I last used a proper darkroom in college, for a brief course that set off my film photography obsession with a vengeance. I’ve been looking for darkrooms to use ever since, and thought it was a good idea to have refresher course before I start stinking of fixer and ruining sheets of Ilford Multigrade again.
I work in Shoreditch, home of the hipster and the painfully expensive pint. Everything is expensive, in Shoreditch, but alas, my wages aren’t quite up to the same levels just yet. So my search for somewhere to get a roll of bog-standard 35mm colour film started last week. Usually I go to Snappy Snaps, that stalwart of film processing, but I thought I’d have a look around, just in case there was anywhere better, and (gasp) cheaper.
ANOTHER THING I want to have a go at – developing images on things that are not paper. Liquid light is a paint-on emulsion that you can then expose to your negative, develop and fix like you would photo paper.
How-to is here and here on Instructables (a little more in-depth). There’s also a course you can take at Fotosynthesis, a great community with darkrooms near me in Kennington. It’s on my way home from work, it’d be rude not to pop in…
My second attempt at home developing has gone a lot more smoothly than the first, though I say so myself. I replaced my 1970’s Paterson 3 tank with a new AP Photographic one, with easy-load reels. I also used Ilford HP+5, much less curly and sticky. Still having trouble getting the film out the canister to begin with – a combination of squashing the canister and then using the bottle-opener seems to do the trick.
Developed in D-76 as before, for 7.5 minutes, turning every minute. Remembered to tap the tank on the sink after each inversion, to get rid of bubbles. Water rinsing for 30 seconds with some wetting agent in, then rapid fixer (60ml to 240ml water) for 10 minutes, again inverting and banging each minute.
I was a little impatient for them to dry, but soon I should have some bulldog clips to hang them up properly with. Then came the transfer to digital – I used my previous 400D + lightbox combo, as seen here: