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Part of the Process: Tom Allen

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: Tom Allen

Location: Suffolk, England

Links:

Instagram

What other websites or blogs do you keep up with to feed your photographic interests?

Magnum Photos, Japan Camera Hunter, The Phoblographer, Wasteoffilm and anyone I find inspiring on Instagram.

What attracted you to film photography? How did you get started/introduced to shooting film? How soon after did you start developing?

I got interested in film photography when my dad found his Olympus and gave it to me to play around with after I had been shooting digitally for a year or two. I didn’t love it at first, but for whatever reason I kept shooting and now I’m completely taken with film and use it for all my shooting. I was shooting film for about a year before buying my own developing equipment because I realised it would be cheaper to learn than to keep sending to a lab.

Olympus OM2 + 50mm f1.4 on Ilford HP5

 

What do you like to shoot on a regular basis?

I like taking inspiring from all different areas, but documentary, portraiture, and landscape are the three areas I find most captivating and they are the three styles I shoot the most.

Olympus OM2 + 50mm again on HP5 @800

What formats, cameras, and films do you shoot? What do you like about the formats, cameras, films you prefer? 

I use a 35mm Olympus OM2n and a 50mm f/1.4 that belonged to my dad.  It’s not very expensive online, but the images are beautiful and it’s smaller and more compact than most film SLRs.

Olympus OM2 + Zuiko 50mm f1.4 on Fuji C200

I also shoot 120mm film with a Yashica 635.  Again, not very expensive and it’s certainly no Rolleiflex, but the images are still very sharp and very pleasing to my eye at least.

Yashica 635 + 80mm f3.5 on Portra 400

What types of film do you develop?

I develop B&W film myself but have never developed C41 or E6.

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 knew the basics from Youtube tutorials, and had my first experience through school, which went surprisingly well. After that, I bought a Paterson kit and started developing in my kitchen. I’m a very cautious person, so I planned my first attempts meticulously.  That has now become habit and so far I haven’t ruined a roll of film (thank goodness!).

Yashica 635 + 80mm on Ilford FP4

What is your development process like now?

I develop my film in my kitchen using times from Massive Dev Chart with all my lovely brand-loyal Ilford chemicals.  Then, I scan them with a little-bit-outdated-but-does-the-job Epson V330 scanner. After that, I choose which negatives, if any, I want to print and then I get to work printing. I test strip, dodge, burn and all that until I am happy with what I see. I then stash them away so my photography tutor can’t see them and persuade me to use them for my school work, and finally mount them in a sketchbook.

Olympus OM2 + Zuiko 50mm f1.4 on Ilford HP5

What’s your processes regarding scanning, enlarging, and/or printing your work?

I scan my film at home for use on social media, but printing in the darkroom is my absolute favourite way to ‘finish’ the image.  It’s also my favourite part of the film process. Don’t get me wrong, the scans are useful and nice to have, but the satisfaction of making a print, the look, the process, and the experience of it is really special and I don’t feel like I’ve truly captured an image until I take the time to print it.

I know that can sound really artsy and pretentious, and that side to film photography gets on my nerves, but printing is a lot of fun and I wouldn’t enjoy photography as much without it.

Yashica 635 + 80mm on Tri-X

What equipment are you using to develop your film and why?

I use Paterson tanks and reels and a changing bag because that seemed the most available brand, nothing really to do with loyalty. Brand loyalty does come into play with my chemicals because I am an Ilford user, down to being a student who lives in England where Ilford is based so can get it way way cheaper than something like Tri-X (Not to mention I like the look of Ilford’s film!). So I use Ilford ID-11 (after a brief affair with Rodinal) in a 5 litre jerry can, and then Ilfostop and Ilford Fix, too. The darkroom I use has Fotospeed developer, stop and fix for printing which work perfectly well when paired with Ilford Multigrade paper.

Yashica 635 + 80mm on Ilford HP5

Are you content with where you are now with your shooting and developing? Do you have any future plans or ambitions?

I’m pretty content for now I think.  My main focus is to put together some kind of body of work that I’m really happy with. Maybe in the future I’ll look at publishing and perhaps expanding on my developing and learning colour printing or something like that, if I can find the opportunity to do so.

Yashica 635 + 80mm on Fuji 400h

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.

I’m currently working on a documentary project focused around a Victorian seaside town near where I live because of it’s strange mixture of run-down areas and up-market posh middle-class places crammed in next to each other, which I find really interesting. Alongside that, tomorrow (from the day of writing this) I’m going to shoot the first part of a portrait project on film in the studio which I was inspired to do after coming across the work of Alvin Langdon Coburn and Irving Penn.

Olympus OM2 + Zuiko 50mm f1.4 and Ilford HP5 @1600

What advice can you give to others who are interested in shooting and developing film but are apprehensive about getting started?

I would definitely say just go for it, if you’re worried about getting it right, you’ll never know until you try, so why hold yourself back? And there’s always the friendly internet to help when you’re stuck. If you’re worried about cost, then there are always loopholes and hacks you can find.  You don’t need the best of the best equipment.  Look on eBay for good deals and find what works for you.

My final piece of advice (not that this is unique) would be to make yourself an amazing Spotify playlist for when you’re printing!

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Part of the Process: Colin Staehle-Lantelme

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: Colin Staehle-Lantelme

Location: Naples, Florida, USA

Links:

Website

Instagram

What other websites or blogs do you keep up with to feed your photographic interests?

Usually just YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook but i do like to try and find websites of full bodies of work.

What attracted you to film photography? How did you get started/introduced to shooting film? How soon after did you start developing?

Honestly the mixture of a really bad break up and a tab of LSD is what kickstarted my passion for film. My roommate at the time had the day off from school and knew I was having a bad time dealing with the break up and offered to trip with me. Before we left our apartment I grabbed my Nikkormat at the last second (first time i used it in about 4 years).

I remember looking through the viewfinder and saying one of two phrases the entire day “It’s going to look like this” or “that could be a shoegaze album cover”. I got the roll back from the lab a week later and every shot was perfect. Since then, photography has been therapy for me. Soon after that day, I signed up for this community darkroom class in Orlando and continued to rent out the darkroom months after.

Olympus XA2
Agfa APX 400

What do you like to shoot on a regular basis?

Growing up in the fashion industry I’ve always been drawn to fashion photography. But I do love shooting skateboarding and musicians as well. I always take a few portraits of all my subjects as well.

Whenever I go to shoot a new client, I usually treat the shoot like we are just hanging out.  I try to have some introspective conversations, make their thoughts stimulating.  It usually makes the shoot a little smoother and brings more emotion into the model. I usually get a bowl of ramen with them after the shoot, too.

Nikkormat EL
50mm f/1.2
Ilford HP5+

What formats, cameras, and films do you shoot? What do you like about the formats, cameras, films you prefer? 

For 35mm I shoot with a Leica M6 and an Olympus XA2. I recently switched from digital to exclusively film for my professional work.  The M6 just offers me a feeling of complete reliability. I used to shoot on a Nikkormat EL and it used to be a nightmare.  I’ve had to refund clients because of that camera. The Olympus is great for my more “experimental” projects as a lot of my work is inspired by psychedelics so the XA just offers something simple and durable for me . All I have to do is focus on composition and hit the shutter.

Leica M6
Voigtlander 35mm F/1.4
Kodak Tri-X 400

For medium format, I use a Hasselblad 500C/M. That was my dream camera since I started shooting (almost eleven years now). It’s what my cousin, Brian Lantelme, (who is a massive drive in my work) used in the 70’s and 80’s when he was shooting the Transgender and Drag community in New York City. Other than the camera being a flawless machine, and the 6×6 format somewhat forcing me to push my composition boundaries, choosing this camera was mostly cathartic.

Olympus XA2
Agfa APX 400

I recently got into instant photography which i use a Polaroid 450 Land camera. I just love the feeling of showing a client a shot during a shoot. Especially with the beautiful colors Fujifilm FP-100c has to offer. My standard film used to be Ilford’s HP5+ and Fujifilm Pro400H but since the announcement of Kodak’s Ektachrome making a return and the rumors of Kodachrome coming back, I felt obligated to give Kodak all my money. I primarily shoot with Tri-X400 and Provia 400 now.

What types of film do you develop?

Mostly black and white.

Nikkormat EL
50mm f/1.2
Ilford HP5+

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?

My teacher, Peter Schryer, walked me through the process. It was a euphoric experience, between the sounds of the flickering lights and the ac unit kicking on and off, and the smells of the chemicals, it became nirvana. I was probably listening to Velvet Underground or My Bloody Valentine (my usual go to darkroom soundtrack).

Just the feeling of being able to create photos from start to finish was very rewarding. Honestly the best advice i can give is be patient, explore different techniques, and play good music (makes the development time seem not as long).

Hasselblad 500C/M
60mm f/3.5
Ilford HP5+

What is your development process like now?

So I always start with picking music, usually some sort of shoegaze. I pour my chemicals then start loading my development tanks. During the rinse phase, I always smoke a cigarette to time my cycle. For enlarging, I usually make a base print of all the pictures i want to enlarge, dry them, then make my notes for cropping, dodging and burning. Then work on my final prints.

What’s your processes regarding scanning, enlarging, and/or printing your work?

