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Hanna Beltran - filmsoup extraordinaire

"I am Hanna and I live in Germany. After digital photography replaced my analogue cameras from my childhood in the course of time, I have been taking pictures with analogue cameras again since 2010 and mainly with 35 mm film. My great passion is the manipulation of analogue films, the so-called filmsoups. In April 2020 I decided to found my online shop on Etsy. Here I offer my own manipulated films, an eBook about the production and use of film soups and some more things."

See more of Hanna's work on instagram at @hanalogital

A/A:  Do you match your subject to your film soup or are the results of the soup a surprise?

HB: The results are always surprises. I have never before adapted my photo motifs to my filmsoups. I love to be surprised by the results. In my opinion, this way it remains even more exciting. A/A:  What got you interested in alternative processes? HB: The passion for photography has accompanied me all my life. I grew up with analogue photography. Even as a child, I took pictures with analogue cameras from my parents' cupboards and could hardly wait until the films were developed in the laboratory and I could finally see the results. Little by little, digital photography made me forget the analogue cameras in my parents' cupboards. I bought a digital single-lens reflex camera and some small digital compact cameras. For some years I exclusively took digital photos. In 2010 I stumbled across the Lomography website by chance on the Internet.  This website offers a huge selection of photos published by registered members as well as lots of articles with reports on various cameras and films. On the Lomography website I also learned for the first time about so-called "filmsoups". I was immediately enthusiastic about these film experiments, but it took me a while to venture out on my first own film soup. The articles I found about film soups were interesting and aroused my joy of experimenting, but I was unsure what I had to consider, for example, when choosing the film and the drying time as well as the development of such manipulated films. So I continued to do a lot of research and at some point, despite certain doubts about the success of my first film soup, I dared to make it. I dropped off the manipulated film at my drugstore around the corner and after a week's wait I actually got back the developed negatives, which I digitised at home. Today, unfortunately, I cannot remember with which liquids I manipulated my first film, but I know that I was positively surprised by the results. In fact, my images looked very similar to the sample photos I saw in the articles on Lomography. My photos included coloured streaks and small dots. I liked the results, but I already had a lot of ideas in my head about how I could refine the ingredients for the filmsoup. Nevertheless, my first film soup was a great success for me and I have tried over 100 different film soups since. The joy of experimenting is still there today and I never tire of trying out new recipes again and again. A/A:  Why do you enjoy shooting film over digital? HB: Especially photographing with manipulated films is definitely fun! In addition, the results are usually a surprise and you can let your creativity run wild. Personally, I think it's great to create something myself, to try out new things and to tinker with the ingredients of the film soup until the effects are just as I imagined them.  Manipulating a film means ignoring the manufacturer's instructions for the correct storage and use of the film and not treating it in any way as one should. You deliberately expose the film to substances and processes that deliberately destroy it. Photographing with manipulated film brings variety to photography. With a manipulated film a boring motif can suddenly look fantastic. What I generally like about analogue photography is that it gives me a chance to slow down while taking pictures. A digital photo taken with a smartphone or digital camera can be taken quickly without having to think about the composition of your motifs. And if you don't like the digital photo, you can delete it with a few clicks and take a new one. Sometimes this may be nice, but I like this deceleration in the whole process of analogue photography. Furthermore, digital photography has never given me the opportunity to let my creativity run as freely as analogue photography. I just love experimenting with film. A/A:  What inspires you? HB: Of course I am inspired by other artists who do something similar to what I do, but also by artists who, for example, paint pictures with various colours on canvas. Especially abstract art fascinates me and sometimes I think about how I could achieve similar effects of such abstract art with my manipulated films. Nature is also a very big source of inspiration for me. There are so many forms, colours and structures that have inspired me many times for new film soups and also motives. In fact, I have already manipulated films with ingredients from nature. I always find it especially beautiful when I get similar shapes and colours like northern lights in my photos.

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