I have an ever so slightly obsessive nature! If I decide to research something I can get lost for days, weeks even, in the details. One of the rabbit holes I have been putting off for a long time (usually a sign that I really want to do something) is photography. Not even the real serious stuff-yet, just analogue and freestyle stuff.
I’ve had this beautiful Diana f+ Mr. Pink toy camera from Lomography, that my husband got me as a present, for a while now. It has been largely unused! I know, I know! It’s stupid to have it sitting around not being used! So, last week I took it out and said “Let’s do this” something my 3 year old is always saying and it’s catching.
So I finished off the 120mm roll of film that was in it and loaded it with a 35mm back attachment and a new roll of 35mm Redscale film (you can get it direct from Lomography here). I have no idea what’s on the first few pics of the 120 roll and I have almost filled the redscale roll already so onto the next step..checking out processing.
NOBODY WANTS TO PROCESS FILM ANYMORE!
Did you know this? It seems that it is being phased out everywhere. There are plenty of online services ( a lot of them USA based) but local to me here in Ireland it seems that all the photo print shops are doing just digital. So, I contacted a few Irish processing places I found online to get prices. Around €10-12 a roll, some even do cross processing, not all do 120 film. I would have to post them too. Hang on, this is starting to be a hassle already.
Well, you would think most people would pop the film in the post and pay the money but.. that is not how my brain works. I instantly think “screw that, I can process them myself!”
DREAMING OF MY OWN DARKROOM
So I set about finding out how to process film. There’s black & white processing, C41 processing for colour negatives, E6 processing for slides and all kinds of wonderful cross processing and alternative processing. In minutes, I was sucked in. It’s all so exciting to me, I just want to get stuck in and do it. I have spent the last week watching tutorials on YouTube, compiling shopping baskets on websites like B&H PhotoVideo (a newly discovered love) and reading everything that I can find. I came across this great site I Still Shoot Film that is filled with information.
Maybe all this was too much information for someone with my tendencies. I was thinking at first “well if I just develop my black & white film at home, I could learn the basics and move on to colour later”. Pretty soon I wanted to do colour at home too, so I would need additional chemicals and thermometers of course because colour processing is very temperature sensitive- I just learnt this : )
I vaguely remember my dad had a darkroom when we were little. I remember not being allowed in it, the red safe light we used to use at Halloween as a crystal ball and the stacks of photography magazines he had in the wardrobe. Maybe my dad could give me some pointers. So when he came over to see the grand kids, I cornered him. “It’s not too difficult, you can load the film in the dark and do the chemicals in the daylight these days” He explained some things to me, talked about tanks and chemicals but kept saying “It’s an expensive hobby though”. I justified it by saying sure once you have the equipment it’s much cheaper to process your own films – which it seems is true, but of course what he meant is photography is an expensive hobby and in the days after I talked to him, I realised- he might be on to something.
IS ONE CAMERA EVER ENOUGH?
Maybe. If you have a really quality one like what I keep hearing about, a Hasselblad or a Leica you might just use that and you might be content. But of course once I started reading up about the different types of film and cameras, I realized something. I want to collect cameras! All the cameras. Because each camera will have a different result, a personality if you like..and I like!
My husband pointed out that’s how he feels about guitars and why he always wants more, I get it now. Why cant guitars and cameras be cheaper? How am I gonna scratch this itch now, an itch I created! I should have just stayed out of the bloody rabbit hole I think…
Next time: I will continue into the world of the darkroom, and the inevitable-printing at home, and which enlarger should I get? oh dear