I actually scan every roll and create a contact sheet for each roll. I enlarge my own images as well.

What equipment are you using to develop your film and why?

For my enlarger, I use a Besseler 67SC with a Rodogon 80mm lens, Paterson tanks, Epson V500 scanner, and just various old odds and ends. About 90% of my darkroom was purchased through a good friend of mine named Michael who owns Kiwi Camera Services in Winter Park, Fl. He gave me a killer deal on everything, and is still providing insight and little gifts here and there. Last I was there for a gallery showing, he gave me a vintage bottle of retouching ink. He’s the man! For chemicals, I use all Kodak powder solutions, D-76 for developer.

Nikkormat EL
50mm f/1.2
Ilford HP5+

Are you content with where you are now with your shooting and developing? Do you have any future plans or ambitions?

I’m never content with my work, which is what pushes me to continue. I love that I found something I can completely obsess about and constantly learn from. I’m actually moving to Denver to peruse a career in journalism, for both the writing and photography aspects. I used to be a literature major, so writing as been a big part of my life.

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.

I’ve done a lot of personal projects and commissioned work, but my favorite project was shooting Tampa Pro 2017. One of my friends started a blog/zine called SR50 in Orlando and he offered me the job. It was 3 days of partying with the heroes of my adolescence.  I got portraits of professional skaters like Jamie Thomas, Torry Pudwil, Lizard King and Geoff Rowley (tons more, too). Being able to just sit on the ramps and get the shots I actually wanted was so surreal. I actually had a spot in a gallery with some of my enlargements from Tampa Pro.

Leica M6
Voigtlander 35mm F/1.4
Kodak Tri-X 400

While i was living in Orlando, I shot one of Aesop Rock’s shows. My homie, DJ Zone, who did the scratching on his newest album, got me photo passes last minute. I got to the venue like three hours early and tried to sneak in. I saw Rob Sonic outside smoking a cigarette and I decided to try and talk to him I asked him “Hey, you with the Social?”  He replied, “Nah man.” I said, “Damn I am just trying to see my homie Patrick.” He replied with “Oh, you’re Zone’s homie? Come with me, I’m Bobby, if anyone gives you shit, tell them Bobby sent you.” It was a wild experience.

Nikkormat EL
50mm f/1.2
Ilford HP5+

Nikkormat EL
50mm f/1.2
Ilford HP5+

What advice can you give to others who are interested in shooting and developing film but are apprehensive about getting started?

Just dive in!  It’s a rewarding experience. Find a cheap camera and never leave it at home.

 

Part of the Process: Tayden MacDonald

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

Links:

VSCO

Instagram

What other websites or blogs do you keep up with to feed your photographic interests?

Youtube Channels such as Negative Feedback and Matt Day.

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.

Canon EOS 850. 50mm 1.8. Cinestill 800

What do you like to shoot on a regular basis?

Portraits

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.

Hasselblad 500c/m. 80mm Zeiss T*. Ektar 100

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.

Olympus XA. HP5

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.

Hasselblad 500c/m. 80mm Zeiss T*. Ektar 100

What types of film do you develop?

Black and white as well as C41.

Hasselblad 500c/m. 80mm Zeiss T*. HP5

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.

Nikon FE. Fuji Pro 400h

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.

Canon EOS 850. 50mm 1.8. Portra 160

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.

Hasselblad 500c/m. 80mm Zeiss T*. Portra 400

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.

Hasselblad 500c/m. 80mm Zeiss T*. HP5

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!

Hasselblad 500c/m. 80mm Zeiss T*. Ektar 100

Part of the Process: Derek Boswell

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: Derek Boswell

Location: London, Ontario, Canada

Links:

Flickr

Instagram

Tumblr

This one is still under construction, but it will be where I feature images of installations, mostly my photos exhibited in public spaces. I’m working with a couple of other artists to accomplish this, notably my good friend and fellow photographer, John Densky.

Our aim is to exhibit work outside the four walls of the traditional art gallery, so to speak; making it accessible to all persons in a given community. By exhibiting this kind of work in public spaces – something with a social documentary aspect to it – everyone is a participant in viewing the art, and ideally they can identify with the subject on some level.

Whether they want to be or not; they’re rendered as a captive audience, which sounds a bit nefarious, but it really just comes down to one pretty simple, benign concept: Often it’s those who don’t willfully engage with art that need to do it the most.

What other websites or blogs do you keep up with to feed your photographic interests?

Underdogs is a favourite of mine. It can be also be found on Issuu.

First and foremost though, it’s a print zine – which is always refreshing to see when photography (a printmaking medium) seems to be dominated by online exhibition. Of course, electronic communication has its merits, and I probably wouldn’t be talking to you if it weren’t for Facebook/Flickr/Instagram, but it’s always nice to see photographs rendered in a tangible way.

A good print can really do a photograph justice, but exhibiting your work online lets an overwhelmingly huge number of people see it – that can be a great thing too. With Underdogs, Isa Gelb (the editor, and a great photographer in her own right) does a fantastic job at curating each edition. I always like discovering how other photographers see the world, and I think Underdogs does a fantastic job at communicating that. It’s long been a favourite zine of mine, and I was fortunate enough to be featured in the tenth issue. I believe they’re on the twelfth issue now – definitely something to check out!

Besides Underdogs, I often read the British Journal of Photography. What I appreciate about BJP, more than a lot of websites of its stature, is that their content often makes me reconsider what photography can be. A lot of the work that’s featured strays from photographic convention into some novel direction. It’s just genuinely good, novel artwork.

That aside, I always browse Flickr and like to read Japan Camera Hunter once in a while. JCH has a good mix of content, which does focus on gear a fair bit, but for what there is, the “in your bag” series acts as a sort of “typography” of photographers’ equipment. JCH’s other content is what I’m really there for though. I get to see some great work (especially photo books/zines) I probably wouldn’t get to see otherwise.  The same could probably be said for Flickr; if you know where to look (something which I’m still trying to figure out – it’s a never ending battle of sifting through the bad stuff, but when you get to the good stuff, it’s great).

What attracted you to film photography? How did you get started/introduced to shooting film? How soon after did you start developing?

I had always been around photography as a child; my cousins even had a darkroom in their basement. However, I never used it myself, but I was continually fascinated by it.

Rather, I began shooting with film when I was 17; right after high school. I didn’t feel ready for university quite yet, and I figured “what’s the rush?” in forcing myself to attend. There’s an excellent institution in my city called bealart; an art program for those fresh out of high school. One of my cousins had attended it some years before and really enjoyed it, so I figured I’d do the same. I’m awfully glad I did – attending bealart was easily one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

In my first year there I fell in love with film photography (our first assignment was shooting portraits of our classmates with a Cambo 8×10). Bealart allowed me to explore photography at a high school age, but at a university level; something I’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in Canada, or anywhere for that matter. With all the mediums I was able to explore, and all the artists I met, bealart has proven to be quite the formative experience for me. In my final year there prior to university, I worked as their darkroom technician, and I continue to go back there to teach C-41 workshops – the next one will be in a couple of days, in fact.

Voigtlander Vito II, 50mm f/3.5, Kodak Gold

What do you like to shoot on a regular basis?

Rangefinders like the Mamiya and the Linhof are great for night photography – especially urban landscapes – which is something I do a lot of. The Mamiya Super 23, as large as it is, is also a great camera to use handheld. I’m not really sure if you could call what I shoot street photography, but I suppose it shares a lot of characteristics with it.  However, shooting the things that people use and the “residue” of their action has always been of interest to me.

Mamiya Super 23, 100mm f/2.8, Kodak Portra 160

What formats, cameras, and films do you shoot? What do you like about the formats, cameras, films you prefer? 

Like I’ve said before, digital media has its merits and I do shoot with it on occasion, but it’s always struck me as a bit odd that so many pictures never leave the digital realm. In many cases, bits of information go from sensor, to processor, to SD card, to computer, and finally to the internet. They never leave that electronic world; they never actually exist as tangible objects. I can’t really say if that oddity is a good or bad thing per say, but it’s always struck me as kind of strange; those photos don’t really exist.

However, I love film. I am primarily a medium format shooter, though I always keep a Leica IIIc and 25mm f/4 in my bag for quick snapshots. Coincidentally, the 25mm lens’ field of view matches what I see within my eyeglass frames. Shooting with no viewfinder aside from the eyeglasses I wear can be a fun, liberating experience.

Leica iiic, 25mm f/4 Snapshot Skopar, Fuji Superia 400

With that said, I typically shoot 6×8 with a Mamiya Super 23 on Portra 400, 160, or 100T. As much as it is an oddball format, I think 6×8 is simply one of the most pleasing to look at; the negatives are huge, the depth of field can be extremely shallow or deep if I want it to be, and it’s relatively easy to use tilt/shift movements at this size. 6×8 also allows me to differentiate myself from the typical 2:3 ratio that dominates much of photography, while not straying too far with a 4:3 ratio. All in all, I’d consider this my ideal format.

Mamiya Super 23, 100mm f/2.8, Kodak Portra 160

I recently bought a Linhof Super Technika III in “bargain” condition – I’ve spent the last few months refurbishing it myself! I’ve always been fascinating by how mechanical things operate and I enjoy metalworking, so this works well for me. I probably won’t shoot much 4×5 though, as I’m primarily a colour photographer, and I’d like to explore more panoramic formats.

