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Neil Montanus Portfolio - Bacteria Collection

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Neil's latest project is a stunning series of utterly unique psychedelic prints using a never-seen-before photographic process which ultimately arose from a mistake when he unwittingly discovered that various types of fungus and bacteria had invaded the individual layers of photographic emulsion of some of his vintage advertising work kept in an unusually damp part of his basement.

The results are a stunning juxtaposition of vintage madmen-era advertising photography with an amazingly detailed and unexpected metamorphosis between the real and the surreal. They have been totally transformed into beautiful abstract colors that you see in the attached prints. And none of this work is digitally manipulated in any way no Photoshop, no tricks - nothing.

Kodak film scientists have verified that these images were caused by microscopic bacteria getting into images in the layers of film. Millions of the microbes are attracted by the gelatin within the various layers. As one of the technicians told me, "the bacteria eat into the gelatin because it's like food to them" (think Jell-O).

I've been told that they've never seen any thing like this before and that it is probably the first time anyone has seen this kind of transformed film product. Interestingly, these photos nearly never saw the light of day. In fact, during a mission to clean out his basement, Neil had already tossed these slides into the garbage when he decided to take another look. At first glance, they appeared to be ruined after decades of improper storage. But after further inspection, he began to realize the amazing transformation that had taken place.

Watch a feature story about Neil's Bacteria Collection on WROC-TV (CBS Affiliate, Rochester, NY)

Neil poses next to his bacteria collection of images at his recent exhibition at RIT

 
 

 

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Picture of Neil photographing model with 8x10 camera in Kodak Studios. Approx. 1959. View larger image

 


 

 

 

Portait, circa 1960. View larger image

 


 

 

 

Girl with candelabra in doorway of East Avenue mansion in Rochester, NY.  Neil wanted to get pictures before it was going to be demolished to make way for
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Mansion on East Avenue. View larger image

 


 
 

 

Around the time of the discotheque colorama using the same set. View larger image

 


 
 

 

Eastman House, back yard.. View larger image

 


 
 

 

Model posing in studio. View larger image

 


 
 

 

Georgia Durante.. View larger image

 


Original subject unknown.

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2011 Neil Montanus. All rights reserved.
 
   


 

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2012 Neil and James Montanus. All rights reserved.