Part of the Process is a series of posts that puts the spotlight on film photographers and DIY film developers. These features provide unique experiences and perspectives on shooting and developing film while also showcasing diverse talent and film photographers around the globe. If you are interested in being featured, feel free to contact me!
Name: Tayden MacDonald
Location: Seattle, Washington, United States
What other websites or blogs do you keep up with to feed your photographic interests?
What attracted you to film photography? How did you get started/introduced to shooting film? How soon after did you start developing?
My sister had a 35mm camera, and would shoot a roll here and there. I always liked photography but cameras were expensive. My sister let me try a roll, and I was surprised how detailed the photos came out. The color was amazing! Nothing compared to a digital camera. I then bought a Canon AE-1, and learned the basics of photography on that camera.
What do you like to shoot on a regular basis?
What formats, cameras, and films do you shoot? What do you like about the formats, cameras, films you prefer?
Hasselblad 500c/m: The detail in a medium format camera is way better than a 35mm camera. I love shooting the Hasselblad because everything about it screams quality, from forwarding the film to clicking the shutter to opening the waist level viewfinder. Shooting the Hasselblad is an experience that you can’t get from a digital camera.
Olympus XA: A great small camera to carry around and capture everyday moments, However the quality is nothing compared to medium format. I do enjoy the luxury of having 36 exposures though.
Bell & Howell 675/XL Super 8 Camera: I love not being able to see what you have just shot. Film photography gets more special when shooting video. The experience of putting your roll of film through a projector and watching what you recorded is much more rewarding then going through your negatives. If you love film, you have to try Super 8! Plus Kodak is going to make Super 8 more affordable in the future with their new super 8 camera.
Land Polaroid 335: In terms of polaroids I prefer a 4×5 format shot on a land. I don’t understand why people buy crappy polaroids from Urban Outfitters, when they can get a a better Land polaroid for a better deal. Though that Fuji doesn’t make FP-100c anymore, you can still find a 10pack for $20 which is the same price or cheaper then Impossible Film, which I’m not a huge fan of. My favorite part of shooting the polaroid is pulling the film out of the camera. Feeling the rollers crush the chemical pack, is sensational, haha.
What types of film do you develop?
Black and white as well as C41.
Tell us about your first experiences in developing your own film. How did you muster the courage to give it a shot? What resources did you use?
I’m a Senior in High School, and my photography teacher was contacted by someone who had a bunch of darkroom supplies that they wanted to donate. Luckily for me, I am the only one in my school who shoots film, so i got a bunch of chemicals, enlarger, reels, trays, etc. She also gave me a Nikon FE2 with a bunch of lenses which was a come up! I then bought a few more supplies and developed some B&W 35mm Film.
I learned most of everything by reading what to do online. I spent hours watching videos and not understanding a word they said. I have ruined so many rolls of film, because of lack of experience. My biggest troubles lately are developing 120 film. It will take me a hour to the film on the reel, and then I will give up. I hurts when I ruin a roll, because of all the time and money a spent in taking the photos and developing them is wasted and the photos are memories are lost. I will never be able to preserve that image in my head. Big risks come with big rewards! The more struggle makes the next roll more rewarding.
What is your development process like now?
Shoot. Develop. Scan on Epson v600. Share with friends.
What’s your processes regarding scanning, enlarging, and/or printing your work?
I scan most of my work. Enlarging is an all day event for me and I just don’t have the time. I converted my laundry room into a darkroom, therefore I have to tape the door so no light creeps in. I literally can’t get out of my laundry room until I am done.
What equipment are you using to develop your film and why?
Most of my equipment is given to me. I HATE Paterson Tanks! I can’t load 120 film on it in a bag!
Are you content with where you are now with your shooting and developing? Do you have any future plans or ambitions?
I try to be content with everything in my life. I have no future goals… besides simply improving my skills.
Have you completed any notable projects or in the process of creating something from the film you have shot and developed? Feel free to give a solid summary of each project.
It has been hard to create meaningful work. I think I just need to shoot more. Perhaps I’ll have a show or put together a zine one day. For now, I’m just working on my skills.
What advice can you give to others who are interested in shooting and developing film but are apprehensive about getting started?
There is nothing to lose. After you’re first roll, you’ll be hooked. Film camera will maintain their value!