miércoles, mayo 22

Lomig Perrotin, film survivalist

“This one was deployed in Chad”, indicates Lomig Perrotin, pointing to a large military barracks installed on a plot of land along a road in Morbihan. Here, on this site in Josselin, a village located equidistant from Vannes and Rennes, there are a total of seven constructions of this type, containers of the French army. The spectacle is surprising. But even more so when you enter one of these funny boxes. Since 2013, Lomig Perrotin has been manufacturing photographic film there, the type that is inserted into film cameras and which seemed the reserved domain of a few major historical brands like Kodak, Fuji or Ilford.

To imagine his work, you must first understand how film is usually produced. The vast majority of those available commercially are based on a strip of plastic to which manufacturers add a more or less elaborate photosensitive emulsion based on silver halides. This process, developed by the American company Kodak at the end of the 19the century, allowed the massive diffusion of photography in the years that followed. Before this innovation, professionals spread the emulsion on other surfaces, glass, for example.

“Photographers have always tried to make different media sensitive to light, says Lomig Perrotin. One day, my company, which has training as a tapestry restorer, gave me the idea of ​​using Japanese washi paper.. » This traditional Asian flexible and resistant support is usually used for graphic arts, writing, watercolor or even sculpture.

Japanese washi paper tapes.
The infrared glasses he developed to work on photosensitive emulsions. The infrared glasses he developed to work on photosensitive emulsions.

Since his wife’s suggestion, the Morbihan resident has developed a unique process: immersed in complete darkness, he applies two layers of gelatin on long strips of washi paper. One of them, photosensitive, allows the light captured by the camera to be permanently recorded in the paper and to produce black and white photos. Lomig Perrotin concocted infrared glasses to respond to the absence of light during this decisive operation, after trying to buy them from Russian and American manufacturers, who usually buy their army.

A source of infinite challenges

How strange to make film, especially out of paper, in the all-digital era. And yet, anachronism is not one. His films, intended for informed amateurs, have attracted around fifty distributors located all over the world: Australia, South Korea, Puerto Rico, among others. “As I have no employees, I consider myself the smallest film producer in the world. And also because I’m 1.63 meters tall,” he said smiling.

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