The Little Brown Dog, Chewed Film, Man Ray.

So I have a little brown dog (Elliot).

Eliot is a great dog, my constant companion, a great photo-buddy who jumps to attention whenever I pick up a camera or tripod. However, sometimes he reverts to his puppy personality and chews up clothing, shoes, blankets. Several years ago, he grabbed a roll of 120mm film from my camera bag and chewed it up one end of the film.

 

Paper Backing, Dog Chewed Roll of Ilford FP-4 black and white film.

Paper Backing, Dog Chewed Roll of Ilford FP-4 black and white film.

 

At first I thought, oh well, another wasted roll of film. Yet, for some reason, I didn’t throw the film away although I believed it was a total loss. Several years later and rummaging through boxes in my closet, I rediscovered the chewed roll of film.  I decided why not see what happens and went ahead and processed the film.

 

 

Roll of Dog Chewed Ilford FP-4 black and white film, Processed in ID-11 Plus Film Developer.

Roll of Dog Chewed Ilford FP-4 black and white film, Processed in ID-11 Plus Film Developer.

 

What I find particularly fascinating with the ragged and fogged bottom edge of the film. The frayed edges allowed the imprinting film counter numbers and shapes onto the negative creating a Dada-eque juxtaposition with the random and amorphous shapes generated during processing of the uneven strip of film.

The chewed film highlights the experimental results which can be achieved by merging film and with chance, and remembering the Man Ray quotation, “working directly with light and chemistry, so deforms the subject as almost to hide the identity of the original, and creates a new form.” [1] Yes, my little brown dog certainly created an engaging new form.

 

Dog Chewed Roll of Ilford FP-4 black and white film

Dog Chewed Roll of Ilford FP-4 120mm black and white film, scanned with a Nikon CoolScan 9000.

 

The physicality of film is a key attribute which opens the medium to experiments with chance as well as the exposure to the elements, time, and the ravages of animals, insects and micro-organisms, and little brown dogs.

 

Eliot, the Little Brown Dog in the backyard.

Eliot, the Little Brown Dog, in the backyard.

 

David Arnold

Notes:

[1] Man Ray, “The Age of Light,” Man Ray, Writing on Art, Jennifer Mundy, ed. p. 117.