This question points out that the artifacts in the image are likely caused by static discharge.

Contrary to what most would want, I'd actually like to attempt to really spark things up on the next roll.

What can I do to increase the likelihood of this effect being present?

Metal spools on 120? Crank the film advance as fast as possible? Move the film from cool to hot/humid environments to build up some condensation?

  • Cool idea! Please post some results when you've completed your experiment! – user1118321 Feb 28 '18 at 4:09

You don't need to create static marks at exposure, that can be done more easily later in the darkroom.

The static marks on film are from the same static electricity that shocks you when you touch a door knob. Just ground the film and isolate yourself (rubber soled shoes work fine) then generate static the way they do in basic physics classes.

If you really want to make a lot of consistent static you need an electrostatic generator.

Play with electricity at your own risk, especially locked in a dark room.

  • Do you think that the effect would be higher by running a current through the film laid out in a line or still rolled? (Chances of the electricity jumping from one layer to another across a roll?) – OnBreak. Feb 27 '18 at 20:41
  • Sort of an opinion thing... I think that the effect would be greater if you contacted every bit of the roll while it was laid out. On the other hand it might be more interesting if the effect "penetrated" through multiple layers of the roll while still spooled. Especially if successive layers were of similar subjects and you then made them into a triptych... Now I want to try it! – PhotoScientist Feb 27 '18 at 21:09

Static electricity is a plague we try to avid in the darkroom. As an old-time photofinisher, I did all manner of things to alleviate. As you know, film is taped to a plastic spool and or taped to paper backing. When loading film on reels or automated film processor, you are required to detach. Old-timers, like me, will tell you, if you rip when you detach, a static discharge occurs. If the darkroom has a rug, shuffling your feet will induce a static charge. So will combing your hair. You can experiment, rubbing dissimilar materials together like a glass rod rubbed on a balloon.

Be aware that many things like the above will induce a static charge. To see the discharge, you need to in total darkness and you need to be dark-adapted. Dark adaption typically requires that you remain in total darkness for 15 minutes or more. Also, low humidity enhances the generation of static electricity.

I spent a lot of time trying to prevent, seem weird it’s an art form.

  • 1
    I'm planning on doing some light painting and experimentation with steel wool and magnesium ribbon on fire. My thought is that the static flairs could actually make for an interesting effect added to the negative. So, yes, I'd like to be able to exacerbate the effect - ideally in various amounts if there can be that much control. – OnBreak. Feb 27 '18 at 18:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.