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Juliana Gagné's ghostly filmsoup

"I'm Juliana Gagné, I'm a 28 year old artist living on beautiful Wampanoag land on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

These photos are my love letter to Outer Cape Cod. They are all shot on a 35mm disposable camera that has been tinted, stabbed, swam with, soaked in a film soup, frozen and thawed. Where I live has been referred to for thousands of years as Nauset, meaning "a place between" which described a landscape of land changing to water based on the twin tides. Not only is the Outer Cape a place between land and ocean, it's a notorious spot where the veil between worlds seems to thin. Several of the locations I photographed are known for being spiritually active and haunted. All of my film souping takes place in my cottage which is haunted by the former owner, Hattie and a ghost cat I've named Casper"

Series Name: A Place Between

Instagram: @lavenderdiesel (photography)

@jai_gagne (general art practice)


Facebook: J'ai Gagné Store (

A/A: Please tell us more about Hattie and Casper! Have you caught them on film?

JG: The previous owner of my cottage died in our living room, her name was Hattie Jennings and since I was a child, we were all aware of her presence still being in the house.

My Mom says she first realized we had a ghost when there was an incessant scratching on the walls of the bedroom that I shared with my brother. We were upset and having a hard time sleeping and my Mom said out loud, "Hattie please stop, the kids are really tired and need to sleep". The scratching stopped immediately!

When I first moved into the cottage full time, I was a little bit nervous about her, but now after several years, I find Hattie's presence very comforting. She is very protective of both our house and myself (she even told me I needed to go to the hospital when I was very sick last August). I haven't captured her or Casper on film-yet! But I do believe that their energy influences the film and the emulsion in ways I don't totally comprehend.

Casper is a ghost cat we started to notice during the summer of 2020 (I had severe covid that spring and nearly died, and I found myself experiencing a lot more paranormal activity ever since). My Mom and I thought we were going a bit crazy. At night we would hear loud meowing coming from outside (I have two cats that aren't allowed out in the night) and I would run outside and not find any cat. When you were sitting outside you would feel the sensation of a cat walking under your chair and brushing against your legs, but when you looked down there would be nothing there! Finally we started to notice my little cat, Charlie, playing with an invisible cat we couldn't see...I finally decided to name him Casper! Growing up, a neighbor across the street lost a cat to a coyote attack in our yard and I believe that he is Casper.

A/A: Why do you think there is such a variation in results with the same film soup?

JG: I believe part of it is the varying amounts of ingredients and also the order in which they are added. I also believe agitation plays a part in the variability. I usually do it through the pouring of the soup ingredients but at various random points I will further agitate the camera while it is souping. I do believe that energy, from either humans, animals, spirits or the land, influences film and emulsion also. I think the atmosphere of the room I soup in probably has an influence also. I live by the ocean and so my environment is often very humid.

A/A: What got you interested in alternative processing?

JG: When I was 16, I started reading articles about alternative techniques you could practice with disposable cameras and that idea really excited me. I had been shooting with a digital camera since I was 10, and I started to worry that there were few unique photos left to take. That every person with a digital camera could create the same photo of an object or location and that there was a sort of soulless quality to that kind of photography. I wanted to explore film more and a disposable camera was the most accessible. I find shooting with a cheap camera people tend to notice it a lot less and candids are more spontaneous and less posed and polished.

My first film soup experiment was with red wine vinegar and I was terrified to ruin the film! Slowly, that led to me being more comfortable with different soup ingredients and I started combining them and thinking of other ways to destroy the apparatus I was shooting on.

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