4×5 Technika III with Sinar Zoom, Mamiya 90mm f/3.5, Ektar 100

What types of film do you develop?

I mostly develop C-41, though I began with B&W and have even done a bit of B&W reversal for cine film.

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?

My first experience developing film was very much so one of “those” experiences you continue to remember: Inherently, something goes wrong the first time and there’s at least a little bit of embarrassment. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t one of those people who thought you could beat the system by developing, stopping and fixing all at once. ( I recall our teacher making a joke about the soup of developer/stop/fix in the “photographic waste” jug allowing you to do this, and someone took him literally)…

For me, it was embarrassing, though not too bad: Everyone else was used to 35mm, yet I was enamored with a hand-me-down Minolta Autocord, and just had to start with medium format. For this, I was rewarded with hours in a dark room trying to load 120 roll film with the backing paper still on. Somehow I managed, but I left the room all hot and sweaty many hours later, possibly without a shirt, to the confusion of my classmates (no air conditioning in a tiny room during the heat of the summer). Yet, the magic of the process makes up for it – let’s be honest, weren’t we all amazed when we popped a curly roll of plastic and silver dust into a black tank, poured some stuff in it, and out came reflected light forever imbued onto a piece of acetate?

What is your development process like now?

I usually begin with a drive, bike ride, or walk around different parts of my city to scout out locations; places I am not familiar with, nor are many others. More recently, I’ve gotten into the habit of bringing a friend along to shoot with. This wasn’t my decision per say; over the last year or so, a dozen people – some whom I know well, some whom I hardly know at all – have asked to tag along, especially while shooting at night. I’ve never really understood the appeal of watching someone twist a lens barrel and cock a shutter in -25 deg. winter weather, as is often case, but to each their own!

Regardless, it’s grown into something that’s really helped my creative process: Different people are aware of different aspects of our surroundings, and can provide insight that helps me determine what needs to be shot; they’re almost like my guides, in a sense. This also speaks to why I enjoy medium format, particularly with my Mamiya. It’s great on a tripod at night; slowing me down to be contemplative, but not so much that it is a burden. Likewise, I can use this camera handheld – it’s pretty quick to operate. This lends itself well to the variety of subjects I shoot, and how I wish to render them on film, considering how Mamiya’s lovely 100mm f/2.8 lens has the ability to isolate the subject from the fore and background, plus those massive 6×8 negatives.

Mamiya Super 23, 100mm f/2.8, Kodak Portra 400

I do everything myself – from developing C-41 in an (old) kitchen sink, to scanning and printing. Since I shoot a lot of colour, and since I’m a university student, photographic enlargements aren’t really in my budget. With that said, the results I get from inkjet printing on rag paper make up for it. I begin by scanning with an Epson V600, cleaning the image up and colour correcting in Lightroom, then printing with a Canon PIXMA Pro-100. There really isn’t too much to the process; I like to keep it as streamlined as possible, but the use of rag paper does add some complexity to it. However, I’d say it is definitely worth it.

Having attended bealart, I was exposed to other printmaking mediums as well. One thing that always stuck with me was the quality of paper the lithography students used, versus what we did in photography. That’s not to say one paper was objectively better than another, but inkjet paper – even photo paper – has always seemed too clean and sterile to complement what I shoot. A friend of mine at bealart had began experimenting with inkjet and rag paper, and I was really liked the results she was getting. Weeks later, we developed our own techniques for printing on rag paper, finding that Somerset 200-300gsm rag was the best, Stonehenge paper was objectively horrible for inkjet, and colour calibration was tedious to say the least. However, all the work was definitely worth it. I love the results I get from printing on rag paper, and that I have complete control over every step of the process. It’s great for 13×19 prints, and it’s great for printing zines. I think it’s safe to say that the creative process doesn’t just stop at the click of your shutter or in the darkroom, there’s definitely more to be explored beyond that.

 

What’s your processes regarding scanning, enlarging, and/or printing your work?

Yes, I do everything myself. Having complete control over the process is something which I desire. I think there’s room for creative choices at every step of the process, from shooting to exhibiting – a process which I always try and get the most out of.

What equipment are you using to develop your film and why?

I order my chemicals from Argentix.ca – their service is great, it’s economical for us Canadians, and most of all, once of the few places we can get ORM-D chemicals when places like B&H don’t work. Most of my film is bought from Freestyle or B&H though, which both offer fair prices and shipping. As for things clips, tanks, jugs, etc. I get whatever I can.

Right now my C-41 kit consists of three Datatainer 1.85L jugs, a 2L graduated cylinder from a lab, three funnels with wide throats (an important feature for pouring quickly) from an Autozone, two meat thermometers (one for chemical temperature and water temperature), a pair of vinyl gloves, a gas mask, and a 1 ft. square white plastic tub to carry everything and use as a tempering bath. C-41 can be quite nasty, especially while mixing the chemicals, so don’t cheap out on a gas mask. Organic Vapour filters are important, even with good ventilation.

Mamiya Super 23, 100mm f/2.8, Kodak Portra 400

Are you content with where you are now with your shooting and developing? Do you have any future plans or ambitions?

I love what I’m doing now, though of course, I’d love to even more. I like to engage with the public. Taking that further means moving beyond exhibition and  into the realm of actively communicating with the public (e.g. workshops).

That’s not to say I want to teach some class on “how to become a photographer just like me for only $29.99”. I don’t really have anything to offer in that respect; few if any truly do. Rather, something simple like teaching artists (and generally curious people) the basics of developing film, printing in a darkroom, with inkjet, and so forth – how to reign control over the entire creative process, essentially – is something that does interest me. I do that now with bealart, where I had attended as a student some years ago, but I’d like to extend that to a broader audience.

Mamiya Super 23, 65mm f/6.8 (modified to open at f/5.6), Kodak Portra 160

I’m not saying I want to move away from exhibition either – I wouldn’t say exhibition and teacher need to be mutually exclusive pursuits. Recently, I was asked to photograph a particularly underrepresented and misunderstood community near where I live. I don’t want to reveal too much, but a lot of people tend to hold negative connotations regarding this group of people – there is very much so a cultural divide and an “us vs them” mentality here. Exhibiting work within this community’s spaces could bring in outsiders and ideally, help ease relations by making those spaces more approachable.

Have you completed any notable projects or in the process of creating something from the film you have shot and developed? 

I like my work to comment on local places, local objects, and local issues – especially aspects of the community which too few people are aware of. I’ve always lived in the quintessential Canadian city; too small to reliably be on everyone’s map, yet too large – and lacking any outward character or charm – to be an inviting location. It’s a sentiment that even locals tend to agree with. Having traveled through the US and Canada, I see this unfortunate trend repeated often. So many places lack an overt incentive to visit them. Yet, objects of aesthetic pleasure exist covertly in these locations. By forcing oneself to navigate these landscapes, these scenes can be discovered. Here, photography acts as a patron searching through the shop-worn bargain racks of a department store; seeking that diamond in the rough. Its existence may have been disarmed by its surroundings, but when that object is viewed in an alternative context, it has the power to be just as captivating as any other sight.

4×5 camera with Graflex 6×9 rollfilm back, Portra 100T

Here in London, Ontario, that “philosophy” has two parts to it. Firstly, this city does have a lot of great things to offer, and like many places, you’ve got to put effort into looking for them. I think photographers have the intrinsic ability to perceive their surroundings in a novel way compared to non-photographers. So ultimately, my goal is to uncover those things which are pleasurable to look at – better yet, use my cameras to render objects typically considered unpleasant and unsightly as objects which elicit desire and intrigue.

Secondly, I think this takes on a different form when it comes to photographing issues which are integral to my city’s identity. London, Ontario is nicknamed the “Forest City”. Yet, it’s hard to come across a forest that hasn’t been torn down for a new subdivision or an apartment complex. At the cost of growth, we’re selling our soul – quite literally, we’re selling our identity. With a lot of my work, I wish to comment on this. What is our current identity? Where are we headed? This can be made especially powerful when coupled with public installation or online galleries seen by my peers, where the gaze of someone who doesn’t normally look at art can be captured. I think there’s a lot of potential in this approach to shooting and  exhibiting – it’s definitely something I want to explore further.

Mamiya Super 23, 100mm f/2.8, Kodak Portra 400

What advice can you give to others who are interested in shooting and developing film but are apprehensive about getting started?

Just do it. That phrase gets passed around a lot with varying degrees of seriousness, but it still holds water. Go buy a film camera. Really, they aren’t that expensive. If you have a basic understanding of the exposure triangle, focal lengths, and so forth, start with medium or large format. A RB67 is a fantastic camera, and can be had for obscenely low prices. Same can be said for a 4×5 Graflex. If you’ve ever cooked or baked before, you’ll do just fine with developing film. It’s a recipe like any other – the only difference is that you aren’t supposed to eat the end result.

 

Part of the Process: Ralph Brandi

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:

Ralph Brandi

Location:

Middletown, New Jersey, USA

Links:

Website

Instagram

Flickr

What other websites or blogs do you keep up with to feed your photographic interests?

PetaPixel and Film Photography Project.

What attracted you to film photography? How did you get started/introduced to shooting film? How soon after did you start developing?

