Chemical Manipulations with the Lomo’Instant


Perhaps you’ve already had the chance to try light painting, multiple exposures and long exposures with your Lomo’Instant, but what can you experiment with next? Well, that’s exactly the thought I had which led to giving this Tipster a go. I wanted to shoot Lomo’Instant photos which felt a bit “messier” than what I’m usually used to and to use a technique which would open up new possibilities with the kinds of images I could create with my favorite instant camera. Well, here I go!

Ever since I have been shooting analogue, one of the things which have consistently interested me are the Film Experiment Tipsters like soaking your negatives in wine, tea or even the dishwasher. But I have never given them a go because I was always a bit worried about ruining the film roll and all the shots on it. So I thought, testing this kind of thing with Instax Mini film and the Lomo’Instant would be a fun thing to try, since I would get to see the results quickly and only lose one shot if it went wrong.


With this general plan in mind, I grabbed the following tools and set to work:

  • 1 Lomo’Instant Camera
  • A few packs of Fuji Instax Mini Film to shoot and experiment with
  • A sharp Stanley knife
  • Various cleaning fluids such as floor cleaner and bleach
  • If you are feeling extra experimental, other liquids like Orange juice, vodka, and vinegar!
  • Protective Gloves


So for the experiment, I shot a photo and as soon as it ejected from the camera I cut a rectangle into the back of the print using the Stanley knife (cutting just deep enough to peel off the backing paper from the photo, not all the way through). I wore gloves when I was cutting the back of the photo because as soon as you remove the rectangle from the back of your print, you’ll notice a thick black liquid inside the print which will get everywhere.

Then once I had the rectangle cut, I dabbed, sprayed and/or soaked cleaning chemicals onto the back while the photo was still developing (another reason for gloves since these chemicals can often be quite strong and harsh). The chemicals you add interrupt the developing process and cause strange spots and colored areas to appear on the photo. For some photos, we also tried different fluids such as Orange Juice, Vodka, and vinegar, which also had a noticeable effect. And for some photos, we also tried dabbing using objects such as the rubber gloves, candles, and orange peel.

Step 1: Get your experimental equipment ready. Step 2: Take a photo and cut a rectangle into the back. Step 3: Remove the back. Step 4: Dab or spray chemicals onto the back of the photo whilst it is developing. Step 5: Wait and admire your work. Step 6: The final image

It’s important to say from the start that this process is certainly hit and miss. Sometimes you can put too much chemical on and the photo is manipulated too heavily; other times, the chemicals don’t make much of a difference to the final image. But when it works, it’s worth it! And as with all things analogue, not knowing exactly what effects you’ll get at the end is half (or more than half) the fun with this.

Another thing to note is that this is quite a messy tipster. After your photo has developed, because the back has been cut open, the black developing fluid may leak out. So an option is to either tape the back closed again or to try and wash all the developing fluid out using water. I used the water method but this did lead to some curling of the prints.

Finally, I must credit the guys in the Instax Manipulation Flickr group who helped inspire me with their shots. It was whilst researching and browsing for new Instax ideas that I stumbled upon their group and which led me to do this myself.

I hope you like the shots and that this also encourages you to give this fun tip a try! If you don't have one yet, grab your Lomo'Instant and get out there and give it a go!

This article was written by Lomographer tom_bates. Upload your chemical experiments with the Lomo'Instant to your LomoHome!

written by tomas_bates on 2015-01-21 #gear #tutorials #experiments #tipster #chemical #labrat #manipulations #lomo-instant #lomo-instant #lomoinstant

Mentioned Product

Fuji Instax Mini

Fuji Instax Mini

Speedy, sharp, and super-handy - this is the Fuji Instax Films promise. One Fuji Instax Film Single pack gives you 10 credit card sized snapshots with eye popping colors and clarity.

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