Photographer Captures Effects of Drugs on Exposed Negative Film

LSDSarah Schoenfeld is no stranger to drugs.  There was a time when she used to work in a Berlin nightclub, and that experience allowed her to witness first hand how some of the world’s most potent recreational drugs can affect behavior. Schoenfeld got to see for herself how mind-altering, hallucinogen substances can change people’s behavior. Ever the curios mind, she got to wondering about how these diversity of drugs could alter other things other than the human body.


Some of us know what most drugs look like, or at least in their physical, material form. However, few of us know how they look once they begin to molecularly break up or transform. Schoenfeld wanted to pursue this thought provoking idea, hence the introduction of film negatives.


She subjected film to various drugs by placing the many substances on exposed negative film, and then enlarged each one. Astonishingly, every single drug manifested differently, exposing distinct characters for each.


For instance, caffeine revealed a circle with sharp, kinetic offshoots radiating off its surface akin to a desert cactus. Melatonin, the sleep inducing hormone on the other hand, manifested itself on the film in a gentler, milky-like manner.


The way these drugs change the surface of the film is absorbing visual evidence of how they affect our bodies, positively or negatively. Schoenfeld shared her thoughts on the project. “Drug culture is not only party drugs, but also medication and understanding how emotions are caused,” she says. “These representations are a modern, humorous kind of alchemy.”


The collective works, is called All You Can Feel, a fittingly tongue-in-cheek name. See images and glimpses of what drugs look like, as they unleash their myriad of effects and powers on exposed negative film (and quite evidently on our more fragile bodies).

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.