I usually check my pockets very carefully before doing the laundry — I hate it when a random post-it note or grocery receipt goes through the wash and leaves little bits all over the otherwise clean clothes.
So it was with a bit of surprise during a recent wash day when I heard an unusual “clunk” from the dryer. At first I thought is was the button from the jeans rolling about in there, so I didn’t think any more about it…until I opened the dryer door at the end of the cycle.
There it was — an exposed roll of Fuji Superia that I had been carrying in my hoodie pocket.
I know heat is bad for film, so I figured it was going to be a mess…and then I realized if it was in the dryer, it had also gone through the wash!
Since there were some Thanksgiving photos on that roll, I was keen to see if it would process okay, so I didn’t pitch it but instead put it through my usual CInestill Cs41 processing routine.
As I worked the roll onto the reel in my changing bag, I noticed it was stuck together in spots. Gentle pulling got it onto the reel without too much trouble, but I could tell this was going to be funky.
Processing as usual seemed to go okay too. I did notice that I wasn’t getting as much of the pink dye coming off the final wash as is normally the case with Fuji films. When I pulled the film off the reel, it was much more curved and curled than normal, and it didn’t flatten at all in drying. However, I could see that there were images on the negatives that looked relatively well exposed.
When I get a curl in film after it’s dried I’ve tried rolling them backwards and letting them sit for about an hour before scanning. Even with this routine, the negatives were not setting in the film holder very well. In the previews, the colors looked okay, so I figured maybe, just maybe, I had savable images. Once scanned, however, I saw the damage the wash and dry had done.
Yes, the colors were okay and the images seemed to look like typical 400-speed scans. But may of the images had random spots, curly lines and other oddness, especially in the lighter areas. Here are some examples.
The good news is that those images without large areas of highlights look okay — the spots and lines are hidden in the details of the photos.
Part of me was hoping that had accidently discovered a dynamic new souping method by running it through the laundry. Nope!
Lesson learned? Yes. Be ever more vigilant when checking pockets before laundry, and put your film in a safe spot once exposed!
Details: Camera: Canon A2e; 50mm f1.8 and 28-85 f3.5-4.5. Fuji Superia 400, 36 exp. roll, expiry 10/23. Shot November 2022.