I think I first heard about cross processing back in the late 1980’s. This trend, or style, was based on using one type of color film, such as color negative, and processing it in chemistry designed for another style of color film, such as color positive. Each film responded differently, with the older films tending to be better options, due to their profound change when processed in a chemistry not native to their original design. Newer films were more technically advanced and could handle the changes in chemistry, exactly what the cross-processing photographer didn’t want.
Kodak EPP was the film of choice for many crossers, and in fact, there were many photographers, who for certain periods of time, seemed to do nothing else. Cross-processing, was and is, a fad, but for a time had a significant place in the photo-industry.
Cross-processing was also the first time I heard the term, “One tricky pony,” describing these photographers who shot everything with this method. For some reason this look was popular with young, fashion, portrait, celebrity style shooters, but eventually became accepted in genres as traditionally conservative as the wedding and portrait world.
Crossing faded from view after editors and like began to tire of the look, but in the 90’s crossing returned with a vengeance. But, at the same time digital imaging land, full-scale on the scene, and suddenly anything could be a “crossed-look.” I can remember clients saying, “Let’s just do digital and play around with it to get that crossed look.”
And now, for many folks, there is no reason to even do cross-processed imagery. Nowadays, many images for commercial use are processed far beyond anything crossing a film could produce. I routinely see images in contests, images featured in magazines, that are processed almost beyond recognition.
And so with the new age of over-manipulation, I’m thinking the cross is a great symbol to usher in the death of cross-processing.
These images were done a few years back, with a Fuji transparency film, processed in C-41 chemistry. Not sure I like the look at all.
I was never a big cross guy, but did see some beautiful EPP crossed photography that was done very well. I’m not even sure EPP is still around, but this film, even in it’s original state, was a LEGEND of our industry, and is one of the most significant films ever produced. I have many stories of this film, but those I’ll leave for another time.