We love to see artists and photographers defy the boundaries of their medium, especially when their creations look otherworldly. Experimental photographer Natalie Goulet is no stranger to manipulated shots, but she always creates new potions and tricks to get even more intricate results. After completing her first year of graduate school, where she spent most of her time in the darkroom experimenting, and coming up with new pieces of art. With some Lomography CN 400, she souped her film before shooting it, and the result isn't short from magical!
How did you get into photography, especially film?
In the first year of my undergraduate degree, I very quickly severed ties with my painting practice and spent most of my time in the darkroom.
Why do you still shoot film?
I like the unpredictable and tangible nature of film photography. It’s the perfect medium for me to push and experiment with.
How did you get into experimenting with different textures?
I’ve always had an interest in decay and objects showcasing the effects of time through rusting or peeling paint. I think that various chemical or general material surface explorations of analog photography have extended that previously existing fascination with decay.
How much time does it take for you to come up with a new experiment?
I don’t think I can pinpoint a specific time interval for new ideas, but I’m constantly exploring new ways to push the material boundaries of the photographic medium.
Can you tell us more about the experiment you did for this film?
I soaked this roll of film for 24 hours in an even mix of fermented seaweed water and local Nova Scotia “Willing to Learn” gin; approximately two ounces of each liquid to fully saturate the film. It smelled awful - like, really awful. (I have several jars of seaweed and saltwater in my studio for other projects and B&W developer experiments.) After 24 hours, I rinsed the roll under running water for about a minute, and set it in a warm place to dry for just under a week. When I was ready to shoot the roll, I loaded it into my trusty Rolleicord with the help of a 3D printed adapter and disengaged the double exposure prevention lock. I shot the roll following a warm, sunny afternoon walk, and processed the film the next day.
Can you tell us more about the pictures?
These images were shot in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, just across the bridge from Halifax where I currently live. On the Dartmouth side of the harbor, there’s a mysterious carcass of an old ship extending the shoreline. I recently found out that the ship (the SS Daisy, built in 1912) had a busy life as a British trawler, police boat, then tug boat before it was retired and used as infill after WWII. These images are mostly self-portraits as the boat is reduced to structurally unsafe rusty ruins, but the object of interest that day was definitely the SS Daisy.
From the pictures you sent, do you have a favorite one?
I honestly felt a little defeated after shooting this roll. I felt as though I hadn’t accomplished as much as I had set out to do that day, probably due to a nice even mix of end-of-semester stress and imposter syndrome. I processed the roll in my studio in the midst of a queue of meetings. Once the roll was dry, this is the first image I scanned. It was a pleasant surprise and a slight reassurement that maybe I didn’t fail as badly as I thought I did that day. My partner, who you can see drawing in the top half of the frame, is kind, gentle, supportive, and very patient with me
throughout my various fits of self-doubt and general irritability.