I was shooting digital with the idea that I could shoot more and get better as a photographer, but what I found was that the more I shot, the worse I got. I found an original Diana in a junk shop in Levittown, PA for a dollar (holy grail for toy camera fans).

I took it to Florida with me on a trip to the Kennedy Space Center. My digital camera died after four shots that day, so the whole day was shot with the Diana. When I got the film developed, I was blown away; a place so associated with the 1960s in my mind (Apollo 11 landed on the moon 10 days before my 6th birthday) looked like I shot photos of it in the 1960s.

Diana // Tri-X

I found that by slowing down I was getting better shots, and by shooting with simple cameras I was concentrating more on composition, one of the only things I could actually effect with such primitive cameras. It was a year or two after that that I started developing my own film.

What do you like to shoot on a regular basis?

Landscapes, mostly; I like to shoot in the resort towns of the Jersey Shore where I live.

Pentax 67 w/ 90mm // Ilford FP4+

What formats, cameras, and films do you shoot? What do you like about the formats, cameras, films you prefer? 

35mm, 126, 127, 120, 4×5, Polaroid pack film, SX-70, 600, Spectra.

What types of film do you develop?

C41, black and white, and E6

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 was spending a lot of time on a site called Vox, which at that time was a host for blogs run by early blog software maker Six Apart. One of the people I met there was a young woman from Montreal who was also a film shooter. She convinced me that developing film was fun, cheap, and easy. She educated me on what I needed to get (basically a Paterson tank and a room I could make dark), and I was off to the races. She was an art history student at a university in Montreal who was torn between art history and art making. I lost track of her when Vox shut down, but I owe her a lot.

What is your development process like now?

Lately I find myself shooting mostly medium format (Rolleiflex, Pentax 67, Kiev 88) or large format (Sinar A1, Calumet CC-401, Wanderlust Travelwide, Intrepid 4×5 Gen 1) because it slows me down and makes me think about by shots.  I still shoot 35mm, but I’m never happy with the results.

Rolleiflex MX-EVS w/80mm Xenar  and Hoya R72 filter // Rollei Infrared 400 film

I load the film into my tank (I have three Paterson tanks) in a bathroom that I can make dark by covering the window with a piece of cardboard. After loading the tank, I head to the basement and the utility sink between my washer and dryer.

I usually develop with Rodinal 1:50; it provides a reasonable balance between graininess and speed. Occasionally, I’ll stand develop at 1:100 for an hour, but typically only if I have a real oddball film and can’t find anything about what the development time should be. I use the Digital Truth Massive Dev app on my iPhone to time black and white development, and an old app called LabTimer to develop C41 or E6.

Canon Canonet QL17-GIII w/ 40mm f/1.7 // Tri-X

If I’m developing black and white, I’m not as picky about temperatures; if I’m within 2-3 degrees of 68F/20C, I figure I’m okay. If I’m developing C41 or E6, I pull out a picnic cooler and fill it with hot water, about 115F, put my chem bottles in that for about 15 minutes, check the temperature, and go when it’s around 102F. For black and white, I use water for stop rather than an acid bath between developer and fixer, and I changed from using Ilford Rapid Fixer to Photo Formulary TF-4, which is alkaline and doesn’t require hypo reduction afterward. For C41 and E6, I use the directions that come with the kits.

Kodak Retina Ia w/ Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Xenar 50mm // Kodachrome 64

I use the Jobo press kit from B&H for C41; for E6, I use the kit that the Film Photography Project sells. When I’m done developing, I use a modified version of the Ilford 5-10-20 rinse process.  Basically, I do each twice, so it’s more of a 5-5-10-10-20-20 process. Last thing is a bit of Kodak Photo-Flo surfactant into the last rinse, then onto the rack and into the shower to dry. After they dry, I cut the negatives, put them in Print File negative sleeves, and scan; medium format uses a BetterScanning negative holder; 4×5 and 35mm get the standard ones that came with my Epson 4990.

What’s your processes regarding scanning, enlarging, and/or printing your work?

I have scanned my own film for most of the time I’ve been developing it. I’ve started to learn how to print with an enlarger. I have this oddball enlarger called an Enfojer that was developed in Croatia primarily to print and enlarge phone photos, but that also includes the ability to print from negatives. The enlarger I received was faulty, but at least I received one; most of the backers from Indiegogo never did, and they appear to have been shut down recently. Like I said, the enlarger is faulty, so I’ve had to hack it to get it to work, but I’ve been pretty happy with the results.

Wanderlust Travelwide 4×5 camera w/ Angulon 90mm f/6.8 // Tri-X

I’m currently looking for a more traditional enlarger. I’m also spending a lot of time playing with old-fashioned traditional methods of printing like cyanotype and gum bichromate. These typically use a hybrid methodology where you print digital enlargement negatives, because they’re contact print methods and nobody wants to look at contact prints of 35mm negatives. I’ve been learning about how to use step wedges to calibrate the production of the digital negatives, which I produce on an Epson 3880 printer. Given that I’ve scanned my photographs for the past ten years, this kind of hybrid process works well for me.

What equipment are you using to develop your film and why?

Paterson tanks. I bought into it early on and have never seen a reason to change for the most part, except for 4×5. I was using a MOD54 with a large Paterson tank, but backed a new tank on Kickstarter that uses half the chemistry: Timothy Gilbert’s SP445. I find it really easy to use.

Intrepid 4×5 Model 1 w/ Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 150mm // Arista Ultra 400

For chemicals, I’ve played around but settled largely on Rodinal. I like grain and Rodinal produces that grain. It’s a good fit. I played around with HC-110 (too similar to Rodinal) and Pyro when I first started shooting 4×5 (too toxic and never saw the benefit). Back when I was shooting mainly toy cameras, I also used Diafine a lot; the speed boost it provides was very useful for those cameras.

Are you content with where you are now with your shooting and developing? Do you have any future plans or ambitions ?

I always keep learning. I think my photography is getting better, but have had bouts of lack of inspiration. I think my attempts to get better at printing and my exploration of alternative processes have been my way of dealing with that.

Polaroid 250 w/114mm f/8.8 // Polaroid 669, on-site image transfer to Arches Watercolor

Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash // Tri-X // Printed Cyanotype

Have you completed any notable projects or in the process of creating something from the film you have shot and developed?

My initial “project” was more of an ongoing philosophy; I am not a fan of nostalgia, and I found film useful in subverting nostalgia. Then my dad died.  I discovered why nostalgia hasn’t been bred out of us via natural selection. I learned a lot, but it messed up my photography for a few years. I spent time exploring different aspects of photography trying to figure out where I was going. More recently, with the changes in the political climate, I’m finding a need to return to subverting nostalgia.

Polaroid 250 w/114mm f/8.8 // Polaroid Chocolate 100

What advice can you give to others who are interested in shooting and developing film but are apprehensive about getting started?

Dive in. It won’t always work the way you think it should, but you’ll learn a ton, and get better. Even your mistakes might turn out to be things of beauty and wonder. Don’t be afraid. Every failure contains the seeds of success; you try something and fail, you know to try something different next time. Only by exploring will you find your way.

Agfa Clack w/ 95mm lens // Ilford FP4+

Part of the Process: Christopher Sturm

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:

Christopher Sturm

Location:

Oakland, California, USA

Links:

Website

Youtube

What other websites or blogs do you keep up with to feed your photographic interests?

PetaPixel, The Phoblographer, and Fuji Rumors.

What attracted you to film photography? How did you get started/introduced to shooting film? How soon after did you start developing?

When I was a sophomore in high school, I had to choose an elective class to round out my schedule. I had no interest in anything that was available, but Black and White Film Photography stuck out to me. My mom took me to a thrift store and I found a Canon AE-1 in pristine condition, with a 50mm f/1.8 stuck to it. I think it was $15 or something.

The second week of class we had to develop our first roll. I remember opening the tank for the first time, pulling out my film, and holding it up to the light. I couldn’t believe I had actually made images appear on film. It was like magic.

The following week we used enlargers to print our favorite image. After that print dried and I saw it in all its glory in the light, I decided I would never go anywhere without my camera. I still own that AE-1. It’s actually sitting on my desk as I type this.

Canon F-1 w/ 50mm 1.4 // Fuji Pro 400h

What do you like to shoot on a regular basis?

I love shooting portraits on location outdoors, as well as product, editorial, and anything coffee related.  Lately, I’ve been shooting for Barista Magazine and they have allowed me a huge amount of artistic freedom. I got to spend time with amazing cafes and roasters really seeing their processes and documenting them the way I want. It’s truly amazing.

I have recently started a project focusing on architecture around my town with focus on minimalism. Basically different types of buildings framed against a stark cloudless sky.

What formats, cameras, and films do you shoot? What do you like about the formats, cameras, films you prefer? 

I shoot 35mm and medium format. My main film cameras are my Canon F-1, Pentax 67, Olympus XA, and Polaroid Land Camera 100.

Olympus XA // Kodak Portra 400

The Canon F-1 is the most solid and professional feeling 35mm SLR I’ve ever used. I started off when I was 15 with an AE-1, and this camera is so very comfortable and familiar coming from that, but in a class of its own. The shutter sound and feel, the ruggedness, the brassing on the corners, the weight, everything. It just feels like a serious machine. I shoot that camera almost exclusively with the FD 50mm f/1.4, which is a gorgeous lens. Images are almost three dimensional. Ive been using it a lot for environmental portraits and some product stuff.

