When I started in photography, everything was shot exclusively with film cameras. I guess part of the reason was the fact that there was no such thing as a digital camera…..they hadn’t been invented yet. Yep, we’re talking back in the Stone Age where people would actually get up and walk over to the television to change the channel. Imagine that! Film was all we had back then and that’s how I learned photography. I wasted a LOT of film making mistakes along the way, but I know it helped me to become a better photographer. Unlike digital photography where a bad photo just gets deleted, I had to pay to develop the entire roll, whether the photos turned out good or not. Since we didn’t have any fancy software like Photoshop to “fix” things, the emphasis was on getting it right in the camera. It took a while to get consistently good results, but the hard work paid off. That turned out to be the foundation for what I do today. I’m not one to shun technology…..I’ve embraced it as much as anyone. I just take pleasure in knowing I can use that same basic knowledge acquired years ago and apply it to today’s equipment.
The one thing I haven’t done since I was in high school was develop my own film. I didn’t have a darkroom or access to one, so I had to send the film out in mailers to get it developed or have it done at a local lab. Living in New York was great because there were plenty of places that developed film. It was a lot easier and much more cost effective have it developed than to rent out darkroom space, buy chemicals, and develop film. With the advent of digital cameras, I got away from shooting film. Even though I don’t need film anymore, there was something about it that I missed. Just like an audiophile that enjoys the sound of an album (yes, I have a turntable and albums too), I was missing the look, the grain, and the ‘feel’ of film. I would still shoot film from time to time, but something else was missing.
Just recently I got the itch to develop my own film at home. I discovered that it doesn’t require a fully equipped darkroom. There’s minimal equipment, minimal space, and a minimal amount of time needed for home developing. So what did I do now that I was armed with this information? I loaded up the camera with some film, picked up the necessary supplies, shot and developed my own film! I feel like a kid on Christmas Day. What’s changed is that I can now use modern technology to complete the process. Once the film is developed, I just use a scanner designed for film negatives and scan them onto the computer. At that point the images are completely digital and can be treated like any other digital file. I can process and edit the images just like a digital image produced by my digital camera bodies. Even though there’s a digital component, the ‘feel’ of the film is still there.
Here are the first images from my foray into developing film at home. I hope you like them…