Standard Developing

agitation among the frogs about developers. since photography is something we do in the dark, maybe we can improve our work by knowing more of the secret. craft sometimes hides the meaning. the means get in the way. the camera blocks your view of the world.

The mechanisms of developing film (and paper) have been studied more than a century. The researchers provided products and procedures that employed hundreds of thousands over the 20th century. Some of that foundation work lead to our current digital imaging systems. Strange enough, even to enhanced solar cells and window coverings. So, it would seem a good place to look for a journey through the chemical photolab would be the manufacturers’ instructions and references. The things they read and wrote. It isn’t what most do. The information seems too curt, or too complex, so what happens is a large industry of writers, workshops and guide books flourish. Much of that has moved to youtube, and online chat forums — advice is given, repeated, overheard, rephrased — turning into accepted practice. They want to be influencers; they want to be remembered, so, they gossip. Repeat what others may have meant. It can’t hurt, can it.

A phrase I used in my teaching days: Read the directions twice; try them at least once before asking someone what they do.

Box Speed. Box Developer — that’s another. Every emulsion is tested. The chemists use developer during design and development of the film. Also, every chemist agitates the film in the developer. So, over the years they learned from the large users of their products what features would prove most useful.

There are many effects, some say defects, that are a result of developer composition and agitation. One film is not all film.


Mackie line, Eberhard effect, Kostinsky effect. [347]

“Development in a vertical tank without agitation, or with grossly inadequate agitation, may produce streaks.”

[342] “Forcing development with concnetrated metol-hydroquingoe, metol-chlorohydroquinone, or catechol developers results in somewhat higher effective emulsion speeds but only when the fog values become fairly considerable.”


“Active developer diffusing from areas of low to high exposure will cause increased development of the boudndary of the image, producing increase contour desnity but also increasing teh size of the silver grains in the enhanced edge density … conventional fine-grain developers , such as Kodak Developer D-767, are diluted with water to form the dilute developing solution that gives increase image edge effects…”

The emulsion is three dimensional — more like a sponge than a ‘film.’ The further from the center is the edge, that is, the bigger the film, the greater the possible difference with agitation. Color processing requires known diffusion rates of the residue of developing — change that and you change the resultant hue-set. Not a cross-over, once again: not a cross-over. A hue shift isn’t a shift in gamma ratios.


  • E. R. Bullock.
  • J. Rzymkowski.

Writing with a Reason

Do I say, or do I not?

waiting for the truth will wear-out your life. flim-flam film forumatti

Questions asked about color space, raised by users of Kodak ECN (Eastman Color Negative) materials.


  • calibrations and color space
  • fixer types
  • color neg-pos methods, alternatives

Even asking the basics causes page upon page of opinion. Links lost. Language blurring meanings, stops musing, encourages the distance between. They make outcasts of themselves. An elite group making basic mistakes.

dev stop fix finish

There are texts with the answers: the steps, the reasons, the relationships, the anticipated results. And there are also ads, along with posted opinions. The discussions center, grow and shrink around the ads. We have two simplified groupings: the wileys and the mowreys. The wiley makes 2200 posts a year; the mowrey makes 1800 posts a year. Wiley drowns out Mowrey. Wiley is an occasional producer of anodyne atmospherics, suited for hospital lobby; yet, he never did that. Mowrey was a Kodak chemist, with key patents — attempting the impossible. Answering beginner questions, as well as trying to counteract the Wileys postings.

So, why should I try? What can I achieve?

The temptation is elementary: people want to read the technical stuff. My stats, hits, show that. Do I care? Not really. In fact, that hurts; it bores me. That knowledge, the process stuff, that isn’t the me of me.

However, there is the possible good that may come: if you stay away from the Large Format/Photrio, they will go away… That won’t happen. That’s not the way of the world; any world. They exist because they provide an easy path. They are pencil sharpeners.

I will post some labnotes items. Many are now in hidden sections of the site; used by specialist printers who I have come to respect for their honest effort.

— Another version:

writing with a reason

a. done. three topics researched, edited, drafts put into keynote, notepad, first draft onto webpage... time wasted, because I will not take them further. not my interest to build another time sink.
... see what they think. who     they support... maybe different audience. i fool myself
just salesmen, intermediates... the very position that offends them, that of the gallerist, the person between creative and collector.

— interest, growth. questions for my self, or questions myself
beyond the technical effort, certainly beyond the need to explore chemical foundations. expansive effort, expending effort. gaining process 
making process gains.

put them aside, let them reside in notepad and keynotes.

“A time sink is, essentially, an activity that takes you away from what you should be doing to achieve your goal.” making a game last longer

you have to let them go on
because they just go on and on, never getting anywhere
because they don’t have a direction; usi

playing another round of liars dice, retelling tales, answers they've all heard from someone else’s life; like magpies nesting. they didn't make any of the beads used .

waiting for the truth will wear out your life. flim-flam film forumatti

a safe place to gloat, or, perhaps, a failure zone to study so i can avoid... but i've already noted my failures
there isn't any book to keep safe.