Canon F-1 w/ 50mm f1.4 // Fuji Acros

I was mainly shooting a Pentax 645N and a Mamiya RB67 for medium format, but I let both of those go and picked up a Pentax 67 with the magical 105mm f/2.4 lens. The huge form factor and cannon of a shutter just feels so right to me, almost like positive feedback from the camera that assures me I’m doing the right thing, I’m exactly where I need to be. I’ve shot with my friend’s Pentax 67 and finally ordered my own.  It should be in my hands before this is published. I feel like Christmas is coming, and I can’t wait.

Pentax 645N w/ 45mm f2.8 //Fuji Pro 400h

I used to be a total sucker for the “full frame vs crop sensor” argument and I totally believed that in order to be a professional you needed to own a full frame camera. Then I started shooting medium format and everything I knew went out the window. I started to realize that while it did matter what tool you chose for the job was the right tool, these are all just tools. I have shot professionally on 35mm film and full frame cameras, as well as crop sensor and medium format. It’s all about what you’re doing with it and how you see things.

Personally, I love medium format for intensely shallow portraits or environmental product or editorial work. But I will also shoot the Canon when I need to be a bit lighter with my kit and be able to wedge myself into smaller spaces. There is, however, an undeniable feeling when you hold up a 6×7 negative into the light for the first time.

What types of film do you develop?

I develop black and white as well as C41 at home. I have been developing black and white for years ever since high school, in my bathroom sink. A couple years back, I decided I really wanted to try C41 at home to bring costs down since I was shooting so much. After doing a ton of research online and a lot of trial and error, I developed a stand development technique that works really well, with very consistent and predictable results and not too much extra grain. Ive been processing my C41 like that for over a year now, about once a week, sometimes more.

Canon F-1 w/ 50mm f1.4 // Fuji Pro 400h

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?

After my sophomore year in high school, I was just shooting black and white film like crazy and processing the film at a lab in Hayward that sadly doesn’t exist anymore. The woman who owned the lab told me that I could develop the film at home if I wanted, and that they carried all the stuff necessary to get the job done. I begged my mom to buy the stuff I needed. A tank, spools, the chemistry, a squeegee, a film changing bag, and clips to hang the film to dry. It didn’t take much convincing, I think she was just thrilled I was being creative and not asking her to buy me an Xbox.

I had already learned how to process film from my class, so I got right to it. I made a lot of mistakes that first year, but eventually it became like second nature. It took me 15 years to even consider trying C41 at home, because I always heard there was no way you could do it.

Olympus XA // Kodak Portra 400

What is your development process like now?

When I’m shooting, I tend to overexpose colour at least a stop or two. I push black and white often, usually up to 1600 ISO, but not much higher than that. It depends on what I’m shooting.

I don’t want to give all my secrets away, but I use a modified stand development process for both black and white and C41.  Since I use a stand development process, it doesn’t matter what the film is pushed to, the process remains the same. This has allowed me to really streamline my workflow and keep things simple.

Pentax 645N w/ 45mm f2.8 // Fuji Pro 400h

After I shoot, film doesn’t hang out for too long before I process it. Sometimes I’ll process that day if I have time. The process for black and white takes about an hour and ten minutes, while colour takes about two hours. The whole idea behind stand development is that you load the film, add the chemicals, agitate for a short interval, then leave the tank alone. Since there isn’t constant agitation, the chemicals exhaust and develop the film slowly, allowing you to do other things in the meantime. It also means I can use room temperature or colder water for processing C41. I tried the traditional way with hot water and all that stuff, but it was a pain, and getting the water to stay a constant temperature to be sure everything works right is a juggling act I’m not interested in.

After the film has processed, I hang it up to dry, usually overnight. The next day, I’ll cut and scan the negatives with my Epson V550 flatbed scanner. I don’t use the automatic modes, I do it manually one frame at a time. That way I can control the curves and sharpness as it scans and leave nothing up to chance. I scan everything as flat as possible to make sure all the information is there, and then I make minor adjustments in Lightroom to contrast, exposure, and highlights. I don’t do any colour correction digitally. Everything is saved as high quality JPEGs for delivery or whatever.

Mamiya RB67 w/ 127mm f3.5 // Fuji Pro 400h

 

What’s your processes regarding scanning, enlarging, and/or printing your work?

When I was younger, I would print my work as much as I could. Photo paper is expensive, so I didn’t print a ton. One year, I was gifted five packs of Ilford Multigrade photo paper and I think I went through it in a month. I haven’t printed in a good three years, but I am looking into some professional enlargers so I can build a setup to start printing again.

The internet is amazing and Instagram is great for showing off your work around the world in a second, but I feel there’s something missing when you don’t print your work. I feel like its a necessary part of the photographic process that informs the photographer and the viewer something on a screen just can’t.

What equipment are you using to develop your film and why?

I use a Paterson four spool tank, mostly so I can process either two rolls of 120 or four of 35mm at a time. I use the same processes for both so it saves time and the results are very consistent.  I use Kodak Photoflo for both processes. It’s cheap, lasts forever, and just works. Most of the stuff I use is easy to get and is affordable.

For black and white, I have had amazing success with Rodinal. It’s so cheap and economical.  I was weary at first, but I’m so glad it performs so well, both with traditional and stand developments.  I don’t believe there is a magic chemical or process that makes the best images. However, I do believe Rodinal is the best for me, simply because of the cost to performance ratio, plus it works great with the particular film I shoot.

For C41, I have been using the Jobo Press Kit. Its readily available, not super expensive, and lasts a decent amount of time. I go through a box every two or three months, which isn’t bad considering how much I process.

The weak point in my development kit is my changing bag. I got it from Amazon and the zipper broke. It was cheap, so what was I expecting? I need to find a bigger higher quality version soon.

Nikon F2 w/ 55mm f2.8 // Kodak Portra 400

Are you content with where you are now with your shooting and developing? Do you have any future plans or ambitions?

I would like to move to a house or a live/work space that I can have a permanent lab set up to process my work and print. I have really considered investing in a Jobo system to get the most high quality and consistent development possible. All of the things I want to do would take a considerable amount of money to get it off the ground, so I’m scheming at the moment.

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.

I am in the process of a project thats very collaborative with some film photographers that I am friends with, and I am really proud of it. I can’t talk about it just yet, but it will be coming out soon and I cant wait to share it.

Canon F-1 w/ 50mm f1.4 // Fuji Pro 400h

What advice can you give to others who are interested in shooting and developing film but are apprehensive about getting started?

Film can be expensive, and it is a very manual, hands-on undertaking. However, there is nothing more satisfying then pulling out a roll of film after processing and seeing those images come to life.

Film is an organic, living, breathing thing that captures light in a way that digital still hasn’t conquered. Shooting and processing film is a learned skill, and anyone who has the desire to do it can absolutely be successful.

Find people who shoot film and talk to them. Look up classes in your town. Most colleges and night schools should have a course for film photography. Talk to your family and see if anyone has an old film camera collecting dust in a box or attic somewhere. Go forth and keep film alive.

Anything else you care to share?

There is an incredible film photographer community, and being plugged in to that community has helped me be more successful in my efforts, inspired me when I’ve been in a dry spell, and introduced me to some of the coolest people. I honestly think that I am a better photographer for having met other film shooters and become a part of that community.

Part of the Process: Dan Crosley

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:

Dan Crosley

Location:

New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Links:

Website

Instagram

What other websites or blogs do you keep up with to feed your photographic interests?

Mostly through Facebook groups like Film Photographers and Negative Feedback.

What attracted you to film photography? How did you get started/introduced to shooting film? How soon after did you start developing?

I love the tangibleness of film and for me personally, having two kids, I want my kids to be able to have negatives and prints to be able to look through when they get older.

I was lucky enough to have film be the only medium for many of my early years of taking pictures. When digital got popular I used it a lot, but after my dad gave me his old Canon AE-1, I started using film here and there again.

I really got into shooting a lot of film after my son was born. About a year after, in 2015, I started developing my own black and white and C41. I recently began developing E6 last year.

Leica M3 // Fuji Provia 100F

What do you like to shoot on a regular basis?

I shoot weddings, portraits, boudoir, some street, and found objects.

What formats, cameras, and films do you shoot? What do you like about the formats, cameras, films you prefer? 

I shoot mostly 35mm and medium format. I shoot a Leica M3 and a Widelux F8 for 35mm and a Pentax 67 for medium format. Although, I’ve had more cameras than I can count for each format.

Widelux F8 // Fuji Neopan 400 (+2)

I shoot a lot of black and white, slide, and color film. I love the mechanical goodness, tactile feel, and noises that my Leica makes. The Widelux is a terribly fun camera and format to shoot. Jeff Bridges was my inspiration to purchase that camera. Finally, the Pentax 67 sounds like a shotgun which I find fantastic.  The 105mm f/2.4 lens is one of the sharpest and best lenses I’ve ever used.

What types of film do you develop?

Mostly black and white and slide film. I develop personal C41 stuff.  However, I mail out my paid work that I shoot on 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?

