Soen Settanni explores chaos and destruction

"In each of these photos I experimented with taking a 16-24 second long exposures in a dark warehouse basement. One subject would be standing still and the other one would “paint with light”


Afterwards, I soaked the 35mm film canister first in rancid black coffee, then dried it for 2 weeks, following by another soaking in lemon juice, and then drying for 3 weeks before developing. This created complimentary patterns and textures in the denatured film emulsion and added to the chaos that was created by the light painting."


See more of Soen's work on instagram at @soeneido








A/A: How long have you been shooting film?


SS: I have been shooting film since 2017.

A/A: What interests you about alternative processing?


SS: In terms of film soup, I really enjoy watching and waiting for the image to unfold. It takes a long time to get an image with film soup, generally 4-6 weeks of back and forth soaking and drying the canister before it can be developed. I enjoy the challenge of waiting and sitting in the unknown of what might happen. Maybe something amazing is waiting for me at the other end, maybe nothing at all... I like taking big risks because when the picture does turn out, it's a big reward.


A/A: Does your work have a theme?

SS: I think the theme of my work involves exploring alternative states of consciousness. I like creating pictures that look like another dimension of reality entirely - Sometimes there are galaxies of laser beams swirling around ghost-like figures, sometimes a figure is surrounded in a wormhole of radioactive bacteria, sometimes both. These pictures portray a kind of inner liminal realm that exists somewhere inside my mind, where the universe is a constant state of explosion and disintegration. The lightbeams represent a kind of energy created by our minds. They're like our emotions, both beautiful and uncontrolled. I think there is beauty in the processes of chaos and destruction, like in the way the mold and fungus grows, or in the way an abandoned building collapses back into the earth.

A/A: What are you working on next?


SS: I've been working on shooting 8mm motion picture film and developing it myself in the darkroom. I have been exploring shooting the film twice in order to get double exposures, sometimes planned and sometimes random. I have been making music videos out of the footage and scoring them with my own music. I enjoy the worlds I get to create using both audio and visual mediums to tell a unique story. The 8mm has a very nostalgic and spooky character to it, and lends itself to certain moods especially when paired with moody ambient music. At some point I want to explore souping 8mm film, and combining that with double exposure and or stop motion photography using the 8mm camera.