How to Expose Both Sides of 35mm Film to Create Stunning Images – Video

How to Expose Both Sides of 35mm Film to Create Stunning Images – Video

2000 1125 James Tocchio

By 2016, I hadn’t shot an analog photo in at least five years. I was actively shooting in college, but in my post-graduate adjustment to the real world, photography didn’t make the cut. I had almost no true creative outlets anymore and didn’t even realize that was a problem.

On a random internet rabbit hole, I stumbled upon Hodaka Yamamoto’s photography. I had never heard of Lomography before, and I definitely had never seen any photography like his. I quickly learned he was somehow shooting on both sides of 35mm film, and then something just went off in my brain – I immediately knew that this was what I wanted to be doing with my creativity. A metaphorical portal to my creativity had been opened.

In this video, we break down the basics of how to get started with this technique, which thankfully doesn’t require any new gear.

Exposing both sides of color negative film is the main reason I started shooting film again in 2016 and haven’t slowed down since. For that reason, it’s my sincere hope that this kind of photography inspires others in the way it re-ignited my passion for analog photography.

Enjoy the video!

And here are some sample images!

Want to try this technique yourself?

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James Tocchio

James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop Fstopcameras.com.

All stories by:James Tocchio
9 comments
  • This is a very cool trick and I love the results! I have intentionally double exposed many rolls of film over the years and I do have one tip to offer.

    If you index the film to the camera body with a fine Sharpie pen, you can then realign the film to the camera on the second pass through. Just drawing a vertical line across the film and the film plane does the job. This works well for me with “traditional” double exposing, and I would think it would for this process as well. I also make notes on the leader about how many exposures the film has seen, just in case the camera sits for a while and my memory fails me.

    Even if I leave the camera sitting for a while, I can always make note of which frame I was on, rewind back to the leader, open the camera, and check my notes. Then I just reload to the index mark, shoot as many shots as needed with the lens cap on to get me back where I was on the roll, and carry on shooting the rest of the roll. I have done this more than a few times and it usually works quite well.

    You can see some of my double exposures on my Flickr page, including some where I either didn’t know about the indexing trick yet, or it failed me but I still liked the result: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vincebodie

  • Not clear to me . . . are you trying to match up specific images or are you hoping for random works of art? Sounds fun.

    • Tom,

      If you were replying to me, I sometimes do try to match up two images, though more often I just want both frames to line up. Hope this helps!

  • so great : thank you very much.
    Great web site

  • Does anybody make a “redscale” film deliberately by applying the emulsion “upside down” directly to the film base so the film does not have to be “reversed” in order to get the “redscale” effect?

  • — Couldn’t you eliminate the need to sacrifice a roll of film by using an empty, reloadable film cassette? (easy to get and cheap to buy.)

    — Couldn’t you just trim a new leader into your flipped film instead of going to the bother of aligning and taping on your old leader? I get that the length won’t be exactly the same, but it’s not as if this is going to be a predictable process no matter how you do it!

    Fir that matter, I’m baffled as to why you wouldn’t create the overly-warm (“redscale”?) look by using a color filter over the lens, instead of going through the awkward gambit of using the film base as a filter (which is all you’re actually doing when you “expose the back of the film”… the emulsion doesn’t care which direction the light comes from!) Then you could create the randomized double exposures by loading the film twice, without all the flipping and taping. But I don’t always get the appeal of things like this…

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James Tocchio

James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop Fstopcameras.com.

All stories by:James Tocchio