My first experiences developing black and white would have discouraged most people and made them stop. I didn’t know it for a while, but my thermometer was off by 12 degrees (on the cold side) so all of my negatives were coming out super thin and almost unscannable and unprintable.

I had done some research on the MassDev website and a friend of mine had been developing his own film for a while and he showed me how to do it. After finding out my thermometer was off, I bought a Paterson thermometer from B&H to be sure it was accurate.

My whole world changed and I was finally getting nice, thick, contrasty negatives!

Pentax 67 // Kodak Tri-X (+2)

 

What is your development process like now?

For personal work, I try not to let my undeveloped rolls sit for too long and pile up. But sometimes life gets in the way.  Most of the time I shoot, process, and scan within the same day or a day or two later.

For wedding, portrait, and boudoir work I process all the black and white I shoot as quickly as possible, and color is sent out to the lab as soon as possible.  Printing and enlarging is tougher because my darkroom is in another town, not to mention that I’m so busy with my kids that I don’t always have free days to get there and print. I usually have to spend 8+ hours in there to get as much done as I can.

Pentax 67 // Ilford Delta 3200

What’s your processes regarding scanning, enlarging, and/or printing your work?

I scan my my traditional 35mm negatives with a Nikon Coolscan LS-40, and medium format with an Epson V550. I currently have a darkroom in my father’s basement and have 4 enlargers, although I really only use one or two.

My main enlarger is a Beseler 45MXT with Dichro45s color head that I got for the unbelievable price of $Free.99. I usually make prints from the black and white film I shoot at weddings and of my personal street and family photos.

I like to think that my kids will have boxes and boxes of prints to look through when they’re older. And also why 80% of their life is in black and white!

What equipment are you using to develop your film and why?

I bulk load most of the black and white I shoot (HP5, Tri-X, or Kodak XX).  I sort of still shoot film like it’s the only medium available and there luckily there still is a ton available.

I use a medium size changing bag and Paterson developing tanks. I mostly use Ilfotec HC developer; it’s concentrated like Kodak HC110, and I’ve gotten 79 rolls out of a liter bottle.

I do my developing at home in my kitchen. I find the Paterson tanks and reels very easy to use.  I hear people have complaints about the plastic reels being hard to load, and that the steel reels are the only “authentic” reels, but I’ve ruined more film using the metal reels than the Paterson counterparts.  Although, my first Paterson 120 reel experience ended with me ripping my arms out of my bag with the film in one hand and the reel in the other, and hucking them across my kitchen.

Olympus Pen FT // Fuji Provia 100

Are you content with where you are now with your shooting and developing? Do you have any future plans or ambitions ?

I’ve gotten comfortable in my shooting and developing processes. Nobody’s perfect and there have been times I’ve messed up a development, but for the most part I’m happy with how my negatives and positives come out of the tank. I’d like to turn my “Before We Wake” and “Driver’s Side” projects one into a book.

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.

My life-long “project” is my kids, which will never be completed, so to speak.  I’ve shot a half frame Pen F, with a 36 exposure roll (so 72 photos) in less than 10 minutes with my kids around the house. I know many people are super selective with their shots they take on film, and while I try and make sure each shot is worth something, if it’s of my kids, every shot is worth it.

Pentax 67 // Kodak Ektar 100

I’m too ambitious with projects, so I have a hard time focusing on one and seeing it to fruition.  Other projects rely on people, and people are too often unreliable.

However, I did do a small project called “Driver’s Side” in which I shot HP5 pushed to 1600 using my old Leica Minilux, and shot photos while driving between the hours of 11pm-5:30am.  I also started another project entitled “Before We Wake” in which I used my Widelux with Cinestill 800T pushed to 6400; shooting large, empty parking lots of stores and shopping centers before the hours of them opening (usually between 3:30a-5:30a).

Leica Minilux // Ilford HP5

What advice can you give to others who are interested in shooting and developing film but are apprehensive about getting started?

To the people thinking about developing their own film: talk to as many people that do it as possible. Get information and consume as much of it as possible: watch YouTube videos, maybe find someone local who does it and see the process. I’ve had a few friends come and hang out while I developed to see how the process is done.

 

Part of the Process: Yingtong T•Rain Tan

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:

Yingtong T•Rain Tan

Location:

Brooklyn, NY, USA.  Originally from Guangzhou, China

Links:

Website

Instagram

What other websites or blogs do you keep up with to feed your photographic interests?

Basically books, publishers, and art book contributors such as Mack and Artbook D.A.P.

As far as websites go, I view Little Brown Mushrooms, Nowness, and American Suburb X.  I love checking out other photographers’ Instagrams too.

What attracted you to film photography? How did you get started/introduced to shooting film? How soon after did you start developing?

It was freshman year in high school and my friend had an 8-frame Lomo toy camera.  It was funny, once I saw the prints out of it and the processed film, I wanted to try it.  I found it very interesting. My first ever film camera was my uncle’s Nikon N80 with a macro lens. I started developing once I got in the art school for my Photography major, it was about four years later.

What do you like to shoot on a regular basis?

Self portraits and street photography. This is probably because I live in the city.  I always want to go shoot landscapes, but I am not good at it as I am still not used to it.

Nikon AF // Kodak Ektar 100

What formats, cameras, and films do you shoot? What do you like about the formats, cameras, films you prefer? 

The 35mm and 6×7 medium formats are my present preferences. I have a Contax G1 and Pentax 67.  I shot large format 4×5 on a Toyo Field Camera when I was in school and I loved it.

Toyo 4×5 Field Camera // Ilford 400 BW

For different shoots, I have different preferences.  For self-portraits, portraits or landscapes, I prefer the medium or large format.  I find that the bigger the camera, the better, greater approach.  They also slow me down and kind of force me to “look” much more closely.

Fuji GW680 // Kodak Portra 400

I enjoy the Contax G1 when I do street photography or daily shooting. I have recently been practicing flash with it and I hope it will give me a new perspective of using 35mm (I am very bad at using flash).

In regards to film, I like color films because they have more variety and tones. I like Kodak Ektar 100 and Portra 400, Fuji Velvia 100, and C200 for 35 mm and medium format cameras.  Agfa 100 is such a weird film to me, but I think it has a nice saturation.

Somehow, I always prefer B&W films on large formats. The Ilford Delta 100 has the best grain, in my opinion. Kodak TMAX 100 also works well for me.

Toyo 4×5 Field Camera // Ilford 400 BW

What types of film do you develop?

Black and white and I used to also process color prints.

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?

It was Photo 101 in college with my first photo class teacher, Ellen Wallenstein.  She taught us as much as she could to let us have a very detailed lecture and education on the development process.  I love her so much.

I went into the darkroom with one of my classmates, because we wanted to assist each other and try not to freak out alone.  I remember clamping out the film, taking it out from the case, which took me 20 minutes to reel, and put them in the tank.

The first experience was great, and I did the whole procedure with precise measurement. There was this one time though where I forgot to count the time for the fixers.  It went over the 4 minutes and that roll of film got these crazy water marks like raindrops on every frame. I remember it was on a 6×6 camera with Kodak Tri-X100. I was very upset about it and now I try not to ever miss a second when I develop film.

What is your development process like now?

My current process is simpler than I was in school.  When I was in school, I had the facility and environment. Now, I just shoot and send the film to develop and be scanned. I will print them myself to do a little archiving, but mostly I just collect all of the contact sheets and any mistaken prints.

Mamiya 7 // Lomo 800

Do you scan, enlarge, and/or print your work?

I do scan and enlarge black and white work. The color film enlarging class was my favorite when I was in school due to the way you can adjust the red, green, blue, and the F stop from the enlarger to create your own palette.  I found it fascinating.

I guess the process of enlarging is just very engaging; you are not just a “shooter”, but a “developer” and then you are the “printer”. I feel like the prints are in my control, and I actually felt more attached to the works that I was working on.  It started developing a relationship between me as a producer and the work as the result.

Pentax 67 // Ektar 100

What equipment are you using to develop your film and why?

I prefer a darkroom to changing bags because the bags just don’t seem secure to me at all. I mostly use Sprints developer, that’s cheap and provided by the school from our expensive lab fees.

Are you content with where you are now with your shooting and developing? Do you have any future plans or ambitions ?

Me and my friend are planning a small independent publishing project entitled, “Fake Tomatoes Press”, and we have been working on it recently. I have a personal project, which is still in process, entitled “You Miss Me.”  It is a continuation of my senior thesis on continuing to explore myself and where I am now in life through all the major changes that happened last year and how I have changed.

Toyo 4×5 Field Camera // Kodak Ektar 100

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.

My senior project is by far my most notable project. The senior thesis show was called Now Here/Nowhere, Waving Back. It is an exploration about who I am and where I belong.

Pentax 67 // Kodak Portra 400

Illustrating two spaces: Guangzhou, China, the place I was born and grew up in, and Brooklyn, the home I found when I moved to the United States at the age of 17. It portrays the conflicts surrounding my future, and the struggles between the fear of disappointing my family and having the desire to live my life my way.

Toyo 4×5 Field Camera // Ilford 400 BW

The struggle is also between the opposing American and Chinese cultures in order to find myself. Through my work, I have come to realize that I am not just fighting my history and future (expectations), but also fighting between living a life for the pleasure of my family and being me.

