from certain ratios between developing chemistry and water, to ensure the success of the processing. My research tests replacing water with acidic liquids when mixing the dilutions, and record the reactions the film has according to the pH of the substituted liquid. What I will be using for this research are common household items, such as soda and coffee. From this research I hope it leads me to understand how the film will respond in various situations, and in the future I would like to work on projects that involve collecting samples from nature to use in processing.

Spring 2018 is my second time as a URSP student. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work with Professor Lynne Constantine for the past year, and investigate projects and aspects of photography I feel passionate about. Since becoming a fellow with OSCAR, one of the biggest changes to my work is how I approach potential projects, mainly through the incorporation of research. Before, the extent of my research would be looking into other artists with a similar focus. After my first semester with OSCAR, my research led me to work with and present archival images, answers to surveys, and recorded interviews. Now, exploring the possibilities of how malleable the medium is, it makes me excited to think of other ways to explore photography. As I continue with this research and apply to MFA programs, I want to keep thinking about my work through this frame.