Developing Film –

The deeper dive into the way film develops.

from Haist

L.F.A. Mason:

  • approach of the developing agent to the surface of the grain.
  • adsorption of the developing agent to the grain surface
  • transfer of an electron from the developing agent to the latent image sight
  • conduction of the electron through the latent image speck
  • combination of the electron with a silver ion from the grain
  • deposition of the silver atom to enlarge the latent image
  • movement of other silver ions through the train toward the latent image site, leaving pits on opposite side of grain surface, where bromide ions are liberated

That is the way to developed silver, no matter how the magic soup is concocted — the magic brew never makes a silver bullet — merely a speck of silver and residue. This process proceeds in three dimensions: from the top of the emulsion downward. Like a sponge absorbing water. The agitation cycle, particularly the initial portion is the key to smooth development. In with the good chemical, out with the exhausted chemical. The breath of life for a silver born image.

A Long Way for Takeout

Travels with Corran of the Forum. Getting to a point where you are a known unknown. Recognized without any recognition. You began with an introduction and a question, 2011. His first picture comment: “Velvia 50, 90mm Schneider f/8”

living large on the forum

The first guidance, aesthetic appreciation was: “Lovely colours in the trees and sky Corran.“ his first advisor. Followed by: “Very nice job for your first try. The gradations in the weathered siding are lovely.”

The years, posts, stuff pass. His image making proceeds along the same path he started. Eleven years later he is ready for something bigger.

“I want to do this now. I’ve been talking with my wife about this rough outline for years. And at 36 I’m still young enough to do it without a…”

“Last year when I was in Idaho for 2 weeks I went to Craters of the Moon NP and the weather was bright, cloudless, and blah. Oh well, I only had one day there and that was that. There’s always next time. No way I can get a banger photo at every location! If I get a handful of good images that’s a great start (my trip to Idaho, I think I got 2-3).”

Many cameras, but no clouds means there aren’t any photographs. How little he’s learned. He is as stalled after eleven years as those he has been learning from. Although he can process film, he can’t process the world before him; unless the world contains an established image, he doesn’t have the chops to grok.

Seven thousand miles for a snack of turnout eye candy. All that way, that film, that hope; arriving home with postcards to call your own.

Why go that way for an early bucket list — never seeing the 20% posters of the forum. It is as simple as property; something to sell in the woodside gallery. Of course everyone has made those pictures, but you can’t sell theirs, now, you have prints to sell. Someone will buy them. Right?

The members of forums hold onto the belief of their value; their purpose is to guide, take the reigns for the young — film, analog film is managed by a cadre of those holding conservative aesthetic values. A viewpoint from their youth; times before the 70s photo explosion. Few of them can think of a photography without thinking: chemistry, light, landscape. The offer travel advice almost as often as they suggest a film developer.

He started behind them, with their instruction he has managed to remain on their path, a good safe distance behind.

Why are they there, why do they remain? … because they have to tell someone something: being important, at least, at least here.

How did we get here; where did we get? A suggestion, save yourself a decade, the answer is: use 4×5 HP5+, Pyro, Ilford Warmtone, Formulary 130. That’s what they do, almost every year, almost. The righteous path; a pathway to forum success.