Minolta x700 // Kodak Portra 160

What advice can you give to others who are interested in shooting and developing film but are apprehensive about getting started?

Take it slow and have fun. Do not compare it to digital. In my opinion, I always feel blessed to start photography from shooting film.  It is a very extraordinary and primeval process.  Analog and digital are two totally different games, and if you are very interested in shooting and developing film, try to make yourself feel like this is your first time doing photos. Be very patient.

Part of the Process: Masilo Makgoba

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:

Masilo Makgoba

Location:

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Links:

Website

Instagram

What other websites or blogs do you keep up with to feed your photographic interests?

The Creator Class

@Tsocu

HybeBae

Bora.vs.Bora

Next Subject

Svvvk

What attracted you to film photography? How did you get started/introduced to shooting film? How soon after did you start developing?

I begun my photographic journey, like most, on a digital camera. Within my city, Cape Town, a steadily growing film community emerged, and many of my photographer friends begun to experiment with film photography. Partly due to peer-pressure, and partly due to my inquisitive nature, I finally picked up a film body.
As I already knew the basics of photography, I decided the best way to learn the nuances of film photography would be to go out and shoot — a lot. As such I picked up a bulk roll of Fujifilm color stock, and flew through it far too quickly. I stumbled into luck when I heard the Photographic Society of my university (University of Cape Town), had a darkroom and would be holding developing workshops.
So a month of two after first picking up a film camera, I began learning how to develop my own film.  Learning how to develop caused me to switch almost exclusively to B&W film.

Canon AE-1 // 50mm 1.8 // Ilford Delta 100 @ 200

What formats, cameras, and films do you shoot? What do you like about the formats, cameras, films you prefer? 

So far I’ve mostly shot 35mm film, with the occasional roll of 120mm. Mostly Black & White film stock, but occasionally I dabble with color.

Within 35mm film, I initially shot Fujifilm color stock, but quickly moved to Ilford B&W films. I have since learnt to love and respect Ilford HP5+ and Delta 100 as my go-to film stocks. As I begun to develop my own stock I tried a lot of B&W films but was quickly drawn to HP5 due to its versatility. In my mind, HP5 is virtually bulletproof. Variations in development that could potentially ruin other films, can be overcome when working with HP5. Furthermore, the ability to pull HP5 down to 100, and push it to 6400 gave me a relatively cheap way with experimenting with different film speeds. Delta 100 caught my attention as I sought a slow speed, fine grain film. After sampling a variety of films, I found that I enjoyed the contrasty tone curve Ilford films provided me, particularly when pushed a stop.

Canon AE-1 // 50mm 1.8 // Ilford HP5 @ 400

Being a massive Canon fan boy, the first film camera I picked up was a Canon AE-1.  I have since expanded to owning both a Canon AE-1 & AE-1P, a Nikon F3, and a Yashica Model A.

Moving from a mid-range DSLR to my AE-1, it was an externally liberating feeling as I found it removed many of the distractions associated with modern photography. Where I would previously spend countless moments taking test shots, making sure the histogram is evenly distributed, and my focus perfect.  The AE-1 forced me to surrender this control. Not being able to immediately refer to the image taken was the first step of surrendering control.

Secondly, being forced to shoot at a set ISO for an extended period of time (an entire roll of film), was another control loss for me. While at first I resented this lack of complete control, I realized by removing certain variable involved in the image taking process I could focus on other aspects of greater importance.

Moving from my AE-1, I purchased an AE-1P, partly for the slightly more accurate meter, but also so I could have two rolls of varying ISO film loaded simultaneously. The Nikon F3 was a major purchase for me, as I mainly viewed the AE-1’s as hobby cameras, but I would definitely consider the F3 as my work horse. The Yashica I occasionally use was actually my grandfather’s, so it’s mainly a sentimental piece for me.  The choice of shooting 35mm film, was mainly made for me. Practically speaking, I couldn’t afford to purchase a medium format camera initially or maintain the increased price of film.

What do you like to shoot on a regular basis?

Primarily I’d define the majority of my work as street photography, although I’ve recently been venturing out into the world of fashion photography.

Nikon F3 // 50mm 1.8 // Ilford Delta 100 @ 200

What types of film do you develop?

I have exclusively developed black and white film so far. Although, I would love to try my hand at C41, but sourcing the chemicals has become increasingly hard in my country, particularly for a student requiring small quantities.

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?

Developing my first roll of film was an absolute nightmare.

After watching a demonstration of the process, provided by a member of the UCT Photographic Society, I determined that it wouldn’t be hard at all and ventured alone into the dark room with film in hand.

I ran into my first, of many, problems the moment I flicked the lights off.  First, I couldn’t pop my film canister open. After fumbling around for 5 minutes I finally freed my film from its metal prison. Next, all I had to do was load it all onto a developing reel, easy enough right? Wrong. I fumbled around in the dark again for 15 minutes struggling to figure out how to load the entire roll onto the reel.

Eventually, after my trial and error, I had my film inside the Paterson Developing tank. Mustering up the last of the confidence I had, I eagerly poured the chemicals into the tank, and rushed through the developing process eager to see my film. Unbeknownst to me at this point in time, developer is temperature sensitive. After pouring out the fixing agent, mere moments after I’d poured it in, I frantically popped open the tank eager to see the results of my hard work, and was utterly disappointed. Having loaded the film incorrectly, I had “white spots” all over my roll where the negative touched itself not allowing any development.

I had twisted and bent my negative, and later found rips through several sprockets. Inspecting my negatives in front of a light, my spirit dropped even further. Since I did not correctly fix my negative, it had a bright purple milky color to it, but worst of all: as I had not adjusted the developing times for temperature, I could not see a single image on the negative.

All in all, my first experience, although negative (pun intended?), taught me a lot about the development process, and helped me discover some of the tips and tricks that I now use.

Canon AE-1 // 50mm 1.8 // Ilford Delta 100 @ 200

What is your development process like now?

I tend to get my developing done in larger chunks of 4 rolls rather than individually as I’ve shot them. As such, I immediately label my rolls when I take them out my camera. I include details such as the date/event I shot the roll at, and the speed I’ve metered to if I’m pushing or pulling the film (which is basically always).

As my negatives hang up to dry after developing, I transfer the information I placed on the canister, onto the pegs that they hang on. I normally leave my film to drip dry for 48 hours, not because I believe it takes that long, but mostly because I forget about them for that amount of time.

Following this, I cut up my film and place it in archival sleeves, transferring the details of what camera I’ve shot them on, the lens attached, the speed I metered at, the developer and dilution ratio, and any other details I’d like to remember. Finally, I place the archival sleeves into a large lever arch file, with dividers separating each month, or large event.

Canon AE-1 // 50mm 1.8 // Ilford HP5 @ 400

Do you scan, enlarge, and/or print your work?

As with many film photographers, I like to have full creative control over my images. So after having multiple bad scanning experiences done by my local photography shops I ventured into scanning my own work.

Scanning was the initial choice for my negatives, as I maintained a large social media following at the time. I first started scanning my negatives using a scanner at my university, but it turned out being of terrible quality. Discovering that they where several enlargers and a large stock of paper at my university, I started printing my own work this way.

Although I have since struggled to source high quality scans, I now rest assured as in my mind, printing your images in the darkroom produces certain characteristics that cannot be replicated digitally. I am planning on giving digitally scanning my images another try, and as such as looking forward to receiving an Epson V750 I recently ordered.

Canon AE-1 // 50mm 1.8 // Ilford HP5 @ 400

What equipment are you using to develop your film and why?

I am lucky to have a darkroom available to me on my university campus, and I primarily do my developing there. I utilize Paterson tanks. My go to developer is Ilford ID-11. While experimenting with different film stocks, I found ID-11 performed decently across a wide range of stocks and speeds. As I begun pushing my films, I experimented with different dilution ratios of ID-11. Eventually, I came to settle on certain combinations I particularly enjoyed such as: 1:1 dilution with HP5 shot at 800, or 1:3 dilution with HP5 at box speed. As I begun to use fine grain films, I searched for a more nuanced developer, and eventually settled on Perceptol to be used when I either pull HP5 or shoot Delta 100.

Canon AE-1 // 50mm 1.8 // Ilford HP5 @ 800

Are you content with where you are now with your shooting and developing? Do you have any future plans or ambitions ?
Regarding the shooting aspect of photography, I am technically happy with where I am at. But as with any photographer, I realize that I can always improve my skills, and as such I’m looking to try new styles and locations that I historically would have avoided like the plague.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, I have ventured into fashion photography, as this in my mind will push me to the limits of what I can achieve.
My developing work-flow has vastly improved since I first begun, to the point where I can effortlessly develop consistent negatives. The one area of my workflow I would like to improve, is my printing skill. Currently, printing for me consists of far too much trial and error, and compromise.  I would also like to begin retouching my work in the darkroom via dodging and burning.
My ambitions for the future, are vast and grand, and I have already set the wheels in motion for several future projects within the fashion sphere. One of my next intermediate goals, is to shoot a fashion look book solely on film, but unfortunately I haven’t found any designers who are not only willing, but who’s product would be suited to my ethos.

Canon AE-1 // 50mm 1.8 // Ilford HP5 @ 1600

What advice can you give to others who are interested in shooting and developing film but are apprehensive about getting started?

The single thing I wish I heard more during the beginning of my journey was that “it gets better”.

Its an unavoidable part of film photography that you’ll make mistakes. Maybe you’ll pop the door on your camera open while there is film inside, or forget that you’ve pushed the film 3 stops when developing. Regardless of what mistakes you make, just know that these are all part of the process, and you will get better and become more competent with and over time, so just keep practicing. Also, it always helps to have a friend with you.  It doesn’t matter if they’re shooting or developing film with you (although it’s great if they are), or not, but having a friendly face close by always cheers me up when I run into hard times while shooting or developing.

Nikon F3 // 50mm 1.8 // Ilford Delta 100 @ 200

Part of the Process: Jess Jones

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:

Jess Jones

Location:

Richmond, Virginia, USA

Links:

Website

Instagram

What other websites or blogs do you keep up with to feed your photographic interests?

Negative Feedback

Polanoid

Film Photography Project

Film Shooters Collective

What attracted you to film photography? How did you get started/introduced to shooting film? How soon after did you start developing?

Polaroid 450 [long exposure] // FP100c

Pack film was the beginning of everything for me.

I had an 8×10 photo taken of me years ago and it blew my mind, and soon after I acquired a Polaroid Land 100 camera from the Bay. The ability to see my photos right then and there in the field just lit me up, and they allow much more control than the more popular 600 style cameras.

I am a hands-on kind of person so having so much control was a delight. After that I found a Holga lying in the street, and practiced with some 120mm film and had a ball. This helped me think less about what I was doing, because then I acquired my Olympus [OM1n] and went a little crazy with the 35mm film. As you can see, it was a snowball effect. I truly just want to own all the cameras I possibly can.

Holga 120 // Kodak Portra 400

I wasn’t a photography major but I was allowed to sit in on the dark room courses at my university, so that is when I learned to develop my own black and white film. I did not start developing my own color film until this past year, but it has been even easier than I had imagined and so I plan to start developing E6 soon as well.

What formats, cameras, and films do you shoot? What do you like about the formats, cameras, films you prefer? 

Film Formats: 35mm, 120mm & 220mm, peel-apart, and Instax

Cameras: Polaroid Land 100-250-450-110a (converted), Olympus OM1n, Holga 120, Mamiya RZ67, Pentax 67 & 6×7, Argus 75, Zeiss Ikonta 521/2, & homebuilt cameras

Film Stocks: Portra, Ektar, Tri-x, Tmax, HP5+, Delta, Vericolor, Gold, FP100c, FP3000b, Type 669, Type 667, Reala, Superia, Instax, Lomo Film, FP4

Polaroid 110a [close up lens & converted for pack film] // FP100c [bleached]

Pack film is the film I started on.  [Essentially] it was my gateway drug into photography. FP100C produces beautiful greens & blues, and the ability to bleach negatives for a totally different feel and recovering underexposed images. It makes it even more fun to work with. Because of these, my Land cameras are my #1 choice out in the field, followed closely by my Mamiya RZ67.

Mamiya RZ67 110mm f2.8 // Kodak Ektar 100

The Mamiya [RZ67] allows me to utilize multiple backs, so I have the ability to swap between color and black and white films, as well as multiple exposures. The shutter sound is music to my ears, and the quality of images is fantastic. I have recently acquired the two Pentax’s [6×7] and am testing it against my Mamiya. They both bring different benefits to the table.

Pentax 67 105mm f2.4 // Kodak Portra 160 [rated 400]

My favorite roll film to shoot is Portra, because of its versatility. You can push and pull it to great lengths for any situation and it holds up exceptionally well. I love Ektar for its colors, especially reds and oranges. Tri-X is my favorite black and white roll film because of its tones.  Expired Tri-X is even better.

Mamiya RZ67 110mm f2.8 // Kodak Trix Pan [expired 1984]

What do you like to shoot on a regular basis?

Most often I am shooting outdoors in nature.   Either straight photography or abstract/experimental.  I am only recently getting more into portraits, and trying to bring my abstract mind to the traditional portrait.

Mamiya RZ67, 110mm f2.8 // Kodak TriX 400 [rated 800]

Is there anything unique about your photographic style or process?

I think that my constant need to experiment is what pushes me. I want to play with every camera and every film type. There is nothing that I do not want to learn about, so that I can turn around and share it with others.

What types of film do you develop?

I develop C41 and B&W.

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?

My very first experience developing film came from a darkroom course I took at my university.  I was an Archaeology major but my friends finally convinced me that I should take a course, as they loved my photos and my experimenting with land cameras.

Loading my first film onto a reel was tough, but after only a couple mishaps I really got it down, and later I found that I thought 120mm was even easier to load than 35mm. We had a great setup at my university, so learning to develop and then print was a piece of cake. Also being around other people doing the same thing was inspiring, and we all helped each other grow and learn.

Mamiya RZ67 110mm f2.8 // Kodak Portra 160 [rated 400]

Later on, I joined a community darkroom here in Richmond, but they didn’t have very many resources. So, it was a great group of film friends I made on Instagram that talked me into home developing (after way too many mishaps from a local developing lab).

I could not be happier, doing it all on my own.  But if it weren’t for the great community of photographers that are willing to teach and share experiences, I probably would have been too scared to ever do it at home.

Olympus OM1n // Kodak TMax 100

The only problems I have encountered since I started was getting distracted and accidentally popping off the lid of my steel tank, forgetting I had already put my film reels inside! I have also broken a bottle of Blix at home, so I switched to plastic containers rather than the glass amber bottles.

Other than silly instances like that, it has been fairly easy, and extremely enlightening. Nothing beats having a hand in your work from start to finish. Scanning in your film is like Christmas day!

Do you scan, enlarge, and/or print your work?

I do scan my film on an Epson V700. I use it to scan 35mm, 120/220mm, and pack film negatives. I used to print myself at my university years ago, but I do not currently have one of my own, so I outsource my printing.  However, there are plenty of affordable and quality choices to choose from now, making it easy to have tangible pieces of work to share.

There is no excuse not to print your work!

What equipment are you using to develop your film and why?

I use a Kalt changing bag to load my film (and my homemade pinhole cameras).  A large one is great because sometimes I have to load all kinds of things into a tank, or fit cameras inside the bag.  I use Samigon steel tanks and Hewes reels (the best!).  I develop with Unicolor C41, FPP C41, and Ilford + Rodinal black and white chemicals. I Kodak Photo-Flo/Hypo Clear and Arista Hypo-Check.

I started on metal reels and find them to be the easiest for me. I had to use the plastic ones at the community darkroom and did not like the feel of them, they didn’t feel sturdy, but I have a lot of friends that hate metal reels. After practice they are very easy to use, however, so other than using a roller developer, I don’t see why you wouldn’t use a metal reel.

I use a Paterson thermometer and a Paterson beaker, with Delta film clips and Datatainers. As I stated previously, I was using amber glass bottles for my color chemicals, but switched to the Datatainers because I am clumsy and tend to break them in my porcelain sink! All of the above are well priced, and not outside the realm of an average budget.

I tend to buy a higher quality item as an investment. In example, the Paterson thermometer is more than $20 but I have used cheap thermometers in the past and they aren’t always accurate, so I would have to use multiple at one time and take the average temperature. The Paterson thermometer is always dead-on, and my film comes out perfect. The only reason I would ever buy less than satisfactory products is if I were inheriting a lot someone is getting rid of, because you can often find these deals online when folks are quitting film photography. They can be a great find, but I like to know where my stuff is coming from and how well it works before risking my precious film.

Have you completed any notable projects or in the process of creating something from the film you have shot and developed?

I have shot a few different series, and one in particular that is commissioned through Lumitrix gallery in London, an art printing website. I have been featured in a couple different photo books, various exhibitions, and will soon be a part of a film “Zine” with some of my very good film friends I have met online.

Mamiya RZ67 110mm f2.8 // Kodak Portra 160 [rated 400]

Are you content with where you are now with your shooting and developing? Do you have any future plans or ambitions ?
I think the trick is never to be content. I want to be constantly learning new ways and techniques, and to try new films and chemicals. I am fortunate that there is such a great community of photographers out there that are willing to share their experiences and advice, because I think that is very important to keeping this medium alive and thriving. Plus, you make a lot of wonderful friends out of it.
I would like to publish my own personal Zine in the future, so I will be tackling the task of learning how to build and design one of those myself. In the much further future, I would like to be a photography professor, so that I can continue to teach what I have learned over the years, and hopefully inspire others to join in on the fun.

Olympus OM1n // Kodak Ektar 100

What advice can you give to others who are interested in shooting and developing film but are apprehensive about getting started?

Just do it. Google everything. Ask questions.

If somebody gives you a hard time, try someone else. There are those that are stingy with their information, but there are people like myself who love to teach as much as they love to learn.

We all have made the same mistakes that you eventually will, but it is a learning process and that’s definitely part of the beauty of it all. If it were too easy, it wouldn’t be as rewarding. But having a hand in something from start to finish is probably the best thing I have ever experienced, so I can guarantee that you won’t regret it.

Pentax 6×7 55mm f3.5 // Fuji Reala [expired 2010]